|| The Perspective
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
By David McCracken - Livewire Digital
Turn on any high school or college sports movie and you’ll see a natural rivalry between the jocks and the tech nerds(…who I refer to fondly, being one of them!). Something in their DNA just can’t make these two groups get along. But in the case of sports Halls of Fame, life doesn’t seem to imitate art — jocks and tech geeks get along perfectly.
The hottest trends in sports Halls of Fame are digital signs, kiosks, and interactive software to organize and display the overwhelming amount of sports information available.
Baseball Hall of Fame
From the exhibits to the devices employees use to run operations, the Baseball Hall of Fame is taking tech to a new level. The Cooperstown landmark uses digital signs and interactive kiosks to give visitors a customized experience, no matter what they’re interested in.
The Baseball Hall of Fame has also started digitizing three-dimensional objects like documents and historic items to give visitors a hands-on experience, even if the physical item itself isn’t in the museum.
College Football Hall of Fame
Hot on the heels of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s tech success is the hall of fame for America’s #2 pastime: college football. You won’t see any plaques or busts in the College Football Hall of Fame — you’ll see movable touch screens instead. This Atlanta hot spot also incorporates RFID technology. Each visitor who enters selects their favorite team, and interactive video walls and other elements throughout the Hall are customized to reflect their preferences.
University of Massachusetts
At the UMass Football Hall of Fame, visitors use an interactive exhibit to explore the university’s 130-year-old football program. Kiosks and digital signs show visitors detailed historical information, current data and statistics, and engaging information on players, coaches, bands, mascots, and more. The digital directories allow every visitor using the kiosk to easily find something of personal interest through use of the touch screen software.
The Stevenson University Mustangs were inspired by the All-Sports Museum at my alma mater, Penn State University, and wanted to use the same interactive kiosks as well as video wall technology to celebrate their own program. Visitors of the Stevenson Hall of Fame use the touch screen kiosk and ultra-high definition video walls to learn all about the students and staff of the Athletics Program. Livewire’s eConcierge Content Management System makes it easy for school personnel to update and change the information on a dime — and since sports are always changing and evolving, this ensures the most up-to-date information available.
Ultimately, this technology provides so much more than could ever be inscribed on a plaque in traditional Halls of Fame. Why share a small amount of information with plaques, busts, and photos, when you can share a limitless amount with kiosks, video walls, digital directories, and a content management system?
Wednesday, 03 December 2014
By Jason Geyer
Director of Digital Production
We all remember that cool scene in Steven Spielberg’s movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise is walking through a mall and all of the ads he sees are customized for him only. Ever since its release in 2002, this futuristic scene has been the gold standard to strive toward for advertisers with an eye on where digital is taking shopper marketing.
And although technology manufacturers have taken baby steps toward this in the past, Panasonic has announced that it is partnering up with Photon Interactive to deliver a much closer representation of what the movie promised:
- The goal is to combine Photon’s software with Panasonic displays, so that those displays will know more about the customer. That information can be used to deliver targeted offers, as well as check in, make purchases, and more.
- For example, the company says that at a brick-and-mortar retailer, a customer might look at the digital signage, view personalized offers, bring up directions to where a product is in the store, and scan bar codes with the mobile app to make purchases. Or in a fast food restaurant, the customer could either order from a kiosk or on their phone, then pick their food and offer feedback through the kiosk.
Although the privacy implications might seem scary (how do you opt out of something that is scanning your biometrics? Can other shoppers see and hear your personalized ads?). But, once in action, it’s hard to not predict that all retailers will be jumping on board with this highly-personalized targeting. Seems like a win compared to a world of static, one-size-fits-all displays.
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
The DSA Crown Awards, in its fourth year, recognizes excellent digital out-of-home content through the use of digital signage, interactive, kiosks and mobile.
The Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA) has announced the winners for the fourth annual DSA Crown Awards, which recognizes excellence in digital out-of-home content.
