FAQ’s


FAQ’s on the convergence of digital signage and mobility


Q. What is convergence?
Q. Why is convergence relevant?
Q. What is the value of convergence?
Q. What’s facilitating the move towards convergence?
Q. Isn’t convergence already a reality?
Q. How many forms of convergence are there?



 
Q. What is convergence?
 A. Convergence is broadly defined as the operational interplay between the systems that power the delivery of content to digital signage networks and the systems that deliver content to/from mobile devices (e.g. cell phones). Convergence is manifest in one or more of the following ways:

  • 1) Mobile devices are used to control the content presented on digital signage
  • 2) Mobile devices are used to respond to signage-delivered calls-to-action
  • 3) Mobile devices are used to seamlessly extend digital signage content, e.g. convert a one-to-many experience to a one-to-one experience
  • 4) Mobile devices are used to augment digital signage content, e.g. give the digital content greater depth and meaning.

True convergence however is represented by a seamless blend of all four elements for the purpose of creating an emersive experience whereby content, commerce, wayfinding and communications smoothly extend out of the digital sign into the mobile handset.

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 Q. Why is convergence relevant?
 A. Convergence will be the catalyst to address the challenges facing both the wireless and digital signage industries. Those challenges include the following: 1) Both industries are struggling to find a workable model that will capture the interest of agencies/advertisers in order to generate revenue from ad sales. 2) Both industries are struggling with the creation and delivery of content — particularly the kind of content that people will want to see or perhaps even pay to see. 3) Both industries are trying to determine how to monetize the delivery of content to their respective end-points (i.e. cell phones and digital signs). 4) Both are working on how to quantify the response that a call-to-action would generate.

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 Q. What is the value of convergence?
 A. Simply put, convergence is the holy grail that the wireless and digital signage industries have been seeking. Convergence will finally enable content providers to monetize their content, it will allow advertisers to target content to the individual and it will enable content to be leveraged across both digital signage and mobile platforms. It must be pointed out however that a majority of those within the wireless industry are not currently aware of the need for convergence. For the most part, the wireless industry does not recognize or appreciate the value of digital signage as a means to enhance the value of content delivered to their hand-sets. This will change as converged applications begin to appear.

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 Q. What’s facilitating the move towards convergence?
 A. Convergence has been discussed for many years with little regard to the business, technical, process and system capabilities that must be in place before true convergence can become a reality. Until recently, these capabilities and the supporting eco-system have, for the most part, not existed. The agreement between Apple and AT&T to sell the iPhone – as well as the iPhone itself — have revolutionized the wireless industry and addressed many of the limitations of the past. (Click here to download the white paper that outlines the mobile trends that are affecting digital signage/mobile convergence.)

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Q. Isn’t convergence already a reality?
A. Yes, to a very limited degree. There is a growing trend in the digital signage community to integrate common short codes and text messaging into digital signage. There are a number of companies that allow signage viewers to send text messages to screens located in bars, restaurants, arenas, etc. for the purpose of facilitating communications among venue patrons. (An interesting way to meet people for sure.) A leader in this space, Symon Communications has deployed applications in which signage content prompts viewers to text a particular keyword to a short code in exchange for a coupon or some other item of value. An innovative company out of Chicago, Akoo International, offers a cool service whereby a viewer can change signage content by either texting a code to a short code address or by launching a transaction on a mobile browser. All of these represent a form of convergence; however the convergence of which I speak is designed specifically to enable signage network owners to seamlessly extend their content to the viewers’ phone, track what they do with the content and monitor their response to calls to action (or perhaps even facilitate a call to action) — all from the signage’s content management engine. A lot of things have to come together for this to happen, but the good news is that these things are coming together very rapidly.

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Q. How many forms of convergence are there?
A. Today, mobile/signage convergence is manifest in seven ways (eight if you include controlling signage via voice commands using mobile phones, but we won’t discuss that one in this FAQ). The first of the seven is the more basic; the last of the seven is the more sophisticated and represents the future of convergence.

  • DTMF This method utilizes the touch-tones generated by a cell phone’s key pad to respond to or control content on a digital sign. Touch tone interactions are recorded and tracked on the back-end for the purpose of quantifying signage viewership and call-to-action responses. (Click Here For More Info)
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  • SMS: This method employs one or more message embedded in the signage content that invites signage viewers to initiate a text-based interaction through the dispatch of a keyword to a text-based common short code. The interactions are recorded on the back-end and statistically analyzed to estimate digital signage viewership. (Click Here For More Info)
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  • Bluetooth: This method uses a Bluetooth transceiver situated near the digital signage to initiate a wireless data connection to the viewer’s Bluetooth-enabled handset as the viewer comes in close proximity to the screen. Once the connection is established, the system sends the viewer content that augments and enhances content on the digital signage. The system also tracks who, where and when these interactions were established thereby creating an extrapolation of signage viewership. (Click Here For More Info)
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  • 2D Bar Codes: This method enlists digital signage viewers to user their cell phones to photograph a 2D Bar Code that is present in the digital signage content. The cell phone employs an application that interprets the bar code and directs the phone to display content that is connected to the bar code. These 2D interactions are recorded on the back-end and statically analyzed to extrapolate viewership. (Click Here For More Info)
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  • Photo Recognition: This method is similar to 2D Bar Codes expect that rather than photographing a bar code, the viewer photographs the entire digital sign. An application on the cell phone then interprets the photo and directs the phone to display content that augments the content on the sign. These interactions are then statistically analyzed to extrapolate signage viewership.
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  • Mobile Web: This method utilizes digital signage content that promotes URL’s that link to content that is designed for presentation on a mobile phone’s browser. The mobile content then augments the content on the digital signage. Just as with the other mobile methodologies, viewer interactions with the mobile web are statistically analyzed for the purpose of extrapolating viewership.
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  • Location-Based: This method utilizes a cell phone’s geo-positioning capability to deliver content to a viewer. The content on the digital signage invites the viewer to launch an application on their cell phone. The application determines the longitude and latitude coordinates of the viewer and the delivers content that augments the content presented on the digital signage. These interactions are statistically analyzed for the purpose of extrapolating signage viewership.

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