By Diane M. Byrne
If you’ve been to Harrah’s or Sheraton resorts around the country, you’ve probably seen it. You may have also seen it in a T-Mobile store.
“It” is Microsoft Surface, an interactive tabletop computer that operates through the mere touch of a finger and the placement of physical objects. And Lazzara Yachts is the first—and so far only—yachting company to feature it.
Introduced in 2007, Surface lets users share a wide variety of digital content, such as photos, maps, and music. To select a photo, for example, you simply touch it with your finger to gain control, and you can expand or contract it with your fingers as you deem necessary. At Harrah’s, guests can tap the screen and explore the amenities at all seven of the company’s casinos in Las Vegas, without ever leaving their chair.
So how does Lazzara use Surface? First, at its showroom at boat shows, there’s a Surface that invites clients to check out the various yacht models. They can touch and drag everything from photos of the models to specification sheets, even videos. Lazzara also allows clients to change the interior décor on each yacht, to see which best suits their tastes. Lazzara has placed identification tags, similar to bar codes, on the back of small blocks of the various woods it offers. So, for example, a yacht buyer can place a dark-tone wood block on the image of a salon or stateroom on Surface to see how the walls would look, then do the same with a paler wood for comparison.
The second, and more significant, way Lazzara is using Surface is aboard its models. Yacht owners and their guests can load photos of their cruises, even videos, to the tabletop computer. They can view the same navigational maps that the captain uses, familiarizing themselves with the ports they’re visiting. If they want to venture on land when they arrive, they can use Surface to research restaurants and shops in the area.
Imagine the possibilities for the future: Since Surface can access the Internet, Lazzara owners will be able to share photos and information with other fellow owners. And of course, they’ll be able to share their experiences with Lazzara’s own in-house team.
Video of Microsoft Surface in action care of Sheraton Hotel & Resorts
Diane M. Byrne is a longtime yachting journalist and the owner and editor of Megayacht News, http://www.megayachtnews.org.
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