11 Comments

Summary:

The Apple TV is facing stiff competition from Google TV and others, like Roku, for consumer dollars. But is that really where it stands to gain the most? The blue screens of death we see all too often in retail displays say otherwise.

apple-tv-business

Just like iPads are for places, not people, there’s potentially more to Apple TV than meets the eye. And yes, it all hinges on the availability of apps and iAds on the Apple TV. As the world ponders what will be the killer app for the Apple TV, think for a moment about terminals that display live data for hotels, conferences, and mass transit meeting places like airports, bus and train stations.

These locations have all transitioned away from print and toward live, self-updating kiosks. Call centers, data centers, offices and various places of employment are likewise headed the same way. Just like iPhones and iPod touches can be used for point-of-sale (POS) transactions, iOS can also help Apple TVs replace the extremely outdated Windows in the realm of the commercial display.

Blue Screens of Death Everywhere

I found it funny back in June when each morning I was greeted by a blue screen of death (BSoD) in my hotel’s elevator as I made my way to WWDC. The same iOS technology I was learning about at WWDC could potentially replace all of the BSoDs worldwide by the time I return to San Francisco for WWDC 2011.

It’s likely that firms that sell kiosk solutions are littered with Microsoft and Adobe developers able to crank out media-rich, web-like ads that appeal to investors. The problem is, the technologies used to create such content are in desperate need of being overhauled, and neither Microsoft nor Adobe are in any position to do so.

Apple TV Is to Kiosk as iPad Is to Netbook

Pairing a relatively inexpensive $99 appliance in a custom housing with a cheap flat panel display drastically lowers costs, as there’s no longer a need for a full-featured PC or Mac. It wouldn’t be terribly hard to set up the Apple TV to launch a single app that would in turn use the device’s network connection retrieve data.  It could pull down data regarding weather, sports, news, video, music, etc.

An enterprise could even create home-grown apps for ad-hoc distribution that could be used internally to share the latest sales numbers, call volumes, project status or even metrics on code repositories and data center availability. In meeting rooms, each participant could take control of the shared display as they AirPlay content to the Apple TV.

Yet Another iAd Outlet for Apple

Great idea, but how is Apple going to profit by it?  By extending its iAd presence even further. Investors can add iAds to kiosks in an effort to generate a little revenue for both themselves and, consequently, Apple. Kiosks could be location aware in order to help drive which types of ads would be shown.  The challenge would be feedback. If Apple enabled sharing of iAds across iOS devices when someone sees one they like, it would go a long way toward providing meaningful metrics to advertisers.

Bump Your Kiosk to Tweet Your Preference

To make it truly relevant to tomorrow’s market, this scheme should have a social angle. While not all kiosk content would benefit from sharing via AirPlay, there are other opportunities for social interaction. If an iAd catches your attention, just “bump” (via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection) the kiosk to remember what you found interesting. Each kiosk would keep track of who bumped it, and display iAds that individuals that frequent that location are more likely to take an interest in.

While the press and the entertainment industry are looking for a revolution in television, Apple could quietly and quickly swoop in and take over the kiosk market, placing an iOS device if not  in the hands of, at least within 100 yards of every consumer on the planet.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

  1. now that’s the best thing I have heard in a long time

    work it out…now lets get to developing for it…oh forgot no apps yet

    but soon I’m sure of it…I bet in January there will be an TV Store and SDK

    Apple don’t play…announce the new iPad 2 and the TV store…peace out

  2. While Apple TV may have some limited usage potential in digital signage applications, your suggestion that a “relatively inexpensive appliance” like the Apple TV could eliminate the “need for a full-featured PC or Mac” in kiosk applications is not very likely.

    Most kiosks have some form of interactivity via a touchscreen or other human-machine interface for which PC’s are particularly well suited. In addition, kiosks and digital signage applications often require equipment that is much more robust than that used in consumer applications.

    1. The interaction would be as simple as a “bump” from another iOS device, and as sophisticated as remote control data input from that same iOS device. Just as an iPhone can be used today to control an Apple TV, it could also be used to interact with the kiosk application. The Apple TV itself does not need to be the means in which information is conveyed.

      1. Sounds like a bad plan for a kiosk to only be useful for iphone users.

      2. Just as Apple supports iTunes, Safari, QuickTime, MobileMe and AirportUtility on Windows, Apple could just as easily create an Android App to control the Apple TV.

  3. This is a joke right?

    Those “the extremely outdated Windows” will be updated with new Windows solutions and at a lower cost than any Apple solution.

    “The problem is, the technologies used to create such content are in desperate need of being overhauled, and neither Microsoft nor Adobe are in any position to do so.

    And yet the Olympics was run on Silverlight twice.

    1. Not all kiosks that I have seen are running the latest software from Microsoft, hence the outdated coment. I doubt if many are running Windows 7 yet. So most are likely on XP or earlier. I would not be surprised if some were still running Windows 98.

      Are we talking about the same Olympics where the opening cerimonies were visited by a BSoD? http://bit.ly/aenJmp

  4. At my work we have been exploring this for a while. Using Keynote we produce a presentation that with the apple transitions can look very easily like it was produced by an agency of some kind. Then just export it to iTunes as a QuickTime. Sync to a playlist and hit shuffle. Works a treat.

  5. The live tv show through net change the enviorment.I hope this will be overcome their expectation.

    free online game:–http://www.free-online-games2.com

  6. I think for the Apple TV to take off, it needs to do more. This needs to become a more home media center first.

  7. Wow. I agree. That’s the killer app for Apple TV indeed. Hope Steve Jobs reads this article and puts together an app-set to accelerate this.

Comments have been disabled for this post