Nexmosphere’s Sensors, Controllers And Toolkit Aimed At Making Interactive Retail Easy
February 14, 2023 by Dave Haynes
Way, way back in the day – in my dark period doing business development work for software companies – the company I was with did a fair amount of custom work that involved triggering content to screens using sensors.
If someone came within a certain range of a screen, or lifted something that made a light sensor go off, we could make screens interactive. The problem was that there were no built, ready-to-go solutions or toolkits, so my company had a guy named Jim who built the electronics from scratch. I’m thinking out of an Airstream trailer … somewhere. Everything was a bit of a hack.
So I was happy to finally carve out the time to get a demo and booth tour a couple of weeks back at ISE from a Dutch company called Nexmosphere, which I have seen around at some shows but never slowed down enough to stop, look and listen.
“That’s actually, with that need in mind, why we started this company,” says Bo Merkx, an application specialist with the Eindhoven firm. “We saw that a lot of people were kind of, you know, ‘hobbying’ their own sensors together … to make something that works in a professional setting. But the problem there is that it’s always something customized, and it’s not focused on a professional implementation.”
“That’s maybe fine if you’re doing one installation. If it breaks, you can fix your mistakes. You can go there, and fix it,” explains Merkx. “But if you implement sensors in hundreds of stores, you have a big problem when they fail within a year. So that’s why we really build really quality-based products.”
The company sells a variety of low-cost sensors – like presence, gesture and objection detection – and controller units. It works with companies like Brightsign and Bluefin on hardware solutions for retail merchandising, as well as with CMS software firms that want to enable interactive solutions – like Lift and Learn for situations like in-store marketing for booze or beauty products.
If a digital signage player can handle and respond to basic serial commands, it SHOULD be able to work with Nexmosphere’s gear.
The company was showing some intuitive, snappy and accurate solutions at ISE for things like touch-free controls, as well as camera-based, machine-learning applications for jobs like swiping items on a screen on the other side of a window. What I liked, for its simplicity, was presence sensors for a merchandising table that did different things with screen content and lighting based on how close you were. So at a distance, the messaging might be a call to action, while up close, there might be specific instructions and messaging because the shopper is close and therefore engaged in the presentation.
This rAVe video from ISE 2023 does a rundown of the presence sensor …