NRF 2012: Digital in-store media called to deliver, Pt. I (Commentary)

Nice analysis of the digital signage on display at the recent NRF show by Lyle Bunn on
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The National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates that retail contributed $1.2 trillion in direct GDP in 2009, including food services and drinking places. Direct employment was 28.1 million. There were 3.6 million establishments, 95 percent or 3.42 million of which were one-location businesses. There were 917,000 locations of multi-location retailers. The NRF projects a 3.4 percent increase in 2012. Directly and indirectly, retail accounts for 11.9 percent of all business establishments in the U.S., supporting 1 in 4 (42 million) American jobs and contributing $2.42 trillion to annual GDP.

Online retail is currently $176 billion, 3 percent of annual retail revenues, having grown by 11 percent over the previous year, according to Forrester Research; however, this is projected to grow to 11 percent in the next five years.

Digital Media exhibitors at NRF included 30 providers of digital in-store media, including industry-leading suppliers such as NEC, Stratacache, Hughes, Harris, AOpen and YCD and Scala at the HP booth. Dynamic media exhibitors were busy throughout the show. Many other suppliers attended to connect and learn.

Kevin Lawrence, VP, Enterprise Sales for Broadcast International, which serves organizations such as Bank of America, Microsoft and Hollister commented that "the NRF event was great because it validated what we are hearing from so many of our customers. They want to leverage digital media to better inform, influence and educate both customers and employees. They expect solutions that provide a more interactive and engaging customer experience by embracing touch, sound, mobility and more. They demand analytics that allow them to assess the effectiveness of their campaigns, and they want to work with a single partner to accomplish it all."

The Intel product showcase was elbow to elbow throughout as they demonstrated a dozen advanced applications currently in use by brands and retailers such as HSN, Kraft Foods, Macy's, adidas, the LEGO Group, Petrobras and others. A 3-D aerial imaging kiosk profiling Coca-Cola reflected the Intel partnership with Provision, a provider of commercial application "holographic" displays.

Intel also included a new prototype through its partnership with Inwindow Outdoor, an interactive digital out-of-home advertising company that has developed street-level storefront interactive advertising campaigns for American Express, HBO, Ford, HP, Microsoft and NBC. The Intel/Inwindow Outdoor prototype, being called the "Experience Stations" engages consumers through information presentation and interaction (multi-touch and gestural). The slick prototype incorporates a large-format 70-inch touchscreen display and near field communication (NFC) capability for two-way transactions with mobile devices. The Experience Station can also enable users to take and send pictures, download coupons to their phone using NFC, connect to social media sites, check the weather, and look up information. When users approach the screen, the system's cameras use Intel's real-time analytics software (Intel AIM Suite), which detects gender and age and then plays targeted advertising based on the audience demographic. Analytics are at the heart of The Experience Stations, which provides metrics on audience count, impressions, level of engagement and dwell time.

Several exhibitors demonstrated "closed-loop" systems of message presentation, mobile opt-in, coupon offer and redemption with analytics at each step in the commercial process. The Intel AIM Suite of anonymous viewer analytics is typically integrated with all major digital signage content management software systems.

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