A brand is not what a company says it is, but what its customers feel it is, and creating memorable experiences and interactive events will be a big part of evoking that emotion from its customers. Millennials, making up a majority of consumers today, prefer to spend money on experiences over material things—the key is creating an experience that consumers will want to participate in. A successful experience will incorporate cutting-edge technology, be as personal as possible, offer a seamless omnichannel flow, and have easily shareable content. Look for companies to deliver over-the-top experiences that are unique, encourage sharing, and promote advocacy—events that consumers will wait in line to attend and then tell all their friends about.
When Digital Signage Today reached out to ask us to participate in their 2017 Future Trends report, we jumped at the chance. Here are some of the exciting technologies you can expect to gain adoption over 2017 and the years to come.
Everything goes social, and brand evangelism is on the rise
Consumers are happier than ever to get behind a brand and promote it, gaining satisfaction in sharing something that will truly benefit a friend’s, or even stranger’s, quality of life. Many consumers have a compulsion to share photos of themselves, and they derive satisfaction from being the first to know, making interactive experiences prime targets for marketers trying to capture the attention of these consumers. More companies will create shareable moments in hopes that those delightful experiences will turn viral and create an organic movement fueled by evangelists and user-created content. The goal for marketers in the upcoming years will be to identify how brands fit into their customers’ lifestyle and make them fit as easily as possible so that customers will share the experience with others.
With more companies turning to interactive technology to complete their sales and marketing strategies, software developers will continue to invest in advancements in customer-intelligence-gathering to make those interactive deployments more lucrative. We expect to see intelligence-gathering that will help companies tailor their message and experience to precisely reach their specific audience. While consumers are becoming more and more desensitized to large-format displays and traditional advertising methods, the need to personalize will be crucial.
IBM Watson and Cognitive Computing
Cognitive computing is based on self-learning systems that perform human-like tasks in an intelligent way. IBM Watson has already made a major impact in a variety of industries, and that trend is rising at a rapid pace. Large touchscreen displays coupled with cognitive technology will allow users to quickly extract key information from large amounts of data. Cognitive computing has already targeted the medical sector as a prime target for growth, but companies like Staples, Macy’s, and Kia have found uses for this technology to enhance interactive experiences for their customers and to help make better business decisions.
Beacons and Personalization
Thanks to big data and the proximity industry, companies are able to know more than ever about their customers. Couple that with Bluetooth low energy beacons and companies are able to push personalized messaging at the right place and the right time. Over the next few years, companies will become better at successfully delivering this tricky messaging, which, if done wrong, could be intrusive and ineffective. However, contextually relevant personalized messages have the opportunity to greatly increase sales and revenue. By 2020, it is estimated that 1.6 billion coupons will be pushed to consumers utilizing beacon technology. Over the coming year, companies will become better at targeting and delivering that one-of-a-kind message without frightening customers by how much information they have. Once consumers see the value in these unsolicited targeted ads, especially those that offer savings or some exclusive deal, they will get past the “Big Brother” fear and become more than willing to embrace the technology. The market is expected to have close to 400 million beacon sensors deployed by 2020, retail being the industry front runner, with 70 percent of retail companies adopting the technology. We don’t expect beacon use to be limited to retail stores, and we anticipate other entities, like airports, universities, hospitals, and smart cities, find use for this new method of communication.
In addition to beacon technology, we will see more mobile integration in digital strategies. With consumers wanting those shareable experiences, mobile will help take a digital deployment portable and allow consumers to walk a store or exhibit, bringing the experience along with them. Custom apps that allow consumers to access additional product information, purchase items, provide feedback, or just simply interact will be a big part of creating that immersive experience that consumers are looking for.
360-Degree Video, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality
As consumers push for experiences at their fingertips, when they want them, where they want them, virtual reality (VR) may just be the holy grail that marketers are looking for. We anticipate more turnkey solutions entering this space, allowing marketers to easily capitalize on this growing trend. Not only is VR a truly immersive experience in a sea of distractions, but it has the ability to block out the world. Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators update, loaded with new 3D features, will bring powerful and affordable VR to the market through manufacturing partners, introducing headsets starting at $299. While it is not as immersive as VR, with a lower barrier of entry, 360-degree video will be commonplace in 2017. While still very new, augmented reality that provides a mixed medical experience, blending reality and digital, will provide unique opportunities for brands to promote products and create memorable experiences.
Touchscreen Object-Recognition Software
Interactive touchscreens coupled with object-recognition software can interact with objects placed on their surface. Interactive tables are the ideal surface for this technology, so they will be found in retail environments, museums, and galleries. Whether it is learning more about a piece of art or finding out what shoes and accessories work with an outfit, object-recognition software will connect the digital with the physical world.
To download the full Digital Signage Today 2017 Future Trend Report, click here.
Author Bio | Casey Dubbs | Horizon Display
Casey Dubbs, Marketing Manager for Horizon Display. Casey is a classic over-achiever who likes to get the job done right and can’t stand when things are left unfinished or with unmet potential. She is passionate about implementing others’ vision into reality. When she is not obsessing over marketing, she can be found in her garage working on her latest woodworking project. #buildlikeagirl