The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at iq.intel.com, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts.
How many hours do you suppose you spend in front of a screen? If you have a desk-bound, computer-based job, that’s about eight hours, not including stealing glances on your phone, then coming home after work to plop on the couch in front of the television, eyes flitting between TV, tablet and smartphone. According to a 2012 Google report The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior, people spend on average 4.4 hours of leisure time in front of screens each day and 90% of all media-based interactions are screen-based. All added together that’s upwards of 12 hours a day! Welcome to the era of screens.
With a proliferation of different devices, technology developers have sought to make the interaction between screens seamless, so that users have a choice in how they digest their media. This is a trend from the Future of Entertainment series we’re calling Screen Sync, which looks at people’s new behaviors as they consume media across multiple devices, expecting integrated personalized experiences between all of them.
While we explored how people juggle multiple screens and content in our Multi-Dimensional Entertainment trend, Screen Sync is about pulling this content together. PLAiR is a dongle that allows consumers to play media on their TV through any connected device without the need for fiddly wires or set-top boxes. The streaming video adapter simply requires an HDMI port in the television and a Wi-Fi signal to beam the content from one screen to another. While a research report from Viacom has found that tablets have risen to second-screen prominence for full-length TV show viewing, Viacom notes, “television still provides the better experience.” And while there is plenty of streaming hardware on the market, they only give access to certain channels. PLAiR allows users to beam anything from an internet web browser onto their television, so you can more easily watch that hilarious YouTube video with a group of friends without crowding around a tiny screen.
The unique aspect about PLAiR is that once you have connected the computer to television, the dongle will carry on screening without the original source – you can close, even turn off your computer, and it will continue to deliver internet content to your television. More and more, we share content while staring at a screen. PLAiR enables media consumers to share traditional computer content onto a larger screen, without any complication or subscriptions.
Up until recently, reading a child a bedtime story was a ritual reserved solely for people who were under the same roof. Then the explosion of webcams, smartphones, tablets and video conferencing apps meant that separated families could communicate on a level almost as intimate as sitting beside one another. Yet still, reading a story over FaceTime cannot replace the tactility and intimacy of a grandparent and grandchild sharing a story together. Kindoma is an app that seeks to bridge that gap, integrating video with an ebook to allow for a synchronous story time between two people who are miles apart.
The app has a library of ebooks that it combines with a videosharing feature, so that each person can see the other while reading aloud the story on the screen. The app shows the same page to each viewer, and lets either participant turn the page, harnessing the iPad’s touchscreen functionality. Moreover, you can ‘see’ the hand of the other person in the form of a shadow, which adds an extra level of interaction – you can ask a child to point things out and virtually see them doing so.
Children have short attention spans, especially when it comes to conversation. Kindoma keeps them engaged with the grown-up at the other end, giving adults a chance to spend quality time that otherwise might not be possible. Kindoma embraces the power of the screen and uses it to perform a once analog practice.
Screens are media conveyors, but more than that they are portals to different worlds, both real and fictional. They provide connection, whether to characters in a show you’re binge watching on Netflix or with your mother. Coca-Cola demonstrated the power of a screen with their Small Worlds vending machines. Part of Coke’s Share Happiness campaign, the drinks giant installed two vending machines in public malls in Lahore, Pakistan and New Delhi, India. Traditionally warring countries, Coke sought to use screens to show that that their people were more alike than different. The vending machines streamed live video from a camera in each machine, which allowed for immediate interaction between the people standing in front of them. The addition of 3D touchscreen technology and prompts from the machine encouraged people to touch hands, draw peace signs and dance together.
“The people of Pakistan and India share a lot of common passions and interests – from food and Bollywood movies, to Coke Studio music, to cricket,” said Saad Pall, Assistant Brand Manager for Coca-Cola in Pakistan. “What this project did was connect people who are not exposed to each other on a daily basis, enabling the common man in Lahore to see and interact with the common man in Delhi.” Providing people a glimpse into the worlds of others by creating a simultaneous connection, even when miles apart, can be a magical experience that shows the power this screen syncing technology has.
In this age of multiple screen devices, people no longer focus on one thing at a time – but there is a desire to have integration between screens, providing a more holistic, streamlined media experience. Stay tuned this week as iQ and PSFK Labs explore the Screen Sync trend.
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