The DSA Crown Awards ceremony was held in New York City at the Paramount Theater at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on November 5, following the first day of Customer Engagement World. The DSA Party at the Hard Rock was hosted by Artisan Mobile and presented by Scanalytics and Synnex.
The categories for the content awards were Point of Sale, (content on screens in store catering to the shopper); Point of Transit, (reaching people are on the go, such as at airports and with digital billboards); and Point of Wait, (places where people have dwell time such as banks, elevators and doctor’s offices).
The awards ceremony was co-hosted by Keith Kelsen, CVO of 5th Screen Digital, and author of Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage, and Bob Moul from Artisan Mobile, the host of the party and awards ceremony.
The winners are:
Category – Point of Sale (content budget of $10,000 or more)
Gold: Bank of Ireland, submitted by RMG Networks
Silver: Titanfall Video Wall Experience at the Microsoft Stores, submitted by Synect Media
Bronze: AT&T Flagship Store, Beats Music Promotion, submitted by MaxMedia
Category – Point of Sale (content budget less than $10,000)
Gold: LG UHD Wall, submitted by Two West
Silver: Digitizing Argos, submitted by Scala
Bronze: WAND, submitted by WAND Corporation
Category – Point of Wait ($10,000 or more)
Gold: Aria Resort & Casino, submitted by Verifone
Silver: Sprint Live Pro, submitted by Two West
Bronze: Sprint WeGo - Product Video, submitted by Two West
Category – Point of Wait (less than $10,000)
Gold: Sprint Store Virtual Queue, submitted by Two West
Silver: Quaker Steak and Lube, submitted by Insteo
Category – Point of Transit ($10,000 or more)
Gold: San Francisco International Airport, submitted by Omnivex
Silver: SIEMENS SU2C The Baton Pass in Times Square, submitted by ABC Creative Services
Judges for the DSA Crown Awards included Michael Chase of St. Joseph Content, Anne White of hybris, Manolo Almagro of TPN Retail, Noah Sarff of The Basement, and Keith Kelsen of 5th Screen.
Each of the entries were scored independently by the judges, who took the following into consideration:
- Did the content meet the objectives?
- Was the content engaging?
- Did the content fit the environment?
- Did the content fit the audience?
The scores were ranked in each category to reveal the winners.
“The content continues to improve at both budget levels, and we are seeing outstanding content on so many cross platform channels,” said Keith Kelsen, judge and co-host. “It’s clear that content continues to truly be the most important part of execution. The high standards of quality of the content speaks volumes about the care producers put into these deployments and the care they take in making the brands look great.”
“The content is amazing and the engagement proves it,” said Paul Flanigan, Executive Director of the DSA. “We’re thrilled to be able to recognize outstanding content. The quality can make or break an experience and we’re seeing some outstanding companies embrace and present the wow factor.”
About the Digital Screenmedia Association
The DSA is an independent, non-profit association, whose mission is to advance the growth and excellence of the global digital signage, interactive kiosk and mobile community through advocacy, education and networking. Members include users of digital screenmedia in all vertical markets including retail, hospitality, food service and healthcare, as well as manufacturers, resellers and distributors of hardware and software, network operators, integrators, advertising agencies, consultants, analysts, publishers, trade show organizers and service companies. http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org
Wednesday, 06 August 2014
With 14 years of experience managing complex digital signage rollouts for some of the largest retailers in North America, we have developed a few best practices along the way. Deploying digital signage is not just hanging screens – it is about integrating the digital experience into the DNA of a store’s design. From considerations around cabling to positioning media players and digital screens, here are some of the lessons we’ve learned that save time and money and ensure our clients get the most value from their investment.
