The San Diego team established a “Dream House” in San Diego with all the good Sony equipment, full home network and home automation installation, and a user experience / user testing facility. Sony’s social video network SGNL covered it in 2011. There is another actually quite funny advertisement movie shot at the Dream House available at YouTube. Other than user testing, the main focus of the Dreamhouse was to bring the Sony equipment together and link with home automation, specifically using Control4 technology.
The 2011 Blu-Ray Players included a feature that was invented, implemented and operated by the San Diego team: it was possible to watch a video and create a simple message for Facebook or Twitter with the remote control. The message was basically a link to the video that was watched, and a selectable pre-defined text, like “is watching” or “enjoyed”. Below is a picture of the resulting Facebook page. This might have been the first time of a direct integration of social media in a BDP user interface.
Several business opportunities are related to this feature. First, through Facebook Insights, a rich amount of data related to the users of the feature was available. Secondly, the posting on Facebook or Twitter shows the fact that this post was done through a Sony BDP and there was an easy way to “like” that fact. And finally, the link to the video can be monetized as referral, if that a click on the link results in a purchase of related content.
Starting with the 2011 TV models, Sony XBR Televisions featured a new user interface designed by the San Diego team. This UI also included a “Recommended” menu item, which in fact was used for advertisement and other messaging to generate after-sales revenue. It was the first time to include advertisement on the main TV user interface, probably industry-wide.
The San Diego advertisement approach was basically about selling the ad-space to advertising agencies, so that Sony would not deal with advertisement aggregation. The system was later expanded to Sony Blu-Ray players.
The San Diego team launched in 2011 the third Sony party developer support site “sonydeveloper.com” as a local initiative – Klaus personally acquired the initial domain name to accelerate the deployment at the time. The purpose was to begin a dialog and attract developers to create added value to Sony products. The site supported a San Diego proprietary SDK that was intended to run on some TV platforms, information about development of Yahoo widgets and the developer support for the Dash device. Eventually the site became http://developer.sony.com and integrated with Sony Mobile’s third-party development portal. The site is still operated in parts based on the original infrastructure. It is renamed “Developer World” and now the main destination for all Sony developer relations (other than PlayStation).
Sony rolled out the first generation of Google TV in October 2010, coming out in form of TVs and a Blu-Ray player. The San Diego team was involved in the partnership with Google through a San Jose-based team, and through application development for Google TV. The applications included a social media application that allowed to integrate Twitter and Facebook feeds into one stream, focusing on video and picture content. The San Diego team expanded its contribution to the Google TV product line with the second generation.
The Sony HID-C10, also known as “Dash”, was developed and brought to the market by the San Diego team, launching in April 2010. The Dash is a “personal Internet Viewer”, based on some of the software introduced by the Chumby device. But Dash integrated also other services, including BRAVIA Internet Video, which provided Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. A full WWW browser was added later.