Digital signage in retail environments is the most advanced application of the technology. Digital signage is the platform around which the retailer can integrate an entire multichannel strategy – be it in-store, outdoor, web or mobile. But advances in retail display technologies do more than offer an opportunity to combine and view data sources. They are now seen as instrumental in creating and enhancing the retail experience.
Such is the pace of development in retail technology that the state-of-the-art changes on an almost weekly basis. Integration of in-store solutions with the internet, social media and location-based technologies provides integrators with a toolkit of almost limitless possibilities. Mood Media has pioneered some of these new technologies, showcased in the design of a new concept store for the French retail chain Générale De Téléphone, announced last month.
The brief from Générale de Téléphone was to design and install an innovative audio and video space using the latest in retail technology. The concept store is a retail space dedicated to smartphone accessories and connected products.
Designed as a centre for sensorial and interactive experience, the “Mood” store is a place for customers to demo and discover the latest line of products. Mood Media designed and installed innovative sound and video solutions that allowed the “Mood” stores to share a new retail experience with its customers.
Central to the concept is the ‘connected wall’ – an interactive display dedicated to connected products. All the connected items are presented on individual shelves easily accessible to customers. RFID technology has been installed so that when a customer lifts one of the products from the shelf, a film about it begins to play (on a 24” touch screen creating a personalised and interactive experience for the customer).
A tailored app installed on the smartphones of “Mood” store retail staff connects to a 46” screen facing the entrance of the shop, broadcasting product and promotional information. This allows the brand to interact and connect in real time with customers through its staff on the ground. For direct interaction with its customers, a “#mood” Instagram feed is broadcast on a 46” screen inside the store and is updated every two minutes. “Instappen”, was built and integrated in partnership with the Digital Campus of Bordeaux. Mood Media’s sound designers developed a bespoke playlist, tailor-made to reflect the “Mood” brand – colourful, playful, joyful and warm. More than 800 songs are played every month.
The first of the Mood boutiques has been commissioned and installed in Bordeaux and the company has been retained by Générale de Téléphone to create additional “Mood” stores in the Paris, Tours, La Rochelle and Dijon. In all, 14 of the new-style shops will be created before the end of the year.
Aside from establishing a direct relationship between the store and the customer with social media integration, Mood Media is developing solutions that enable retailers to integrate their marketing campaigns with the in-store environments. The company has recently announced a new partnership with Shazam, which included the launch of Shazam-in-store, a location-based mobile marketing product.
Shazam-In Store, part of Shazam’s larger expansion strategy into consumer-facing environments, is integrated into the existing Shazam app. It offers brands the opportunity to connect to Shazam’s more than 100 million monthly active users. Shazam-In-Store connects to consumers’ devices via an inaudible digital watermark through retailers’ overhead music systems.
In order for it to connect, first, a customer must activate the Shazam app to identify a song or audio message. Then, the app will recognise the watermark and deliver the requested song information and the business’ targeted content directly to the customer’s mobile device.
Mood launched a Shazam-In-Store pilot campaign for a leading retail brand through audio activations with call-to-actions in selected store locations. This pilot program was highly successful and exceeded the client’s KPIs. Claude Nahon, president of Mood Media International said: “This is an exciting development for the industry because, until now, interactive mobile marketing strategies have been expensive to implement and apps have often been underused by customers. Now, Shazam In-Store gives brands a way to connect to a high proportion of their customers through Shazam’s huge user base.”
Générale De Téléphone ‘Mood’ store: Central to the concept is the ‘connected wall’ – an interactive display dedicated to connected products.
Shazam-In-Store connects to consumers’ devices via an inaudible digital watermark through retailers’ overhead music systems.
Shop windows – choosing the right displays
Enhancing the shopping experience provides the motivation for consumers to hit the High Street, but retailers are fully aware of the importance of the shop window in persuading shoppers to cross the threshold. Stuart Holmes, Managing Director of PSCo explains the factors that integrators and end-users need to consider when choosing displays for the challenging environment of shop window environments.
