Spectrio Acquires inReality, Adding AI-Driven Venue Analytics To Solution Stack

July 11, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The Tampa-based digital signage software and solutions firm Spectrio has added to its solution stack with the acquisition of inReality, an Atlanta-area company that does audience engagement and analytics.

Disclaimer – Spectrio acquired and now publishes Sixteen:Nine.

From the announcement:

Spectrio, one of the nation’s leading providers of comprehensive digital signage systems, has broadened an already-rich solution stack with the acquisition of InReality and its AI-driven, fully anonymous audience sensing and measurement technology.

Rich, real-time analytics for retail and other environments enables digital signage network operators and brands to fully understand the dynamics of venues and the people moving through them. The insights generated by InReality’s unique, radar-based sensing technology allow retailers and brand marketers to measure and characterize shopper behaviors, and optimize everything from content programming to screen positioning in order to drive store performance.

The strategic acquisition of InReality complements Spectrio’s technology stack, which already includes modern, much-respected digital signage CMS software, content productionoverhead music, on-hold messaging, scent marketing and Wi-Fi marketing.

“This acquisition is a game changer for us and for our clients,” said Tamara Bebb, CEO of Spectrio. “We have 30 seconds of your attention. We know what you’re interested in, what’s important to you, and what isn’t. We can use that information to then target the right content towards you. We’re thrilled to have InReality in our corner supporting this journey.”  

Bebb noted the acquisition also accelerates and complements Spectrio’s product roadmap, enabling the company to more aggressively pursue its growth strategy. InReality CEO Ron Levac will join Spectrio’s leadership team as the Product Expert for Analytics and Intelligence Solutions.

A key benefit for Spectrio’s customers is bringing what is usually third-party analytics capabilities inside a unified, multi-faceted digital signage and on-premise communications solution. Customers using audience analytics can shift from operating on gut-feel to data-driven decision-making that can boost key metrics like conversion ratios.

While most audience analytics solutions analyze video streams that are captured by on-premise cameras, raising privacy concerns, InReality uses fully anonymous, radar-based sensors that are no bigger than conventional smoke detectors and mount on retail fixtures, walls or even ceilings. The technology senses, captures and tracks the presence of people. In retail, that means a deeper understanding of foot traffic, as well as the ability to define impressions and engagement behaviors based on shopper proximity and dwell time. Metrics generated by InReality are revealed on desktop or mobile dashboards but can also be flowed via APIs into popular business systems tools such as Microsoft’s Power BI.

Digital signage is currently experiencing steady growth, fueled by new innovations in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud-based technology. The current acquisition comes at a time when the global digital signage industry has become a multibillion-dollar sector with user companies from the automotive, health, retail, food and beverage, and financial services industries that need advanced digital displays that can enable them to better engage with consumers. That’s exactly what this acquisition will help Spectrio provide.  

Me – Sixteen:Nine, as noted up top, has been owned and published by Spectrio for the last couple of years. I wasn’t involved in this acquisition in any fashion. I did, early on in getting to know the team, suggest future acquisitions focus more on adding to the solution stack, as opposed to duplicating what was already in place via the multiple CMS software firm acquisitions completed in recent years by Spectrio.

Another announcement this morning – Cenareo buying a video production company – reflects a strategy of broadening a solution via M&A, versus buying customers by buying other companies.

One of the interesting spin-off effects of all the buzz in 2023 about AI and tools like ChatGPT is a MUCH greater and broader understanding of AI and machine learning. Audience measurement technology has been around for many years, but I’d argue that it was very much a niche product that wasn’t widely understood or appreciated (plus it was often marketed the wrong way, pushing whiz-bang actions like real-time ad-serving by demographic, versus richer behavorial insights).

Now, there’s a broad awareness of AI, what it can do, and how it can help shape business decisions and both streamline and optimize things like on-premise marketing and communications. End-users tend to like solutions providers who can bring a full solution in one tech stack, with one point of contact and one invoice.

After an aggressive run of acquisitions by Spectrio, this is its first since last year – when it acquired Denver’s PingHD.

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