Tuesday, November 14, 2006

ProAV looks at some pie-in-the-sky technologies

There's no shortage of new technologies coming out that promise to make things faster, better and cheaper for people navigating airports, shopping malls and retail stores, and Pro AV is taking bets on which will be brought to market (in a big way). From super-cool new technologies like Memory Spots and carbon nanotubes to stodgy, boring (but important) Gigabit Ethernet, this article examines what each technology will mean for us 3-5 years out. Even RFID, that solution looking for a problem, makes the list, though I still maintain that RFID technology won't be adopted or used in any meaningful way until retailers can find some way to make it benefit their customers.

I think my favorite item from the list is definitely HP's teeny-tiny memory spots, which can hold a very large amount of information and transmit it to a reader device very quickly. As the article notes, this tech has some key advantages over RFID and other current-generation systems:

Unlike Bluetooth and RFID, Memory Spots are designed to be read from a distance of about 1 mm. That’s largely because the spots don’t have a power source. Instead, the information transfer is powered entirely by the device that’s reading them. For AV applications, installing the spots should be as simple as peel and stick rather than providing them with a power source. A side benefit of this short read range is security because an eavesdropper would have to be so close that it could arouse suspicion. “For a lot of applications, people worry about things that you can read from 10 feet away,” Taub says.
Programmable memory spots could someday be attached to kiosks or digital signs and used to beam a new CD single or music video to your spot-enabled cellphone or PDA, or even embedded into price tags to let shoppers download product information, recipes, etc. (with video and audio tracks).

Tags: RFID, digital signage, in-store media, retail media, Memory Spots

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