Report: Digital Signage Summit Europe 2016

This year’s Digital Signage Summit Europe, the tenth incarnation, saw the event welcome more than 500 attendees, its biggest ever number. The rather long-winded theme this year was (deep breath) Challenging the Fundamentals of Consumer Engagement – Strategies for Tomorrow’s Advertising, Retail and Public Spaces. We attended on day one, which looked at Smart Cities and DooH planning and booking.

It was great to see the DooH sector grab the opportunity that Smart Cities offers, and it was no surprise that the standout presentation of the day was on that subject.  Brad Gleeson from CIVIQ Smartscapes gave a presentation outlining a project called LinkNYC, which involved his company working with Qualcomm and Intersection. LinkNYC aims to turn 7,500 old phoneboxes across the five boroughs of New York into the world’s fastest municipal free WiFi system. 

Each unit can serve 2,500 users with 1GB WiFi within 300 yards of the unit, no personal data is stored, and all actions are anonymous.  It can handle free voice or video calls, act as recharging point for mobile phones, or as an information point using the unit’s built in tablet.  Best of all the entire system (so far) has been paid for by the advertising revenue generated by each unit.  So far 500 units have been installed, so the scheme still has a long way to go before it is completed.  The only downside seems to be a degree of cynicism among some I spoke to at the event that the city would be able to raise the funding to ever build all 7,500 units, and it may end up as a nice project that will always be left unfinished, which would be a shame.

The next impressive presentation was from Alex Matthews from JCDecaux, who heads up the company’s new content division called Dynamic.  Its aim was to make adverts more contextually relevant (time of year, time of day etc) and showed an example of a project it had worked on for Tesco in the UK for chocolate brand Cadbury’s.  Using DooH media it has seen a sales rise of 8%, contextualising that advertising had seen it rise another 8% on top.  For a well established brand in the market, that level of uplift was hugely significant.  What was even more surprising was that contextually advertising only makes up 2.5% of UK advertising at present, which shows the potential these types of systems have.  

Another to look at putting DooH advertising in context was Grand Visual.  It showed a clever example of how to boost sales using Big Data for its client, the National Lottery operator Camelot.  Using sales and ticket data, DooH screens in a particular town could tell you how many winners there had been that week in that particular area.  It could also integrate with a train timetable and let passengers know how many winners there had been for the destination of the next train leaving the station, to drives sales of tickets at the other end of the journey.

The last two presentations concerned two very different airport projects, at Dubai and Frankfurt.  At Dubai Airport the owners had installed a mix of large videowalls (‘to attract’) and smaller touchscreens (‘to engage’) in order to drive Duty Free sales.  Again using flight data and boarding cards, it could tell which flights were the biggest spenders and target those ones with luxury goods near the appropriate check-in desks. 

Frankfurt Airport had embarked a huge omnichannel project, to make it easy to buy from the airport, where you were there or not.  Via the official airport app, passengers could buy groceries on the plane home, they could collect as they landed, or order clothes/perfume on a taxi to the airport they could collect at check-in.  Using live updated flight date, it could even react to a gate change to make sure your goods were sent to the right place in time for take-off.  The idea behind it is that you could not only plan your travel, but also plan your shopping.

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