What AV technologies will be soon used in-store?

The Amsterdam Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) tradeshow is a showcase of technologies which aim to improve end-user experience. It is interesting in terms of retail marketing for at least two reasons. First, it presents new audiovisual technologies, which will get to consumers first and then, if they are successful, to retail chains. Second, the visitors can get an idea about which audiovisual technologies are gaining more space in retail.

A wide range of companies with many interesting and often useful innovations presented themselves at the ISE tradeshow. We will focus on those technologies which we found the most interesting and which could soon be seen in retail.

First of all, there are touch sensors behind a shop window: a visitor touches the window and the sensors transmit the signal to a computer placed up to 15 cm from it. This gives a visitor an opportunity to go through a whole catalogue or complete their purchase effortlessly, without having to set foot in the shop. Furthermore, the sensors are easy to install, sensitive to touch and they should not cost much more than touch foil.

Another interesting innovation is thin transparent OLED displays, which bring an impressive presentation into a shop’s window. They can show any digital content and, at the same time, you can be sure that, unlike rear projection foils, they do not block the view into the shop.

We were pleased to see that the tradeshow also featured producers of 10″ and 15″ Windows “All-in-One” computers, which have all the hardware built into the monitor, so they take up little space. They do not have much competition in the market at the moment.

What made us very happy were the innovations in the area of stable robust technologies capable of recognizing the age and gender of a shopper. They will enable you to analyse more precisely who visits your shop and adjust your range of goods. Until recently, this technology had been like Mrs Columbo: everybody talked about it, but nobody had seen it (working). The truth is that we at Ki-Wi Digital had tried to develop it, but ultimately we decided to leave it to the more competent ones.

We do not know whether it is only a fad or a trend; however, every other display producer is starting to produce LCD monitors with a built-in chip. This implemented system performs basic functions: playing images, videos and browsing the internet. It can satisfy only undemanding clients who do not want to spend money on an external PC and do not need the displays to show PowerPoint or PDF presentations and TV broadcast.

At this year’s ISE, the sector of digital signage (a system of digital display devices in spaces accessible to the public) took up a whole hall, and the sector of audiovisual technologies even took up two. The tradeshow led us to believe that LCD or OLED displays, touch screens and tablets, video walls, transparent displays, digital signage software, systems for gender and age recognition and other similar technologies in retail are establishing well, often and successfully. All hardware is getting thinner and more powerful every year.

Over 68 thousand people attended the last ISE tradeshow. We are already looking forward to the next year’s show. And if it is bigger than this year, we will have not a one-day but a two-day marathon.

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