In an Analyst Angle column I wrote for RCR Wireless News about AT&T’s adoption of Microsoft Surface for its showrooms, I argued that having the table-based kiosks available in stores would benefit the wireless carrier and be good for the industry. Some wrote to me saying that what the wireless carrier really needed was a greater number of skilled store workers and not gee-wizardry, but of course those things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are complementary.
In fact, when I was interviewed for Fox Business News on the day of the iPhone 3G launch, there were no iPhones at the store that was the site of the interview. There were, however, two Surface computers and, yes, they were being used by curious customers months after their introduction.
One interesting angle in this deployment is the branding of applications on Surface. The most interesting is CityTips, which may help reduce some of the load on concierges at the hotels by serving as a local guide to restaurants, bars, etc. I’m sure it won’t contain much that couldn’t be found on a laptop, but it’s a pretty common scenario for group outing planning to happen in a hotel lobby.
Other apps include he Sounds of Sheraton playlist creator, which would be a lot cooler if it could be used to deliver CDs (yeah, I know but lots of hotel rooms still have players) to a guest’s room, and Sheraton Snapshots, which seems like the weakest of the three as all it does is let you surf photos and information of other Sheraton properties. That’s the kind of thing that can be done at one’s leisure. When you’re a tourist, you’re interested in what’s happening in town, not at other hotels.