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Microsoft & Intel Partner To Transform Digital Signage Experience In Retail

The digital signage market reached $3.9 billion in total revenue in 2009 and is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 20% annually, according to IMS Research. Retail is a primary component of the digital signage market, and companies such as Microsoft and Intel are striving to become a leader in this expanding arena.

To capitalize on this growing marketplace, Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic alliance with Intel Corp. to deliver a platform optimized for the digital signage industry. As a validated platform, the Windows 7-based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 operating system powered by 2010 Intel Core microarchitecture.

The new product is a 7-foot-6-inch multi-user, multi-touch Intel Intelligent Digital Signage Concept that features a virtual brick-and-mortar store setting where customers can use the multi-touch holographic screen to explore merchandise, find out about promotions, submit feedback on products, read customer reviews, view past purchasing histories and share what they have discovered with their friends via social media and mobile phone integration.

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Key components of the Microsoft/Intel product
A few of the key attributes of the new system include:

  • Rich immersive user experiences that include panning and zoom, touch, and gesture input to dramatically improve Web browsing and the overall user experience OEMs can deliver out of the box
  • Video analytics capabilities that enable advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns through built-in camera technology, which analyzes users’ physical attributes and then generates tailored ad displays
  • Remote deployment and management capabilities that minimize on-site maintenance, updates and repairs, driving clear added value through lower total cost of ownership
  • Power management through conditional user interfaces that react to the environment around them, enabling OEMs to create more green devices that save on energy costs

During the introduction at the National Retail Federation convention in New York, Microsoft and Intel demonstrated that multiple consumers can use the side-by-side window display simultaneously to explore augmented reality-enabled maps of each floor of the store. As part of the display, retailers can superimpose images such as coupons and sales promotions next to the product visualizations on the glass, designed specifically to improve the customer’s shopping experience.

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“We are excited about the flexibility offered through the optimized Windows Embedded and Intel processor-based platform,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business Unit at Microsoft. “The optimized platform simplifies development, helping to lower the total cost of ownership. It enables digital signage device-makers to focus on creating rich, connected user experiences that can be managed remotely and deployed anywhere from quick service restaurants and airports to hotels, cruise ships and retail stores.”

Expanding advertising opportunities
While other areas of advertising and marketing are declining, digital signage is growing. In fact, in a recent study conducted by the digital marketing firm Razorfish, 65% of consumers reported that “a digital brand experience has changed their opinion of the brand,” and
97% of the consumers in the study stated that the digital experience influenced purchase decisions.

Through the use of anonymous video analytics, advertisers have advanced options for reaching targeted consumers. As a viewer looks at the system screen, the built-in camera technology analyzes data such as gender and age, audience composition, time-of-day and other criteria, which enable the system to display tailored content and graphics based on estimated demographics.

The system anonymously sends audience information to advertisers who can use that information to understand the type of content and messages that are most popular with viewers. This, in turn, helps advertisers target their advertising to maximize the impact on the audience.

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