Business opportunities Enriching the retail experience

However necessary in the short term, store closures and staff cuts do little to encourage consumers back into spending money in bricks-and-mortar stores. For shoppers looking for experiential shopping trips to the point where the shop itself becomes the destination, re- cent developments in AV tech- nology have much to offer.

1. Personalising the experience

More and more businesses are updating their signage to con- temporary digital options and with good reason. Research has shown that eight out of ten customers have entered a store because a digital sign caught their interest and 71 percent of people think that advertising on digital billboards stands out more than online ads.

Out-dated static message boards have been replaced by more technologically advanced options such as dynamic holo- graphic displays and 3D imag- ery. These sorts of displays are being used to great effect - to create atmospheres, engage audiences and effectively com- municate messaging. The dig- ital signage industry has seen a huge growth in its uses, and the capabilities of the technol- ogy itself, driving changes in the way society is interacting with signage in all areas of their lives from shops, hospitals, work and leisure. But what of next-generation digital spaces? Joe Rabah, Managing Director for EMEA, RMG Network looks at tech- nology that can turn every visit into a personalised experience. “Imagine that as you enter the airport, there is a person- alised message welcoming you, and then further tailored messaging accompanies you throughout your shop, bar and restaurant visits. Then it finally directs you to your departure gate, where you arrive fully in- formed and having enjoyed a variety of targeted promotions along the way. Well there’s no need to just imagine any more; the technology for this is


ready in place. But just how do we start using it effectively, and what impact will it have?” “Whether it’s at work, in a leisure venue or an educational outlet, digital signage is con- tinually evolving and offering more than the traditional static message boards that consum- ers have previously been ac- customed to. With the average human’s attention spanning roughly eight seconds, it is no surprise

that these outdated

message boards have struggled to capture and engage audienc- es. Advancements in display technologies now mean that this no longer needs to be an issue, though. Developments in digital signage now mean that messaging can be displayed in a host of different ways, from curved LED screens, flat pan- el displays and glasses-free 3D screens to holograms, 4K ultra-HD screens, arena floor

P8 AV News June 2018

projection and interactive tech- nologies. There is a plethora of new signage technology de- signed to interact with audi- ences in a more engaging and immersive manner.”

“These new dynamic display technologies are extremely adaptable, versatile and flex- ible, fitting into any environ- ment, complementing the surroundings and bringing the environment and messaging to life. For example, LED screens have the ability to be placed indoors and outdoors, to be curved or built to a particular size-grabbing attention and de- liver messages with impact and vibrancy. Holograms can create interest and deliver imagery and messaging subtly without changing the surrounding land- scape.”

“The digital signage industry has not only seen huge growth in its uses, but also in the ca- pabilities of the technology itself, driving changes in the way society is interacting with signage. A recent study has revealed that eight out of ten customers have entered a store because a digital sign caught their interest and 71 percent of people said they felt advertis- ing on digital billboards stood out more than online ads.” “We are now surrounded by digital landscaping, which is providing users with immer- sive tailored experiences and increasing engagement in var- ious different areas of our lives. In business it can be used to great effect to increase employ- ee engagement, create moods and change atmospheres with- in the workplace as required. In an educational environment, it can help deliver an enhanced student experience, providing

targeted information regarding a student’s curriculum or inter- ests, or improving their safety, acting as a real-time guidance system, and in leisure venues digital signage can attract more customers, create atmosphere and provide a cost-effective way to communicate to all visi- tors. The uses are multiple and, if used well, can benefit many areas of our lives.” In order to drive engagement, the content displayed on these digital displays has to be infor- mative, tailored and entertain- ing. It is not just the hardware that has evolved, but also the software behind the displays, as marketing today is driven by ‘big data’ which provides in- sight into consumer usage and interaction. Digital signage is an extremely effective tool for collecting data as the screens have cameras that can track exactly who is walking past and then engage with that person. Usage of

clever data-driven

solutions has increased sales for some organisations, such as the O2 arena, which recently announced that it will be go- ing 100 percent digital to de- liver more dynamic offers to its customers. In fact, one of the venue’s refreshment suppli- ers reported that it had seen a seven to twelve percent uplift in sales, which it has directly attributed to an increasing in advertising on digital screens. Due to the large amount of data being continually collected, Ar- tificial Intelligence (AI) allows the data to be quickly sorted and analysed and for the mes- sages to be personalised. These messages are then displayed on a variety of platforms, from LED screens to mobile phones and holograms.

