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BrightSign on the technology ‘arms race’ in retail

BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings reveals the new technologies helping retailers engage more with customers.

For signage and signage player manufacturers in retail, how big of an opportunity is technology such as physical cookies?

Retailers are encouraging customers to engage directly through the digital signage screen and indirectly via their own devices. Proximity based content is on the increase. Bluetooth and beacon technology is enabling a new level of audience participation. Customers will be presented with options to interact with and control the signage from their mobile device. These technologies will allow retailers to increase sales with engaging and targeted point-of-purchase promotions.

Are there any other technologies in the retail space you’re currently involved with that you think will have a big impact?

Any technology that opens new and exciting ways to engage with signage is on the increase. Growing support for HTML5 is enabling developers to take their presentations to a new level, with functionality like swipe/pinch/zoom interactive, Web GL, live streaming social media, and HTML5 assets layered with live TV.

Are retailers happy to implement new and somewhat unproven technologies more readily than other industries?

Retailers are in an arms race not only with each other but also with the online experience accessible to their customers on PCs, tablets and smartphones. They are very open to new ideas, technologies and approaches that will create a wow factor amongst their customers. They are heavily invested in creating an experience that draws the customer into their physical stores and away from online.

Do you think retailers know the best way to utilise innovative technologies to get the best out of them?

Some very sophisticated brands have their own creative and IT departments, but most retailers rely heavily on smart systems integrators that not only advise them of the technologies that are available, but also implement them in reliable, stable installations that work effectively. Often, integrators also take responsibility for managing, hosting and even creating content to keep installations constantly refreshed.

Tell us about a recent installation project that highlights BrightSign’s expertise in the retail sector.

A testing brief for BrightSign came through UK based installer Project Audio Visual. They were asked to install a Dynascan curved LED display around a column within a store at the Westfield Shopping Centre. Curved signage gives customers a great view of advertisements and on brand content, wherever they are standing. Curved displays give the appearance of a wider screen, catching the attention of potential customers even in a large space, such as a shopping centre. However, a major challenge with curved displays is that they are a non-standard format. BrightSign players, with their fully configurable resolution, make it easy to ensure that the content fits the screen correctly whatever the size. “This screen is 820 x 580 format – we were able to set that resolution in the player so that the content wraps around the column correctly,” said Steve Hudson of Project Audio Visual. “The easy and straightforward configuration of BrightSign players in BrightAuthor is a major benefit when we’re working to a tight deadline like this. We simply didn’t have the luxury of using the trial and error approach to find the correct settings.”