Posted By Kristin Flandreau
Americas Business Group Lead
Digital Signage Expo (DSE), held in February, is the world’s largest and longest event exclusively dedicated to the digital signage, interactive technology and digital-out-of-home industries. This year, more than 4,000 attendees — 30 percent from outside the U.S. — gathered in Las Vegas and viewed innovative solutions addressing industry trends:
- Adoption of interactive digital signage driven by consumers’ expectation that they should be able to “touch” and interact with signs
- Integration of live video feeds and social media to extend customer engagement
- Use of varied screen sizes to deliver different messages to different audiences
- Use of analytics to determine what content to display — and when to display it
Microsoft collaborated with several digital signage partners to demonstrate solutions that address these trends. Demos and tours gave visitors the chance to see how intelligent systems with Windows Embedded endpoints — digital players and displays, kiosks, and tablets — can improve their internal processes and deliver exceptional customer service while managing security and consistency across devices and screens. The Windows Embedded group collaborated with Microsoft intelligent systems partners including Scala, Omnivex, Reflect and HP. Below are some of the intelligent systems solutions showcased during the event:
Scala, a Microsoft intelligent systems partner, demonstrated the Scala Fling, Gesture Control and Connected Café solutions. Scala Fling enables the sharing of content from a tablet or mobile device to any screen with a flick of a finger. It increases the level of engagement and attracts customers. Fling is an assisted-selling tool in which a retailer can walk customers through content on an industry tablet and, upon reaching something of interest, “fling” it to a larger screen for that customer, while also potentially engaging others nearby. Scala demonstrated its solution on a ruggedized industry tablet manufactured by Winpro.
Scala’s Gesture Control is a versatile interfaceless and touchless interactivity system that is based on hand movements. A person passing by a gesture-enabled Scala digital sign is prompted to interact with the display by simply moving their hands in front of a camera. This interactive display attracts customers and can increase in-store foot traffic through the fun and somewhat addictive nature of the display.
Connected Café is a self-service kiosk at which personalization is emphasized as customers place their orders on an easy-to-navigate automated system. Customers are notified that their orders are ready when their pictures are displayed on screen. It increases in-store foot traffic, optimization and productivity. Connected Café alleviates the need for the front desk to take orders, which allows more focus on order completion. The automated system is easily integrated with back-end systems running business analytics.
Omnivex Corp., a Microsoft intelligent systems partner, demonstrated how organizations can connect people with data leveraging their existing investments. To illustrate the real-time connection of people with data, Omnivex used a combination of mobile devices such as the HP ElitePad tablet (running Windows Embedded 8.1), large touch panels and peripheral sensors in the booth to create visual experiences.
Omnivex also highlighted the Connected Experience, from the individual customer or employee in a store or regional office to the enterprise and corporate offices. It showcased how customers can leverage data from source systems such as CRM, ERP and social media with locally captured data using inputs such as sensors, RFID, etc. to personalize the digital experience on the fly. Omnivex demonstrated how data from individual interactions can become critical business intelligence that is shared throughout the enterprise without manual intervention, providing insight and enabling business decisions.
Reflect, another intelligent systems partner, showcased ReflectView Mobile Player, which provides the ability to deploy, manage and seamlessly use tablets as fully interactive mobile digital media players. Reflect demonstrated an assisted-selling application running on an HP Windows Embedded kiosk, connected wirelessly to an HP ElitePad tablet.
Microsoft intelligent systems partner HP showcased the HP MP4 Model 9000 and the HP MP4 Model 4200 media players — both running the Windows Embedded platform. HP also highlighted several display solutions including its HP Vantage Point video wall built on Microsoft technologies.
Fueled by the types of innovation displayed by our partners, the digital signage market is growing. A recent study suggests that the market will be worth $13.2 billion by 2016, at an estimated CAGR of 27.29 percent from 2011 to 2016 (MarketsandMarkets). Data can be collected from these interactive digital signs and wirelessly connected tablets and phones to enable greater business insights and help enterprises drive their businesses.