Thursday, February 03, 2005

Proximity Content Distribution: Wideray

Part 2 (of 3) of this series will take a quick peek at Wideray, a San Fran company with chop-shops in Vancouver (Bryan, try to find a set up in your town!) and New York (Newwwww York!!!!). If my memory serves me correctly, these guys first started with their IrDA solutions at medical conferences, where users could dish out electronic brochures to PDAs (Palm). Seemingly, that was their beachhead, their opus moderandi, but they're now moving into the direction of bigger and better things.

Basically, from their demo (on their front page), you just walk up, point your IrDA device (phone/PDA) at their little access point, and it beams you some goodies. From their demo, I can't really tell how interactive this can be, but I know a client application was required to connect to their system -- to those without a client, maybe it can send you a client application, but how does IrDA know what kinda of device is accessing it? (I guess I should learn more about IrDA, huh?)

Whatever the case, you walk up and get the info, and take it with you -- electronic coupons, ads, directions, etc... basically, anything the phone can handle. They claim to have a Bluetooth solution, but their demo doesn't really show that, as there would be no need to walk up to anything.

Seems simple enough -- I guess IrDA solutions are normal in Asia (I've yet to see one anywhere in the US or Europe), but I still think this is good stuff -- maybe it's the super geek in me, but I'd use it for sure, especially if it were free.

Anyway, as the previous link above shows, they've crawled their way into EB Games -- good for Wideray. This should make it possible to get info about games, plus game screenshots and video trailers, cheat tips, etc... the same way that JRC Gaming in the Czech Republic is getting now with Jellingspot Data Server (Warning: Self-Serving Plug). Regardless who does it, this is really needed -- it opens up a whole new world of interaction between gamers, retail chains, etc....

We can only hope that Wideray gets a full deployment into EB Games (I guess I can say I'd prefer it to be my solution, but may the best man win) ... the industry could really use a boost. If anybody has used Wideray, give us a shout-out -- we wanna hear from you!

[ Technorati Tags: Bluetooth wireless mobiles proximity gaming marketing ]


Bryan Rieger said...

I'll see if I can find anything else from their Richmond office, perhaps they have a test-case in town. I'm not sure I like the design of these things - they sort of remind me of a urinal for some unknown reason. Perhaps it's the sanitary white colour, maybe it's the two moulded rings that form a psuedo-bullseye... who knows. I have a strange feeling that if I saw one in real life I'd have a very strong urge to pee on it.

Anyway, in looking at their demo I'm not sure if I'd see that as a compelling user experience. The thing has this tiny screen, and really doesn't feel 'interactive' - and having print material beside it seems quite lame. Also, how would it be tied into the retailer... shouldn't there be more visibile benefit to the host store than just providing space for this kiosk? Perhaps if there was a video display showing samples of what the kiosk contained, or possible provided on-screen previews, or even a guided walk-though on how to use this service.

The technology is just one small piece of the puzzle, the consumer experience is going to be the piece that makes this the killer app. Part of the fun for me in Bangkok was flipping through the catalog of stuff they had, asking to see demos and chatting with the sales guy and other customers. Would I want to do this all on my phone, by myself, while standing suspiciously alone in-front of something that looks like a urinal?

Think about the consumer experience.

Bryan Rieger said...

My wife thinks it looks like a very stylish hand-dryer. Depending on where they place these things there could be some very choice camera phone opportunities. ;-)

David Stennett said...

That's the beauty of Bluetooth -- the little USB Dongle looks good and is easily hiden (if need be), and you don't have to stand in front of any urinal (that's just wrong ... lol) ... you can browse a catalog, prices, coupons, etc... while walking with your wife -- when in the ladie's section, you can browse the men's line -- it's kinda cool. Not only that, but generally, it works quite well from the stores in the immediate area, so when in some woman's botique, you can scan the game previews or screenshots of the game store near by -- keeps you busy, for sure. I just couldn't imagine getting involved with something where you had to que up to use .... yuck.

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