It’s that time of year when most of us take at least a little time away from the office to get out on summer vacations. Travel to the beach, mountains, to see family or friends is always a great way to unplug and not think about work. However, this year I found myself noticing embedded IA everywhere I went.
Our first mini vacation was to Disneyland where I was amazed by the use of technology all over the park. I had not visited the park in 20 years, so it had changed considerably. The old standby rides were still there (Matterhorn, Space Mountain) – but now the fast pass kiosk enables you to skip the lines by taking a ticket good for admission at a time in the future. Best yet- I was able to download an application to my phone and “see” virtually what the wait times were for all the rides in both the Disneyland Park and the California Adventure Park. In addition the app would tell you what time the fast pass return ticket would be good for. Now I know this saved my feet a lot of mileage running around the parks only to wait (and hear my son complain ;O) . My favorite demonstration of embedded technology was the sound and light show, “World of Color” at the California Adventure park. We loved the show that is a computer animated synchronized light show to music. The computers actually program streams of water into different formations and then shine colorful lights on them to tell a story. It is amazing, unique and a must see.
Disneyland was not the only example of embedded technology. We just returned from a house boating trip to Lake Powell, Arizona. On the boat there were many new upgrades- including a new depth finder/back up camera for the boat. This is very handy when the boat you are driving is 50+ feet long and doesn’t have responsive steering. Needless to say the point of this vacation was to “unplug” so not as many embedded examples- but I was happy to see that the marina had opened a new facility to register boats that had brand new client terminals.
Now that we’re back in town we went to the mall last Saturday and experienced two new embedded devices. The first was letting my son play with the “Digital Box” kiosk at the Lego store. He was amazed how the toy sprung to life in his hands as he held up the box to the kiosk. Needless to say I’m going to be investing in new legos for his Birthday. Then I went to Nordstrom to experience their Anniversary sale. Their sales personnel were using new hand held devices to answer customer questions. They would then take you to the POS terminal to make the sale and noted it would be a lot better if they could not only answer questions with the device, but also transact on the device.
I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting usage models, so: What new/creative uses for embedded technology you have seen this summer? Please post your findings in the comments below…