Digital Signage Industry Insights From Intel's Faizal Javer

Date: 
07/27/2012

As the Director of Channel Development for Intel™ AIM Suite, Faizal Javer works closely with a wide variety of digital signage providers and end-users. He shared his global perspective on the industry.  

Q: Which industries are currently the “sweet spot” for digital signage?

A: Retail has been the biggest market, but we see major growth in all sectors. We’re seeing growth in corporate communications, healthcare, banking, education, transportation, and in hospitality including restaurant chains, casinos and resorts. The balance also shifts based on the geographic region. So, in APAC, for example, we see a greater emphasis on transportation while in North America and Europe, retail leads. 

Q: What do you see as emerging markets for digital signage? What are the markets for digital signage that may not be major today, but will be tomorrow? 

A: Three come to mind immediately – vending machines, kiosks and gaming.  There is a revolution going on in vending, in terms of technology, format and function. Large flat screens are being incorporated into vending machines to attract customers and AIM Suite is being used to present advertising messages that will most likely appeal to the person(s) currently looking at the screen. And now, for the first time, the vending industry has an objective means to measure user demographics and assess consumer behavior. 

Both traditional vending machines and small footprint kiosks are being adapted for purposes beyond vending. For example, VIGIX has created a vending, sampling and couponing kiosk that has no moving parts and can be restocked by UPS. Stand-alone kiosks are experiencing rapid growth. 

On the gaming front, casinos find that digital signs are far more effective than static signs. When you consider the environment, with all of the visual and audio distractions, you can clearly see why moving images win.  

Q: Is there a significant market for AIM Suite in the non-digital signage world? 

A: We believe there is. AIM Suite can measure audience demographics and consumer behavior anywhere you want to visually communicate with consumers. Our clients are deploying AIM Suite to measure the effectiveness of end-caps or any in-store display, with and without digital signage. For example, the automotive industry is using AIM Suite to measure consumer engagement with cars on display in showrooms; and some customers use AIM Suite to measure the audience demographics of patrons entering and exiting entertainment venues to better understand the draw that a certain event had.

Q: What challenges do you face in marketing AIM Suite? What are end customers’ concerns?

A: Privacy often enters the discussion. That’s relatively easy to address since AIM Suite operates in a privacy-friendly manner. AIM Suite has privacy protection built-in. No personally identifiable information is collected. No images are recorded or stored. All data is aggregated by demographic groups. For those who wish to learn more about AIM Suite and privacy, we have published a whitepaper in conjunction with the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (http://bit.ly/AIMPrivacyWP), and we are working with the FTC. 

Q: What do you think is the single most important factor in a successful digital signage deployment? 

A: Ideally, the end client needs to have clear objectives and a plan for executing their digital signage strategy.  Now that the leaders in many industries are utilizing digital signage, we see the others playing catch up. Everyone else is doing it, so they should do it, as well. But deploying digital signage alone is not a plan and without measurable objectives, understanding and refining success is very difficult. We find that clients without a clear strategy are a little bit lost, slower to deploy, and ultimately less successful than those that have clearly defined objectives. 

Q: So, having a plan, a strategy and objectives are the keys to successful deployments? Sound like it’s essential for system integrators or resellers to add a lot of value even before the sale is made. 

A: I think so. From our experience working with both service providers and end users, we find that the most successful deployments are those where a great deal of thought and planning happened upfront. 

Q: Is that one of the reasons that the sales cycle is so long for digital signage? 

A: It certainly can be one of the reasons. The sales cycle for large scale digital signage projects can range from several months to over a year. As AIM Suite is most often a part of an overall digital signage solution, we’re subject to this timeframe. Since AIM Suite is a relatively new solution, end users may not be familiar with it. So, some customer education is required. 

That being said, we see many new end customers deploying AIM Suite in a very short period of time, as their trusted IT Solution provider may already be an AIM Suite Certified Reseller.

Q: How does AIM Suite meet the need for measurement and analytics for the digital signage industry? 

A: With AIM Suite, the industry has gone from no objective metrics to metrics that are more robust than for print and television. Now, for the first time, network operators and end users can measure ROI and improve ROI for the overall network, individual screens and on-screen content. AIM Suite’s real-time content triggering API also helps increase audience engagement and lengthen dwell time, two of the biggest challenges in the digital signage industry.  

A challenge the industry still faces is the lack of unified standards for measurement and analytics. This will evolve over time. But currently, it’s difficult to try to compare results across different networks. Advertisers need standards to optimize their dollar spend and assess effectiveness. 

Also, today there are no massive aggregators that enable advertisers to easily communicate their message across many different or segregated networks. To add to this complication, most networks have different valuations for cost per thousand (CPM) impressions.  With standardization, the whole process would be greatly simplified, and this would surely help the digital signage ecosystem thrive

Q: What do you think it's going to take for the industry to grow beyond where it is today, or do you think that's just organic, and it is happening?

A: It’s already happening and growth is accelerating. More often, we are being exposed to digital signage projects of 1,000+ screens, which is very encouraging. Overall, I feel that more thought needs to go into digital signage projects upfront and we are seeing the shift towards this. Content Management System (CMS) providers and end-to-end solution providers continue to simplify the deployment of digital signage for end-customers. Working closely with the digital signage ecosystem has been a major focus in our go-to-market strategy. Several leading CMS providers have already integrated Intel AIM Suite with their applications allowing AIM Suite to be easily used in conjunction with such systems. As the awareness of AIM Suite steadily increases, more customers will be able to effectively measure and manage their digital signage networks to improve ROI.

Questions? AIM Suite Knowledge Base