Category Archives: Content on Demand

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Using Beacon Technology to Boost Customer Experience

Beacons are small, physical objects – wireless transmitters that broadcast radio signals short distances. Smartphones and mobile devices can pick up on their signals to receive content. Their use is on the rise across a range of industries.

They have been likened to indoor GPS and, using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, beacons can communicate with and send small data packets to smartphones that come into a range of about 50-100 metres. They are low cost and require very little energy.

Within the marketing sector, beacon technology is also known as “proximity marketing” – alluding to its importance in creating timely physical context and location-specific relevance for customers.

The popularity of beacon technology is soaring as smartphones and mobile devices continue to proliferate. A recent study by AirSpace showed that 79% of the brands questioned are planning to implement proximity marketing over the next six months.

So 2015 could be the year that beacon technology hits the big time. And much of the commercial interest in beacon technology so far has come from the retail sector.

Retail

Apple has created its own iBeacons and set out its support for the technology by installing them in all its US stores to help customers seek assistance, alert them if their iPhone is eligible for an upgrade and push information about special deals.

Technology company Iconeme are currently developing the patent-pending VMBeacon – a beacon for use in fashion retail environments. The technology has already been trialled by House of Fraser, Oasis, Hawes & Curtis, and Jaeger. It has just been launched at Ted Baker‘s store in Westfield White City, London – a first for the brand.

How does it work? Customers will need to download the free app and allow push notifications. VMBeacons are inserted into mannequins within the store. When a customer passes a beacon, a push notification is triggered in the associated smartphone app.

These alerts can provide links to the Ted Baker website, or help the customer locate where the mannequin’s garments can be found on the shop floor. The beacons also generate detailed photos and descriptions of what the customer is looking at, and this content can become more interactive too: Shoppers can create look-books, share items with friends on social media, or be encouraged to continue using the app – and shop with the brand – by receiving exclusive offers and rewards.

Beacon technology can also be helpful for encouraging active sales and engagement outside of store opening hours. Mannequins located in window displays could interact with passers-by at all times of day and night.

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Other uses for beacons in retail include automatic acceptance of tickets, loyalty cards and payments. Norwegian startup Unacast is planning to use beacons to provide brands with the opportunity to re-target online ads to consumers based on the actual items they have been looking at in-store.

Education & learning

The potential uses for beacon technology within eLearning are huge. Visitors to museums and art galleries could benefit from using a site-specific app linked to beacons throughout the venue, which could offer a much more interactive experience than traditional signage and audio guides are able to do.

Curators and educators could collate further information for each object or artwork and save it within a beacon. Visitors could then automatically access interviews, music, further description, and video, and even respond to – and interact with – the object.

You can imagine that an app would then allow users to save their favourite pieces and share them with others – turning a potentially boring school trip into a rich, rewarding and more long-lasting experience.

Achieving personal targets would also be a great way to use beacons. They could guide you around the gym for example, delivering your exercise routine to your smartphone or updating your smartwatch as you go.

Customer services

Beacons are already being used to enhance travel and transport services for passengers, especially in locations such as major international airports. A pilot scheme by Emirates is fitting beacons into luggage tags – like a kind of wearable technology for suitcases – to track baggage and help prevent loss.

British Airways has been trialling the devices at key points along the consumer journey to improve customer experience and provide useful information like boarding times. Beacons could also be used at transport hubs to notify passengers of timetable changes, delays, special deals and gate information.

Back on the high street, a Barclays Bank branch in Sheffield is currently trialling beacon technology to help its disabled customers. An application on the customer’s iPhone will recognise the in-store beacon to notify staff that they have entered the building and will require assistance.

Our tips: Making beacon technology work for you

  • Convincing users to download your app is the hard bit. Remember that consumers will download apps, but only as long as it adds genuine value to their experience.
  • Plan how you’ll keep your content fresh. A content management system will allow you to manage all the information in real-time, in a way that’s easily update-able.
  • Once your beacon system is live, be sure to make maximum use of it to gain greater insights into your customers’ behaviour, needs and desires.

We’re always keen to work with companies with grand plans for using next generation digital technologies. Get in touch to discuss your ideas and we’ll make them a reality!

Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today. Get in touch by calling 01908 522532 or email info@pauley.co.uk.

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4

Interactive Touch Screen Technology: Sell More in Store

Looking for more public engagement, an enhanced sales pipeline, and interactive content for multi-channel use in a retail environment? It’s time to get ahead of the game with interactive touch screen technology.

The growing appeal of online shopping means that retailers are pushing for new ways for get shoppers into bricks-and-mortar shops. We need new, entertaining reasons for going to stores, and more exciting product launches. The future of shopping could involve digital sales assistants, RFID-activated messages and supercharged touch screens.

Capitalising on Christmas

Mall and shopping centre operators are creating increasingly interactive experiences in order to draw customers into stores over the Christmas period.

This festive season, mall operator Macerich has launched a virtual Santa HQ in ten locations. Children can stand on a platform that determines how good they’ve been, displaying their names on “naughty” or “nice” boards. Visitors can also see their faces superimposed on cartoon dancing elves, and tablet-based augmented reality reveals rooms full of presents. Texting technology means there’s no waiting in line to meet Santa himself.

Taubman malls are also hoping to net families with virtual experiences created by Dreamworks and Disney.

At Target, creating wish lists is easy with a game-like app that reviews the toy catalogue and shares those dream items on social media. Hold an iPad over the catalogue, and the pages appear in 3D, showing more information about the products.

