When should an agency advise a client to create “intelligent spaces” using digital signage technologies? What exactly would that entail?”
My personal definition of an intelligent space is the use of activation where digital signage is being employed to communicate information that is the result of deep processing of specific user behaviors or other external data sources.
To clarify further, displaying a Twitter steam next to the weather forecast doesn’t make a space intelligent. However, for example, the context of the installation is climate change, and a visitor walks into an area where a map is showing real time social media sentiment on global warming, by cross referencing geographies, recent natural disasters and related media coverage. Then, we are on the right path.
The ‘intelligent’ part comes from the processing of data in a way that brings unique value to the user. This entails multiple steps:
- Capturing information – this can happen in explicit ways, such as when somebody selects an item on the screen or touches a physical object. Or, it can be more subtle like expressing interest by looking in a certain direction or stopping by in front of a display. Yes, there are devices that can track and categorize those behaviors too. Data may also come aggregated from external sources.
- Processing information – this is where simple to complex algorithms will make sense of data and will extract patterns and/or suggestions that are aligned with the goals of the space. Think of Amazon recommendations as an example.
- Visualizing information – the final step is making sure that the outcome is being communicated to the user in a manner that can lead to positive action. For a museum, the goal could be educating an audience. For a retail space, it’ll likely be a purchase. I find this phase particularly fun as you can experiment with all sorts of technologies from interactive screens to projection mapping and the Internet of Things.
In summary, I predict that there will be more and more intelligent spaces tied to digital signage in the future. With the proliferation of sensors and cloud services, it’s going to be easier to capture and process big data. And users will come to expect customized experiences tailored to their preferences and behaviors.