Now this is how you sell Kinect
I'm a big fan of Kinect and Microsoft using the body as the command line. The most natural user interface is you. But selling the long-term benefits, beyond gaming, is tricky. Leading into the controller's November 4 first-year anniversary, Microsoft promotes the "Kinect Effect". It's brilliant, and forward-looking, marketing that shows Kinect's huge potential outside gaming.
I wrote in June:
Kinect is a transformative natural user interface that Microsoft should build out as broadly as possible into a development platform. A Kinect SDK already is planned and could even become official today. The more ways Microsoft can maximize Kinect and showcase its capabilities, the better for consumers and for generating more developer interest.
Kinect Effect does just that:
We built Kinect to revolutionize the way you play games and how you experience entertainment. But along the way, people started using Kinect in ways we never imagined. From helping children with autism, to helping doctors in the operating room, people are taking Kinect beyond games. And that’s what we call the Kinect Effect.
The videos on the Kinect Effect page are really worth your time. But if you're pressed for it, then view the shorter one above, which makes the point. Some advice to Microsoft: Plaster this video across the web in banner ads and put it on television.
I missed the "60 minutes" segment a Sunday ago with Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' biographer. My wife watched and said there was a second segment showing how iPad is used to fight autism. My immediate reaction: There should be benefits using anything from finger paints to Kinect, where there is expression through the most natural user interface -- you. "Therapists at Lakeside Center for Autism are integrating Kinect’s full body play technology into their therapy sessions", according to Microsoft. Now there's something to promote. Apple isn't the only innovator on the planet (though you might think so with all the recent blog buzz and news stories).
Betanews reader Robert Johnson forwarded a link to the video above. He says about it:
This is how I think Microsoft marketing needs to be. The current crop of commercials are 'OK' but they need to be more obvious about showing how their products work. Windows Phone 7 should have a commercial for each feature. For instance, I saw an Apple commercial about iCloud and how things sync between the phone and iPad. WP7 has had SkyDrive integration for a while now, but no one knows about it.
I'm a fan of modern Microsoft marketing, but Robert identifies what's the toughest sell -- extended benefits, what the company once referred to (and may still today) as "better together". Windows Phone is good, but it's better with SkyDrive and better still with Zune Pass (and soon Skype). Actually, product placement on "Hawaii 5-0" has done better promoting Windows Phone and SkyDrive benefits than some Microsoft marketing materials.
What's exciting about Kinect is the sheer potential and how some people are using the NUI technology ahead of Microsoft. The company encourages developers to do even more. Along with the pitch to download the Kinect for Windows SDK beta, Microsoft cajoles: "Be a part of the Movement". Particularly in context of the hugely aspirational Kinect Effect page, that's about as good marketing as it gets.