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Friday, February 17, 2012

A Digital Sign of the Times

The Digital Out of Home (DOOH) Experience is exploding, and most people take it for granted. Why? Because digital signs are essentially familiar, flat panels TVs found in most homes-and signs, digital or not are seemingly everywhere these days. While there has been a push to make signs actionable through QR codes, an increasing amount of companies from retail, entertainment, and hospitality, to cabs and office building are investing in digital signage. Initially, this was because digital signage were simply more compelling visually and its inventory, more flexible.
However, intended or not these signs may just hold the keys to a new consumer and retail gateway.

The trend
What’s lesser known is that these signs are consolidating into comprehensive and controllable networks, and that most of them are under the control of complex programmable software servers. An interesting post in Digital Signage Today describes how the 66-theater chain Rave just finalized a rollout of new signs powered by software from Real Digital Media.

The implications:
There is now a new screen with which marketers can engage consumers at very “targetable” levels. Look at a typical retail environment. A consumer brings her smart phone or tablet in, and can interact with content for that retailer through that device. At point of sale, consumer can be recognized and rewarded for purchases. Now, for a marketer and a consumer- things are starting to pay off. With a digital sign and Near Field Communications, a consumer can check in and be recognized and rewarded straight back to her mobile Internet device in real time, based not only on her data (preferences, behavior, demographics, etc.) but also her exact location! These screens can also be used to advertise and sign up for loyalty programs, receive special in-store offers, or even get customer services delivered through rich media. Though in the very early days, the possibilities for innovative uses of these screens in an integrated, cross-channel way is profound, especially for retailers.

Imagine you walk into a theater chain powered by 5-10 signs in each location and you are carrying their loyalty card on your iPad. “Ding-! “(That was a push alert for free popcorn as a reward for coming twice this month).

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