1. A site survey streamlines the installation process.
Conducting a site survey before the installation identifies the right mount for the solution upfront. For example, in cases when a site survey isn’t done beforehand, the installer may not realize that the media player is going to be mounted on a cement wall, which requires a ceiling mount. The site survey also prevents problems with cabling; we’ve seen situations where clients must redo cabling because they didn’t factor in the impact of other electrical devices in the store and that can be costly.
2. The optimal location boosts the effectiveness of digital signage.
Attracting the attention of shoppers is key to a successful retail digital signage project. Unfortunately, when installing cabling the tendency is to just put the screen close to the power source which isn’t always the optimal location. Even if cables need to be changed or the power moved, it is important to take the time to determine the right screen location for the best impact. Understanding the goals behind the installation of the digital signage helps determine the proper placement. Before you install your screens, ask yourself “what behavior am I trying to encourage with these screens?” This simple question will force you to think through screen placement and store traffic patterns.
3. The right cabling set-up is critical.
When we arrive at locations where someone else has done the installation, often the cables are running here, there and everywhere and nothing is tied down. Cabling shouldn’t look like a spaghetti dinner. Taking the time to meticulously label and tie down each cable so it’s well organized will save time and avoid headaches in the long run. That way if you need to resolve a problem in the future, it’s easier to determine which cable is causing the issue.
4. Purpose-built media players enhance digital signage solutions.
We see people using a regular PC to deploy digital signage and then experiencing jittery content or issues with content that won’t play properly. Using media players that are purpose-built for digital signage and custom-designed for your applications provides greater reliability and better results.
5. All screens are not created equal.
Some people use consumer TVs for their digital signage solutions, however, home TVs are not meant to run 24/7 so they end up failing, which is costly. If you are serious about providing a superior customer experience, it pays to use commercial screens, which are designed to run continuously while maintaining a sharp, high quality picture.
6. Good communication is an essential part of the process.
We do a number of things to keep the lines of communication open including site surveys so everyone is on the same page about the project. Another critical activity we do on all installations is to create a wire diagram using a store layout and architectural drawings to detail the engineer’s designs for the mounting and placement of digital signage. When a technician goes to do the installation, they have a clearly laid-out plan of every engineered detail of the solution. In cases where a company has their own installation team, we provide instructions and direction.
7. A strong project plan helps mitigate risk.
Everyone involved should know what needs to get done, when, how and who is responsible. This will prevent problems such as components not arriving on time. If you are planning renovations, the project manager can coordinate them to dovetail perfectly with the digital signage installation to avoid extra costs. Perfect execution is critical. If a new store has a grand opening, sometimes there is a narrow window to get the installation done.
8. A support team is invaluable for resolving installation issues.
When you encounter issues, having access to a knowledgeable support team is critical. We have a remote online monitoring system that enables us to ensure the media player is working properly before the installation is completed. When issues arise, we can proactively reach out to resolve them before our customers even realize there’s a problem.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
By Richard Ventura
Director of Sales – Vertical Solutions for NEC Display Solutions
While digital screens have been deployed in a variety of retail applications such as menu boards in restaurants, digital end caps in electronics stores, directory boards in malls and digital mannequins in clothing stores, the true power of digital has yet to be fully tapped. You may ask, what is that true power? It is the power of full engagement via interactive digital signage.
Traditionally, retailers have used digital signage as a way to run advertising of products and goods with very little integration into store systems. Those that have integrated focus mainly on inventory databases and their point of sales (POS) systems to capture customer data that can be mined to better align with customer preferences. Further, many retailers utilize traditional kiosk systems to allow for online ordering, guest registry access and even for hiring future employees.
What many are missing, though, is how to utilize their systems and capture customer interactions in order to create a full engagement between the brand and the consumer. When looking at interaction and engagement, there are three types: passive, active, and mobile.
In the restaurant space, many brands have deployed customer-facing kiosks where people can place their orders and learn about specials without any human interaction. This is an active way for the brand to interact with the consumer, and increase sales and efficiencies. Following more of a passive way to interact with the consumers, others have deployed “order-ready boards,” where patrons are informed when their meals are complete. While guests wait for their food, they have become a captive audience, a fact not lost on these businesses, which are cross-marketing and up selling various services and goods to them.
