Beyond Displays: Digital Signage Is about Beacons, Facial Recognition and Anonymous Tracking

The real digital signage sizzle at ISE 2016 had more to do with tools to provide information and analytics than sexy LED panels.

George Tucker
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Digital Signage—it’s not your father’s menu board anymore.

A good many integrators, when asked what digital signage means to their business talk in terms of displays, mountings, labor and players. While the model and margins for these components are important factors, there is a growing integration with analytic observation. 

To be sure there were plenty of LED panels and displays to be seen and touched at Integrated Systems Europe 2016. Some offered slightly denser pitch count, could be walked on or left in all weather conditions, offered easier replacement process or touted color matching between purchase lots.

All fundamentals that provide solutions to existing problems. But what more can signage do?

Moving beyond just the presentation of menu offerings or the latest specials, DOOH (digital out of home) can work to provide essential information on customer actions within retails environments.

The potential of offerings to clients and the recurring revenue that these interactive, data gathering digital signage systems can generate awe inspiring.

Questions every retailer has: Who is coming in my shop, what are they buying, why is a specific item languishing? 

Helping stores attract and keep customers buying and guiding customers to what retailers are offering is what companies like Beabloo are implementing now.

Utilizing tools such as beacons, facial recognition, items touched and anonymous tracking Beabloo can generate metrics and analytics. Information that can help increase the odds of a sale and make the shopping experience easier for the client. 

In the example of a clothing store: a customer enters the store greeted by a display which includes cameras and software to determine of they are male or female. The signage then offers some suggestions. While they are working their way through the store the system can track their movements using an anonymized version of the Wi-Fi MAC address. Finally NFC points can provide information and specials on the product. 

Of course the experience can only happen if the client can find their way to you. 

Wayfinder by 3D Berlin provides interactive location displays which go beyond the simple—you are here, they are there.  Acting somewhat like a turn by turn driving program, Wayfinder creates a map using the floor plan drawings to recreate the space in a 3D view.

Just as with other store locator system, one enters a desired destination—a clothing store, department of company or the X-ray room in a medical facility. In addition to presenting the user with the destination’s location relative to your position it also calls up a 3D map. The user can scan a QR code to loads the trip on their mobile device and follow it.

For the integrator the possibilities of installing the Wayfinder display can lead to much more than a simple signage install. While the company has not implemented the technology, it is not hard to foresee the addition of Wi-Fi tracking for true turn by turn directions. Imagine adding beacons and NFC connections so that participating locations can push opt in offerings to you. Off to buy a dress shirt, the tie store is on the way, perhaps you should drop in there on the way. 

The potential of offerings to clients and the recurring revenue that these interactive, data gathering digital signage systems can generate awe inspiring. If you are installing the hardware, distributing the content or managing the systems, just as IT has become AV, so will analytics become Dooh.

Photos: Check out Wayfinder by 3D Berlin and Beabloo at ISE 2016