Scala Partner Conference Mines Digital Signage Best Practices

Scala Partner Conference Mines Digital Signage Best Practices

The Scala Partner Conference kicked off Day One in Austin on Wednesday, bringing together invited industry experts, top Scala executives and data analysts, and Scala integration partners to explore best practices in the digital signage space. With a look at both the big picture of digital signage particularly in the crucial retail segment, and key technical and marketing issues driving in industry, Wednesday’s sessions offered a good look at the state of the industry.

Keynote presenter Bryan Eisenberg opened the proceedings with The Future Shopper: How Offline is the New Online. Eisenberg outlined how the shopper’s buying process is moving toward a more frictionless experience– the key word being “experience” as the new goal in retail is to provide an experience, not a shopping outlet.

To provide a top Agency perspective on how brands, retailers, and Ad agencies see that progressing, Manolo Almagro SVP Managing Director, TPN, a retail marketing agency that is part of the Omnicon empire, gave a very eye-opening presentation on the Future of Retail. Following Eisenberg, Almagro laid out a roadmap of where Agencies see retail heading and so provided invaluable insight into where digital signage and DOOH companies should be positioning their efforts.

Almagro laid out three truths of retail today:

• Retailers no longer control the shopping experience

• Commerce happens differently

• The consumer is no longer just a consumer– the consumer is also a shopper, a buyer, and an influencer in other consumers’ decisions.

With the advent of showrooming, with more online-only commerce and more online/instore shopping, those truths are pretty self-evident. But Almagro then created a “Retail 2025 watch list”– a list that should be tacked to the office wall of anyone that hopes to succeed in the retail space going forward. The watchlist:

• NFC projects are being abandoned. Even Google wallet is not taking off.

We can’t force mobile wallet on people. So there will be a rethinking of where this technology is headed.

• Superphones are coming. Google showed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a new Superphone with a built in 3D scanner. You can scan the room you’re in, and software can mine tons of info about where you are, what’s in the room, and more.

• Wearables (we’ve talked about this trend in our coverage on

• Mobile POS at retail.

• The multiscreen battle: the consumer has many screens to turn to. What will they choose? Screen snuggling will be a big trend going forward– the personal screen, but larger that current ones, as phones are getting bigger; and we’re see more 11x17 tablets. We’ll also see 4K screens on phones.

• Social Media + engagement: But we’ll see a new battle between the Ad-friendly social media platforms, and Apps that attempt to lock out advertisers.

• Big data will give way to smart data

• The connected home– and the internet of things.

• V2V– vehicle to vehicle communications, as cars talk to each other, in proximity scenarios, etc. (this is not necessarily about social, it’s about sharing tech data for safety, etc)

Almagro ended by reminding us that while there seems to be major and somewhat overwhelming battle going on between online sales and instore retails sales, only about 10% of retail sales will be online only for foreseeable future. So marketing at the retail level is increasingly important.

The conference tackled technical content distribution issues, not just the big picture. Clive Fort, product manager (on left), and Peter Cherna, CTO of Scala, hosted a Wednesday afternoon session on choosing Media Players for Digital Signage, addressing topics and fielding questions on everything from Android to Windows Embedded to screen-embedded players, to getting 4K signal to screens.

Drilling down into key data issues for digital signage, Scala’s Amy Wilson, product manager, and Stefan Menger, VP of Advanced Analytics, presented also on Wednesday, with the topic “Your Screens are Online– Now What?”

Wilson started by stating that the retail market is poised to jump to 42% of digital signage sales by 2017, but that while Retailers are quickly amassing shopper data, now only about 12% are using that data to market instore. They simply can not, today, figure out how to put the data sources together in a meaningful way the way they can for online data.

“Marketers are used to dealing with the 'browser'-based data,” said Wilson, “but digital signage involves hardware in the store, and that kind of hardware can be messy in terms of data gathering.”

Why the confusion on Retailers’ part, in analyzing data? Because it’s coming from so many different places, like:

Amy Wilson of Scala discussed data analysis in Digital Signage at

the Scala Partner Conference in Austin.

• Digital Signage

• Virtual Fitting Rooms

• Magic Mirrors

• Consumer Mobile Apps

• Geo Location Technology


• CRM data

• 3rd party data (like weather, and demographics)

• email campaigns

• Traditional Ad campaigns

So that Big Data, it’s actually a lot of little data, put together, and it’s overwhelming marketers who can not sort it out. So it’s incumbent on smart technology providers to comb through the data, find patterns, and suggest optimized content for the screens.

Stefan Manger then walked attendees through two case studies– a QSR study and a Retail study– that showed how data can be used, in an “Optimization Cookbook”, to:

• Assess the Business Situation

• Define objectives and goals

• Select DS content

• Deploy and measure

• Analyze

• Optimize Content for the Screens

The Scala Partner Conference continues Thursday in Austin, at the ATT Executive Conference Center, with more training, tech sessions, guest speakers, and lots of customer feedback from the field.

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.