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Interactive Digital Signage

With digital signage firmly established as a key part of the modern marketing mix, Rob Fletcher delves deeper to find out how interactive technology can help brand reach new levels of innovation

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Seloy Live has developed a new line of customised interactive products, which customers can use as real windows as well as touch displays

Innovation with interaction

Digital signs are now so popular, it is difficult to imagine a world without them. If you think about it, when was the last time you left your house or office without bumping into one of the shining beacons of light, often displaying messages from more than one band or retailer?

Some argue that this is where digital signage can have an edge over print; with this sort of technology, you are able to showcase more than one brand at a single site and thus maximise the revenue potential of the location. However, as digital signs are so popular nowadays, brands are keen to push for differentiation in their campaigns and ensure that their message appeals more to consumers than those of the opposition.

Interaction is one sure-fire way of engaging more with consumers, as they are much more likely to pay attention to a sign or display they can interact with in some way. With this in mind, what are some of the latest technologies in this market that can help both brands and sign-makers gain a competitive advantage?


All about the experience


BrightSign is one of the many companies leading the charge for innovation in this market. Chief executive Jeff Hastings says interactive digital signage forms part of the overall shopping experience and will help consumers remember a brand after they have gone home.

BrightSign recently worked with Vegas EXP on a project featuring an interactive digital sign in the company’s new store on the Las Vegas Strip
 

“Interactivity, through the screen or via the customer’s own device, connects the online with the in-store experience,” he says, adding: “The online and offline brand identity should convey the same message and create the same impression. Also, the in-store experience should offer online options for purchasing items that are not physically present in store, delivering on the customer’s demand for product availability.


Customers go shopping for the experience; they want to play, have fun and be wowed by what they see

“Customers go shopping for the experience; they want to play, have fun and be wowed by what they see. Interactivity is central to creating that experience, allowing customers to get involved with the signage and create an experience that is unique and specific to their situation and requirements.”

Hastings said BrightSign is aware of a growing demand for this type of signage and recently joined forces with Signagelive to develop a new, interactive kiosk mode feature, allowing BrightSign players to switch between scheduled playback and interactive kiosk functionality. Users can configure any BrightSign device connected to a touchscreen to be used as a kiosk.

“When the screen is not being interacted with, the BrightSign player will play the scheduled content from Signagelive,” Hastings says, adding: “When a user interacts with the touchscreen, the player will trigger the content that is published to an Interrupt. Once the user has stopped interacting with the screen, the player will revert to the scheduled content until the next interaction.”

In terms of how BrightSign is specifically helping its customers, Hastings gives the example of a project in Las Vegas and Vegas EXP’s new, 3,200sq ft store in the Grand Bazaar Shops on The Strip. The store’s highlight is a 55” interactive LG touch screen that, when idle, displays content such as notable Instagram feeds and the local weather forecast.

However, when customers engage with the display, they are able to shop the store’s online product catalogue to purchase and ship products directly to their homes. The large display also offers a “selfie mode,” where customers can scroll through and take ‘selfies’ in front of various iconic Las Vegas backdrops.

Speed and convenience

Elsewhere, Zytronic is also championing the use of interactive digital signage in the retail sector. Ian Crosby, sales and marketing director, says retailers are now rethinking their customer journey, fully integrating e-commerce with assisted sale and endless aisle.

Crosby expands: “Well-designed interactive signage offers customers the best of both worlds; trusted and friendly advice from specialist staff in-store alongside the speed and convenience of the online channel.

“Interactive kiosks bring these two experiences together. Staff can guide customers to the best choice from the store’s range whether or not it is physically present in store, and place and fulfil the order in the way that best suits the individual customer.”

In response to the growing demand for these sorts of solutions – narrow screen borders in interactive video walls in particular – Zytronic has launched the new Zytronic ZXY500 touch controllers, which allow touch sensors to be designed with reduced non-active borders.

