Posted By Jeff Wettlaufer
Sr. Technical Product Marketing Manager
With Microsoft Build Developer’s Conference (//Build/) running at full speed, we wanted to share some information about a compelling demo solution shown on the show floor featuring Kinect for Windows and Windows Embedded 8 Industry in an engaging in-store experience developed for the Amana brand.
The demo uses Kinect for Windows to track when a user physically interacts with the appliance, and to provide them with valuable information on the specific appliance they are touching. The concept is to enable a new, simple way for customers to interact and engage with home appliances on the sales floor, bringing features and benefits of each appliance to virtual life and driving purchasing decisions via simple gestures.
The Amana solution showcases the opportunity for developers to build rich app experiences on industry-specific hardware using the latest Microsoft tools and technologies. Specifically, it illustrates how developers can design not only beautiful Kinect for Windows-enabled experiences, but also targeted experiences unique to the retail setting with the Windows Embedded platform.
About the solution
From a hardware standpoint, the Amana demo is a complete 8′ vignette that encompasses an Amana refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and microwave mounted in a cabinet with Kinect for Windows sensors positioned to capture customer and product interaction. One sensor is directed to where the customer interacts with appliances via a digital catalog projected on a large display; the other is pointed at the point of product interaction.
When a customer walks up to the experience, the application knows they are there and greets them with a friendly, eye-catching introductory screen. From there, the customer can navigate through the Amana catalog simply by gesturing and learn about a variety of features, such as appliance energy efficiency, easy-to-use options and more ways to save water, energy and money. All of this functionality is powered by Windows Embedded.
In addition to getting direct feedback relative to the customer’s interactions with the Amana experience, the appliances the customers see are un-modified product – there are no switches or sensor add-ons to drive the experience. Basically, Kinect for Windows turns the appliances, or any item or product, into an interactive device.
Placing a device like the Amana experience in a customer-facing retail environment demands lockdown and control, while providing support for connectivity and management technologies. Windows Embedded 8 Industry provides this through the use of a small form factor, industry-specific device that not only connects the Kinect for Windows sensors, but drives the beautiful screen and app experience.
The Amana experience was developed for the company as a collaboration between partners Kaleidoscope and Float Hybrid, with support from Microsoft. From concept to completion, the Amana experience took four months to develop. Be on the lookout for the kiosk in select retail stores next month in Florida, with plans to roll out in more locations later this year.