A More Convenient World

More options for sharing experiences at events, faster shopping, and eliminating steps at check out

Amazon, an online behemoth, is making it increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar stores to compete. Shopping online has 24/7 convenience, makes comparing products easy, and saves your shopping cart forever. Customers expect online stores to track their preferences and personalize the shopping experience with suggestions based on past choices. The same kind of personalization is difficult for traditional stores. However, with smart digital signage, smartphone apps, and a little creativity, traditional stores are working to customize the shopping experience, too.

A few years ago, I put a store app called Cartwheel on my smartphone. It saved me money, time, and made shopping more informative. I could check a price using my smartphone as a barcode reader. I could mark e-coupons anytime, which the app collected. Later, the cashier scanned a single barcode on my phone that applied all the coupons; no scissors required. Digital signage can make shopping more informative and convenient for shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores. Personalizing the shopping experience can be a good thing for customers, saving them money, time, and frustration. For retailers, information from digital signs on how long people linger in front of a display can translate into products that better fit the demographic local to the store. Smart digital signage means less wait time at a restaurant. Table-top payment kiosks in restaurants mean that customers don’t have to wait for the check; it’s on the touch-pad kiosk. Customers can close their ticket, securely swipe their credit card in the kiosk, and leave a busy restaurant without wait staff ever handling their credit card.

Remember Pokémon Go? Augmented reality apps can assist customers in finding an item. A customer can find the correct aisle for a specific item by searching for it on her phone. When she reaches the right aisle, she can hold up her smartphone, and a digital overlay identifies the area or bin with the item. Digital signage can save time for customers and store labor costs.

Stadium games are more fun with digital signage. You can leave the game to get snacks or go to the restroom without missing a play since large displays feed the live action along the way. Moderated, scrolling twitter feeds allow fans to contribute to the social experience with commentary. Voting by smartphone enables concertgoers to influence the encore song. Processors all around us fuel engagement, create convenience, and offer a richer experience.

Lynnette Reese is Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Intel® Solutions and Embedded Systems Engineering, and has been working in various roles as an electrical engineer for over two decades. She is interested in open source software and hardware, the maker movement, and in increasing the number of women working in STEM so she has a greater chance of talking about something other than football at the water cooler.

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