Digital signage is a powerful retail tool that’s proven to boost the impact of information and sales messaging – and now it’s being deployed as digital wayfinding to help audiences find locations and facilities in a wide variety of venues and public spaces.
Traditional wayfinding systems can be as simple as directions and signs telling people where a particular location is: screens within a cinema; public conveniences; car parking; and individual stores within a shopping complex. Yet these static signs are expensive to implement and lack the extra punch of additional information and services digital wayfinding solutions offer.
The main advantage of using digital signage for digital wayfinding over static signage is through enhanced mapping. We’re all used to a localised map showing where you are, and listing through annotations the facilities and amenities within a given area. Digital wayfinding takes this function a stage further, and can offer 3D models of an environment, individual route planning, and an ‘immersive’ impression of the area that enhances directions.
Turn by turn
Through integration with beacon technology, next generation digital wayfinding solutions can link with a consumer’s mobile phone and put turn-by-turn directions and other important directional information directly on to a handset. Several University campuses in the US, including Duke University and Western Iowa Tech, have already implemented with the help of Four Winds Interactive, and add in personalised student data such as class timetables and room booking information. In more public spaces, digital signage software suppliers 22 Miles completed an overhaul of JFK Airport’s Terminal 8 with its Waytouch Premier digital wayfinding solution, which incorporates flight check-in and 3D route finding throughout the terminal.
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Digital signage also makes it possible to integrate additional data into the wayfinding experience. In exhibition centres and shopping complexes, real-time data feeds that affect route navigation to a destination makes perfect sense. For example, if you’re searching for car parking facilities you want to know that there are spaces available; similarly, if your route means you need to go outside it’s helpful to know whether you’ll need an umbrella. While this type of data isn’t integral to a wayfinding system, it enhances the experience for users in a way static signage cannot.
Data and analytics can feed back to digital signage owners, too, helping them hone the wayfinding experience and glean important customer insights. In shopping complexes signage owners can compare the popularity of search terms and requested routes to particular stores. The timing of searches can also be analysed, showing important information on what types of goods and services customers are looking for on particular days and at particular times.
Digital wayfinding systems also offer a profoundly more dynamic means of serving offers and advertising to public audiences. Within shopping complexes, daily promotions and sales initiatives can be served. Meanwhile for convention centres and exhibitions, early-bird attendees can be rewarded with social offers and calls-to-action to fill particular seminars and talks.
With digital wayfinding systems, customers and the public can become more hands-on with the services on offer, and signage owners can promote tailored offers, information and adverts – a whole lot more than simply helping people move from A to B.
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