With InfoComm recently reporting that the digital signage marketplace is set to grow by 20% in 2014, Frieder Hansen, CEO of Pyramid Computing, offers his tips to integrators looking to enter this growing market.
"My advice for integrators would be to carefully evaluate the functionality and versatility of the digital signage technology they are considering for their specific application," he explained. "In my opinion, digital signage projects should deliver stunning effects and, therefore, need to have central intelligent management in place to create weather- and season-dependent content and offer sales orientated functions such as QR codes to scan by smartphone.
"One of the biggest barriers to digital touchscreen signage is inadequate functionality in omni-channel in-store software. Consumers will be disappointed if there is in insufficient, inaccurate or missing data about a specific product they are interested in. If installing omni-channel systems, make sure all product details can be shown, including warehouse stock availability.
"When looking at touch technology, integrators should research the best projected capacitive technology (PCT) to ensure continued consumer acceptance and engagement. People are easily bored by slow touch operations. In a store, if the display GUI is not working as fast or fluent as expected, consumers simply will not make a purchase."
The company has recently been involved in an extensive project designed to unite online and in-store shopping at Marks & Spencer stores across the UK. polytouch all-in-one multi-touch kiosks were chosen to offer integrated internet access enabling customers to browse the complete M&S retail collection and pay for their purchases instantly via secure Chip & PIN technology. Consequently, the kiosks are helping to reduce queue times as well as improving availability and choice. As of November 2013, approximately 700 polytouch kiosks in 32in and 22in format have been deployed.
The units allow customers to browse for products held either in-store or online, and are the first in the UK to be equipped with integrated Chip and PIN to PCI DSS standards, allowing customers to safely pay for their purchases instantly. The intelligent modular design has enabled previously deployed 32in units to be field upgraded from MSR to Chip & PIN, which not only means that future changes such as UHF RFID, or other scan or print technologies, can be deployed when required, but also ensures protection of the main unit investment for many years.
Looking to the future of the industry, Hansen believes interactive technology has an increasingly important role to play.
"With a higher saturation of screens in the marketplace, it’s no longer satisfactory to put a screen on the wall and expect the consumer to pay attention," he added. "In the retail environment especially, when consumers enter a store they expect interactive technology they can automatically engage with for inspiration, improved convenience and greater choice. For this reason, individual and integrated multi-touch solutions such as our polytouch all-in-one self-service kiosks can add an exciting new ‘smart digital’ dimension to the retail environment."