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Immerse Yourself in Smart Digital Signage

smart digital signage

Brick and mortar is ready for its comeback. Online shopping may be convenient, but the experience can never transcend a 2D world. Today’s physical retailers can enjoy the best of both worlds by adding advanced digital signage that engages all the senses and transforms the buying journey.

Imagine customers walking into an athletic wear store, for example, where they are greeted with dynamic videos of people using the gear in action. Not only can they see how the pieces enhance performance; they can pick them up and try them on for themselves. Or consider the benefits interactive digital signage can provide Quick Serve Restaurants (QSRs). Customers can be drawn in by walls of screens that advertise menu options and then make their selection based on a greater spectrum of information.

“Digital signage adds tremendous value and makes sitting-on-the-sofa online shopping boring,” says Nils Karsten, Retail Business Segment Lead for Sharp NEC Display Solutions in Europe, manufacturers of digital display solutions. “It has the ability to create real experiences for people.”

Applications go beyond retail as digital displays are becoming an essential tool for a variety of industries, including transportation. For example, an airport in Germany recently installed a NEC Digital Signage solution above the baggage area in one of its terminals that sees 25 million passengers coming through each year. In this case, a custom-made 16-by-9-foot screen leverages the system’s high brightness and contrast technology, creating an eye-catching display. Retailers, restaurants, airlines, and travelers all benefit from information that helps avoid potential bottlenecks to advertising that can generate additional revenue.

Flexible, Preconfigured Hardware and Software

NEC Computing Device Digital Signage uses an Intel® Smart Display Module (Intel® SDM) that is integrated directly into signage displays, offering higher edge compute performance for improved flexibility. “No extra cable, connection, or power supply is required,” says Karsten. “And we support most of the world’s leading CMS (content management system) solutions, which makes it easier to get started.”

Plus, you can easily integrate a broad variety of sensors, for applications such as people counting, RFID, wireless, object detection, and touch buttons.

The solution comes preconfigured with software for easy deployment. “Hardware is the basis of the digital-signage experience and as CPUs get more powerful, there are many different iterations that create a good basis for new software to be developed,” says Erik Elbert, Senior Product Manager of Large Format Displays and Computing Technologies for Sharp NEC Display Solutions in Europe.

And these displays offer 4K resolution that will soon expand to 8K. “If someone is standing in front of the screen watching the content, it looks as real as possible because you don’t see any pixels,” says Elbert. “That gives the person the experience of being part of the content.”

#Retailers, restaurants, #airlines, and travelers all benefit from information that helps avoid potential bottlenecks to #advertising that can generate additional revenue. @NEC_corp via @insightdottech

Digital-Signage Displays Make the Viewer Part of the Content

While visual content is engaging, today’s signage is more than just a pretty display. The integration of augmented realities and computer vision using AI can enhance the customer interaction and create sophisticated applications and use cases for greater flexibility and performance.

“You want to have the best, brightest picture possible for the display side, but you also want the best playback of the content,” says Elbert. “In the background, you can do data analysis to measure who is standing in front of it and what kind of content should be played to gain more attention from customers.”

Systems integrators can leverage digital-signage solutions to grow their businesses while helping their clients stay relevant in the marketplace. SIs benefit from a preconfigured computing setup, so they don’t need to worry about loading software, which OS version to use, or system configuration. And NEC’s global sales team can assist with deployment as well as with add-on services, such as repairs and extended warranties.

The solution can also be customized with different operating systems, memory, and settings to meet requirements, such as high data security needed for airports. “Once connected to the network, there is nothing else for them to do,” says Elbert. “Customization starts at the minimum order quantity of one piece in EMEA region. We want to offer the best modular technology to our service integrators so with the right software and sensors, our computing devices give them the possibility to win more customers.”

The Future of Digital-Signage Systems

According to Karsten, the digital-signage market is growing rapidly at a rate of 7% a year. And technology is making the latest and greatest possible. Innovation of digital signage will include interactive capabilities through the continued integration of sensors, cameras, and AI, for an intelligent, immersive experience.

“Integration and experience are the two main assets,” says Karsten. “We’re moving away from a simple display in a store. Better resolutions, different screen sizes and the integration of sensors, object recognition, and even mobile devices create a truly immersive and seamless environment. As people get back outside and shop, digital signage can make the experience even better than it was before COVID.”

This article was edited by Georganne Benesch, Associate Editorial Director for

About the Author

Stephanie Vozza is a business writer who specializes in retail, technology, and finance. In 2006, she launched her own eCommerce brand and sold it five years later to FranklinCovey Products. Stephanie has written for companies that include Intel, Epson, Oracle, Smartsheet, Wells Fargo, First Citizens Bank, and Mastercard. She's a regular contributor to Fast Company where she covers leadership, careers, and technology. Stephanie's byline has also appeared in Forbes, Inc., Parade, Entrepreneur, and SUCCESS magazines.

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