Enhancing digital signage with real-time data feeds
Content for digital signage doesn’t have to only support products or brand messages – you can enhance customer engagement with a range of real-time data feeds from third party providers.
Data feeds for digital signage need a small form factor PC or server to drive information over the network from a data source. It is possible to code a feed yourself, using RSS, XML or integrating a bespoke API to draw on tagged content. A range of service providers can also do the job for you, for a base subscription fee. Either option means your audiences can interact with a range of live, scrolling information, updated in real-time by the feed. Here are some of the best examples of live data feed content and how savvy operators are using them…
Localised weather information is useful to more than just audiences. Used in conjunction with content creation tools, it’s possible to tie sales offers and calls-to-action to changes in the weather. For example, restaurants and bars can advertise drinks promotions as the sun comes up and the temperature rises; while outdoor gear stores can trigger a flash sale on waterproof jackets in the event of a sudden downpour. Weather Unlocked’s WeatherTrigger offers a range of APIs that enable digital signage operators to prepare specific messages and content as and when the weather changes.
Traffic and travel
Traffic and public transport information is useful to both consumer and business audiences. In the work place, digital signage placement can alert employees to commuter disruptions, while audiences on the high street can gain localised information alongside sales messages and calls to action. For example, Transport for London offers a free data feed, that includes live information not only on bus, tube and river transport, but also traffic updates and tertiary information on station accessibility and toilet locations, Oyster shop locations, and even the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory which updates on emission levels throughout the capital.
Websites like 500px.com offer XML and RSS data feeds that enable digital signage operators to select and rotate a series of beautiful photos. These can be used in businesses, hotels and restaurants as digital art installations, adding a splash of colour and character to signage that’s not displaying information. On GitHub – a code repository where developers post services and functions – someone has even gone to the trouble of categorising and creating a feed of every single Google Chromecast background. Meanwhile, ArtPlayer.net offers a bespoke subscription service for visual art feeds tailored to your taste.
Sports and events
Scrolling news tickers of live sporting fixtures is something every sports fan is used to. But digital signage can offer deeper information than just the current score. In sports bars, on college and university campuses, and in stadia, data feeds can deliver player information and stats, league table information and forthcoming fixture details. Content feed provider Screened.com is offering a Rio Olympics 2016 feed that deliver real time information on all events, results and overall medals tables.
Integrating a brand’s social media activity across a network of digital signage has become prevalent – and for good reason. Not only does it enable real-time messaging and calls-to-action, but it also enables audiences and fans to contribute feedback and feel more engaged with a brand. Some services, such as Scala.com’s social media feed, deliver point-of-sale data and user preferences that enables retailers to tailor digital signage content to specific customer needs. Services like Eventbeat even offer real-time smart polls, which encourages deeper customer interactions and delivers valuable consumer data and insights.