Technological innovation, the idea of major advancements and ideas free flowing to all of us, this has become our commonplace, our normal. All around us the marvels of scientific advancement are presented in the form of advertisements, at trade shows, and via the very devices we’ve come to depend on. “Smart” technology is all around, but in many ways companies have failed to introduce the latest and greatest effectively. Well the same developers who brought you Geek Picnic, they intend to change all that.
Have you ever been to one of the major technology showcases such as the CES, or even an Apple or Microsoft event? If you have then you'll identify with the pain of having cutting edge gadgets and ideas “shown” to you, doubtless you have been left wanting at times for a real test drive of the latest gadget. Perhaps you have visions of Bill Gates or Apple’s Tim Cook lecturing you from a huge stage. Maybe watching Google’s Sergey Brin on stage wearing or using a new bit of Google magic thrills you. Then again, maybe not. Maybe you have wished you could just have a personal guided tour of your favorite tech. Last week I had a lengthy discussion the other day with Nikolay Gorelyy, CEO of the now famous Geek Picnic, the innovative edu/fun events which originated on New Holland Island in St. Petersburg back in 2011. A new initiative called Sixty Minutes in Time (SMIT) promises the world of technology a new type of forum, a dramatic new kind of innovator-user synergy, and a solution to the pain of soap box tech evangelism.
Set to premier in Moscow in November, SMIT is to CES as Neolithic cave paintings are to 4k Ultra HD TV. That is, if you are a company marketing your wares, or a consumer who wants to experience them. Basically, SMIT transforms manufacturer promotion into an efficient and economical entertainment experience for consumers. Set to premier at the Moscow City Museum, this World Techno Biennial has at its core a simple notion. Rather than companies spending tens of thousands or even hundreds on engaging exhibition attendees via evangelizing in the customary way, SMIT “casts” consumer targeted products in a gripping interactive. Manufacturers simply submit their technological “movie stars” to SMIT to be given richly integrated roles in seamless customer simulation.
To simplify the concept for you, what Gorelyy’s team is doing is creating more than your typical expo. Through the use of product promo video, and key graphics, SMIT creates a theatrical simulation museum where consumers pay a tiny fee to experience tomorrow. It’s literally sixty minutes of life with tomorrow’s technology. If ever there were a win-win, the idea behind this ultra efficient/effective way of commerce is gripping, to say the least. The obvious benefit led me to ask Gorelyy, “How will you monetize on such a venture?” His answer was both compelling and logical. Gorelyy said, “We monetize off of the small ticket price gleaned from fairly massive attendance.”
“It’s brilliant”, I thought. Why not charge admission as is normally the case, for an experience akin to a Hollywood premier film, and an interactive and immersive one at that? For technology companies, imagining their products presented as designers envisioned them, in a controlled interactive where the stars of the simulation are the new products. As for consumers, or ticket buyers, what could be more perfect than what my famous friend and colleague Brian Solis calls the ultimate moment of truth, or UMOT. By teleporting the consumer into an ultimately rich “test” of a product’s value, SMIT can alter the way in which businesses reach customers. In effect, the Google notion of zero moment of truth (ZMOT) is reached and surpassed via SMIT, and the CEO evangelist in such demonstrations only become the tour guide into the future. Solis would definitely call this idea systematic progress toward his ultimage moment of truth (UMOT) prophesied in his book “What’s the Future of Business”. The UMOT is where consumers take the next step in sharing these experiences. It is in this reality that Gorelyy’s new initiative truly achieves rocket science.
This first contingent of SMIT will present tomorrow to 150,000 visitors via the following nodes: Home automation, Medicine of the future, Smart clothing / hi-tech fabrics, Transportation, Robotics, and An Audiovisual immersive show followed by a cool Quadrocopter show. But for those of you out there thinking of the potential now, the ramifications are obvious. Geek Picnic has been all about real innovation that helps humanity, on top of the marque "coolness" and fun of such things as "Cosplay" and so forth. Gorelyy and I went into this aspect in depth actually, in discussing the nature of informing coinciding with attractive fun elements.
At least one of the former Geek Picnics was themed along the "role playing" motif, and every geek event has a form of "Trekkie" fantasy about it, for sure. But for the developers, and the serious innovators associated with Geek Picnic, the possibility presented in cybernetics and robotics indemnify these events. The realm of human meets machine possibility is enormous, gigantic even, and Gorelyy professes this adamantly. Cool as any geek you'll ever meet, his personality and intellect traverses all barriers. I have seldom been more impressed, he even laughed at "old guy" jibes about new parts for Baby Boomers like me. Half kidding here, we have reached a moment when a paradigm shift will certainly alleviate much human suffering.
The video below of real virtual gameplay via Siggraph 2015 reveals some of the potential of what SMIT has to offer.
SMIT will present ticket holders with both a functional and entertainment proposition in a very unique format, one that leverages technology to suit the B2C landscape ideally. When all is said and done, only technology can ensure the assimilation of the future consumer onto a tech brand’s market landscape. In a way, and this is my vision, Gorelyy and the Geek Picnic team have set in place the ultimate marketing challenge, a customer pre-experience that is a necessity, rather than just a cool, costly and ultimately sales summit. It will be interesting to see the shared experiences from this immersive experience after the fact.
Oh, and the price of the tickets? Normal admittance costs less than €10, and VIP tickets go for less than €50. How's that for an immersive movie going slash gadget test experience?