Digital Signage Solutions Maturing, Gaining Momentum In Retail

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The market for electronic displays with the ability to change from message to message rapidly, known as digital signage, is expanding into the retail space.

Chipmaker Intel has broken into the emerging technology market and now offers digital signage solutions that encompass retail, hospitality, banking and entertainment; point of way signage for a captive audience, which includes health care, corporations, and education; and point of transit, at transportation venues and outdoor settings. Brands and venues want to measure the ROI of their campaigns, and digital signage is designed to allow them to do that with audience metrics and proof-of-play, which focus on collecting anonymous audience metrics.

61 percent of Intel's signage solutions go toward the retail space, according to Jose Avalos, director of digital signage for the Intel Embedded & Communications Group. Avalos says digital signage has become more than a segment, and is now a full-fledged industry.

"We solve real problems in this space," Avalos."We think there is a real opportunity in this technology with our V-Pro brand and our Core brand. As Intel designs references and evaluation platforms, it allows system integrators to provide turnkey solutions for digital signage. We develop the solutions and let the vendors and system integrators pull the solutions together."

Avalos gave the example of a network operator managing a network at a public venue, whose tasks include installation, support, and maintenance. That operator could go to a system integrator to pull the technology together and use Intel Active Management technology, which allows the retail partner to manage the signs remotely, reducing the TCO of the operating network, Avalos said.

Avalos said that once devices with digital signage become connected, Intel and its customers want them to be "intelligent," meaning they are energy-efficient, remotely managed and secure end-to end, while offering different metrics and analytics.

"Once it's intelligent, the device wants to be transactional---that's the biggest trend we're seeing in embedded today," Avalos said.

Mark Thompson, president and CEO of 2020 IT Solutions Group, a Kelowna, BC-based solution provider that began offering digital signage solutions more than five years ago, said 2020's solutions are customer-facing and placed at point of sale terminals.

"We see digital signage going in the direction of a replacement of fixed menu boards and billboards everywhere," Thompson said. "Digital signage simply means the sign can be changed rapidly, even immediately. It also allows the sign to shift with the time of day and respond to the competitive positioning of different companies, all of whom want it to react quickly, whether it's at a restaurant or an airport, whatever the venue may be."

NEXT: Areas Where Digital Signage Is Expanding

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