I’m not sure if my friends over at Toronto solutions provider BIG Digital have come up with anything all that new in terms of building access controls and signage for these nutty times, but the company has done a nice job of packaging up a set a solutions beyond marketing a “thing.”
I’m getting a lot of emails from companies touting their “thing” – like a thermal sensor or hand sanitizer/digital sign kiosk.
In this case, the company – which does a lot of temporary digital display work for brands and events – has put together a great video that shows how existing, somewhat mainstream technology like display totems and stretched LCD and LED headers can be used effectively to inform and guide people into malls, big retailers, sports and other venues that get significant foot traffic.
SafeChek Entranceway Technology, as the package of solutions has been dubbed, provides entranceway monitoring and communication solution to support safe business openings and operations during COVID-19.
BIG Digital will provide SafeChek at grocery stores, malls, commercial buildings and offices to enable queue management (including wait times and number of people inside), product and service messaging, (such as store hours and out-of-stock items) and visitor SafeChek sensors (including mask and fever detection) in order to support best practices for social distancing.
“Our team launched one of Canada’s first digital signage and safety networks, Onestop Media Group, in the Toronto Transit System in 2005 and later expanded to airports, malls, residential and commercial high-rise networks,” says Michael Girgis, co-founder of Big Digital, based in Toronto. “Our passion and expertise in providing real-time, contextual information to people “on-the-go” translates naturally to the solution SafeChek provides today to businesses and consumers.”
Big Digital is partnering on the SafeChek project with A1 Innovation Group, a pioneer in people-counting solutions.
“The combination of A1 Innovation’s 25-plus years in people- and vehicle-counting systems and BIG Digital’s credibility in transforming commercial areas with real-time digital communications is unmatched in providing technology for today’s circumstances,” says John Plainos, president and CEO of A1 Innovation Group.
BIG Digital’s SafeChek entranceway technology allows organizations to maximize safety through people counting systems to control occupancy levels and real-time communication with customers at indoor and outdoor entranceway locations such as malls, retailers, airports, walkways, elevators, project and construction sites. This technology keeps the public informed with important messages on safety as the economy starts to cautiously re-open.
Some of SafeChek entranceway technology’s extra customer communication features include reservation / appointment messaging, out-of-stock items, current wait times and promoted items to help consumers make informed decisions and ease anxieties around visiting or getting back to work in public spaces.
For business owners, key data and analytics provided by SafeChek entranceway technology includes: real-time building occupancy, visit duration, frequency and customer traffic which can help support effective pandemic planning and operations.
There are already many, many products coming on the market that attempt, in a variety of ways, to address social distancing, capacity limits and line-up controls brought on by this miserable bastard pathogen.
Most, as mentioned, are being marketed as products that are solutions to problems – and at times I have wondered how effective they might be in real-world conditions. I kinda like what these guys are touting, at least conceptually, because it shows the ideas and usage in context via video.
I also like idea of gateway portals with digital headers that show status. Much of what I see in my little corner of the world, when I head out with my mask for life-sustaining supplies like food and wine, are hacks – with shopping carts, pylons, police caution tape and handwritten signs trying to organize people.
These measures are not, I think, going away soon, so retailers and other business operators are going to be looking for ways to get past their quick, make-do solutions and put in place digital components that look much more like they belong. and do the needed jobs.
The tech doesn’t need to be new or all that innovative. It just has to solve specific problems, work reliably, and ideally look good.
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.