It’s interesting, and perhaps one day this sort of thing would get used somewhere, but there are a few things to reasonably note and ask:
- The video shows the waiter just plopping this puppy down on the table, and doesn’t show the bit with the guy crawling under the table (what if the women are wearing skirts?) plugging the thing into a wall or floor socket (that probably doesn’t exist).
- The thing uses a little pico projector and those things don’t tend to pump out a lot of lumens, so the real visuals are probably a lot less vivid and sharp (see this other video from the company, Hololamp).
- This is a one-to-one concept, which means a busy restaurant would need a bunch of units, and in theory a table for four would need several for ordering (where do they fit on the table and where’s the power coming from?), or one gets passed around, which would be amusing to watch with that power cable knocking over water glasses and other stuff.
- How many restaurants have the budget to pay for this sort of thing, and why would they? They can do razzle-dazzle digital stuff with iPads, which have batteries, dense pixels and serious color reproduction.
Restaurants have done interactive tables here and there, and it can be cool, but projections from overhead that a full table can see make more sense, and I think they need to have pretty amazing content, like this, to get beyond what would short-term wow factor. Cranky people like me would ask for the real menu.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.