Guest Post: Tim Strähle, Adversign Media
This is the final part of a three-part series about retail detail signage and the Internet of Things. It’s based on excerpts from a broader white paper by the digital signage CMS firm Adversign Media, which markets Viewneo. It is available here.
Digital signage: smarter through IFTTT
IFTTT follows a simple concept that amounts to a powerful tool for digital signage users: IF THIS, THEN THAT.
Today, this popular IoT Portal is overwhelmingly used in the private sector to automate everyday tasks, also known by the term ‘life hacking.’ Using recipes, that can either be pre-defined or created by the user, pre-defined triggers give rise to similarly pre-defined actions. If this, than that.
If the temperature in New York drops below zero, then send me a message on my cellphone at 7 a.m.
This means that the New Yorker will always be notified whether to take gloves and a hat for the way to work and exactly when they’ll be needed. From automatic e-mails that are sent to your wife if you don’t leave the office on time, through complete control of each individual light bulb in the house, to networking across all social media channels.
IFTTT allows processes to be fully automated, which makes it possible to imagine exciting new ways to use digital signage and grow the sector. There are already solutions like the viewneo Butler, which can communicate with portals like IFTTT or Thingspeak via a digital signage player, leading to digital signage hacking, with outcomes that are similar to life hacking as described above. We’ve created a few use cases to show what recipes to achieve this could look like.
- “If the outside temperature falls below zero degrees, then change the playlist automatically to show the menu with waffles and hot chocolate.”
- “If a customer tweets with the #myrestaurant hashtag, invite the guest to enjoy a free beer via the menu board.”
- “If a customer reaches for tomatoes in my produce section, show suitable recipe ideas on the nearest screen.”
- “If my playlist is currently showing an ad for a particular product, then light up that product with my Philips Hue lights.”
- “If there are only ten jeans left in stock, then show this to your customers on the displays in the jeans section.”
- “If the weather report forecasts temperatures above 25 degrees, my car rental business should show special offers for convertibles and summer accessories.”
The significance and the interactive value of digital signage content attains an entirely new level in combination with IFTTT. Now you can consider, over a leisurely cup of coffee, which recipes might be of interest for your business. Simply let your creativity run wild. There are bound to be exciting, useful combinations that would allow you to take your sales, and your customer experience, to the next level.
Conclusion: How the Internet of Things will change digital signage
The collection and use of data is a fundamental requirement for businesses to operate, manage and continuously improve effective digital signage applications, as this is the way for content and custom playlists to become truly relevant for customers. This will lead to highly individual, tailored offers and a high-quality customer experience, maximizing the business’s ability to satisfy its customers’ needs.
We are entering a new era, defining new trends and providing retailers with a unique opportunity to connect with their consumers at all times.
1 – Smart digital signage will connect to the mobile world
Information is gaining context. No one needs business cards stuck to the windshields of their cars. Seriously, stop already. The online world, particularly major players like Google, Facebook, or Amazon, is setting new standards for ease of access to personalized information (and raising customer expectations in the process). Precisely these expectations are being carried over into the retail sector. Millennials in particular are contributing their fair share in that respect, with their expectations that digital solutions should be ultra-personal and touchpoints should not fall short.
2 – Digital signage meets Big Data
While screens in the form of video walls, interactive displays or large format advertising monitors are standard for retailers, marketers must gain a much better understanding of how to present the right information, at the right place, and at the right time. “Hey, we’re using digital signage” is not enough, and superficial use of technology isn’t an option – nor has it been for a long time.
Instead, IoT digital signage solutions build a bridge between displays and their networked environment, and allow the deployment of “Event Driven Content” and “Content Driven Events.”
Sensors or actuators make it possible for digital signage to interact with other objects beyond the screen. The absolute cutting edge of relevant content is represented by IoT portals such as Thingspeak or IFTTT, which can be networked with digital signage Systems. When entrepreneurs recognize these opportunities, they can break new ground in terms of customer experience and customer loyalty.
3 – Digital signage must be social
“Social consumption is the norm. And so is social decision-making as to whether or not to consume.”
That is the conclusion drawn by Forbes’s Micah Solomon about an essential aspect of Millennials’ shopping behavior.
At a time when this precise demographic will take over 25,000 selfies in their lives, and everything is shared, liked, retweeted, and much more – even offline. As such, shopping no longer means walking through the city or the mall and picking up a new blue T-shirt or a new pair of pants from the same old stores, then driving home again. No way.
Consumption as an experience
And it’s not an individual activity either – it’s best undertaken as a group. For exactly that reason, social media integration plays an increasingly important role in relation to digital signage. Once again, it is the case that, without IoT, nothing would happen in this context. Advertising on your own Facebook site is hardly worth it. The benefits are much more significant when customers are actively involved, sharing their opinions and feeling valued in return.
One thing is clear: brick-and-mortar retail is far from dying out. It does however stand at a crossroads, forced to decide whether to view digital transformation as a helpful opportunity or a mortal enemy. This development is clearly recognizable, and anyone who tries to resist change is bound to be thrown to the wolves of the internet.
Technological innovations and a hyper-connected world have significantly influenced consumer behaviors and expectations. As a result, retailers are faced with a scary reality: change or become obsolete. But if … you begin to comply these new expectations, or even better outstrip them, there is a promising potential of bringing the online and offline power together and create a memorable consumer experience.