Intel Shows off Future of Shopping and Other Innovative Designs

It’s just day one here at Intel’s Developer Forum, and we’ve already seen quite a few futuristic and innovative design concepts. A lot of what we’ve seen is technology you may expect from the future, but it’s neat to see it in action. So far we’ve seen: Interactive Shopping, Line of Sight Marketing, Situational Sensitive Communication, Hassel-Free Meeting Creation, and Socially Aware Activity. Some of these concepts are part of the scary future of technology where our devices become too smart and too aware for our comfort….nevertheless, they’re still neat in concept.

Want to know if it’s a good time to call your friend? With Situational Sensitive Communication you can check their contact card on your phone and find out. Your phone (and your friend’s phone) will always be monitoring user activity, trying to infer your social interactions and level of availability. Your friends can see if you’re on a call, in a meeting, or taking a walk, and the phone will suggest the best way to contact you. While we aren’t crazy about having our phones actively monitoring us, we like the idea of recommending a text message/email versus a phone call.

Another one of these semi-scary technologies is hassel-free meetings, which can automatically detect people in a room and set up a meeting for easy distribution of notes and documents. Hassel-Free Meetings can detect people in a room in a variety of ways: it can detect the Bluetooth and WiFi on your phone, and can also use the microphones on any computer to confirm that you’re actually in the room and not just nearby. The technology can also mine data from calendar, email, and IM to determine the current participants and also recommend other participants.

Socially Aware Activity is a twist on current technology. There’s a lot of people afraid of Big Brother tracking their phone, but there’s even more people telling their phones and the public exactly where they are. Popular check-in applications include Foursquare, Google Latitude, and Facebook. Intel has mined a lot of this check-in data and developed an algorithm to learn how users act as an individual AND how they act in a group. The interesting take-away is that Intel discovered there’s a dichotomy between a user’s interests and preferences when they’re alone versus when they’re with friends. Intel was able to cross reference check-ins to determine when an individual is out with friends or alone. Using this information, they’ve developed a conceptual platform that can suggest “Socially Aware” places and activities, depending whether you’re with a group or alone.

Now we move on to some of the less scary future technologies.


Line of Sight Marketing is another twist on a current technology. It’s essentially a new type of QR code. Right now you can snap a picture of an ugly 3D bar code and it will take you to a website. Intel developed LED signs that could basically do the same thing. You open an app on your phone, point it an an LED sign and you’ll end up at a website. The neat thing about the LED Line of Sight Marketing is that the LED sign or banner can be designed however you want. This QR-type LED sign appears to look like any other LED sign. The technology works like this: The LED sign transmits a message by blinking so fast that it’s undetectable to the human eye; your phone’s camera can translate the message. It’s definitely a neat concept and could have some fun use-cases, but with QR codes and Google Goggles, could it catch on?

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With Brick and Mortar retailers struggling to compete with the online marketplace, we’ve seen, and can expect, future in-store innovations. Intel’s Interactive Shopping concept isn’t so novel, but it is a great idea that deserves to be adopted. It requires shelf signs to be replaced with interactive digital signs. These digital signs are full of potential capabilities: motion sensing, temperature sensing, cameras, WiFi/3G, Ethernet, Touch-capabilities, NFC, and Cloud Connectivity. They give the user an opportunity to learn more about a product and also view user ratings. They give retailers the opportunity to rework their floor-plan in a more dynamic manner and also learn a lot more about consumer behavior.

Seeing as Intel is a leader of technology, it’s been pretty insightful so far to see the conceptual technology they’ve been putting effort into. As we mentioned, we don’t think any of what we’ve seen is incredibly novel, but it’s interesting to see which ideas are being explored. In additional to all of these demos, we also saw Display without Boundaries, which converts any wall or object into a completely capable touchscreen.