Zytronic ZXY500 controllers are also compatible with contactless technologies that are increasingly being integrated alongside displays to enable payments, customer tracking and battery charging technologies to be integrated neatly into the overall solution.

Turkish retailer Ebebek and digital retail specialist Phygital Mind used Zytronic Projected Capacitive Technology touch sensors to form the in-store front end of a ‘clicks-to-bricks’ project in 132 stores

Crosby says: “RFID, NFC and Qi phone charging all generate wireless signals that can interfere with the operation of conventional touch screens, but the new controller has industry leading signal-to-noise ratios and sophisticated algorithms that change dynamically to reject electromagnetic interference in the operating environment.

“Zytronic tested each of these technologies with the ZXY500 controller and demonstrated that they can be implemented very close to active touch area without impairing the performance of the touch screen.”

Live like modern people


Elsewhere, Anne Lindgren, sales director at Finnish company Seloy Live, agrees that interaction is key in the modern marketing mix in order to appeal to the consumer that expects to interact with ads.

Anne Lindgren, sales director at Seloy Live, says interactive digital signage brings value to locations such as stores, hotels and attractions

Lindgren says: “Future consumers are growing in a world where everything is expected to be interactive. They have learned to use touch devices before learning to walk, and they expect this experience to be found where ever they go.

“Decisions are often made based on how the store, hotel or attraction looks visually, and to this, interactive digital signage brings loads of value. Instead of hoping the consumer will take a longer look at the advert than just a glimpse, they urge customers to get involved, to be a part of the brand journey.”

Seloy Live has reacted to this by developing a new line of customised interactive products, which customers can use as real windows as well as touch displays. Lindgren builds on this by saying the company will also soon be launching an organic antibacterial surface for its products, which she believes will put Seloy ahead of competitors.


O Factoid: In April 2018, Orbis Research published a report that forecast the value of the global digital signage market could be worth as much as £24.8bn by 2023.O


Lindgren expands: “This is something that has not been discussed, but if you think about it, human hands have a lot of bacteria, which are then moved from the hand to the device and germs are spread this way. We want to make sure that our surfaces, both interactive and non-interactive, are safe surfaces and help to fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreading. This hopefully increases the interest of investing into touch-tech, and more people to use them.”

Seloy Live plans to launch an organic, antibacterial surface for its products, adding new health benefits to interactive digital signage 
 
Emma Bigg, director at AV consultant Octavius RE, is in agreement with Lindgren in terms of having to adapt signage and marketing for new-age consumers. She says brands must include new ways of engagement in their marketing and be creative in order to both attract and retain customers.

Bigg explains: “A lot of interaction with digital signage is about personalisation of experience and adding value. Consumers can find what they are looking more quickly, they can be advised of current promotions or new products that are related to things they are interested in. 

“You can do data driven marketing such as communicating targeted promotions in dwell areas such as the queue line. This adds value for the customer as they can have a more productive visit to a store or discover products and offers relevant to them without trawling through less relevant marketing.”

For this reason, Bigg anticipates technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistant becoming more popular during the course of 2019 and beyond.

AI can be used to analyse data, and learn about customers in order to target and personalise the marketing, as well as help businesses understand customers better and make commercial decisions accordingly. Virtual assistants can provide real-time answers very quickly, gamify the shipping experience, and also allow real assistants to be more productive and effective by harvesting off the repetitive, time consuming jobs.

Bigg adds: “The use of apps, profiles, pushing offers to smart devices, automated payment and so on means these worlds are linked and the marketing can be leveraged across the whole channel not specific parts which is more cost effective and can encourage longer term engagement from customers.”

This final quote aptly concludes our analysis; the invention of new technologies has opened up a host of opportunities for both brands and retailers to interact with consumers in new and exciting ways. Interactive digital signage presents an effective solution to do just this, and with new products coming to market all the time, there is plenty more innovation to look forward to in this sector.

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