With technology moving fast, the options for retail operations to stand out from the crowd are varied, and an impactful window display is a key element of visual merchandising. Not only does this have the important role of enticing customers, but it also has to cope with the changing window environment. In bright sunlight and ambient lighting conditions, screens can suffer from poor performance and overheating, leading to ineffective displays in shop windows, information totems and other brightly lit environments.
There are a huge amount of considerations that go into selecting the right display; different situations require different attributes or features. It is one thing to read specifications about brightness, contrast and pixel pitch, but it is another thing entirely to be able to see for yourself -comparing displays side by side.
Some of the leading high bright screens on the market include models from NEC, Samsung and Sharp.
- NEC’s 47” X474HB offers a brightness of 2000cd/m². A programmable ambient light sensor allows for reduced power consumption and optimum brightness levels, and its automatic cooling fan helps to prevent early circuit failure as well as reduce image degradation and image persistence.
The screen can be setup with an NFC capable device with the NEC Android App installed. It also features a highly temperature-resistant LCD panel coating to withstand direct sunlight without blackening effects, and operates in temperatures up to 40°C (104F).
- The Samsung 55” OM55D-W is designed for semi-outdoor usage, and with its 2,500 cd/m², 5,000:1 contrast ratio LED backlit display it has been designed to help to attract and engage new audiences. It uses an auto brightness sensor for energy efficient benefits, and can be operated remotely with 2nd Generation SSSP. Samsung’s 75” OM75D-W also carries these specifications and is currently the largest high bright display available on the market. The OMD Series operates in temperatures of up to 40°C (104°F), and its LCD cell can withstand temperatures as high as 110°C (230°F), ensuring the display’s durability in direct and indirect sunlight environments.
- Sharp’s 60” PN-A601 features 2,000 cd/m² brightness and low power consumption, aiming to provide a low-cost digital signage solution suitable even for brightly lit areas. The screen features an LED backlight and a high 5:000 contrast ratio. Its local dimming feature which automatically dims groups of LEDs, allows for greater control of darkness and brightness in different areas of the monitor, reducing power consumption.
Factors to consider
One hugely important consideration when choosing a display is heat. If your display is going to be located in a sunny environment, it is not an option for the display to shut itself off or overheat during a peak time. It is important to think about the panel surface temperature, as well as the ambient temperature; if cool air is not forced in front of the display, the panel itself can overheat and cause permanent damage. We are able to provide a full solution, including UV filter window films to help to reduce heat and glare in window displays, and cross flow fans as a preventative measure to combat this issue.
Ideally, displays should be located as far back from the window as possible to take advantage of the shade created by the building. If this is not possible, and the display is required directly in front of the glass, a ventilation gap of around 40mm needs to be left to help keep the LCD panel cool. When the display is in direct sunlight, the solar heating effect can cause the surface temperature of the LCD panel to become very high, leading to permanent damage. Using forced air ventilation can help dissipate this heat and protect the panel.
Positioning and mounting are two important considerations when ensuring your display effectively avoids glare and addresses the issues of light and shade over parts of the screen. It is important to always work within the guidelines published by the display manufacturer. We work closely with our manufacturers to understand the requirements of their products so that we can support our customers throughout the lifespan of their display.
Other potentially important considerations include the available space and depth of display, or how to mount it. Mounting options include floor to ceiling, floor to wall, free standing and hung. A floor to ceiling mount in the form of a pole mount allows the user the ability to place a screen at an exact height when using a wall is not an option. A ceiling mount allows the display to be suspended from a ceiling. Retailers are becoming more and more aware of how a display integrates with the rest of their store environment. Displays can be mounted neatly and efficiently, and the various mount options available ensure maintenance can be carried out easily.
Finally, make sure you always choose a display with a specification that suits the environment you are mounting in to. Standard LCD panels can operate with a surface temperature of up to 65° and there are specialist displays with LCD panels that can operate with a surface temperature of up to 110°c. Once you have chosen your display, remember to check your content design for clarity. Testing in a real life application is the best way to see how it will perform. Come along to our Assessment Centre with your content and test it in window environment for peace of mind before deciding.
