Filter - October 2014
Building Large Touch-screen Kiosks
In 2014, Greater Than One has focused on growing several new service offerings. One such offering is the design and development of large-screen, interactive touch kiosks. You often see these types of installations at trade show booths, conferences, and static exhibits. The user walks up to a 50-inch touch display and interacts with an application, which might include video and written content that has an interactive element, perhaps a quiz or a simple game. You might think at first that developing for touch kiosks is the same as developing for a tablet—just much larger. There are definitely similarities, but the large format presents unique challenges and opportunities.
Again With the HTML5
These days, we mainly use HTML5 to build the touch-screen applications. They are essentially single-page web applications—or SPAs for short. But we use tools like Angular.js, Zepto.js, and Velocity.js, along with audio and video, to create fluid experiences that feel nothing like a regular website. The application typically runs on a local PC that is connected directly to the touch display. The benefit is that there are virtually no concerns about file size, video streaming, or load time. But we do have to be very careful about performance, especially when using complicated animations coupled with high-definition video. In today's trend of building responsive websites for myriad screen sizes and devices, it is refreshing to build an application that only has to work on one browser at one specific resolution. This also creates opportunities. For example, we can use browser-specific functionality (eg, transparent video on Chrome) that would never be considered on a public website. The end result is an immersive experience that can be built on a tight budget and timeline.
Make It Attractive
One aspect of creating an interactive kiosk is deciding what should happen when no one is currently using the device. Remember the old video arcade games from the 80's? They had something called “attract mode” that would try to entice you to insert your hard-earned quarter. An arcade game attract mode might show the game's story, high-scores, and a few seconds of game-play. For our interactive kiosks we do something similar: We might show a video, part of the main interaction, and then cycle to a title screen with a call to action like “touch here to begin.” Everything is scripted using one or more looping timers.
Interactive kiosks are a fun and interesting off-shoot of traditional web application development. GTO is building some great kiosks for our clients.
CH-CH-CH-CH-Changes: Turn and Face the Strain
Keeping up with the pace of change in communications, technology, and healthcare—let alone staying ahead of it—is no easy feat. As a CEO working in these arenas, I am often asked how I get comfortable with constant change.
My answer is that I’m a David Bowie fan.
Through all of his phases, from psychedelic folk and glam rock, to soul, funk and the Thin White Duke, Tin Machine, the Berlin era, the electronic period, and all the rest, Bowie was the master of disruption and reinvention. Was his obsessive shape-shifting driven from within, or was he projecting what was going on around him? Probably a little of both. Regardless, he was wildly influential and successful—and for me, an inspiring example of the change-resilient artist. His song “Changes,” written more than 40 years ago, is still regarded as a manifesto about his complex relationship with change:
Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I’m going through…
At GTO, we embrace the same “strange fascination” with change. We have created a change-resilient culture that focuses on the value of disruption and the opportunities it opens up. Like Bowie, we may sometimes wonder who’s really at the reins of the galloping pace of change, it or us. The truth is, it’s probably a little of both: one person can’t do it alone. It takes a team working in concert, the power of the whole being Greater Than One.
Since we founded Greater Than One more than 14 years ago, the rate of change has only accelerated, and it will continue to disrupt our world. But we chose to believe then, as we do today, that change is a friend who brings new possibilities. It stimulates and challenges us to evolve, adapt, and think ahead so that our rate of progress exponentially increases. Ours is a change-resilient mindset. We look to hire people who are inspired optimists, who can be “comfortable with being uncomfortable,” see change as an opportunity, and harness its potential for growth.
Today, we are doing things that we never dreamed were possible 14 years ago, and 10 years from now, I know we will be doing things not dreamed of today. In a world where the rebels quickly become the rulers, the trick is to be like Bowie. Let’s keep embracing the disruptive power of change and shout to those who are settled and comfortable, “Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers!”
-Elizabeth Izard Apelles, CEO
Where We're Going
New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference 2014
New York, NY
November 17-18, 2014
Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society
December 3-5, 2014
Speaker: Elizabeth Apelles, CEO, Innovation in Managed Care
Where We've Been
Digital Health Coalition Fall Summit 2014
New York, NY
October 8, 2014
Speaker: Elizabeth Apelles, CEO, Creatively using Data