Interactive wayfinding kiosks in malls, hotels, airports and other retail businesses let consumers print maps and coupons, make dinner reservations, and purchase goods and services. This creates an engaging experience, even if for only a few seconds, that allows the consumer to fully experience the brand(s).
Forward-thinking businesses also are letting consumers use their smart phones and tablets to interact with digital screens, kiosks, store end caps and video walls. Many top restaurant brands have created iPhone and iPad apps for ordering food selections and counting calories – and through Near Field Communication (NFC), enabling interaction with digital screens themselves for scanning QR codes, downloading coupons and making purchases. Also, many retailers are utilizing these applications to create a virtual store-within-a-store concept. A consumer can pull up reviews, check inventories, place orders, and in some cases, test-drive a product all via their smart phones and tablets.
Research firm DisplaySearch says the market for public displays across industries is showing strong growth, set to push near 12 million units sold in 2018, an increase from just under 3 million in 2011. DisplaySearch’s Jennifer Colegrove asserts, “Touchscreen penetration is rapidly increasing. Over the next several years, touchscreens will undergo strong growth in large-size applications.”
Through these devices and technologies, retailers gain opportunities to engage customers and build relationships. But as the phenomenon of interactivity grows, the question about customer service looms large. Is customer interaction with machines better for brands than dealing with company employees?
From my perspective, the answer has more to do with customers and supplying them more options than to say that human interaction is always better. Interactive digital screens can empower customers to bond with a brand in ways that they choose and in ways that enhance their retail experiences.
As we’ve seen more and more, some people would rather shop online than walk into a brick-and-mortar store. When these types of people do step into stores, they prefer to shop on their own, peruse in-store kiosks for more information, make their purchases and leave as soon as possible. Salespeople won’t impact what they want to buy or have the opportunity to upsell additional items.
But there are others who want that personal attention. The upshot is that the retailer can match the demands of a variety of consumers where and how they want to interact with the brand. These options give retailers a better chance to capture more of an audience. Interactive technologies introduce a new dynamic to selling.
Some stores are availing themselves of this new dynamic.
Best Buy, for example, has introduced interactive kiosks in airports to sell iPods, headphones, game cubes and other technologies. It’s the “big box” retailer’s way of meeting the needs of the marketplace by giving people options on how and where to buy. At the same time, it continues to offer its bricks-and- mortar department stores and the Best Buy Mobile stores.
Apple has done a phenomenal job of making sure that before a buyer can close out a sale online, in a store, or through its IOS application, that options for cables and extended warranties appear and are part of the sales equation. That breeds additional sales.
While these are some of the best practices, the retail industry still has to make progress, according to a recent study. SapientNitro’s Insight 2013 Report indicates that most retailers are failing when it comes to deploying digital signage and interactive technologies. Just 22% were rated as truly interactive with a value-add beyond just merchandizing or a display.
Here’s how to make the interactive experience relevant:
- Deliver the right content and messaging
- Design a technologically sound kiosk that people will be drawn to
- Deliver a meaningful experience.
If the interaction with a kiosk or digital screen is “bumpy,” or if consumers have to scroll through too many products to place an order, they will walk away. There needs to be a way to guide them through the process with a series of questions and interactions, and their time must be respected
An interactive system built on good design, tied to other sales channels and offering a solid customer experience will increase sales.
Here are the questions retailers need to ask themselves before deploying interactive digital signage:
- What are our goals and strategies?
- How will we execute the plan?
- How will we measure results?
- Who will support our interactive system?
- How will we expand the deployment?
- What types of technologies will be used?
- Who will manage the content?
- How do we keep the content fresh and impactful?
The question is not whether to deploy interactive technologies, but when, and to have the plan in place to do so.
