It’s a sunny midsummer day and you walk by a snack-bar window. You notice a screen promoting ice-cream sandwiches. That’s a great idea!
You’re at your local bank, waiting in line to make a deposit. There are 10 people ahead of you. A wall-mounted screen launches a video that suggests using the ATM in the lobby for quicker service.
You’re at work and your company just announced a major deal. You glance at the office’s digital signage screen and see the company’s share price rising as the news gets out.
You’ve just witnessed 3 examples of smart, rule-based, data-driven content.
What’s a “smart” CMS?
In the early days, digital signage users were required to manually edit their own playlists and schedules to publish content to their screens. While we have seen some efforts to automate these processes over the years, there hasn’t been any big breakthrough. That is, until now…
Digital signage CMS software products have evolved to the point where they now support meta tags, rule-based playback and rule-based triggers. You can now use any type of data source to manage what’s shown on your digital signage screens. In a not so distant future, we can envision all digital signage content will be managed without any direct user interaction.
Sales and marketing teams already take advantage of data-driven digital signage and automation to drive business. In fact, it’s become essential to many businesses.
How smart is your CMS?
Digital signage CMS automation falls into 3 categories:
- Fully manual process.
- Users must perform every task and there is virtually no automation possible.
- Mostly manual process with some basic automation.
- Users perform most tasks manually but there are some timesaving features available.
- Content validity lets you pre-upload content and set simple parameters that control when the content can be shown on screen.
- Player/location specific content feature where you assign content to individual screens.
- Meta tags for players and content are used to restrict playback on specific screens or locations.
- Manual to fully automated process.
- Users create rules that dictate how and when content should be shown on screen.
- Rules can be applied to live data sources (weather, point-of-sale, KPI, etc.)
- Sensors, wireless devices and data sources can trigger content on-demand.
- Content playback can be fully automated with no user involvement required.
- Users can still manage and schedule content manually to create “hybrid” programming.
Today’s professional digital signage CMS software requires minimal user involvement.
For example, content will “wake up” when the right conditions are met. Like, when the weather’s hot and you’re shown an ad for ice cream. Content is removed automatically whenever a product goes out of stock, or the conditions no longer warrant showing the ad.
Some refer to this as dynamic, data-driven, or rule-based playback. It’s a feature that lets users set one or more conditions, and pick data sources to be monitored. When the results are true, the content is shown. Simple as that.
Rule-based playback is great but professional CMS software, like Navori QL, let you go even further.
With Navori QL, creative teams can create complex rules with multiple conditions. For example, screens can show an ad for umbrellas when it’s raining in a specific area, but only if the item is in stock. The ad won’t be shown if it’s a sunny day, or if the item is sold out. Conditions can use “and” / “or” operators to determine how rules work.
Imagine what your team can achieve when content turns itself on or off based on external conditions. Playlists adapt to local events to show targeted, relevant content to the audience with very little human intervention.
Marketing tools that can generate XML data which then directs which content to show on screen. There is less reliance on manual programming which means the content is always optimized for the target audience.
Rule-based content triggering
The same technology can be assigned to trigger content. When you use rule-based triggers, the currently scheduled playlist and its content are temporarily replaced by a specific message as soon as the conditions are true. When the conditions are false, regular programming is restored and the scheduled playlist resumes.
Triggering has traditionally been used for automated alerts (Amber alerts, emergency broadcasts and instant messaging) but this technique can also be applied to many other applications.
- Product tie-in suggestions in quick-serve restaurant drive-throughs. Items are suggested based on the customer’s order.
- Jackpot winner announcements in Casinos triggered by slot machines.
- Customer announcements in queue management systems that help reduce perceived dwell times.
Benefits of automation
A level 3 CMS software provides the most benefits.
- Your audience will always see the right content.
- You can automate your business processes and manage very large display networks without adding more staff.
- Your client’s ad campaigns get better traction because they are shown to a more receptive audience. No sense in delivering ads for products that aren’t available, or needed.
- Your CMS gains new capabilities as you connect it to external devices, sensors and data sources. Content can be shown based on environmental, physical or technical status. Leverage business insights, marketing strategies and data-driven performance metrics to enhance your programming.
- Content is enabled or triggered from external events as needed. Staff members don’t need to be directly involved.
- There is no coding required. Rules are created using “plain text” commands so anyone can build them.
- Experienced CMS users don’t need to change their existing methodology. They get to concentrate on content management tasks rather than programming.
- You will benefit from a higher return on investment (ROI) while lowering your operating costs.
Rule-based automation is just an additional layer that can be called upon to enhance how content is managed and played.
Who is smart content automation for?
Any business using digital signage displays can take advantage of rule-based content automation but here are some who will get more out of this technology:
- Businesses who have access to machine-generated data, like production figures, stocking levels, sales statistics and other information.
- QSR restaurants and other businesses who use point-of-sale systems to track pricing and other useful data.
- Any business or workgroup who wishes to display content that adapts to real-life scenarios without any additional user interaction.