Best of Show: PERCH and AML

Last week, I walked the CET Show in NYC. Stands for "Customer Engagement Technology".  Think kiosks, mobile payment, iPad docks. Digital Signage. There were a few creative agencies and software players exhibiting, too.

In most categories, it might as well have been 2013. iBeacons? ApplePay? Image Recognition? Virtually non-existent. On the hardware side, the best find was a sleek price checker system by AML. And when price checkers are deemed exciting stuff ... you know it's slow show.  

However, in the user experience / software realm, I did see something very, very cool: PERCH. It's a seemingly simple way to "turn any retail surface into a dynamic, hands-ons interactive display."

PERCH Interactive's 3D sensing technology is a crowd pleaser

PERCH Interactive's 3D sensing technology is a crowd pleaser



Shoppers engage by picking up products of interest. Instantly, colors change, information appears, even sounds can be activated. Tap the table surface and it's as if you are interacting with a touch-screen. Get product information. Check availability. Watch video. It's actually quite intriquing; almost magical.

The technology is called PERCH, because the brains of the display are mounted several feet above the table surface.  Picture a projector shining down on a table top. Only it's much more than a projector. Not only does their proprietary software enable a wide array of interactive experiences; they can literally track every tap a customer makes delivering great user analytics.

PERCH Interactive, a small yet might NYC group of software and product designers, has sold this ingenious shopping experience to the likes of Kate Spade (several times), Kiehl's, and, most recently, Verizon.  To quote Mary Beech, Kate Spade's CMO: "Anything on the Perch table has a better sell through" For more examples, check out their web site: www.

In addition to being an interactive display system, PERCH is also an interactive lighting system.  They work off a subscription model with 1, 2 or 3 year leases available. They also have two plus-and-play form factors (Perch Shelf and Perch Horizontal), which help them keep the overall costs down and provide quick turn-around.  Definitely, this year's star of the CET Show.


Oh, and let's not forget AML's Price Checker. Photo below. There's currently a race going on to see who can reinvent the price checker first and best. What an obvious opportunity: Replace existing "dumb" wall-mounted scanners that only tell you the price with a mini-computer that fits into the same space.  This model runs on Windows, but they say an Android version is in the works.

Inifinite Peripherals is also working on an enhanced Price Checker that runs on the iOS platform. They'll be debuting it at NRF.  I'm sure Motorola, the price checker king, also has something in the works.

I really thought I'd see more at CET World, because retail technology -- both hardware and software -- is blazing hot. We'll just have to wait for NRF in January.