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ESPN, The Store – Touch Screen Kiosks

by DigitalDoyle

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I did all the media integration and programming for the in-store kiosks in the very first ESPN The Store in the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Ca. There are a total of four kiosks in the store.

This was another very interesting and challenging project. I did this one for Disney/ESPN thru Baker Audio at the behest of CEO Kieth Hicks. Interface design was done by Lance Barclay when he was at Eagle River Interactive (now he’s with my good friends at Valiant Media).

This one does a little bit of everything. You can watch live ESPN television, you can surf ESPN’s site, you can play and listen to audio CDs, and you can watch previews of videos and advertisements of various products. Fun project to bring to life. And it only took me 192 hours in two weeks. Yep, very little sleep on this one. But we made deadline! (grin) Thanks Keith, Erik, and Lance!

You could watch All Three ESPN Channels live from within the interface. The video is playing through the computer, (delivered through the Director presentation I developed), from 3 small satellite dishes on the roof of the store.

You can watch ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN News coming in live at the touch of an onscreen button. Erik Bozzard of Baker Audio in Atlanta worked with me on this one. I sent AMX controller codes out the serial port and he picked them up and routed them to a switcher in the backroom.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. (grin) It worked really well.

You could also surf the ESPN Website. Working with some fine people in Brazil that I found on the internet, a company called Tabuleiro da Baiana Prod. E Ed. Ltda., I used an Xtra, (like a plugin), for Director to let me allow the customers to surf ESPN’s website and also a sports-related travel site.

The only challenge was keeping the customers on the site and not letting little Johnny stand there in the store and ‘accidentally’ fall into a big pile of porno. The people at Tabuleiro da Baiana worked with me and created a custom version of their software that would only allow the customers to surf where we wanted them to. Those features I asked for made their way into future releases of the WebXtra software. Internet collaboration is a wonderful thing.

You could also listen Sports CDs. From this interface the customers can listen to and control lots of ESPN Sports CDs.

The CDs are in changers behind the cash wrap and are controlled by infrared that’s relayed via the AMX codes sent from the interface. Pretty slick and it worked well.

You can watch video previews and product ads. With this interface the customers could watch digital video previews of many ESPN VHS videos for sale in the store. There was also an interface that would let the customer watch commercials for different products that the store featured. The videos were all playing off the hard drive of the computers.

This was an extremely interesting project to produce and it was done in an insanely short amount of time.


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