Tag Archives: digital signage

Mixing Digital Signage with Augmented Reality

Using AR with your smartphone

Should you consider adding AR to your next digital signage project?

Digital signage expo is coming up next week and this got me thinking about “the next big thing”.

It just seems like there’s always some new technology poised to revolutionize the industry. Take 3D for example. It was supposed to be everywhere. There were many booths on the DSE floor showing some type of 3D display. But 3D never really took off. It’s still being promoted by a few hardware manufacturers but it’s nowhere near what we expected based on the hype.

It wasn’t just a digital signage thing, because consumer 3D flopped too. There are many reasons to explain why 3D failed to take off. Costs, complexity, lack of good content… the list goes on!

But for every loser, there is a winner and I feel quite positive about this year’s “next big thing”. I’m talking about augmented reality (AR) and what it can bring to folks who install digital signage screens in their stores, hotels and restaurants.

Those who don’t recognize the term “augmented reality” should remember the Pokemon Go mobile game that became the benchmark for the technology. Back in 2016, Pokemon Go showed how immersive (and addictive) AR could be. It was a massive global success and soon other developers followed with their own AR games. While no other AR based game ever matched Pokemon Go, the technology had made its mark.

It’s been a couple of years since Pokemon Go and while the buzz has died down, AR seems poised to make a comeback and this time it’s not just about games.

Case in point, Microsoft is on it’s second generation of HoloLens technology and there are others in this space, like Google and Magic Leap who are developing advanced AR tools aimed at the industrial sector. HoloLens, Google Glass and other similar products require some type of headset or special goggles to project computer graphics within the wearer’s field of vision. While there are some potential consumer applications on the horizon, the current state of this technology is mostly aimed at the manufacturing, medical and scientific fields.

Now, you may ask… “What does this all have to do with digital signage?”

Pokemon Go showed us how AR can be an incredible tool to attract and engage an audience, and when combined with digital signage, AR apps can do much more. Software developers can write an app that lets smartphones detect visual cues on a digital signage screen to deliver personalized content. AR apps can detect a logo, a person’s face or any other shape. Once the app is installed, the audience can trigger a coupon download, an animation or any other type of content just by pointing their phone towards a screen.

It’s important to note AR interactions can also be based on a physical location, like GPS coordinates so you’re not limited to scanning for graphics. The point is, AR can add value to any digital signage network regardless of the venue and it works with any CMS software.

Retailers already talk of “gamification”, where techniques borrowed from the gaming world are used to engage customers. This is becoming very popular as retailers try to pull more traffic into their bricks-and-mortar stores. AR enables these types of interactions through a smartphone app.

For example, a car dealership can deliver product information like videos, brochures or other relevant content when someone points a smartphone at one of their cars. The same technique can be used in a retail store selling appliances or other big ticket items.

But it’s not just for retail. You can deliver digital coupons that get triggered when a logo or other graphic appears on the LED scoreboard at a sporting event. You can create “easter egg hunts” that require participants to reach a series of physical locations inside a stadium to unlock unique digital content, or access some giveaways. And these are just a few possibilities.

AR can enhance the impact of your digital signage content. It engages viewers by creating memorable experiences where static content becomes interactive.

Deploying an AR solution used to be expensive, complicated and time consuming, but recent breakthroughs are making AR much more accessible. This is where the software-as-a-service model comes into play. Rather than having to write your own AR apps from scratch, the service based model is making the technology more affordable and easier to deploy. It can also deliver valuable statistics and provide insights into consumer behavior.

Smartphones aren’t going away anytime soon, so I expect AR will be around for a long time. I also see this technology grow in popularity as we look to engage audiences in a more meaningful way.

Navori QL adds support for LG webOS


Navori recently announced they now support LG webOS devices. QL Player for webOS is the latest version of the company’s media player software. As with other QL Player versions, this software is based on Navori’s proprietary graphics engine and adapted to the webOS platform.

The QL CMS software supports a growing list of hardware devices, from Windows PCs and Android devices, to System-on-Chip displays from several manufacturers.

Navori will be showing off their QL webOS compatible player software at the ISE show in Amsterdam this February 5 to 9.

Why System-on-Chip?

SoC displays are popular for the following reasons…

  • It’s easier to install an integrated SoC display compared to other solutions that require multiple components. You don’t need to mount the media player hardware separately and you don’t have any hanging wires (other than the display’s own power cable). You also save a lot of time because there is only one component to install.
  • Modern SoC displays feature more powerful components. You get much better performance, in some cases on par with external Android media player hardware. SoC displays can handle video and other “heavy” content better than the first generation models.
  • You pay more for a SoC display compared to a “dumb” TV. However, the cost compares more favorably if you factor in the latter’s need for an external media player (Android or Windows), extra cabling and media player mount.

Some will say the SoC display’s weak point is having to replace the entire display if there’s a problem with the built-in media player. While that may be true, the fact is these products are well engineered. Especially the Pro versions which are built for 24/7 use. I would be more concerned about the display’s backlighting than the media player hardware. Nevertheless, it’s something you need to be comfortable with.

Why Navori QL?

Navori QL has lots of great features, but I think the software’s availability on so many platforms is what makes it special. While some CMS offerings support some features on some hardware, Navori has made the effort to port over as many features as possible for each new device. In fact, most features carry across all QL player versions, from Windows to Android, and SoC. If a feature is missing, it’s because it’s simply not available on that hardware. Navori engineers make sure the QL Player software operates in a predictable way on every device. Each platform gets its own version, optimized for that platform.

It takes more time and effort to roll out each QL Player version but the results are worth it. End-users can manage large networks of players, confident the results will be the same regardless of the device or operating system at the other end.