Windows Embedded and Digital Signage Are Driving Interactive Shopping Experiences for Customers

NEW YORK — Jan. 18, 2011 —Shopping has evolved to become part of consumers’ increasingly connected lifestyle, and they’re more digital, social, mobile and informed than ever before.

It’s increasingly evident that retailers need to be delivering the type of experience consumers demand — which includes this connected lifestyle — to ensure they are offering the latest technologies to surround their customers with real-time information to inform and motivate purchasing. Retailers need to execute this strategy in their stores, across their enterprise, and through their multiple sales channels — both directly to shoppers as well as through an informed work force.

One of the key ways Windows Embedded can help achieve a connected experience for consumers and retailers is through digital signage. Last week at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 100th Annual Convention & Expo, Windows Embedded, Intel and NEC built on their alliance for digital signage with NEC’s Next Generation Digital Sign demonstration. You may have read a feature recently on the Windows Embedded News Center describing how these three companies came together to form an optimized digital signage platform.



NEC’s demonstration featured a fictional store where users could browse different items by virtually traveling through it — done by interactive gesture control initiated through a simple wave of the hand.

“Microsoft and its industry partners continue to provide solutions that help retailers and hospitality organizations thrive in today’s competitive global marketplace by meeting the demands for a highly personalized and connected shopper experience,” said John Doyle, group product manager, Windows Embedded business. “Through continued innovation and collaboration, Windows Embedded is helping to fuel the next generation of digital signage applications featuring rich, connected and immersive user experiences.”

At NRF, the results of the companies’ collaboration came to life in a demonstration that addressed the retail and digital signage market’s need for a more streamlined, high-performance and highly reliable solution. NEC’s Next Generation Digital Sign demonstration, which is built on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and standardized on Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification, at the Microsoft booth (#836) showcased the future of digital signage with support for digital content, interactivity, intelligence and life-cycle management. The demonstration featured a fictional store where users could browse different items by virtually traveling through it — this was done through interactive gesture control that was initiated through a simple wave of the hand.

The aspect of this demo that received the biggest reaction from onlookers was the ability for the camera mounted on top of the display to send video analytics to a nearby computer through the cloud — by utilizing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database software, this provides more flexibility to create a visual analysis of collected data. These details included customer content such as a shopper’s age or gender, and users at NRF were shocked at the accuracy of the system. For this writer, the age presented on the computer was within a year of actual age.



Intel’s demo allowed multiple users to use a touch screen area to explore different kinds of merchandise, find the latest deals, or even read reviews from customers who recently purchased the product.

In addition, Intel also shared an on-site demo at its NRF booth with its Intelligent Digital Signage EndCap Concept. The system allowed multiple users to use a touch screen area to explore different kinds of merchandise, find the latest deals, or even read reviews from customers who recently purchased the product. This concept, similar to NEC’s demo, also allowed for a camera to track usage information like age and gender to better inform retailers of their customers.

Intel’s proof-of-concept is based on the second-generation Intel Core i7 processor technology and runs on the Windows Embedded Standard 7 platform. The technology enables retailers and brands to provide consumers with the next level of product interactivity through gestures, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and mobile smartphones to increase basket size, visits, brand recognition and loyalty. Pretty neat, right?

Learn more about the Windows Embedded portfolio of platforms and technologies for retail, including Windows Embedded Standard 7 and the optimized digital signage platform, at http://www.windowsembedded.com/retail.

Looking to read more about the recent announcements from Windows Embedded at NRF, including the community technology preview of Windows Embedded POSReady 7 and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5? Be sure to check out the front page of the Windows Embedded News Center.