The Creative Engine has focused on one thing for the last 30 years: producing engaging content for our clients. That content has featured on many different devices over that time, but the last few years have seen it destined more often for dedicated retail displays. Specifically, iDisplay, a range of Android-based retail signage screens.

“iDisplay is extremely versatile,” says Richard Beamish, Technical Lead at The Creative Engine. “It is a stable, predictable platform that we know well. We first rolled it out for Nest, who asked us to simulate how users would interact with its products in their home, and we could see right away that it was perfect for point of sale. Now we recommend it to all of our clients.”

iDisplay devices run a tailored build of Android, and are designed to withstand the rigours of being active and accessible 24-hours a day. They are larger than their consumer rivals to encourage efficient airflow, have sturdy cases to survive weeks of tapping and touching, and a range of fixing points to the rear. By targeting iDisplay specifically, we are making it easier for shop designers to do their job, giving them a wider range of options for integrating our content with their physical stands.

 

A bespoke, responsive solution

Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that Outform, the firm behind iDisplay, is a responsive partner. “If we need something that’s not yet available, we can ask them to build it for us,” Richard says. “When we wanted to increase the size of a product we were designing, Outform came back right away with a new device that had more memory. That would never happen if we were using a standard Android tablet.”

That’s not to say that the specs are changing month on month, though. Outform knows that stability is key if it’s going to be taken seriously. Contrast that with a consumer-focused manufacturer that might stop producing a tablet with no notice, or change the spec without informing its customers. That could mean the devices for which we have tailored our content wouldn’t be available when we wanted to extend them to another 50 stores.

“Sometimes we have left it to the client to run the content on any tablet it wants,” Richard says, “but that can lead to problems where it buys a rogue device for one of its stores that just doesn’t work. By standardising on iDisplay, we can target one device, and our QA team can test it on the exact hardware it’s going to be running on. That reduces our development costs, and we can pass that saving on to the client.”

 

Understanding what’s going on inside

Because we know that the panels are bright and responsive, don’t smear, and accurately detect taps and swipes, we can confidently use a range of fonts and user interfaces without worrying that smaller elements are going to be soft or unclear.

“This was particularly important on the Nest project, as we were simulating its software, and couldn’t afford for customers to think that it would be sluggish or fiddly in everyday use. We designed it for both 15.6 inch and 32 inch displays, to suit stores of various sizes, and made sure the content would automatically reconfigure to fit. That’s important, as we want to ensure the shop floor staff need to do as little as possible to get it working.”

 

Two-way interaction

iDevice displays can be connected to the web, so we can deliver changes straight down to them over the Internet. That’s not the only way we can guarantee their content is up to date, though. They are also USB-enabled, so where we know an iDisplay is running offline we’ll send the store a USB stick with the updated software pre-loaded. Plugging it in and rebooting installs the new content and it’s ready to run in a matter of seconds.

“We do encourage our clients to connect their displays wherever they can, though,” Richard says, “as that lets the display send us useful analytics, like who clicks where, how long they spend on each screen, and which products engage the most customers. That’s valuable information, and although it’s possible to capture it using USB, it’s far more relevant if it’s fed back live. Retailers can refine their product offering right away, and we can start work on an update to the content.”

To learn more about how iDisplay can bring your Point of Sale to life, talk to the experts at The Creative Engine. Call the team today on 01483 799 200, or email hello@creative-engine.co.uk

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