The Information Age, the Digital Age or the New Media Age, whatever name you use, it has been with us since the introduction of the personal computer. But we as a society and the technology we use are no longer confined to our pc’s, cellphones and tablets. Wearable technology, the Internet of things and Artificial Intelligence is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological world to the point of being indistinct. People are constantly connected to screens and increasingly to each other through social media, apps and communities. Not to mention emerging technologies such as Nanotechnology, 3-D printing, Virtual Technology and Augmented Reality. The shift away from Traditional Industry into an economy based on technology and information began slowly but is now the driving power behind business and society itself.
We live in a knowledge-based society which is encased in a high-tech global economy that spreads its influence over every way we do business. How will these digital trends manifest themselves for the rest of 2016 and beyond, we have a few ideas, keeping an eye on technological breakthroughs in the consumer space which will influence and has always influenced the business world. A significant crossover between consumer and commercial technology markets is being seen.
Digital Signage in Retail
Displays will continue to drive much of the evolution in the digital signage arena – especially in retail. There is ongoing improvement in screen quality further narrowing the resolution gap between print and screen. However digital signage is no longer just about screen quality. Immersion is the key to the new frontier in digital signage within retail spaces. Businesses need to create emotional connections between the customer and their brand through digital experiences. Integrating digital signage into your customers journey within the retail space will drive engagement and deliver an experience that creates a personal relationship. A relationship that will keep bringing customers back to your brand. This will open up many avenues for designers, installers and system integrators who want to utilize digital signage in retail settings in new and exciting ways.
Beacon/ Mobile and App technologies
Beacon technology is a small piece of hardware that connect via Bluetooth to smartphones or tablets that are in the vicinity. This allows your brands apps (Android or iOS) to recognize when Beacons are in the vicinity in the physical world and react accordingly. Whether that reaction is a promotion or just a hello from your brand to your customer, Beacons are changing the way Retail can interact with people and cause people to interact with their products. Retail is therefore at the forefront of beacon activity. Estimates show that the number of beacons in the US alone can increase by 9 times in the next 3 years. As businesses adopt connectivity to their screens through Bluetooth technology, anyone who doesn’t offer a strong user experience that creates value will soon find themselves losing customers.
Data collection and understanding consumer engagement
The ability to sense and track a customer by their phone generates valuable big data for retailers. Data which is so advanced through facial recognition, beacons etc, it could tell you what the age range is of your customers, their gender and so much more. Working in unison with digital signage displays you can deliver intelligent, profile-based messaging to a customer’s smartphone and the digital signage that surrounds them. This allows for much more targeted messaging that can enhance the shopping experience.
Data-driven, customized, dynamic experiences mark the next evolution of communicating with today’s empowered, ever-connected consumer.
Last year saw the exciting growth of Augmented Reality and how it could be used to increase the customer experience. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are beginning to see the rise of a new technology called Mixed Reality. This is a merging and melding of the real and virtual, creating new environments where physical and digital objects are connected, interactive and immersive all in real-time.
Even though this won’t make mainstream usage…yet, these reality changing, literally, technologies are great to use for product launches and to create media interest in your brand. Imagine the attention you could garner for your brands new product as it comes to life before their very eyes. These technologies breathe new life into these events and capture the interest and imagination of your audience meaning they will want to interact with your brand and product longer both at the event and once they have left. Combine these technologies to create a new reality for your customers, a reality where your business is part of their lifestyles.
OTT and Web streaming
“Over-the-top” or OTT is the most used term in entertainment right now. OTT is so important because it is the product of the inevitable merger of television and digital video. This is the term used when referring to the delivery of audio, video and other media over the Internet without the need for a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content. With Netflix surpassing HBO in the US in terms of domestic subscribers as reported by the New York Post, and already making strides in South Africa, this type of technology is forging ahead. Although OTT isn’t necessarily new in South Africa soon it will be the norm and not the exception. In the corporate arena this type of technology can easily be integrated with IPtv, giving corporate clients a wider variety of content to stream to staff, with the added benefit of being able to play their internal communication over the IPtv network.
Web streaming is still going strong and when combined with corporate communication channels offers a whole new dimension on staff communication and engagement. With bandwidth getting faster and bigger and for the lucky few more filled with Fibre this is something to watch out for.
3D technology is becoming more and more mainstream. As this technology develops you will be able to merge it with your interactive experience to bring your products “to life” for your consumers with virtual tours, product demos and more. Content will continue to be the driver of digital. Content will keep your customers thinking about your brand long after they have engaged with you digitally. However the days of boring content and hard selling are soon going to be left behind. Rightly so, there is so much in the digital space to make your content stand out from the rest. Interactive mobile apps are being made part of the omni-channel strategy in order to add to the customer experience. Gamification, the use of typical elements of game playing in non-game contexts which drives user behavior, presents huge opportunities for digital content that is unique and retains customer attention even whilst they are at home. Content and technologies work in symbiosis with examples such as Augmented Reality and Gamification making up a huge part of this type of strategy.
The future, the New Media Age and this year belong to interactivity and content. This should be part of your marketing strategy in order to culminate into a greater customer experience and a more confident consumer base.
Global Access is an innovative digital media and content solutions provider. As a market leader in Digital Media technologies we make sure we attend international events in order to see and test the latest technology has to offer. This in turn, ensures we are able to supply our clients with the best solutions that are tailored-made for their individual needs and objectives, while making sure they are at the forefront in terms of their digital and broadcasting solutions.
Call us today and let us assist you in creating a comprehensive turn-key solution for your digital signage and broadcasting requirements.