If you've ever gone to touch a screen and realized that it isn't actually a touch screen, then you might have noticed how immersed we are in the world of interactivity. The process of touching a screen is now taken for granted, and this easy method of engagement makes it simple to interact with the content we see.
And while interactive content is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, it's not all about touch screens. Interactive digital signage and displays can use a variety of different input methods.
If you've been wondering how to make your signage more immersive or interactive, let's take a look at the world of interactive digital signage.
What is interactive signage?
Interactive signage refers to any form of digital display that users can interact with. It incorporates high quality, dynamic digital content, displayed on technologically-powered, typically touchscreen, interfaces.
Interactive signage can also refer to:
- Screens displaying user generated content (eg: social media feeds)
- Facial recognition
- Voice activated
- Screens using artificial intelligence or AI content
- Screens using augmented reality (AR) content
These interfaces invite the user, customer, or passerby to actively engage with the system. And by engaging, they're influencing what content is displayed, how it's displayed, or triggering a specific response.
The interactive element enhances user experience by making it more immersive and giving the user a sense of control over what's being displayed.
Examples of interactive digital signage
While digital signage is quite common, with digital displays seen everywhere from shopping malls to train stations, the rise of interactive digital signage is still relatively new.
Digital self service menu
Most of us will have experienced the touch screen menus in restaurants. This handy self service method is one of the most commonly seen and most useful forms of interactive displays.
This form of interactive display is also not just limited to fast food giants. Implement self service touch screens on tablets to speed up lunch service in your local restaurant, or to help customers locate products in clothing stores.
Social media shares
Put your customers on a pedestal and share their social media content via your own feed. And with screens in your venue or store, you can display content from your socials which can increase engagement not just with your own social accounts, but with your target audience too.
One of the simplest ways to add an interactive element for your audience is by adding QR codes. In the post-COVID landscape, we've become much more open to using these. And while they're often a way to direct customers to our websites, menu or social media platform, on their own devices, it can also be a fun way to add more interactive content.
This could be using personal assistants, harnessing the power of AI (more on that in a moment), or adding a gamification element to the customer experience.
Using interactive display solutions with cameras embedded means you don't even need to use touch gestures. Passers-by can simply wave or gesture to interact with the display.
There is also a more advanced use for motion tracking technology, which is....
Augmented reality (AR)
While we're not quite in the Metaverse... Yet... AR, or augmented reality, has been popular on social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. Think of that trend for cute animated anime faces which popped up a few years back.
Basically AR uses motion tracking and live images to overlay useful information or entertainment elements.
Augmented reality in digital signage is still very niche, but expect to see more of this in the coming years. Imagine being able to try on an outfit in different colors, without even trying it on!
Or, creating a treasure hunt in your venue by integrating peoples mobile devices with your physical environment.
That's the power of AR.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
In case you haven't been paying attention (sure you have), the world went AI mad in late 2022, with Chat GPT grabbing all the headlines. And while artificial intelligence for retail mostly pops up on web pages (for example with chat bots), the potential for digital signage screens with AI is huge.
AI shopping assistants on interactive digital displays in store, or adaptive content based on time of day, weather or seasonality are all potential applications.
What is interactive DOOH signage?
DOOH or Digital Out of Home represents the use of digital signages for marketing, advertising or content delivery in public spaces. Interactive DOOH signage is basically its interactive version, allowing passersby or users to engage with the outdoor advertisement.
For instance, an auto dealership could have an interactive DOOH display – a large screen display outside that changes based on time of day, weather, or even if someone stands in front of it.
This dynamic change hooks potential customers and leaves an impressive digital footprint to passerby memory.
DOOH can also be useful, with digital signage offering dynamic travel advice, information or local updates, as well as marketing messages.
While interactive DOOH is still in its infancy, this is definitely a trend to watch as DOOH is predicted to grow rapidly in the coming few years.
What are the benefits of using interactive signage?
While interactive might seem like a buzzword right now, there are a number of clear and tangible benefits to embracing interactive displays.
Increased engagement: The primary benefit of interactive signage is its ability to attract and engage customers. Our eyes are drawn to screens and dynamic content, making digital signage a natural progression in our digital world. And in an attention economy, being able to convey your message, whether that's for advertising/marketing or for information, can be priceless.
Enhanced customer experience: Interactive displays offer a level of personalization never seen before. It provides customers tailored content based on their inputs, making their shopping journey more relevant, enjoyable and convenient.
Powerful analytics: Interactive signage not only delivers content but also gathers data based on user interactions, especially with touch screens or QR codes. This can offer valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences and trends, enabling businesses to improve over time.
Infinite capabilities: With interactive digital signage, the sky's the limit. It can be used to support a myriad of applications: wayfinding, catalog browsing, self-checkout services, social media integration, games for waiting rooms, emergency announcement systems and much more.
Maximized sales: By creating an interactive, intuitive shopping experience, these systems have proven to boost customer interest, leading to higher dwell times and ultimately, higher sales.
Do you need special hardware for interactive signage?
Creating an interactive digital sign does require some specific hardware, but it's not as daunting as it might seem. The basic components include:
- Display screen: This is the primary point of interaction with users. High-quality touchscreen displays are most commonly used. Increasingly, these screens for interactive displays are becoming quite affordable - you can even get affordable digital signage solutions on Amazon these days...
- Media player or Digital signage player: This device stores and runs the digital content on your display screen. This might be an Amazon Fire or Chromecast stick, or a PC device.
- Interactive digital signage software: This is the heart of your setup. Digital signage software such as ScreenCloud manages your content, controls what and when things are displayed, and processes user interactions.
- Sensors/interactive devices: Depending on the level of interactivity you desire, additional hardware peripherals like motion sensors or QR Code scanners might be needed.
Hardware requirements can vary based on the complexity of the project, the level of interaction desired, and the specific roles the signage is meant to fulfill.
Is it hard to set up interactive digital signage?
Not necessarily. Interactive digital signage solutions are becoming increasingly user-friendly for even the less tech-savvy among us. While there is undoubtedly a whole world of high end interactive display solutions such as interactive kiosks or motion sensing touch screens, it is also possible to set up an interactive display with relative ease.
There are many professional service providers who can help you transform your retail space or store into a hub of engaging experiences for customers.
Is it expensive? The costs can range depending on the complexity of your project and the particular equipment you choose. However, the improved customer engagement and subsequent increase in sales often offset these costs, making it a worthy investment.
Setting up interactive digital signage software with ScreenCloud
As a leading provider of digital signage software, ScreenCloud offers a wide choice of apps and integrations to get your interactive display set up.
Choose your hardware and sign up for ScreenCloud, then select your choice of apps from our app store.
It's then just a case of creating your digital signage content for your interactive displays.
Get started with your own interactive experience. Sign up for ScreenCloud or book a demo with our signage experts.