This week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we debuted our latest creation—KinectiChord: a multiuser, multisensory experience that blends physical and digital in an unexpected and delightful way. On display in the Microsoft Advertising Beach Club, this experience allows multiple users to see, hear and feel technology like never before.
Take a look behind the scenes of the Lab at the ARIA in Las Vegas. A true manifestation of what we do in the Emerging Experiences group, the Lab set-up brings to life the ideas behind this year’s Client Summit theme, Convergence. To learn more about the ideas that drive our passions, read more about what Razorfish’s Global CEO, Bob Lord and Global CTO, Ray Velez have to say in their new book.
Get your hands on the 5D experience by embarking on a unique shopping journey that utilizes a variety of platforms and technologies, including a first of it’s kind, seamlessly-synchronized transparent interactive display wall. It’s located in the Microsoft booth (1005) on Level 3. And to see more of 5D in action, head on over to emergingexperiences.com/5D.
Our lab is buzzing with activity as the team prepares for the National Retail Federation’s 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO in New York. On display will be the latest iteration of Razorfish 5D— the world’s first cross-device, cross-OS, connected retail platform. Launched at last year’s NRF convention, 5D has already been launched in several markets and was used to create Audi City London, a one-of-a-kind immersive virtual showroom. This year we’re showing how our platform can power customized, personalized and seamlessly synchronized shopping experiences. We threw in some augmented reality and a bunch of transparent displays as well.
Our team will be demonstrating the 5D experience in booth #1005 on Level 3 of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. If you can’t make the show, be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates.
Most Contagious, that is.
We’re excited to announce that Audi City London has claimed Contagious Magazine’s Most Contagious Retail Award at a ceremony today in London. This experience was a year-long collaborative effort between Audi and a wide range of partners, and was launched near Piccadilly Circus just ahead of the summer Olympics. It is delivered by one of the most technologically advanced retail environments ever created and features a variety of multi-touch displays for configuring your Audi from millions of possible combinations. Once you’ve created your personalized Audi at this groundbreaking dealership, you can toss it onto one of the floor-to-ceiling digital “powerwalls” to visualize and explore your configuration at a true 1:1 scale. Audi City London is a true dealership of the future and an effort we were proud to be part of.
Photo: Gaurav Singh
When we’re playing in our Lab, we’re always looking for creative ways to push the limits of technology. Some of our projects are just for fun, and others, like London’s Audi City, completely reinvent the way people shop. We were even thinking about digital wallets before they were cool. So when we set out to create the Razorfish 5D platform, our goal was to design a powerful and highly immersive way for brands to connect with consumers—before, during and after the shopping experience. In our latest video, we show how our 5D platform seamlessly connects a variety of digital devices to better attract consumers into the store, drive product engagement and arm store associates with more contextualized digital tools. The end result is a fun and personal experience, the way shopping should be.
We’re excited by the launch of a revolutionary showroom experience for a premiere automotive brand. After a year of collaboration between Audi and a wide range of partners, Audi City has launched near Piccadilly Circus in London, ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
Audi City London is a groundbreaking dealership experience delivered by one of the most technologically advanced retail environments ever created. The digital environment features multi-touch displays for configuring your Audi vehicle from millions of possible combinations. Your personalized car is visualized in photorealistic 3D using real-time render technology, making the Audi City vehicle configurator the most advanced in the world. After personalizing your Audi, you can toss your vehicle onto one of the floor-to-ceiling digital “powerwalls” to visualize your car configuration in life-size scale. From here, you can use gestures to interact with your personalized vehicle, exploring every angle and detail in high resolution using Kinect technology.
A purely digital showroom can’t deliver on the tactile experience of buying a car. Therefore, a store associate can save your configuration on a RFID-enabled USB stick and guide you into a personal consultation area that features a variety of tactile objects. These objects help the customers get hands-on with the materials of the vehicle including car exterior color and finish options and interior upholstery options. Each of these tangible objects are digitally-tagged through RFID technology. You can bring bring any of these physical objects over to the configurator experience and the corresponding exterior paint finishes and interior options will automatically update your vehicle configuration.
