IBC 2011 – The nails in the coffin for remote controls?

I found this year’s IBC to be one of the busiest and best I’ve seen. In fact it’s taken me until now to find the time to reflect on it in a blog post!

In my opinion, the addition (and apparent success) of the Connected World hall really drove home that multi-screen TV / TV Everywhere was this year’s main theme again. In previous years however, the focus has been on how to share content between devices, whereas this year I was aware of much more interest in the interaction between user and content.

Opposite our stand, NDS demoed its ‘Surfaces’ concept which in essence was a wall-sized video screen showing the different types of interactive content you might have on each of your devices, in one place. Interestingly, they did not use a traditional remote to control the content, which implies the industry is becoming more aware that they need to find a replacement for it: Today’s remote controls simply aren’t capable of the navigation required for anything more than up/down, left/right controls. The fact our stand was busier than ever before is also testament to that fact!

NDS chose to use a companion tablet device to control the content on their ‘wall’. While applications were definitely still hot this year, I personally think there is too much focus on using apps on mobile devices as a controller. I agree that apps can help address roll-out scenarios and for certain use cases, such as search, they do make sense, but I’m not sure that the usability is suited to all demographics. The fact that smart phones need to be logged in or activated before use means additional steps are needed before controlling the TV and that could put users off.

Gaming on Smart TVs is gaining in popularity and with the over 55s making up the largest demographic for games on SmartTVs (according to a gaming partner of ours), we need to make usage simple: controlling linear TV, navigating OTT content, and playing games in a simple to use controller. Similarly we need to try and prevent gaming revenues leaking to the smart phone stores.

Speaking of demos, however, we had many more demonstrations with our partners’ products this year, both on our own stand and on theirs, which really helped bring the potential of uWand to life. We understand that without seeing it in action it’s hard to think of the technology as a fully-fledged solution, ready to be implemented in CE devices, but this year we received a lot of positive feedback about the technology being obviously market-ready.

You can find more of our thoughts and views from IBC on Twitter (@uWandControl)

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About Navin Natoewal, General Manager Philips uWand

Navin Natoewal is General Manager of the Philips uWand team. uWand is a direct pointing and gesture control technology for remote controls. uWand offers fluent 3D gesture control and direct pointing capabilities with the same intuitiveness as a multi-touch screen. uWand, a result of 80 man-years of research and development, can be implemented in remote controls and interact with multiple electronic devices such as PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, DVD players and game consoles. Users control the devices simply by pointing in the appropriate direction or making specific movements in all three dimensions. For more information please visit http://www.uwand.com
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One Response to IBC 2011 – The nails in the coffin for remote controls?

  1. Pingback: IBC 2012 – Increasing user engagement for Smarter TV Gaming | uWand

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