Watching young children interact with technology is a particularly noteworthy barometer. Whenever they encounter a computer screen, their expectations are that it is interactive. A touch mentality is so ingrained in this generation that it should give retailers pause. These little patrons are the formation of a digital interactive society.
This article was originally published in Retail Merchandiser magazine.
Wednesday, 05 September 2012
We had our second annual DOOH Media Cross Media event last week in cooperation with the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA) and the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA). Held at Gannett's HQ with a backdrop of Madison Avenue, the event attracted a mixed crowd of digital signage networks, agencies, brands, platform companies and mobile experts.
Speakers from NEC, MWW, The Wow Factor, Time Square Screen Alliance, Blue Bite and The Wall Street Journal dissected the overall growth of mobile, digital signage and best practices of this overall evolution of convergence. The common themes evolved around experience, media strategy and scalability.
Don Blanton, CEO of The Wow Factor
Theme 1: Experience
“It is so important to build an experience that creates an emotional response,” stated Don Blanton, CEO of The Wow Factor. Don is one of those true visionaries that had created some of the best campaigns in Times Square, bringing creativity and innovation to an environment where consumers are stimulated by digital media from every angle. He showcased some of the campaigns that had been successful, and shared techniques and strategies to best gauge the usefulness of the campaigns.
“We find that in order to have a successful campaign, the integration with the street-teams is a key part of process. We found that with mobile, sometimes the downloading of an app can be a bit of an obstacle. Getting users to activate the app is still not a perfect scenario, but overall integrating the campaign is effective in getting engagement with the massive screen,” said Blanton.
Mikhail Damiani from Blue Bite also shared his vision on how to drive a campaign first from the strategy of experience that then determines the right technologies to use. “NFC is going to be a key driver of this interaction in the future,” he stated and shared some statistics that proved this is happening faster than we expected.
Tom Hennigan of Times Square Screen Alliance and Blanton also shared a sneak-peak of what is to come with the connectivity of all screens. “Giving advertisers the best opportunity…massive emotional experiences are coming soon in our launch in October to Times Square,” Hennigan announced.
Theme 2: Media Strategy
The discussions also took on a perspective that the holistic view is a critical part in an overall media strategy with the brand. “Getting the strategy right from the beginning is essential and the platform with which you serve ads to the different screens is critical,” explained Carolyn Walkin of NEC. “When deciding on an ad server for your business, it is now the time to choose one that gives you the ability to work everywhere. That will make your planning much more streamlined.”
As we are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the growth of digital place based media, having a strategy that looks to combine these areas is going to be quite essential. “Given that mobile is with you everywhere, especially when you are on the go, it can be a great resource in linking these strategies together,” said Michael Scheiner, executive creative director of MWW.
When asked by Jim Harris, CEO of the Wall Street Journal Office Network what we can expect in five years, the panel of speakers was quick to talk about the further fusion of media. And there was a strong consensus on the opportunities of augmented reality. “Augmented reality is going to bring amazing things to Times Square,” said Blanton.
Michael Scheiner, executive creative director, MWW
Theme 3: Scalability
Another common theme for the event was the issue of scalability. “When developing a plan, it is important to have a long-term scalable strategy,” said Scheiner. “Many campaigns that link these converging areas together have been created as one-offs without a long-term sustainable plan. But with the right strategy from the beginning, that campaign can have longevity and can bridge all the different areas of PR, social, interactive, mobile and digital out-of-home.”
Although scalability has been a topic discussed quite often and sometimes hard to qualify, in a world of an overwhelming flow of information, it is clear that getting the message right so that it can continue across all mediums is very important. Harris noted that this is a challenge they pursue every day when you have a 700+ location digital signage network. When he asked the panel their remarks on the subject, the common answer of “creating the right content experience for the user” was the key media strategy.
Matthew Snyder is producer of MXM Events and CEO ADObjects, Inc.