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Digital Signage and #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo #CognitiveComputing

Interactive digital signage is all about personalization and is dynamic in nature

The digital signage market was valued at USD 16.88 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 27.34 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.7% between 2016 and 2022, as per marketsandmarkets.com. It is also considered as a future for retail and similar industries, where customer experience plays a major role.

Interactive Digital Signage
As the customer experience takes center stage in today's digital world, large screens, high quality and high resolution content in the form of "digital dignage" will play a much larger part in enterprise digital transformation. While this is generally played by the media companies, the current trends are more about user experience, personalization, interactivity and other cognitive interactions, which forms the basis of next generation "Interactive Digital Signage."

As per the definition, interactive digital signage is all about personalization and is dynamic in nature. It's no longer a set of static images and other media. In this context new age applications that can integrate rich media with cognitive user gestures and understand personalized user needs will be the real winners.

Use Cases for Interactive Digital Signage
The retail industry is expected to have the maximum innovation using interactive digital signage, especially because of its very nature of competition and the need for user experience and personalization. As the past decade saw a movement from physical stores to online stores, however in current context most users are expecting a traditional shopping experience that was typical of a physical store. However by blending the concepts, interactive digital signage setup in stores can help users with product comparisons, color selections, look and feel details, usage, demos, how to and more and this making a truly personalized experience.

The healthcare industry is also getting streamlined as more stress is given to patient engagement and education as part of legislation like "Meaningful Use - Stage 3". This means that the interactive digital signage with rich media content and cognitive gestures will play a larger role in healthcare of tomorrow.

Without elaborating further, you could easily find out the importance of this concept in various other industries like government, travel, manufacturing and more.

Windows 10 as "Interactive Digital Signage" Platform
While there are existing solutions that can help with interactive digital signage, Windows 10 platform with some of its new features can help to provide the much needed interactivity, dynamic content and cognitive interaction support while providing the basic need of high intensity, rich media displays.

Windows 10 Kiosk Mode (Assigned Access)
A single-use or kiosk device is easy to set up in Windows 10 for desktop editions (Pro, Enterprise, and Education). For a kiosk device to run a Universal Windows app, use the assigned access feature. Assigned Access allows to create one very restricted user account, the only thing the user can do with which is run one app from the Store, and nothing else. A Universal Windows app is built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which was first introduced in Windows 8 as the Windows Runtime and continues to be major development paradigm for Windows 10.

Windows 10 Device Families
With the Universal Windows Platform in Windows 10, your apps will now run on a number of device families and automatically scale across the different screen and window sizes, supported by the platform controls. This means that UWP kiosk application can run devices that support large screens.

Integration with Cognitive Gestures
A UWP app can be integrated with Azure Cognitive Services, which means the app that is displayed on the large screens can understand a user's voice or utilize facial recognition or fingerprint recognition. Standard features like touch and ink based input can be augmented with the application.

Surface Hub
Surface Hub is a brand of high resolution, large screen interactive packaged solution that mainly targets are collaboration . They consist of features like touchscreen, speakers, camera, sensors, pen and other input devices. As Windows 10 forms the basis for Surface Hub, other innovative applications can be built on top of it using Visual Studio and UWP platform templates.

Cortana (Personal Assistant) Apps
Cortana is the out of the box Personal Digital Assistant that is part the Windows 10 ecosystem. Cortana offers a robust and comprehensive extensibility framework that enables you to seamlessly incorporate functionality from your app or service into the Cortana experience. This means a Windows 10 UWP app that will potentially run as a Kiosk app or as Surface Hub app can extensively use the Cortana features and design the entire interaction flow.

As the digital signage going to play a major role in retail and other industry transformation, the following features are import which can be enabled through the platform features mentioned above.

  • Interactive: UWP Apps integrated with Cortana
  • Personalized: With integration with Windows Hello and with cognitive interactions like Facial recognition, the experience can all the more can be personalized.
  • Context Sensitive: As it is an App with the full intelligence of the enterprise back end systems, and other SaaS services, entire interaction can be context sensitive and dynamically adjust itself. For example, the application can understand the local weather conditions and may not suggest a winter wear during the peak of summer.
  • Social Media Driven: As typical of any consumer application today these UWP apps can fully utilize Social Media data and provide a rich experience.

Future trends suggest that Kiosk, digital signage all converge in to future of Retail and other industries and flexibility and ease of use of Windows 10 platform along with supported devices could be a factor to consider.

For more details about developing applications in Windows 10 Kiosk Mode (Assigned Access) and for other options like Cortana, Surface Hub etc., refer to detailed documentation.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).