The following blog was guest authored by Dr. Neil Roodyn, a Microsoft MVP and the founder and director of nsquared, a company dedicated to using software to solve business problems.
What does a maker of high-end consumer electronics do to reinforce its image as a pioneer in tech innovation? That was the question facing our client, the Australian subsidiary of one of the world’s foremost makers of TVs, smartphones, and appliances. The client was preparing to launch a branded store in Melbourne Central Mall, and executives wanted this, their flagship Australian retail shop, to show customers what's possible with the company’s technology. They decided on a large-scale, interactive experience that would support multiple users, hosted on a multiscreen display in front of the store, and they turned to our team at nsquared to provide the technology solution.
We worked with the company to develop a new activity called Graffiti, powered by the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. As shoppers walk past the display, their shadows appear on the interactive wall. This engages potential customers, who soon discover that they can grab a virtual aerosol can and "paint" the wall as the Kinect sensor tracks their spraying movements. Their virtual spray-painting slowly reveals the underlying graffiti image. Once they've sprayed most of the image, they are encouraged to check out the artist information on the left side of the display, which leads toward the store. The idea, of course, is to promote the client’s technological prowess while cleverly funneling shoppers into the store’s entrance.
Twelve screens on the display’s front make up the interactive wall, which measure 5 meters wide by 2.1 meters tall (about 16 feet by 7 feet), making the graffiti experience the first application that I know of to use the Kinect v2 sensor in such a massive, wide-screen array in a public space. I believe that it’s also the first repeating, multiuser, interactive experience in a permanent public space in Australia. While it runs no more frequently than the store’s other digital signage, the graffiti experience increases the level of customer engagement by using Kinect for Windows v2 and Windows 8.1.
The massive, interactive graffiti wall engages potential customers and helps cement the sponsor's
image as a tech innovator.
A single Kinect v2 sensor mounted at the top center of the display can recognize up to six users at once, with all of them spraying on the display. Sound effects of the spraying emanate from three speakers mounted in the ceiling above the screen. If the players shake a can, they hear the clicking sounds that a real can of spray paint makes when agitated. Users tell us that these kinds of little touches are what make the experience so lifelike and engaging.
Since its deployment in October 2014, the Graffiti application has attracted a steady parade of curious users. By providing a fun and interactive activity in front of their store, our client has done more than just capture the attention of passersby—it has actively involved them in a new and memorable experience.
Neil Roodyn, Director and Founder, nsquared