When purchasing a car, the customer journey occurs across multiple channels. In order to integrate and simplify the car buying process, we’ve allowed customers to retrieve their online car configurations in the showroom environment. In addition, any car configuration made in the showroom is synchronized to your personal USB stick. Simply pop in the USB stick at home and the web-based configurator is automatically launched with the exact car configuration you created in the showroom. This allows Audi to deliver a “start anywhere, end anywhere” buying cycle for the customer, which has proven elusive for retailers.
Not only is Audi City a premier showroom environment, the dealership concept represents a fundamental shift in retail strategy for the brand. This new small-footprint retail format brings Audi closer to their customers, not only geographically but also emotionally. The smaller-footprint concept will launch in metropolitan environments and reach a younger urban and digitally-enabled demographic. After hours, the environment will serve as a cultural center in the larger community by playing host to readings, round-table discussions and art exhibitions.
“Audi City combines the best of two worlds – digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer” says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management at Audi. “People are placing greater emphasis than ever before on a direct and personal bond of trust with their vehicle brand – especially in respect of the increasing variety of products and available information. Thus, with Audi City we are creating a one-stop-shop for experiencing our brand. It is right in the midst of our customers’ lives, yet seamlessly connected to the online range offered by the four rings.”
Audi announced at the London launch that 20 showrooms in other major international cities will follow by 2015.
There are few things sadder than a pile of old technical books. They live on dusty bookshelves and in torn cardboard boxes as testament to the many things we never accomplished in our lives. Some cover fads that came and went before we even had time to peruse their contents. Others cover supposedly essential topics we turned out to be able to program perfectly well without – topics like algebra, geometry and software methodology.
The saddest thing about old technical books is that by “old” what we really mean is anything published more than three years ago. We no longer burn books in civilized countries so these 3+ year old books simply take up space. We can’t throw them out. We can’t sell them on eBay. We can’t even give them away.
Take for instance the New Masters of Flash series. These are first of all beautifully designed books. They are written by a slew of masters of the technology who are each given a few pages to discuss their inspirations, provide a cool concept and then show how they approached the solution. Cool concepts include animating a 3D chessboard, animated typography vis-à-vis The Matrix, creating a pointillism artistic mask for text and images, and taking a simple shadow effect to its logical extremes. The highlight of the book is probably Irene Chan’s introductory essay on feminism, art and the role of websites. It’s not something one would expect to find in a technical book and speaks to the amazing community that developed around Flash.
All of this is simply a way of observing, once again, that plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, even in software where we often pretend that we are in constant Kurzweillian motion and slouching toward the Singularity. It is also a recognition of the essential role Flash has played in interactive media. Flash has shown us what can be done and, in many cases, we have yet to surpass what it accomplished all those years ago. Flash is dead. Long live Flash.
For the Adobe Mobile Challenge 2011 Kay Wiegand and Tobias Richter from the Berlin Razorfish office produced a Crossplatform Mobile Application with Flash Builder 4.5 for iOS, Android and BlackBerry called TOUCH N CLASH! The App was a smashing success and went on to win the highly sought-after Novelty/Innovation Prize! Read what the jury said here!
TOUCH N CLASH is powered by the Adobe RTMFP group functionality. By utilizing this technology, it was possible for us to create the necessary multiplayer communication without establishing a server/client infrastructure. On the gameplay side of things, another notable feature is the physics engine we implemented that really brings the fun of the game mechanics to life and adds a level of intensity to the overall experience. To really kick things up a notch, we tapped into the device accelerometers to control the direction of the gameballs. The unique selling point that helped us stand apart from the competition is that the game is playable with different devices together in a cross-platform experience.
The gameplay is a very simple, but VERY fun:
In the game, the colored sides of your game-field represent the other players. If a gameball appears in your game-field, you have to pass it to another player before the countdown timer runs out. To pass a gameball to another player, touch and drag it to the colored side of your game-field. To add a fun element of chaos, we added a mechanic that randomly spawns a gameball. First player to touch it gains control allowing the tide of the game to turn on a dime. You win by being the last man standing!
We’d love for you to experience this fast-paced and innovative game for yourself! Please download a copy from your appropriate marketplace below:
In mid-March, tens of thousands of music lovers, film fanatics and tech junkies descended on Austin, Texas for the annual SXSW festival. This year, we were honored by being invited to come and participate on a panel discussing technology and the future of the in-store experience (official panel info). It was an exciting opportunity that we hope to be asked to repeat in the future years of this prestigious festival.
