This week, the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) descends upon the Las Vegas Convention Center as the world’s largest and longest running conference (since 2004!) dedicated to digital communication and interactive technology for customer- and employee-facing applications.
KORE has a unique perspective on this market, having ourselves been founded in 2003, just one year prior to this flagship show. We’ve been able to watch digital displays come of age as a more and more versatile means to engage and excite customers, and to keep them coming back. Much of that increased versatility has come in the form of a word that we know quite a lot about: connectivity. Just like consumer devices, electronic signs have made a steady march from a stationary, hard-wired technology to one that is more dispersed, adaptable and dynamic in terms of the content that can be displayed.
While we haven’t quite reached the level of the one-to-one messaging like in Minority Report (thankfully!) thanks to the advancements in IoT data collection, layered with external data such as weather reports brought together by M2M connectivity, retailers can deliver an engaging, real-time message to their customers.
As an example, let’s say you’re a clothing retailer that just rolled out the spring and summer collection across your network of stores. But, wouldn’t you know it, Mother Nature doesn’t quite cooperate in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and sends an extended wave of unseasonably cold weather, or even a late-season snowstorm. With an M2M-connected network of digital displays in place throughout those locations, personnel sitting in the corporate home office – at the literal touch of a button – can alter the signage in all affected stores to make a quick change on promoted inventory, so that it matches the weather. Even though the calendar might say those stores would be selling camisoles and Capris, the retailer can quickly let shoppers know there are stylish jackets and shawls available, right now, to help them weather the storm. The move at once drives sales and customer engagement.
Sticking with the theme of improving the customer experience, let us look to the trend of suburban areas that are working hard these days at attracting new businesses to set up shop. The Catch-22 in this scenario is that the businesses being courted by these townships generally employ a younger workforce, of the age where moving to the suburbs is likely not yet in the cards; most of these workers prefer to live in the primary city center and would need to “reverse commute” should the company relocate.
Interestingly, digital signage provides a subtle, but very valuable way for urban planners to tackle this issue. By installing high-end displays in bus depots at these suburban city centers and connecting those displays to the buses themselves via M2M sensors, the system would keep commuters completely “in the know” about bus locations and wait times; add in a restaurant or bar directly adjacent to the bus stop, and you’ve created an enticing atmosphere that could make the commuting process more convenient, less stressful and, dare we say, fun.
Same concept, different venue: Connected digital displays in sports stadiums are now able improve the fan experience, but in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Similar to providing real-time bus notifications that lessen idle wait time for commuters, displays in sports stadiums can be rigged up to provide moment-by-moment concession line wait times, so that fans can choose to leave their seats for refreshments at a time that minimizes the action they’ll miss. (We’ve all tried to gauge when lines might be shortest; this just takes the guesswork out of it.).
Overall, these examples speak to an overarching need for companies to appeal to the millennial generation, one that has been accustomed to both instant gratification and a high-tech mindset from an early age. We will explore more in depth the role that digital signage plays in meeting that challenge in a future post.
For now, if you are a digital decision-maker come see us at DSE, where we will join our partner Vertigo Digital Displays in Booth 1823 (right across the aisle from Sharp and Panasonic) to discuss the newest and most innovative options for sunlight readable outdoor and indoor ruggedized digital displays. We can walk you through the ways that M2M connections are being used to boost energy efficiency, field serviceability, scalability, geographic access, monitoring, adaptability, diagnostics and proof of play compliance for your digital signage strategies.