IoT And Digital Signage: The Invisible Elephant In The Room – Part 2

May 17, 2016 by guest author, Sue MacCutcheon


Guest Post: Tim Strähle, Adversign Media

This is part 2 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.

What happens when IoT meets digital signage?

The current state of digital signage at a glance:

The figures speak for themselves and highlight the potential of digital in store communication. Nonetheless, the emphasis must be on the word ‘potential’.

Tim Strähle

Tim Strähle

The precise point at which digital signage begins and, especially, where direct benefits for the consumer kick in, is still subject to debate even today. Can a 40-inch screen that shows the same playlist 24-7 really be described as a digital signage solution?

Or does a pure, digital product showcase represent genuine added value for customers?

As we return to customers’ evolving expectations and the increasing significance of the internet, we can summarize by saying that these concepts fall short of what is needed. It has been a long time since a digital signage implementation without a cohesive content strategy and a long-term approach was an adequate response. Instead, much more is needed.

1 – The right approach to high data volumes: digital signage meets Big Data

The right message, at the right place, at the right time. In future, digital signage will break down old barriers and react to its immediate surroundings. It is all about the interplay of networked Smart Devices, digital signage Content and events that are unfolding in the immediate surroundings. Content will no longer be presented randomly in the hope of reaching the right person with advertising for a new shampoo.

Digital signage meets Big Data – a partnership that will develop strongly in future.

Sensors will detect footfall and customer behavior through individual aisles and departments and automatically make the data available to the relevant marketers.

Similarly, special software will generate detailed customer profiles and automatically adapt the playlist for digital content in light of the data that is received. How long do customers spend in front of the screen? And how do they interact with the content?

With increasing integration between the retail sector and the Internet of Things, the doors will be opened further to data collection and interactive, data-backed digital signage applications will become possible.

2 – Event Driven Content & Content Driven Events

Event-Driven Content

Content will react to actions in the immediate surroundings. For example:

Imagine a guest walking into a hotel lobby. Directly behind the revolving door, a sensor detects the guest’s movements and responds with a welcome greeting. The sensor recognizes additional guests, who are already carrying room keys as they enter the premises. The room key may take the form of a smartphone app or a card with an inbuilt RFID chip. Both keys – app or chip – are detected and recognized by the sensor. This allows new guests to be given a friendly greeting, while customers who have already checked in can be given the complete range of content, such as what’s on that evening or a spa package that can be booked directly from the guest’s smartphone.

The sensor doesn’t just recognize hotel guests; it also counts them and uploads the data to the cloud automatically. The hotel manager can then display this data graphically at any time, providing an overview of the individual locations of guests and, using these statistics, can recognize highly-traffic areas of the hotel and react to this. If the sensor doesn’t detect any motion in the immediate area, the playlist can be changed to a different set of content, presenting cool, refreshing drinks at the hotel bar or showing ads for local sightseeing. By augmenting digital signage with sensors, the technology opens the door to a completely new world of communications.

Content-Driven Events

Quite simply, we turn the process for Event-Driven Content on its head.

Here’s an example:

The latest collection in your boutique is displayed in the storefront, as usual – where the attention of passers-by can immediately be drawn to the latest trends. The spectacularly presented mannequins and their tailored, matching outfits are displayed in front of a video wall. Promotional films create a setting for selected women’s fashion as well as the latest men’s clothes. The playlist is about to show a video for the summer dress on display in the window, and the model selected for the campaign is shown on a sunny beach in Miami. A light breeze blows through her hair and causes the dress to float elegantly in the wind.

Outside the displays, radio receivers and actuators are used to create a reaction that reflects the video content. The sunlight shown in the video is synchronized with the video, as warm, white LEDs light up the dress. Even the pleasant breeze that can be seen in the video comes to life in the storefront, as vents built into the sides react to the content as it is played, causing the dress on the mannequin to flutter playfully. The result is a pure summer feeling in your own store.

When the playlist switches to the new men’s collection, the robotics recognize that the content has changed and react appropriately to the new content.

With the support of Content-Driven Events, products can always be presented with the appropriate context, creating unique shopping experiences with the Wow Factor.


Part 3 – Making Digital Signage Smarter Through IFTTT

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