Despite privacy concerns, re- search conducted by Deloitte suggests that more than one in four 16 to 24-year olds are happy for businesses to use their personal information to offer them more personalised products or services. If prop- erly implemented, a reliable digital signage system will al- low users to provide seamless personalised messaging to a wide audience across various locations and platforms, bene- fitting all involved. In a retail environment, these bespoke messages have been seen to grow and retain customers’ trust, as well as help maximise ROI as customers are being presented with the most rel- evant content possible. This helps to increase brand loyalty and maintain retail presence on the high street.

“The possibilities for digi- tal signage are endless. From train

stations to motorways,

in-store shopping, employee engagement and emergency announcements, digital dis- plays are capable of creating atmospheres, invoking emotion and acting as an effective com- munications tool. Combining these displays with data-driven technology and innovation is what creates market-leading signage solutions that are not only able to go beyond purely display technology, but also deliver value to their audienc- es and the businesses using them.”

2. Automating interaction

Facial recognition technology from Omron Electronic Com- ponents Europe has enabled in-store digital marketing solu- tions experts, ANQ, to create a

Facial recognition technology from Omron Electronic Components Europe has enabled in-store digital mar- keting solutions experts ANQ to create a dynamic digital signage platform that allows retailers to deliver

dynamic digital signage plat- form that allows retailers to deliver tailored content to cus- tomers in-store.

ANQ have used Omron’s Hu- man Vision Component, a fully integrated, ready-to-use facial recognition module, in their digital signage platform to sig- nificantly improve retail cus- tomers’ in-store experience by providing relevant content on the digital signage screens that they see, and retailers with im- proved performance metrics for their signage.

Lee Gibson, Managing Direc-

tor, ANQ comments “As digital signage is maturing and devel- oping so is the greater need for strategic application. Retailers are already well versed in con- sumer data and insights and are now looking at how their digital signage can add further benefits, both in terms of cus- tomer experience and business insights. Our dynamic digital signage offering gives custom- ers more tailored content and through video analytics, retail- ers can build a better picture of what’s working in-store.” ANQ have also developed a fully integrated Customer Ana- lytics Module, which works be- hind the scenes using Omron’s facial recognition technology, to provide valuable insights through anonymously captur- ing customer data. All the collected data can be accessed through ANQ’s BI web portal or can be data shaped to the cus- tomers’ requirements for ‘Big Data’ analysis.

Lee Gibson adds, “Working with Omron, we were impressed with the HVC module, not only for the multiple detection fac- tors but also because 80% of the processing is done on the board. The module provided a ready to use solution that in- cluded a camera and processor, delivering ready to use data at its outputs. This meant we were then able to add our algorithms on top of this data for all lev- els of our platform quickly and easily.

What’s great is that as

well as offering dynamic digital signage for new installs, we can also

upgrade existing digital

signage to give retailers more insights and flexibility of con- tent.”

The fully integrated or stand- alone video analytics platform from ANQ, allows for data to be analysed based on gender, age estimation, dwell time, expres- sion and head/gaze direction as well as a count of general ver- sus engaged people. HVC builds on the Omron OKAO Vision software, a proven set of image recognition algo- rithms used in over 500 million digital cameras, mobile phones and surveillance robots around

the world. It integrates ten key image sensing functions, a camera and an external inter- face. Developers can detect a human face, hand or body, and implement face recognition, gender detection, age estima- tion, mood estimation, facial pose estimation, gaze estima-

tion, and blink estimation. HVC-P2 can capture, detect and recognise a face over a dis- tance of up to 3m and will pro- vide a confidence level with its reading. The module can esti- mate the subject’s mood based on one of five expressions. It can also detect a human body up to 17m away and a hand at a distance of 6m. HVC imple- ments the OKAO software on a hardware platform complete with camera.

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