Announced in June, the Intel® Retail Client Manager (Intel® RCM) will be the perfect employee—willing to work 24/7 365 days a year for little pay. And this manager will take on an increasing daunting task for organizations running digital signage systems: managing their content and devices across an entire signage network to deliver the right messages to the right audience at the right time.
Intel RCM is a new software-based content management system that is fulfilling an increasing critical position in the digital signage world. According to a recent Intel press release, although content management systems will reach 35 million units at a cumulative annual growth rate of 40 percent by 2017, creating, deploying and managing an effective digital marketing campaign is currently a time-consuming and resource-intensive proposition for marketers and businesses. This is particularly true when the screens screaming for content management include nearly every retail device consumers touch—from ATMs and point-of-sale terminals to interactive kiosks and vending machines. The best most signage owners can manage is limited and localized marketing campaigns that fail to deliver reach and impact on a large scale.
Simpler, More Versatile Interface
With digital signage becoming a preferred channel for marketing professionals looking to reach customers with relevant content near the point-of-sale, the ability to create new campaigns and promotions in minutes and launch them on selected screens is more important than ever. Intel RCM provides the powerful, but also easy-to-use interface to do that. It enables non-technical employees to quickly learn how to customize content and control screens in groups or individually across a network. Intel RCM also enables marketers to create multiple zones within each digital sign to handle a variety of formats, including HD video, Adobe Flash*, static images and web content. For a demo, see this video.
Right Message to the Right Audience at the Right Time
Some real magic happens when Intel RCM is paired with Intel® Audience Impression Metrics Suite (Intel® AIM Suite). A lot has been written about this anonymous viewer analytics technology in this community, most recently a blog by my Roving Reporter colleague, Tom Starnes. What Intel RCM adds is a smartly integrated interface for tapping Intel AIM Suite’s power to provide more meaningful and relevant advertising to the person standing in front of a particular sign. Intel RCM makes it easy to create targeted content and then configure digital signs employing Intel AIM Suite to identify age and gender and serve up that targeted content when a person fitting the profile comes within range (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Intel® Retail Content Manager’s user interface can be used to create age- and gender-targeted content and direct a sign to display it when Intel Audience Impression Metrics Suite recognizes that a person of the right age and gender is in front of the sign.
The other magic that comes from the synergy between Intel RCM and Intel AIM Suite in collecting metrics. Intel RCM can on its own provide audit trails, providing “proof of play” reports for retail management and advertisers. Add Intel AIM Suite to the mix and you can add viewer demographics, dwell time, and average view time to those reports to determine just how effective certain advertising is to each demographic. That’s powerful stuff for use in improving the effectiveness of content and ad spends. These advertising metrics can also play an important role in providing valuable edge analysis for a retailer moving into big data business analytics for up-to-the-moment business insight.
Reduced Support Costs
Another great synergy comes from when Intel RCM is used with Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). Providing out-of-band manageability capabilities when activated in digital signage players powered by Intel® Core™ or Intel® Xeon® processors, Intel AMT enables remote management and maintenance capabilities that allow IT professionals to query, fix and protect networked media players even when they’re powered off, not responding, or have software issues. What’s more, this technology helps perform remote asset tracking and checks the presence of management agents virtually anytime.
Reducing Management and Power Costs with Out-of Band Manageability
Out-of-band manageability features also make the 3rd generation Intel core processors particularly appealing for signage applications. When their Intel® vPro™ technology features are activated, Intel Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) enables remote management and maintenance capabilities that allow IT professionals to query, fix and protect networked media players even when they’re powered off, not responding, or have software issues. What’s more, this technology helps perform remote asset tracking and checks the presence of management agents virtually anytime. Add Intel RCM to your digital signage network and it can provide the interface for technicians to power-cycle machines and repair software issues, along with other device management tasks. A keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) feature enables technicians to control the system as if they were sitting right in front of it.
A Manager Willing to Work for Peanuts
Intel’s suggested pricing for Intel RCM is $16.95 per month per media player, which typically covers two digital signs. If a retailer buys media players equipped with 3rd and 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors having the graphics capabilities to power three displays, they make their investment go even further.
Intel RCM Certified Media Players
A media player doesn’t have to be certified to run Intel RCM. All it takes is a system running Microsoft Windows* 7, Windows Embedded 7, Windows 8, or Windows Embedded 8. But to help developers, system integrators and retail identify systems that can come with Intel RCM installed, Alliance members are providing certified systems.
A good example comes from Seneca. Their HD2.8 High Performance Media Player is a great example of a small form factor design with expansion capabilities that can even be configured for powering four screens (see Figure 2). Available with a 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor, it provides media play at 720p/1080p at 60 fps. It can be configured with up to 1TB storage and offers both wired and wireless connectivity options.
From where I sit, it looks like Intel RCM should be standard equipment in nearly every digital signage system installation. I’d be interested in hearing what others think of this new software and how it will simplify the complexity of managing content in large installations.
Solutions in this blog:
· Manageability - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Digital Signage - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance
Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazi