“Are there any new technical capabilities in hardware and/or software opening up new creative options for content playback, design, or interactivity? How are they being applied? How well are they being applied?”
I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly new on the interactive side, other than the fact that more verticals are beginning to embrace it to boost sales and customer engagement. Case in point: The Golden Arches. (I know all of us are healthy eaters and never, ever get the urge for a Big Mac, Egg McMuffin or a side of Fries. Now that that’s settled…)
McDonald’s has gone all in on interactivity with its kiosks, to the extent that many stores have replaced most of the counter registers. Staff are positioned at the units to act as docents to help unfamiliar customers through the experience which is actually very intuitive. Not only can you place an order, but you can also pay at the kiosk by card, Apple or Google pay, and can either pick up at the counter or take a seat and wait for table service. On a recent Saturday morning breakfast run for a family member I asked my local franchise manager about the units. He has four units and loves them, and told me that most customers have embraced them, especially millennials and those of tech-inate Generation Z. The manager also said they’ve proven so far to be reliable, which is key. Other QSRs like CaliBurger are already planning to follow McDonald’s lead, as evidenced by their AI kiosk display at NRF2018. And don’t forget early adopter Panera Bread. Clearly, interactive digital signage is picking up momentum in the QSR vertical. In McDonald’s case it appears they’re Lovin It!