Had a great interview today (above) with Jen Walsh (Global Director of Digital Media for General Electric, where she is responsible for ge.com,
inside GE, and digital advertising and brand initiatives) and her colleague Sean Gannon, Managing Editor for GE Reports. Here's what the site's About Page says in terms of GE Reports:
As you'll hear from Sean and Jen, the site provides a great way for GE to have its own voice about its brand and activities and has frequently been used/cited by journalists as a source for news about the company. The language above - simple and no frills - also seems to embody the tone that Sean works to culture with their stories. Avoiding hyperbole and hype, they focus on delivering stories objectively while also embracing comments from users, even if they always aren't pleasant. This, in my humble O, is a major step forward for the blogosphere if an organization like GE lets us see how others feel. Leaving all comments up (with the exception of racist language, slander, etc) engenders trust since we're allowed to recognize that people don't always say the nicest things about a company, even one they hold dear.
But what I always find interesting is the fact people forget you fight or have problems with the people you truly love because you want to have a relationship with them. Meaning, you know you can risk being honest because they've provided you a safe standing on which your relationship is built. If you have an acquaintance who avoids any sign of contention at all costs, you'll have to keep things very light and insubstantial. Which also typically can mean boring and fake.
But I wax tangential. After we focused on GE Reports we turned to chatting about Augmented Reality which as you know is my new favorite passion. Jen provides a great definition of Augmented Reality (a 3-D interface / hologram interacting with a special logo/symbol on a piece of paper or object held up to your computer's webcam or certain mobile phones) while also comparing it to the technology from the original Star Wars movies where we got to hear Princess Leia ask Obi-Wan for help. GE is using AR in a number of ways, one of which is with their Smart Grid campaign that allows you to see a wind turbine in 3-D when you print a piece of paper with an appropriately tagged symbol on it and hold it up to your webcam. You can even blow the propellors in the 3-D rendering and watch them spin.
This allows for high geekage, surely, but as Jen points out, the focus on fun is a way to visually demonstrate the value of the idea/service that GE is providing. As it's difficult to have everyone tour a solar turbine facility, if I hold it in my hands I can viscerally start to recognize why it's important to the environment and maybe try to change how I view energy. Pretty amazing way to embody a value proposition by using just a piece of paper.
Jen sent on a few links for me to check out, one of which was about Layar which I wrote a post on the other day. The other was a link to a You Tube video from Georgia Tech's Augmented Environments Lab and the Savannah College of Art and Design. (Note that I'll be interviewing Blaire MacIntyre from Georgia Tech Monday at noon on my Tactical Transparency show). Here's a blurb about the video:
ARhrrrr is an augmented reality
shooter for mobile camera-phones, created at Georgia Tech Augmented
Environments Lab and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD-Atlanta). The
phone provides a window into a 3d town overrun with zombies. Point the camera
at our special game map to mix virtual and real world content. Civilians are
trapped in the town, and must escape before the zombies eat them! From your
vantage point in a helicopter overhead, you must shoot the zombies to clear the
path for the civilians to get out. Watch out though as the zombies will fight
back, throwing bloody organs to bring down your copter. Move the phone quickly
to dodge them. You can also use Skittles as tangible inputs to the game,
placing one on the board and shooting it to trigger an explosion.
The Skittles integration is especially compelling when you think of the marketing ramifications for other brands. Think about visiting your favorite bar or restaurant whose placemats are rendered for AR? You get your mobile phone out and start playing an interactive dating game while you wait for your food. Then if you get certain drinks from the bar (I'm thinking the glasses could have code or emblems or what have you on them) you put those on your placemat and they interact in different ways. Perhaps they'd light up like a poisonous elixir from an old Warner Brothers cartoon.
Another very cool Georgia Tech project is an audio AR thingie they did in a graveyard called Voices of Oakland. If I fully understand what they did, GT mapped gravestones and created vocal histories that played when people were in a close proximity to the sensors that started their audio tracks. If I get it correctly, it's the equivalent of doing an audio tour at a museum and having the various messages play automatically (if I have this wrong I'm hoping Blaire can straighten me out on Monday). What I think is or will be so powerful about this type of integation is when in the future I geo-map audio/video I create on my mobile so I can mark a spot geographically with my comments/video. Then, instead of hearing just one voice from a grave, you could hear an array of voices who have come before. Or, 3-D holograms of a thousand princess Leia's all vying for attention.
But with the arrival of the Semantic Web to arrange our preferences before we'd come to any geo-area, we'd only hear those choice voices we wanted to hear. The same will apply to stores we shop in. I think in the near future, you'll walk into Target, wave your mobile left to right, and have your friends virtually tell you (from the past or present) about the specials you should focus on since they (with their collective and communal intelligence) know your taste in clothes combined with whatever other factors you have put into your preferences (price ranges, how many kids you have, etc).
Long story short, I continue to have my mind blown by this stuff. To help you to have your mind blown, beyond Blaire I'm also going to interview folks from Metaio, a company focused on AR Wednesday July 1st at 3PM Pacific on my show, as well as a writer whose work I admire a great deal, Jamais Cascio.
Thanks again to Jen, Sean, and their colleague Megan Parker for a great interview. To learn more about GE Reports, you can also check out Sean and Megan's Slide Share presentation from Blogwell about their work at GE.
Excellent blog, full of info and interesting
July 12, 2009 at 07:40 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.