Try before you buy
There is so much variation between displays; we really do recommend that people ensure they take the time to consider what their requirements are, to ensure they get the best fit for their needs. The Assessment Centre is a huge asset in that it affords specifiers the ability to make informed decisions not just through looking at specification sheets, but by seeing and truly comparing first hand. We are an authorised service partner for all our manufacturers allowing us to provide servicing and warranties including bespoke 24/7 service level agreements.
The only place for such a comparison in the UK is at PSCo’s High Bright Zone in its Reading Assessment Centre. PSCo has created an ‘in-window’ display, which perfectly showcases the latest options in high bright display technology. This cutting edge area has been designed to help specifiers choose the right product to ensure a striking and effective window display.
PSCo’s High Bright Zone in its Reading Assessment Centre: PSCo has created an ‘in-window’ display, which perfectly showcases the latest options in high bright display technology. This cutting edge area has been designed to help specifiers choose the right product to ensure a striking and effective window display.
To watch a video about PSCo’s High Bright Zone in its Reading Assessment Centre [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fG5V6ic6Rw&feature=youtu.be]
Retail technology: Projection is back
And so to digital displays in retrial interiors: widely considered to be the domain of the flat screen – a technology where NEC is pioneering developments. But the big news is that projection is back. Guy Phelps, Head of Retail Sales, at NEC Display Solutions outlines the developments.
There has been an interesting new development in retail signage, and that is that projection is back! With new light source technology, all the pitfalls and costs associated with lamp technology are gone, meaning all the advantages and creative opportunities of projection have come back into play.
The 20,000 hour life of laser projection equates to a potential saving of 9 lamp changes and all the associated costs including out-of-hours maintenance. Laser projection offers excellent colour reproduction compared to traditional projection, presenting a real, cost effective alternative.
Retailers can now take advantage of all that is good about projection including achieving a larger image size and accessing areas unusable by large format displays due to size and weight constraints. The creative possibilities open up experiential opportunities using pixel mapping, edge blending, geometric projection techniques and floor advertising.
The advent of laser projection is bringing a change in the retail AV landscape, offering wider scope to surprise and engage with shoppers with tactical marketing. Projection is more ‘Point of Sale friendly’, making an impact without taking up premium retail space.
Examples of these deployments include:
- Stealth marketing is a less ‘up-front’ option – instead offering shoppers little ‘surprises’. Perhaps already in the market for a certain product, shoppers are already interested but become more engaged as they discover images projected on the product, such as beds or soft furnishings.
- Tactical marketing enables promoted products to standout using pixel mapping, projecting an image onto a product to highlight its properties. Geometric correction enables almost any surface to become a medium for signage, such as curved pillars; totally unsuitable for large format displays but a creative opportunity for projection.
NEC technology brings projection back into play alongside new 4KUHD resolutions which are of great interest to retailers in presenting a more reality-like experience. Laser projection and 4K resolution overlaps in NEC’s PH1201QL projector, offering intense and accurate colour reproduction, projecting huge images in ultra-high resolution. Furthermore, this solution can be used on temporary walls which would otherwise be unsuitable for videowalls.
Continuing with projection as a real alternative in retail, the capability to project downwards opens up interesting opportunities with floor advertising. Using third party interactive content, enables retailers to offer an attractive and engaging experience for shoppers. Ultra Short Throw projectors with interactive capability offers ‘out of the box experiences’, ideal for kid’s areas, customer interaction and staff entertainment.
NEC has anticipated the increased interest in touch interaction with a whole new range of ShadowSense touch displays across a range of sizes and budgets. The technology is designed for in-store kiosk applications, interactive signage and internally for corporate communications within the retail industry. Reaching out to shop floor staff, large format touch displays can be accessed by staff on their breaks for the headquarters’ informational content, links to HR and staff discount information.
Again, here NEC is well placed, bringing ShadowSense touch to its high end range of large format UHD displays including the 84 and 98 inch models. At this high-end of the market where quantity is less, we see increased demand for cutting edge technology to showcase a retailer’s brand.
