The subject of digital signage has been covered pretty extensively here in the Intel® Embedded Community, as has sensing and analytics. Why mention the two seemingly diverse topics together? Well the latest digital signage technology can make use of an analytic technology called Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA) to increase the effectiveness of a digital sign by dynamically adapting the content. Moreover it is the combination of the DSP and multimedia capabilities of the second-generation Intel® Core™ processor family that allow a single processing platform to handle both the sensing and analytic algorithms while providing the interactive content.
I recently covered digital signage and remote connectivity and how the latest Intel® Architecture (IA) technologies provide both content-delivery and remote-management capabilities. I also have covered the sensing and analytics topic several time including in this article on how the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) in the latest processors utilize DSP capabilities to execute analytic algorithms. Today we will discuss how that same technology that enables radar or security applications such as surveillance can also enable AVA applications in digital signage.
Let's start with what AVA brings to digital signage. The concept utilizes a sensor that's connected to a digital sign along with face-detection software. That software delivers audience–impression metrics that can both prove the effectiveness of digital signage and allow sign owners to dynamically adapt content based on viewer reaction.
The AVA application is as the name implies anonymous. The idea isn't focused on recognizing the person viewing or interacting with a sign. Rather, the software classifies viewers by characteristics such as age and gender along with usage metrics that can be used to judge the impact of the sign. Intel has been clear that its efforts in AVA will not violate privacy standards.
There are a number of information resources on AVA located on the digital signage page on the Intel® Embedded web site. One specific document that I'd recommend that you read is a report on a field trial of AVA technology that was conducted in 2010 at the Venetian resort in Las Vegas.
Here's a quick and decidedly brief description of the findings. Digital signage delivered 2 times the uptake on an advertised promotion compared with a similar static sign. The study gathered significant data broken down by age and gender that could allow a company to tailor digital sign content for the most responsive audience.
The study also revealed some issues with implementation. Ideally an AVA deployment needs a processor that can capture and process 2-Mpixel images 15 times per second. The system utilized in 2010 couldn't meet that goal. It will be interesting to see how the latest IA processors perform in a future study.
Intel has published a solution brief on maximizing ROI with AVA. The short piece is focused on the latest Intel® Core™ i5 and Intel® Core™ i7 processors. The company has also launched the Intel® Audience Impression Metric (Intel® AIM) suite for AVA applications.
Meanwhile, let's consider some other recent technology demonstrations of IA-based digital signage implementations. At the Screenmedia Expo this past May in London, Hewlett-Packard* (HP) and Scala demonstrated the former's SignagePlayer system and touch-screen-based, 47-in LD4710 Widescreen LCD Interactive Digital Signage Display. The demonstration included Scala's content-designer, -manager, and -player software working with the Intel AIM Suite. A sign in an actual application using two of HP's 42-in touch screens is pictured below.
The Venetian field trial mentioned above used a signage system from Micro Industries**. The photo below is of the company's Touch&Go Messenger 82L that includes an 82-in landscape-oriented LCD with 1920x1080-pixel, HDTV resolution. The all-in-one design integrates both the display and a computer. Micro Industries offers the Touch&Go products with a choice of second-generation Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. The system integrates video support and Micro Industries sells an optional TV tuner.
The field trial actually used what Micro Industries calls the Touch & Go Digital Lollipop that includes back-to-back interactive displays mounted on a pedestal. The pedestal places the display at around typical eye height. The Digital Lollipop series supports displays ranging from 32 to 65 in.
Intel can also help you experiment with digital signage technology. Intel and Microsoft*** have developed a Digital Signage Evaluation Kit and the latest version of the product is the DSEK-11. The product is part reference design, part evaluation kit, and part development platform. Intel has published a product brief on the DSEK-11.
The DSEK-11 integrates a dual-core second-generation i5 processor and the Intel® QM67 Express Chipset. The design includes support for Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT) for remote management. There is a full suite of networking support. Display outputs include HDMI, Display Port, DVI-D, and VGA.
The DSEK-11 is available for purchase from Winmate Communication. The company offers several support packages and you must contact them directly for pricing and delivery information.
There's plenty to help you on the way to a digital-signage project. In fact you can probably apply this evolving technology in other applications requiring large-screen interactive displays. Have you developed such systems? Have you contemplated combining analytics and signage? What about using the AVX instructions? The combination of the multimedia and DSP capabilities in the second-generation Core family is quite powerful and followers of the Intel® Embedded Community would love to read your comments on how you apply those technologies.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor)
Intel® Embedded Alliance
*Hewlett-Packard is an Associate member of the Intel® Embedded Alliance
**Micro Industries is a General member of the Alliance.
***Microsoft an Associate member of the Alliance.