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Not just a pretty picture: Experiencing digital signage

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During the World Games in Kaohsiung, a high-school student met up with some friends in the Hanshin Arena and began a five-on-five street basketball challenge sponsored by Nike. After the match, they visited the Nike booth and wandered into the store to check out the latest Nike trainers. One of the students approached a digital signage touch screen running the latest basketball shoe advert—a pro basketball player, shown wearing the coolest new shoes, leaps into the air as if flying, followed by a cutaway introducing the shoe’s product information. The student was impressed by the direct impact of the advert and immediately wanted a pair of his own. This is typical of the experiences that retail designers are creating nowadays through digital signages. EE in conversation with Mr. Mohamed Rafeeq, CEO, Scala India, finds out what makes the digital signage the next experiential method of marketing.



EE - Augmented reality, touch screen experiences and interactive displays are being used widely in the experiential space. What are the solutions you are providing to meet these requirements?



We strongly believe that the future success of digital signage lies in harnessing the power of the consumer and driving path breaking content based on the customer's need. We have carried out numerous deployments of the concepts mentioned but what matters is the ultimate experience of the consumer, whether the experience influenced his decision, was it powerful enough to stand out, was it relevant and engaging, and was it seamless. Unless the answers to these are an overwhelming yes, the above concepts, in fact, would erode value! Therefore, it is critical to get it right. This can only be done through technology that is robust, scalable, one that can be integrated, and a mindset that understands the customer and looks at the complete picture end-to-end. This is where, I believe, we are different when compared to others. Our solutions, which are the best in the business, range from simple digital signage displays to way finders, gesture based displays, interactivity based on tabs / handheld devices, QR codes, triggers from e-systems such as ERPs etc. Our wide network across the world and our global experience and expertise further augments our strength locally.



EE - How has digital signage evolved and how do you compare the experience with traditional print signage?



Over the years, digital signage had evolved from being a passive medium to a highly relevant, engaging and interactive medium. In this sense, it cannot really be weighed against print based signage. The business now focuses on influencing consumer behaviour at the point of sale. This is being carried out through increasingly bringing in intelligence and relevance into signage. Analytics is beginning to play a large role and could be a game changer in the future. Increasingly, digital signage networks are getting integrated with social media. Across the world, retailers are trying to bridge the gap between a customer's online experience and the digital signage experience in store.



EE - What are some of the brands that experiment with digital signage and new technology exceptionally well?



Globally, retail has started harnessing the power of signage and taking it to the next level of engagement. The ‘Omni Channel’ experience is increasingly being tested by numerous retail brands where retailing embraces platforms ranging from mobile devices, computers and direct mail to television, radio and conventional bricks-and-mortar. At Scala, we work with leading supermarket chains, high end fashion boutiques, automotive brands, new age Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and coffee shops where concepts like the Scala ‘fling’, ibeacon based phone apps, digital product configurators among other things are been tested and rolled out.



EE - What are some of the innovations you have brought into this space?



In India - we operate as a ‘full solution’ provider encompassing hardware, software, content, innovation and hosting. Some interesting concepts used include:



-Creative execution of flight arrival / departure triggers by Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS) where a video wall graphically shows the flight path (destination) on a map



-Way finders that dynamically show details of stores, locations, facilities etc. blending advertising for brands, all based on search criteria



-Visual, interactive Car configurators where the car specifications / accessories can be changed on a video wall through a tab



-The ‘Fling’ where customers can browse product information on tabs and fling content to or from video walls / large format screens



-Triggering promotional content when products are lifted off security pods in a retail environment



-Dynamically displaying company KPIs on large format screens using highly visually appealing graphics



-Live updates of sports and games on public screens



-Live TV integration displaying sports and games on large format screens



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