As digital signage becomes commonplace in the retail and public information venues, developers are looking for new techniques to capture the viewer’s attention and optimize the messages presented. Retail users have already adopted various dynamic presentation concepts to modify sign content based on real-time data such as current events, the time of day, or changes in the weather. Now, with the right sensors and the Intel® Audience Impression Metric Suite (Intel® AIM Suite), digital signage networks can modify their content and judge its effectiveness by measuring how much time the targeted audience spends looking at the display. With this technology developers can find the best location for the sign and customize content by collecting audience data such as number and length of impressions plus age and gender demographics.
The technology behind the Intel® AIM Suite includes an embedded camera sensor and Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA) software powered a 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor architecture. The AVA software analyzes the data stream from the camera and compares pixel patterns to a predefined database to determine when an object in front of the sign is a human face looking in the right direction. Unlike facial recognition software, AVA does not match a particular face to a face in a database to insure that there are no privacy issues. Basically, the program looks for patterns such as dark pixels where eyes should be and lighter pixels where cheeks should be. Once the AVA program determines that the pixel patterns are of a human face, it categorizes the face according to gender and age and records how long the face looked at the sign.
The Intel® AIM Suite consists of four elements that provide digital signage network operators with the metrics needed to determine and maximize the return on investment for individual display campaigns (See figure 1). The Intel® AIM View module includes the face-detection technology software described above that captures viewer statistics data. Intel® AIM Analytics is a web-based service module that operators can use to securely view data and generate periodic reports. The main Intel® AIM Suite element is the master control application that manages instances of Intel® AIM View and uploads data to Intel® AIM Analytics. The forth element is Intel® AIM Manage, a web-based license and sensor management system that remotely manages all computers running the Intel® AIM Suite.
To ease the initial startup challenges encountered with intelligent signage, Intel has teamed with Microsoft and Winmate to create the DSEK-11 Digital Signage Evaluation Kit (See figure 2). This reference platform is based on the 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor with Intel® Active Management Technology coupled with the graphics media accelerator HD engine of the mobile Intel QM67 Express Chipset providing enhanced performance levels for compute-intensive applications like anonymous video analytics and multiple zone displays. The kit comes pre-installed with a Windows Embedded Standard 7 evaluation run-time image, allowing developers to build run-time OS images that are optimized for digital signage applications. The media player also features a 2.5 inch SATA solid state disk drive, a PCI Express WiFi module, a Bluetooth module, and a gigabit Ethernet interface. Display interfaces include VGA, DVI-D, HDMI, and Display Port. An 82 page user’s guide for the DSEK-11 is available at the Winmate website.
The 2nd generation Intel® Core™ architecture is ideal for intelligent digital signage applications and combines a variable number of CPU cores with an integrated graphics processor optimized for media plus dedicated fixed-function hardware for video processing. The graphics section is composed of an array of parallel execution units for 3D applications and hardware acceleration for high speed encoding or decoding of high definition video. If you are starting a new intelligent digital signage project and you have questions, please share your concerns with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community. Check back for part 2 of this audience measurement blog post for a roundup of related hardware and software products. You can also keep up with technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on intelligent digital signage.
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