Bond Street jewellers entice its customers to find out more about its products with touch enabled UHD displays presenting the brand’s product in all its glittering glory. A leading estate agent employs large format Ultra-High Definition with touch to showcase its high end property portfolio, and complex floor plans to the highest level of detail and colour vibrancy. The potential to present virtual tours inside houses and to enable house buyers to collaborate with architects to specify their interior, offers an experience commensurate with the demands of purchasers of multi-million pound properties.
Mainstream retailers are also very interested in the benefits of 4K UHD and many are piloting this solution. Whilst standard Full HD is perfectly acceptable to present content to viewers at a distance, enticing them closer makes the content virtually unreadable. The close up experience requires a higher resolution for pixel-free images. Where retailers are enticing shoppers to touch the screen, here NEC’s ShadowSense UHD displays offer the ideal solution. The experience enables shoppers to buy with confidence as the colour displayed is accurate to real life.
NEC’s leafengine has been covered extensively by AV News in previous issues, and while the evolution to context aware signage has not been as fast as anticipated, it is no less relevant here and is attracting interest. Where a retailer has already invested in its signage infrastructure, they are now seeking ways of enhancing the customer experience with more personalised messaging at flagship or boutique locations.
Laser projection and 4K resolution overlaps in NEC’s PH1201QL projector, offering intense and accurate colour reproduction, projecting huge images in ultra-high resolution.
Selecting mounts for retail environments
As AV technology becomes pervasive in everyday life, so too is it regarded as an integral part of the shopping experience. Consumers now expect to see dynamic content everywhere they look in a shopping centre, department store or boutique outlet. Retailers are reinventing themselves – increasing their investment in digital signage technology as consumers gravitate to brands that are seen to be more technology savvy.
The retail market is seeing increasing demand for high impact, large format displays and bigger video wall arrays to help brands stand out in an increasingly congested market. Innovative mounting solutions are being specifically developed to support them retail applications. Selecting the right mount for a project, and ensuring it is as safe, secure and as intuitive to install as possible, is fundamental to a successful, productive and profitable installation.
So what are the key considerations for installers when specifying mounting solutions for retail environments? Mount developers and manufacturers Peerless-AV offer these hints-and-tips to help structure mount choice.
- Maximise available space
A good digital signage installation is one that makes the most of the physical retail space available and blends seamlessly into its environment. Whether designing for in-window, the shop floor, at the point of sale or a shopping centre gallery, modular solutions are an ideal option to help simplify choice of mounting options and address the challenges that each location brings. These modular solutions, such as Peerless-AV’s Twin Pole Modular Series, fulfil multiple install requirements from a single ceiling mounted display to an unlimited floor-to-ceiling or free-standing video wall array. Back-to-back adaptors effectively double the screen presence from the same amount of space – perfect for in-window retail applications to present one message to passing traffic and another to those inside the store.
- Simplify product choice
Digital signage installations in retail can be complex and time consuming, and no two projects are exactly alike. Ordering different mounts for each and every project can be confusing, leading to possible mis-ordering and mistakes. Life would be much easier if there was a single range of mounts, with a specially selected set of options, able to fulfil a multitude of different applications. The Twin Pole Modular Series offers exactly this. Via the ‘Modular Configurator’ tool on the Peerless-AV website, installers are guided through a series of simple stages to create a bespoke solution for their application. They can select a single twin pole unit or twin pole video wall unit, choose mounting type (landscape or portrait orientation), pick required component options and accessories (fixing plates, column length etc), and then submit their configuration for a quote.
- Easy servicing and maintenance
Concerns regarding ease of installation of video wall into a cut-out area and the ease of access for future servicing and maintenance are real barriers for some installers. However, the Full-service Quick Release Video Wall Mount range from Peerless-AV overcomes these reservations and gives any installer the confidence to offer their retail clients a recessed solution with quick and simple access to the rear of the screen – without the inconvenience and manpower needed to demount from the wall. A single installer has the ability to articulate the screen away from the wall by gently pressing on the front of the display. The carriage extension force can be adjusted to compensate for the weight of the display. Also, featuring 8-points of micro adjustment for fine-tuning display position, these mounts can create a truly seamless, integrated array even where the wall surface is not completely flat.