Its been amazing to watch the festival’s success and attendance sky rocket during the last decade, and the expansion into the interactive industry has been a huge factor in that growth. To say attendance was high is almost laughable – the city was brimming with people, all ravenously seeking out and consuming inspiration for their passions in the forms of discussions, installations and shows. It was really a highlight in our history to be part of that momentum.
There were a lot of very engaging discussions – from Foursquare CEO, Dennis Crowley’s, keynote discussion on how their platform continues to evolve and stay relevant, to the “new buzz” around passive-location app rookies such as Highlight and even some really amazing (and fairly alarming) thoughts from Ray Kurzweil on the democratization of technology…and our imminent replacement by cyborgs. (YAY future!)
The speakers I had the pleasure of joining on the panel were Carrie Chitsey, Founder & CEO of 3Seventy, Tim Austin, CCO of TPN, and Chris Harrison, panel moderator and COO of DMX Inc. The panel focused primarily on the current landscape of retail – both in-store platforms and exterior experiences such as web and mobile/tablet. A lot of discussion was around the tech that is in the market today – QR, mobile, RFID, Augmented Reality, Multitouch – and what we saw on the horizon – NFC, 3D Video Projection, furthered AR and, most importantly, the convergence of these experiences into a connected, holistic platform.
We’ve seen amazing examples of Augmented Reality and Video Projection as jaw-dropping attraction mediums and fun, environmental experiences (think Nike’s Melo Event or RockStar), but how can we utilize this tech to drive purchasing decisions in-store or from a shopper’s living room. One of the larger advancements we saw at CES this year was in the Virtual Dressing room category and how augmented experiences like Body Metrics are impacting shoppers’ decisions while reducing return rates for online retailers at the same time.
However, while this solves ‘online’ shopping pain points for both retailers and consumers, it also creates potential potholes in the path to in-store traffic since the online experience is that much better. This then puts the heat back on brands (and us as marketers) to elevate the in-store component of our model to provide meaningful, inspiring experiences for shoppers so they actually visit the store in the first place. So what does this mean for the marketplace?
It means connecting with customers’ senses of individuality and personal connection with brands. It means empowering the sales staff with tools and theatrical platforms to engage in a higher level of customer service with shoppers. And most importantly, it means ensuring that these offerings weave together to form a cohesive story across all the touch points that form the overall journey from storefront to shopping cart. Our team recently developed a platform, code-named 5D, that connects shoppers with devices and one-of-a-kind experiences like never before.
Lastly, we also discussed the responsibilities we have as agencies, brand ambassadors and shepherds of our clients’ interests to make sure we are not just pushing tech for tech’s sake. There have been far too many failed retail experiences due to the fact that they were simply off-target from the business goals of the retailer, inappropriate for the store’s customer, fledgling technology that needed to be incubated a bit longer or all of the above. QR, for example, is so easy to implement, that every able marketer over-saturated their materials with a QR extension, delivering a poor user-end experience once the consumer actually went through the hoops of snapping the code. This has really eroded the effectiveness of QR as a connection medium and left a sour taste in most peoples’ mouths when they think of QR. Now, at a time when QR’s potential is really peaking through its ability to quickly connect platforms and personal devices, we are finding ourselves having to resell the tech all over again since it wasn’t used appropriately by so many marketers the first time. As an agency, we must always envision our experiences with attention to core business strategies, while at the same time designing consumer services that support the shopper. It is definitely our job to disrupt the marketplace with ideas, but ideas that are tactful and meaningful for brands and shoppers alike.
At the end of the day, or the panel rather, we all agreed that the point is this: products support the experiences we create. Therefore, these experiences should always support our consumers’ lifestyles as well as the business goals of our clients. They must be meaningful and magical to impact a cluttered landscape that’s piled high with shallow executions and disparate messages. Emerging technology is a powerful medium to break through all of this noise and tell compelling stories, but only if it adds value on both sides of the fence. The consumer story is the brand story these days – period -and personal devices + emerging technology is at the center of it all. We must strive to utilize new opportunities with new technology to educate and inspire the people that fuel this trillion dollar industry, but not squander business dollars and consumer energy in the process.