The only UNIQLO store I’ve been in is the one down in SOHO in New York, and when I wandered around it last year with Denys Lavigne from Arsenal Media I was impressed (as was Denys) by the minimalist design approach.
I don’t remember there being much in the way of digital in the store, but go a few subway stops up to midtown Manhattan and the story is very different. The Japance apparel retailer has opened a new NY 5th Avenue store, and it has 430 screens.
Parent company Fast Retailing Co., Ltd’s new global flagship store, UNIQLO New York Fifth Avenue is riddled with digital signage elements in a deal that I am sure NEC Display’s Pierre Richer will be talking up this week at the Strategy Institute conference and DPAA summit (even if the panel deal originated in Japan).
NEC provides the stores with approximately 430 displays, such as the large quad multi-display, consisting of innovative 46-inch ultra-narrow displays(1), and its content distribution systems. The digital signage automatically displays UNIQLO advertisements, including products and models, which contributes to the contemporary atmosphere of the stores and reduces costs for paper-based advertising such as posters.
This digital signage and content are remotely controlled at UNIQLO’s data center in Japan, while NEC’s content distribution system enables flexible content distribution to each store throughout the world. NEC takes a role in the operation of the digital signage systems as well through a private cloud computing environment.
NEC can also provide “PanelDirector,” a total digital signage service solution that capitalizes on NEC’s advanced face recognition and audience measurement technologies to create and deliver content and services.
Furthermore, NEC and MIRACLE LINUX CORPORATION(2) jointly developed a new Linux based set-top-box (STB) that enables the smooth display of animated content on multi-displays as one single image. The quad multi-display consists of 46-inch ultra-narrow displays that seamlessly deliver customized advertisements.
NEC believes its highly evaluated digital signage know-how and capability as a total solution provider resulted in its selection for this project by First Retailing Co., Ltd.
“As one of FAST RETAILING’s global partners, we are proud to have met their high standards and to work together to deliver a truly unique and powerful enterprise solution to grow their business,” said Masaru Takaishi, General Manager of the Telecom and Contents Solutions Division at NEC Corporation. “With NEC’s vast experience in providing support to our clients in the retail industry, we are confident that UNIQLO will be able to maximize their customers’ store experience via our digital signage solutions.”
NEC has already delivered more then 1,000 panels to UNIQLO’s main global branches such as, “UNIQLO Central World Store” in Thailand, “UNIQLO Gangnam” in Korea and the biggest UNIQLO branch in Tokyo, “UNIQLO Ikebukuro Tobu Store.” Looking forward, as First Retailing Co., Ltd. aims to continuously increase its global presence, NEC also seeks to contribute to their ongoing expansion.
The store signage being controlled from Tokyo explains why the content management solution built by Richer’s NEC US team is not being used. It’s in English, not Japanese. The set top-box players being used is an interesting twist.
I’m in NYC tomorrow and Wednesday and if I get a chance and time (doubtful as that may be), that will be a stop. It’s within a couple of blocks from where NEC is having a mixer tomorrow, which helps.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.