Artificial intelligence algorithms bring customer analytics to in-person businesses and events, instantly capturing demographics, trends, ad performance, traffic and even offering customer-specific targeting.
For the last 20 years, internet-based businesses have been reaping major benefits from increasingly detailed customer analytics. Today, brick-and-mortar companies are finally being offered the same access to precise, real-time customer data through a breakthrough combination of IP cameras and advanced artificial intelligence. Whether the goal is to analyze crowd behavior at live events, customer behavior in a retail store or automobile traffic on the street, real-world businesses can now access detailed information about mood, gender, and age, and can even gauge interest and measure reactions to advertisements and customer shopping patterns. All of this data is viewed in real time (instant detection at 15 milliseconds) on a highly configurable dashboard, which creates an opportunity for integrators to offer their clients customized audience analytics and secure a new, reliable, recurring revenue stream.
Using facial detection and crowd detection algorithms, the cloud-based software analyzes IP video and image feeds to provide a detailed timeline of customer actions, emotions, demographics and trends. The benefits of this turnkey technology cannot be overstated, and it has the power to transform how businesses operate on a fundamental level. Live events, for example, can maximize value for participants and sponsors by making real-time adjustments based on the crowd’s reception.
Another segment where these technologies are successful relates to the explosive growth of digital signage. According to industry analysts at Berg Insight, the total number of connected digital signage displays installed worldwide is projected to increase more than 130 percent by 2021, from 37.6 million to 87.2 million. With all of these new installations being wired for power and internet comes a massive opportunity for businesses to mine valuable metrics and improve revenue outcomes across nearly every customer-facing industry.
For integrators pitching the product and service to clients, the value-add is straightforward: Without this technology, there is no way to automatically evaluate and capture in-person customer interactions and, therefore, there is no data with which to improve advertising or live-event presentations. Over the last few months, the pulse of the entire industry has shifted and a tipping point is currently underway where leading companies are using computer vision to measure the success of live product demos, improve floorplans and vehicle traffic routes, and get feedback about initiatives as diverse as videogame satisfaction and beverage choices.
The revolutionary tools also provide answers to important questions, such as when different customers see different ads, how a business owner can know which ads are most effective, how to determine what time of day each ad should be shown or how long the ad should remain on the screen.
Armed with robust crowd and customer data, business operators and marketers can finetune almost every aspect of the customer experience to maximize sales and improve customer engagement and loyalty. It also brings one of the internet’s most valuable marketing tactics to the real world: fully measured A/B testing. It’s now possible to glean concrete figures in the wild (physical spaces) that show that one approach or advertisement works better than another, which is what websites do every day.
For integration firms with digital design teams, recommending these platforms also creates the potential for additional revenue from advertisement design. The end user possibilities extend all the way to creating triggered advertisements that respond to a customer’s age, gender or mood, and could even include opt-in VIP programs that display targeted ads to specific customers when they approach a digital display. It’s like having a digital salesperson who automatically knows who each customer is, what they are likely to respond to and how they’ve shopped in the past.
They could potentially even be greeted by name, reintroducing a personal touch that has largely been lost in modern brick-and-mortar customer relationships. Furthermore, today, we can provide integrators the ability to incorporate gesture and voice recognition as part of their solutions, allowing consumers to be surprised and delighted as they interact with these engaging technologies.
The immense benefits of these analytics and interactivity tools are only beginning to be discovered as the value of real-world data exceeds most expectations. For example, the crowd-tracking feature allows retail-space owners to track total traffic and adjust lease prices based on hard data. For product launches, speeches, concerts and even sporting events, the analytics dashboard can inform organizers how much a crowd likes a product, in real time, as a presentation is underway, which parts of a speech are engaging an audience, and possible ways to improve the product or service.
As a cutting-edge advertising and data-mining solution, there are a vast array of client benefits that integrators can point to when designing customer spaces and spec’ing AV systems for live events. One of the most important points is that, perhaps more so than any other retail- or customer-focused technology, these highly intelligent algorithms hold the promise of helping in-person businesses steal back some of the power from online competitors. Further, the ability to use existing cameras and infrastructure in some instances adds to the software’s attractiveness. And this technology can help integrators to differentiate their companies by offering a revolutionary new service.
Digital signage will continue to offer novel customer interactions, companies will continue to hold impressive live events and, as a result, data analytics and artificial intelligence tools and services will become a standard technology for businesses across all in-person consumer industries. It’s up to integrators to educate clients about the new technology and its many benefits, and to help secure new, reliable revenue streams for the integrators themselves.
After more than 20 years, the physical business world is finally catching back up with the online world. I, for one, am excited to see companies leverage real-time data to improve the customer experience and their bottom lines.