- Reduced time on site
Installers are often faced with a balancing act between the desires of the end client, the reality of the budget and the desire to include the latest technology. Then there is the logistics and practicalities of bringing everything together on site at the right time and completing the project according to strict deadlines. By picking the right mounting solution that is easy to install, packed with essential time-saving features, and compatible with new generation ultra-slim and ultra-large displays, not only can installers save precious time on site but they can benefit from a positive effect on their bottom line.
The award-winning quick release mounts from Peerless-AV provide up to a 60% reduction in installation time, guaranteeing minimal effort or fuss. Screen specific spacers, pre-measured to the precise dimensions of individual display models, are what makes this massive saving in install time possible. Once the first mount is installed, the spacers assist with the precise positioning of each subsequent one and finally the screens can be hung in perfect alignment. No more measuring, no more complicated calculations and definitely no more having to re-fit a mount that has been fixed in the wrong position.
- Video Wall – without the wall
For installers that want to create the visual impact of a multi display video wall but do not have a wall, trolleys and pedestal stands can provide an innovative solution. Peerless-AV’s trolleys and stands enable configurations up to 3×3 and 4×2. Designed for quick set-up and tear-down, they are ideal for temporary signage in high traffic retail areas such as department stores.
Peerless-AV’s Twin Pole Modular Series, fulfil multiple install requirements from a single ceiling mounted display to an unlimited floor-to-ceiling or free-standing video wall array.
Case study: illycaffè’s flagship store
illycaffé is using Peerless-AV’s Full-service Landscape Video Wall Mounts to support an impressive 12-screen full HD video wall solution at its flagship store on London’s Regent Street. The video wall is installed in a recess above the service counter and fits flush to the wall for a clean, professional finish.
When planning the launch of its new store, illy sought to integrate chic Italian design ideals with the latest high-end technologies. illy partnered with Samsung for the project, using Digital Signage Solutions Centre (DSSC) Europe, service provider for Samsung’s Digital Signage solutions, to specify and install the displays.
“The response to the video wall has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mirko Piciccio, Manager, illy Regent Street. “It provides a great backdrop and definitely contributes to the ambience we are looking to create for customers. We see people taking an interest in the content both at the counter and when seated in the store.”
Samsung UD46C Series Displays were chosen for their unobtrusive design, heightening the impact of brand messages with their super narrow bezels. The pivot and image rotation function of the UD46C displays enables illy’s marketing team to create content in portrait or landscape mode, and then rotate it as necessary, without ratio distortion.
For the mounting solution, DSSC Europe chose 12 x DS-VW765-LAND Full-service Landscape Video Wall brackets from Peerless-AV. The mounts offer the required alignment and depth for the existing wall niche and are secured into place against the wall with a spring-loaded mechanism on each mount. They also offer a pull-out/prop-open action for quick, intuitive and hassle-free service access in recessed applications such as this.
Dmitry Rizol, B2B Solutions Senior Consultant at Samsung Electronics, said: “We have really good experience of using Peerless-AV full service brackets for many of our global accounts projects. So there were no doubts of what product to use.”
The DS-VW765-LAND mounts were installed along with DS-VWS013 Screen Specific Spacer Kits and 8 x DS-ACC-VW765 Cable Release Kits. The spacers enabled DSSC Europe engineers to perfectly position each mount in the array during installation, eliminating tedious guesswork and on-site calculations, and using the 8-point tool-less micro-adjustment functionality they were able to fine tune where required. The cable release kits were used for centre screens to ensure fast and easy future maintenance accessibility.
illycaffé is using Peerless-AV’s Full-service Landscape Video Wall Mounts to support an impressive 12-screen full HD video wall solution at its flagship store on London’s R