A few centuries ago coming up with new programs for digital devices required coding knowledge. Just like how HTML knowledge was needed for developing websites. With time, programming became easier with the help of tools which made creating applications simpler. Now anyone with a basic understanding of web design can create a website with the many tools available online.
Interactivity in digital signage is moving on a similar path. When the concept first came around, interactive touch screens were costly and developing interactive content required extensive knowledge. Today the market comes with tools which can be used by almost anyone to produce interactive content.
LED screens are basically an extension of CRT, LCD and then LED television screens which have now transformed into 4k resolution displays. With the integration of media players and cloud based storage, content can be updated within a minute.
A study of the digital signage market predicts an 8% growth between 2015 and 2020.
By 2020, over 60% of LED signs will be interactive.
Touch technology has a spontaneous nature which has convinced LED sign investors to use touch as an interaction technique. Touch technology also enables personalized reactions, which are more engaging for customers.
Almost everyone owns a Smartphone which has a touch screen. Hence touch screens are becoming more and more popular in homes by way of tablets and smart phones. For this reason, almost every vendor and sales team will try to use these devices and create an interactive experience for their brands.
Unique benefits of interactivity
In addition to getting a personalized reaction by touching a screen, interactivity provides many other benefits to deployers. These include:
- Actions on the touch screen can be recorded and used to gauge how effective the content
- With interactive displays, additional content can be triggered, hence reinforcing the intention of the supplier. For example, when the user touches content related to a particular product, he will be shown further information and promotions relevant to that particular product.
- These touches can also be used to open doors to a multi channel retail strategy; where content is designed to direct customers to other related products that:
- have a higher profit margin
- are taking up too much space in inventory
- Interactive content can also include external data such as weather conditions, time, undesired inventory levels, and so on. This information provides additional context to a customer’s experience.
Take a restaurant for example, they can design menu boards that present digital menus to customers either based on the time of day or based on prevailing weather conditions in the area. Basically the program knows that cold drinks will sell more on hotter days and hot drinks go faster during colder temperatures. Accordingly, those particular products will be promoted with moving images that attract customer engagement.
Solutions to challenges
While interactive displays are being widely promoted, they bring up some issues that need to be solved in order for the concept to be accepted by everyone.
- Price of touch screens
Many of us still believe that interactive displays are way more costly than submissive LED displays. This may have been true when interactive LEDs were introduced initially because that’s how it always is with the introduction of any new technology. Now, the price of touch screens are almost at the same price range of submissive LED displays.
- Content development
Transitioning from passive to interactive LEDs significantly depends on being able to create the relevant interactive content. The solution for this challenge is to implement HTML5; a website full of HTML coding that has single touch capability.
Most LED sign content creators are not yet skilled in the advanced HTML 5 coding which enables the touch facility. As a result, content developers create tailor made content for the end user, which becomes quite costly.
No coding content creation
In response to the above problem, interactive software companies have come up with template-based tools to allow content developers to create content easily.
There are software platforms that create user experiences keeping in mind ‘interactivity’ as a main goal. These platforms use the latest interactive technologies such as:
- Multi touch
- Tag readers (RFID)
These technologies don’t require content developers to know how to use the program. Simply integrate front end experiences with data resources to guarantee up-to-date information and a full range of services ranging from email to point-of-sale.
With this approach, one does not have to worry about risks associated with software development: weak security, poor scalability, limited portability and inflexible architecture. The content developer only has to focus on producing unique and exclusive content. If you are worried about duplicating templates, you can design your own template and include it in the interface. Furthermore, these softwares not only allow for making changes immediately, they allow for doing so at no extra cost. Hiring someone to make these changes with HTML coding can cost you for every minute.