The Perspective 
Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Return on investment, or ROI, is a critical consideration for any technology investment. With digital screenmedia networks (digital signage, kiosks, etc.), the need for calculating and considering ROI is especially important, given the capital costs of many networks and the ongoing expenses required to maintain them.

The Digital Screenmedia Association’s task force on ROI was formed with the goal of providing an ROI framework to be created and maintained by a cross-functional team comprising industry analysts and consultants, vendors and association members that represent end-users.

ROI considerations reflected in the framework:

• Type of venue (retail, corporate, healthcare, transportation, etc)
• Type of screenmedia (digital signage, kiosks, multipurpose displays)
• Goals of the network (sales lift, customer experience, advertising, self-service applications)
• Scope (number of locations, number of displays per location)
• Content strategy
• Deployment model (on-premise, hosted, managed services)

ROI task force members:

  • Chair: Matt Schmitt, Reflect Systems
  • Sean Andersen, Six Flags
  • Michael Chase, St. Joseph Content
  • Bill Collins, DecisionPoint Media
  • Paul Flanigan, The Preset Group 
  • Scott Francis, PRN
  • Rocky Gunderson, SeeSaw Networks
  • Pat Hellberg, Kaicon
  • Janice Litvinoff, Cisco
  • Bob Michaels, Magenta Research
  • Mike Parkinson, LG Electronics
  • Mark Webster, Rollouts

We have gathered data from respective organizations and industry sources, discussed the scope and the approach to be used in the ROI framework release cycle and plan a near-term introduction of the first deliverable. The current plan is to introduce a first-version ROI document and calculator package October 1, 2010. This first version includes an introductory document outlining the assumptions and considerations used, along with instructions on how to use the included ROI calculator to easily input relevant information and arrive at a simple ROI model. This version of the framework is most useful for "passive" digital signage implementations and does not yet dive into some of the elements specifically related to interactive kiosks or self-service applications.

Future plans of the committee (certainly to be influenced by association membership and feedback) may include considerations for multiple analysis models based on network types and goals of the organization. It's well understood that it is difficult to maintain a single ROI input and calculator model that will work accurately for all types of screenmedia projects. Based on feedback on the first version (which is document- and spreadsheet-based) the committee may then work with the DSA to launch an online tool that uses a wizard type of approach to reviewing the ROI models.

It's exciting to work on such a critical project. There is no doubt it's a challenging endeavor – not because ROI is difficult to explain, but because there are so many flavors of digital screenmedia deployments and business models. But I'm confident that with the committee members, their respective organizations, and the DSA and association members we'll provide some beneficial tools and information for the benefit of everyone.

The committee could greatly benefit from member input on a number of things, including:

• opinions on the most critical ROI elements
• most important measurement criteria (sales lift, ad revenue, cost savings, etc)
• realistic cost savings criteria when using digital (over static signage, non-networked digital solutions, etc)

This type of valuable input is always appreciated and will greatly help the ROI task force deliver the best information possible.

Feel free to forward any feedback, ideas, or questions to me at anytime.

Matt Schmitt is CEO and founder of Reflect Systems, a leading provider of digital media solutions. He also serves as chairman of the DSA's task force on ROI.

See also: DSA's webinar on Digital Signage ROI

Posted by: The Perspective AT 06:45 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Airlines have peaked, redbox has legs, healthcare should see growth and the United States remains No. 1. No doubt, kiosks have become ubiquitous, and prospects look strong, but many question where the industry is going.

Could ‘airlines’ — short for traveler self-check-in at airports, the process that has virtually replaced ticket counters — have reached cruising altitude and be on the way to a descent? Does redbox have room for growth? And where will we see expansion in the next few years, either by segment or by global region?

Kiosk industry research house and consultancy Summit Research Associates seeks to answer these questions and others in its massive guidebook, "Kiosks and Interactive Technology," an 800-page report that includes statistics on the interactive kiosk installed base, background on 700 companies and a plethora of charts and tables, along with an examination of leading trends and significant projects.

The report grew from an online survey and follow-up research by Rockville, Md.-based Summit, led by Francie Mendelsohn, its president and a veteran kiosk consultant.

The report’s conclusions, and Mendelsohn’s, may surprise some.

For starters, self-check in at airlines has met its technological match, and it’s called the smart phone. Kiosks will remain a strong force in the sector, but many consumers eventually will switch to getting to their plane with the help of their phone.

“Airport check-in (via kiosk) is a very mature market sector. You will see incremental increases and updates of products. Smart phones will change the long-term dynamics,” Mendelsohn said.

Here’s how: Travelers will download a barcode to their smart phone when they conduct pre- check-in thru the Web before going to the airport. With the barcode loaded, the traveler will go to the airport and head straight to the security stop, bypassing the airline’s check-in kiosk to pick up a paper boarding pass. A device at the security stop will read the barcode displayed on the smart phone, and the traveler is good to go.

Mendelsohn says several major carriers, including American, Delta and United, have begun offering this smart phone application at select airports.