Interactivity coming to a store near you…

shrek1Coca-Cola recently launched highly interactive vending machines in Asia and Australia. Combining the Internet of Things (IoT) with digital signage, screens share content with customers at the point of sale, encouraging them to share their experience on social media by offering games, discounts and more.

It’s working: Beverage sales on a new digital cooler were found to be 12 percent higher than standard coolers.

UGG Australia has some incredibly high-tech outlets, with queues out of the door. The first, technology-driven concept store in Washington D.C. is a test bed for retail interactivity. Using RFID technology to trigger content on huge touchscreens around the shop floor, customers can interact with the products more than ever before.

Try on a pair of boots, and you can personalize the design of your choice, such as adding Swarovski crystal embellishments. Meanwhile, the screens will show offers, options, styling tips, relevant marketing campaigns and complementary products.

A new store “employee” at a San Jose department store knows immediately the real-time stock levels and location of all the shop’s wares. Impressive, eh? The person-sized, robotic OSHbot has a 3D-sensing camera, which can scan an item such as a screw, identify it, and guide the customer to where they can find similar products. Its built-in technologies include voice recognition, autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance.

Other robots in development for retail include a personal robotic shopping assistant and a security guard.

BodyScanner4Elsewhere, 3D scanners are popping up. We developed such a concept here at PAULEY several years ago. As the technology continues to improve, companies such as Size Stream offer full body scanners. Each scanner has 14 sensors that take 450 body measurements in just six seconds. This kind of technology has been used to help fit medical garments, but could now start to seriously branch out into custom tailoring.

App-ealing to savvy shoppers

More and more retailers are launching their own apps, which can be used to shop on line and increase engagement in store. Macy’s recently launched Image Search – a function that allows users to take a snap of something they like and sends them similar items from the store’s inventory.

The new app from Starbucks facilitates mobile payment and keeps tracks of purchases to make it easy to track and redeem reward points. Simply click to pay and a barcode appears, which the cashier scans.

Shoppers at Tysons Corner Center in Virginia, USA, who have the center’s app now see a welcome message pop up when they enter the store. Acting like a virtual shop assistant, the app immediately answers questions via text message and asks if the customer wants their purchases delivered to their home.

Interested in increasing interactivity & engagement?

At PAULEY, our bespoke digital solutions create exciting, immersive experiences that will leave a lasting impression on your customers.

We’ll work with you to make your brand more memorable, help you visualize and demonstrate complex products, and create streamlined, shareable content for all platforms.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today! Get in touch by calling 01908 522532 or email info@pauley.co.uk.

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Culture-Odyssey

Video Streaming and 3D Integration

Video Streaming and 3D IntegrationThe use of 3D in entertainment and business is currently hitting an all time high. 3D cinema is widely available and large manufacturers such as Samsung have launched 3D ready TV.  Recent collaborations involving computer and Internet giant Microsoft have focused on developing 3D enabled Internet browsers and smooth streaming, High Definition (HD), high quality3D streamed video.  Even the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament was shot in 3D for U.S. audiences with 3D enabled TVs and computers.  With 3D in the mainstream and with the mass markets becoming familiar with the superior experience that 3D technology adds to a variety of media, the timing for integrating 3D with streaming video for online marketing couldn’t be better.
 
Streaming Video
Streaming video online allows Internet users to view and experience video content without having to waste time waiting for an entire video file to download.  The phenomenally popular YouTube is a good example of how this media delivery method can be used to distribute rich content on demand to millions of users world wide every day. The advanced coding and video distribution technologies mean that audiences can experience dynamic and highly engaging content in a fast, smooth, and uninterrupted way. The technicalities of video streaming involve production of a video (pre-recorded or live) which is compressed to send (and decompressed at the other end), and transmitted to a Web server which is capable of delivering the same content to multiple users at once if necessary, and is viewed by the target audience via the use of a media player.  The media player used by the end viewer can be for example one of the many widely available players which work with the most common streaming file formats e.g. Windows Media, RealMedia, QuickTime etc, or downloadable proprietary or other specific players which relate to the particular format e.g. more specialised 3D players.
 
Integrating 3D
 
The widespread domestic and commercial use of the Internet, the wide availability of high bandwidth and fast Internet connections and standard protocols of all kinds, the huge technological advancement of and investment in viewing capabilities, and a mass market that are switched on to and hungry for the benefits of 3D provide the perfect conditions for its integration with video streaming. 3D itself provides a range of benefits which massively enhance any form of communication, presentation, and education.  3D allows concepts or accurate representation of real things e.g. products, components, buildings, vehicles etc to be clearly visualised and experienced in a highly realistic context. The subjects of the 3D animation and visualisation can be demonstrated and experienced like never before because the viewer can navigate them, move around them, view them and operate / work them, and interact with them in a way that allows unparalleled levels of comprehension and true understanding.
 
Application
 
For most business organisations, integration of 3D into streaming video made available via a website presents a major opportunity in marketing communications. Videos incorporating 3D motion graphics and product visualisation can allow website users to experience realistic fly throughs, presentations and the exploration of art and architecture, as well as facilities management tours.  The maximum leverage and added value can be gained from 3D advertising showreels, physics engines, and corporate presentations by making them available online via streaming video. The same technique can even allow website visitors, customers or potential customers to experience real time tours.  This can be an incredibly effective technique, particularly where creating the environment or physically moving the person to the environment being shown is simply too expensive or not financially or physically possible at that moment in time.
 
Adding a dramatic extra dimension to what is already a compelling way of presenting information and ideas over the web is therefore a very powerful sales, communication and educational tool which could provide a strong competitive edge to all organisations that use it.


Read more at www.cultureodyssey.org
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