It wasn’t so long ago that even the simplest of targeted digital communication seemed far-fetched to many marketing firms. In recent years, the ability of companies to analyze a customer’s interactions with online media and tailor their ad experience based on the results has seen incredible technological leaps. Perhaps most significant is the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into digital signage networks.

For companies on the cutting edge of marketing, those looking to make customer engagement more personalized and unique, AI is a powerful and effective tool. However, there is some confusion between what is driving certain actions – traditional analytics or AI. Often software companies use analytics based on AI techniques rather than the real thing. Knowing the difference can be an important step to ensure that you are keeping up with the competition.

To understand the difference, this year’s anti-smoking ad by Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjartat[1] is a useful example. The digital billboard was designed to detect smoke whenever someone had a cigarette near the sign. If the sensors went off, a video would play on the screen of a man coughing and with a disgusted look on his face. The ad was creative, engaging and an excellent use of modern technology to provide an effective anti-smoking message. AI, however, could have made it so much more.

In a process known as deep learning, AI equipped programs take large data sets, often collected in real time, in order to respond to their environment in a particular way. In this anti-smoking campaign, for instance, AI could have allowed the advertisement to detect where the smoker was, thereby directing the disgusted glare directly in their direction. Additionally, it could have used video software to detect when someone chose to put out the cigarette, triggering a secondary video with a thumbs up. Put simply, AI changes the programs capabilities from merely being an “if/then” scenario to one with open-ended possibilities.

The possibilities that deep learning programs can offer a digital communication system are almost unbelievable. When customers enter a store, these programs have the ability to detect gender, analyze for an estimated age, and even remember whether or not the customer had visited before. These details allow it to then present an image or video geared directly towards that person’s predicted shopping habits. This not only benefits the store by driving up revenue, but increases the probability of customers leaving with a positive experience enticing them to return.

No matter what industry you’re in, or what digital communication platform you rely on, AI has the ability to make a significant impact on your marketing strategy and your business in the coming years. In order to stay ahead of the curve, it is important to find a trusted partner in the industry who understands cutting edge technologies and can bring about the results you are looking for. Omivex has been leading the charge in implementing new digital communications technologies since their founding over 25 years ago.

Doug Bannister

Doug Bannister

Doug is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Omnivex Corporation. Doug founded Omnivex after 7 successful years in the LED sign software business to take advantage of the newer screen technologies. Recognizing the potential for a revolutionary signage market, Doug embarked on developing software to capitalize on the graphic potential of the emerging technology.

Doug is considered by many as a visionary in the digital signage space. In his role as CEO and CTO Doug is responsible for the long term product architecture and the overall vision for the company. He has always maintained direct responsibility for the architecture of the software to ensure the product remains at the forefront of the industry. Combined with his vision, leadership and experience as an entrepreneur in the LED sign market, Doug has used his understanding of customer requirements and knowledge of technology to create one of the leading software solutions for the digital signage industry.

Prior to starting Omnivex, Doug founded BCD Systems Inc., a company that developed software to manage information on LED displays, such as stock tickers and market wallboards in the global marketplace. BCD Systems and Omnivex merged in 2002.

Doug was born in 1966 and grew up in the Toronto area. Doug holds a degree in Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and is a member of Mensa Canada.

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