“In time, you will see less use of kiosks at the check-in,” said Mendelsohn, who notes this approach is more common in Asia, the global leader in smart phone applications. “Kiosks won’t go away. They are deployed at check-in all over the country. If you want to go anywhere anytime soon you will use them."

A kiosk firm that should continue to grow, she says, is redbox, the DVD-rental subsidiary of Coinstar.

“(Brick-and-mortar stores) are falling like dominos. Soon it’s going to be Netflix and redbox, if it’s not already. They serve two needs, redbox for new releases and Netflix for older movies,” Mendelsohn said.

Redbox offers extraordinary convenience, allowing consumers to make a 24-hour reservation and to drop off a DVD anywhere, all for a very competitive price, says Mendelsohn.
“Redbox is pretty formidable. I see people waiting in line to use it. That is an indicator of success,” she said.

A segment that offers promise for greater kiosk use is healthcare, specifically at providers such as doctors and dentists.

“It would be great to see patients using a kiosk to check in at their doctor’s office. (Managed care provider) Kaiser Permanente has begun to roll this out in some offices. The patient swipes a card distributed by Kaiser, and (the kiosk) brings up her information. It signs in for you,” Mendelsohn said.

Shifting to the electronic storing of patient information would reduce paperwork and eliminate many human input errors, says Mendelsohn. These factors, along with offering greater convenience to their patients, should convince healthcare providers to invest in kiosk check-in systems, she says.

Finally, Mendelsohn believes there is no question of the top international market for the industry.

“The U.S. is still the leader in the kiosk field," she said. "We can be behind others in taking to something, but once we adopt a technology we go after it whole hog.”

That’s what happened with parking and DVD rental, applications that were initiated in Europe but once implemented in the U.S. grew so large that they changed their industries. And keep in mind the U.S. is physically larger, so it has the space to offer uses like drive-thru restaurants where consumers can order via kiosk, says Mendelsohn.

So maybe airlines have peaked, redbox is still growing, healthcare shows promise, and the U.S. is tops. Then again, there may be an application out there no one is thinking of that remakes the whole industry. Entrepreneurs succeed by swimming against the tide.

Burney Simpson is contributing editor to This post originally appeared as an article on Aug. 9, 2010.
Posted by: The Perspective AT 10:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
One of the challenges of the digital out-of-home/digital place-based media industry has been recruiting advertising and branding agencies to recognize DOOH as a legitimate advertising medium along with TV, radio, Internet, outdoor, etc.

Despite efforts by associations like the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA), which is close-knit with many New York advertising agencies, those firms have still been slow to adopt the medium. However, there are a handful that have realized the power of digital signage and are not only recognizing it as a viable medium, but also becoming advocates to ensure other agencies do the same.

One of those is Dallas, Texas-based TracyLocke, a mostly retail-focused agency that defines itself as a provider of “ideas that move people to brands.” Although browsing their Web site doesn’t bring up a lot of info about their efforts in the digital signage space, they certainly have been involved in the past year and a half.

I first heard the agency’s name in 2008 but had my first contact with them in 2009. I was brought onboard early to read and review the company’s white paper “In-store digital media: How to re-establish retail’s role as a mass consumer medium.”

Developed in partnership with Reflect Systems and DPMI’s Bill Collins, the white paper explains how retailers can leverage shopper-friendly digital media technologies (including digital signage) that deliver marketing and branding messages to consumers inside the store, at or near the point of sale. We released the paper the week of Digital Signage Expo 2009 on Digital Signage Today.

We later ran an excerpt from the paper edited by authors Dorothy Allan and Bill Collins on the site, as well.

Since then, TracyLocke has become a household name on the digital signage conference circuit. They have gotten in tight with the Strategy Institute: Al Wittemen, managing director of Shopper Marketing for TracyLocke, spoke about the impact of digital signage and how DOOH can leverage the incredible research behind shopper marketing at the Digital Signage Content Strategies Summit in May 2009 in Las Vegas and likely coined the term “point of experience” there. Wittemen returned to the conference again in March 2010 to discuss the post-crisis consumer mindset.

TracyLocke was again invited to speak at the October 2009 Digital Signage Investors Conference, this time represented by president and COO Beth Ann Kaminkow. She has been invited back to speak at the 2010 conference, Oct. 5-6 in New York City.

And most recently, TracyLocke and rVue announced a partnership where the agency will use rVue’s DOOH media planning and buying platform to begin creating customized DOOH campaigns for its clients. The team at TracyLocke consulted with rVue on the latest enhancements to the platform to make it easier for media planners and buyers to use.

The support we as an industry have gotten from TraceyLocke (and I should also mention Razorfish) is critical to the growth and proliferation of DOOH in the minds of the advertising community – but we need more than just a few agencies.

What can we as an industry do to attract more of the advertising community to our medium? Comment below.

This post first appeared on Bill Yackey is former editor of that Web site and a regular contributor.
Posted by: The Perspective AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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