Posts tagged “launch”

Innovative Outcomes Take Years To Launch

In 2000, prior to Portigal Consulting, we conducted an ethnographic study with Sony to “provide awareness of unarticulated consumer perceptions about digital imaging on which to base future product development decisions…generating a range of new product and service concepts.”

Over the years we’ve seen Sony launch products that are similar to ones we proposed (see example here). We identify opportunities for our clients; the path they take to develop (or not) can be complex and fraught, and many opportunities are not addressed in the marketplace (although we find our clients value how our work helps them make that decision).

Here’s the latest:

Sony today introduced the Party-shot personal photographer -an innovative camera dock that pans 360 degrees and tilts 24 degrees, automatically detects faces, adjusts composition and takes photos for you.

This device makes it easy to capture more natural expressions and fun, candid moments of you, your family and friends without having to hire a photographer.

“With the Party-shot personal photographer, you no longer have to worry about taking photos when you are with your family or friends,” said Shigehiko Nakayama, digital imaging accessories product manager at Sony Electronics. “Party-shot captures candid moments that tell natural life stories and also offers a new style of photography that enriches time with your family and friends.

From our 2000 presentation to Sony

Market Opportunity : Freedom to Participate
Defined set of occasions where

  • camera visibility/ interference is possible and accepted
  • cameraman takes on an assumed role

Opportunity to Increase Usage

  • Design cameras that are less bulky, obtrusive, “precious”
  • Enable experiences to be preserved without requiring someone to operate a camera

Our concept (to illustrate the opportunity) emphasized video over still

Product Feature: Full Remote Control

  • Gives capturer full control over video camera while away from device
  • Includes viewfinder, volume, zoom/pan/tilt, battery/tape indicator
  • Capturer is not “tethered” to camera and can participate

Sony isn’t the only one to launch products that we identified. As we identified needs and proposed solutions, it’s inevitable that as time goes by, competitors will identify those needs and develop products. For example, three years ago I blogged about Granny’s Inbox where HP launched something similar to one of our Sony concepts.

Elsewhere, we see other products that have been developed by competitors since our work for Sony in 2000:

Digital Blue’s Tony Hawk Helmetcam
and our X-treme Cam concept

  • Rugged, mountable video camera that captures short clips from the user’s point of view
  • Sharable, relivable document of exciting experiences
  • Appeals to teens and/or sports participants
  • Must be made inexpensive enough to justify its very specific (and thus limited) functionality

Hasbro’s VuGo Multimedia System
and our MPEG-Man concept

  • Plays short clips of digital video
  • Like a photo album, device can be passed around for sharing in a larger group
  • Connect to TV, PC, or projector
  • Better group interactions for sharing video
  • Position as everyday, casual, social device rather than hi-tech or novelty

Casio EXILIM (and other models of still and video cameras from other manufacturers) feature Pre-Record Mode where

photos are not only taken at the moment the shutter release is pressed – they’re also taken before that! With continuous recording of up to 30 photos per second, a maximum of 25 photos can be saved in the camera’s buffer memory – even before the shutter release is pressed. The 25th image then corresponds to the photo that was taken when the shutter release button was pressed. This means that, in addition to the photo that you took at the moment the shutter release button was pressed, you can choose from a further 24 images that occurred just before that moment.

and our Capture Buffer concept (video but could be used for still as well)

  • Video camera is always capturing and discarding footage
  • When user initiates recording, option of saving the contents of the buffer
  • People will no longer miss the beginning of what they want to film
  • Slightly more skill required by users – where was the camera pointing before the button is pressed?

Buffalo TeraStation Home Server

and our Digital Memory Vault concept

  • Permanent digital storage for stills and video
  • Indexing, organizing, online publishing
  • Random access retrieval
  • Simplifies organization and retrieval of images (and video)
  • Leverages familiar (to PC users) activity of searching (i.e., web search)
  • Appeals to customers who are already invested in digital imaging, or in legacy imaging (i.e., family albums)
  • Challenge to deliver expected bullet-proof reliability at an acceptable price point

Samsung TL225 with front LCD to prompt subject to smile, etc.

and our Teleprompter Cam concept (video but could be applied to still)

  • Image on screen prompts subject to pose for video
  • Helps people feel comfortable in front of a video camera
  • Positioning challenge: though most images are posed and theatrical, our culture privileges the capture of candid and “natural”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • MediaMaster is shutting down – We did some really interesting user research to help define the overall value proposition, concept, and user experience. Exciting to see what they were able to do but obviously disappointing to see where it ended up a few years later. "Don’t wait for large corporate partners to make your business viable, it needs to be so on its own. Design it well from the start, it helps when you don’t have to re-engineer the interface, it’s the most complex part! (That was not a problem we had)"

Could Driveway be the new

Driveway is brand new online file sharing service. But Driveway was an online file storage service that shut down in 2000.

Driveway, 2000

Driveway, 2007

Driveway’s original heights and crash weren’t as spectacular (except perhaps to the players involved) as other web 1.0 flameouts (ahem, learning experiences), so it’s reappearance (owned by an entirely new company) won’t be as buzz-worthy as the Second Coming of Boo but I still thought it was worth a mention.

Perhaps we’re in for a wave of remakes in the dot-com space. WebVan 2.0, anyone?

Five-minutes-ago Nostalgia

Last night was a launch party for Pikeo, a new photo sharing application. The product comes from France Telecom-Orange R&D (here in the Bay Area) but the party was at Adobe (since they provided Flex, an ingredient technology), where we had to sign a ridiculous NDA in order to gain access to the party. Food was pretty bad, conversation was pretty good, but seeing a demo wasn’t so easy. However, they had (as the FT-Orange people often do) lots of photography going on, and a few huge screens showing the Pikeo interface. One of them was regularly being updated with images from party, in some slideshow mode. The event was being archived as it was happening, with the archive being fed back into the event itself. You could see who was in the room just by standing in one spot and watching the screen. It wasn’t earthshaking but it was at least provocative to see the normal mode (go to an event, take pictures, go home and upload them, then review other’s pictures) subverted with a bit of technology and effort.

Here’s the setup (on flickr, ironically) before many people showed up.

ZoneTag Photo Tuesday 6:35 pm 12/5/06 San Francisco, California

Originally uploaded by Marc Davis.


A product I worked on a few years ago has launched! I worked with IDEO on what became the Avaya one-X Deskphone. I helped out a team of designers in doing some upfront research on how knowledge workers were using their various communication platforms (email, phone, cell phone, IM, and beyond). (Of course IDEO has tons of people that do this stuff, but they were all busy doing other projects at the time). They designed what seems like a pretty nice form (a significant upgrade from their previous phones) and a smart interface, at least from the demo on Avaya’s site.

It’s always cool when some work hits the market!


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