Thursday, February 7, 2008

Covering the Coverage

It takes me a while to catch on to some things. It’s that phychological mechanism again—selective attention? I had written a post about touch screen technology earlier that day when I sat down Tuesday evening to watch the marathon coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries. I always surf around a bit just to see if any other news organizations have discovered anything new, but mostly I watch CNN because I like their coverage.

Sometime after midnight my foggy brain realized that John King was pulling up maps,zooming in and out,
but mostly drawing on the maps with his hands to illustrate his points about who was voting how, where. I was reminded that I see this every day, especially when Internet reporter Abby Tatton pulls up items from all over the net. Must be the same multitouch technology, right?

When I looked around I found that it is not. It’s still called multi-touch, but, unlike say the iPhone, the CNN screens react to multiple objects and users and they are pressure sensitive. CNN debuted the technology on Wolf Blitzer’s huge Situation Room wall in January.

The uses of the technology are well explained by developer Jeff Han who gave a demo at the 2006 TED conference. In the demo he mentions data vizualization but he doesn’t give an example. There is a more recent video on the home page of Perceptive Pixel, Han’s company, but it isn’t as informative as the earlier conference presentation. His presentations give a lot of ideas about applications, and suggest that CNN has so far just skimmed the surface.

Jeff Han’s presentation reminds me of early computer scientists who predicted that someday most everyday devices would have computing power and they would be genuinely easy to use. Multi-screens look like the closest we have yet come to the early concept of “ubiquituous computing.”

What are the marketing applications beyond broadcasting? At about $100,000 per screen (before customization, one presumes), the military was the earliest user, and they aren’t talking although one can remember the wired glove application in Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report” and make some guesses. Data visualization appears to be an attractive possibility as marketers look for an easy, user-friendly way to deal with their data avalanche. Killer presentations are another. However, it will take awhile for the cost to come down to the point where any except the best-funded organizations can use this technology. But stay tuned for the rest of the political season. I’ll be looking to see what else CNN is able to do with their screens and when and how other broadcast networks implement the technology.
Sphere: Related Content


Ram Dhan Yadav, Kotamaraja said...

Playing with digital media is becoming easier each day. The mash up technology that is used to bring together content from various sources can be very effectively used to link the content with in a single source. Adobe Flex technology can handle events generated on a video stream. These events can be propagated to the server to retrieve related content. Flex can be used to develop applications that are similar to the one seen in Wolf's situation room. There is no need of $100,000/- TC monitor, just a simple browser with decent enough bandwidth can bring the experience right into the millions of laptops/desktops. Microsoft is also coming up with Silver Light technology, which is supposed to revolutionize user experience on the internet.

MaryLou Roberts said...

An interesting comment, thanks! I've used a number of Adobe applications but not Flex, so I took a quick look at the description on the Adobe site. This is what it says, Adobe® Flex™ 2 is a cross-platform development framework for creating rich Internet applications (RIAs). Flex enables you to create expressive, high-performance applications that run identically on all major browsers and operating systems. I downloaded Microsoft Silverlight a while ago, only to find that it was a developer/designer platform, not something a diy user could handle.
Both these applications are quite different from putting the control of content and how it is displayed in the hands of the user.

Ram Dhan Yadav, Kotamaraja said...

I may be still amateur in DIY marketing. May be I will be able to related it better after few more classes.

MaryLou Roberts said...

"Social media" is a Web 2.0 concept, too new to be well covered in my text or any other textbooks that I know of. It's all about putting control in the hands of the users and letting marketers have a direct dialog with customers, insofar as possible without involving IT, websites, etc. My personal definition of DIY is given in the first post on this blog

Torill Flyen said...

I came across this touch-screen technology in my previous job. The company was testing 2 displays for graphic and product design purposes. In design, the use of tablets is common, so it was a small step from a separate tablet to writing/drawing directly on the screen. Wacom, the leading provider of tablets, are now delivering these displays in 21.3" size. I tested it, liked it and I plan to invest if and when these screens become more affordable. (Current price $ 2499)