Big Data and Analytics Combine to Alter Consumer Behavior

Michael Vizard
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Five Innovations That Will Change Our Lives Within Five Years

While there's been an explosion in the amount of digital signage being displayed almost everywhere these days, it still suffers from the same problems that have affected more traditional forms of signage. No matter what the message being displayed, it generally has very little to do with anything that might be happening that day.

But as part of an effort to overcome that limitation, Scala, a provider of digital signage systems, is embracing Big Data in the cloud. The provider of a digital signage system has rolled out Scala Advanced Analytics. It's a predictive analytics application for retailers that aggregates market data and live third-party data streams in a way that allows retailers and other organizations to display digital messages that are informed by new events, personal data or general demographic information.


For example, if it's particularly cold, then advertisements about a warm vacation spot that might be close to your heart begin appearing a lot more regularly. If the stock market drops a few hundred points, advertisements about safer investments could suddenly become ubiquitous. The system might also take note of a sale on a particular item, or a general increase in sales volume on some other item, and then conclude that an advertisement on a related product might be the most appropriate thing to display. If it recognizes you, the system might decide to display that message at the register. If it doesn't recognize you, it may choose to display a message in key locations throughout the store or mall that it knows will likely get your attention.

Over time, Dave Palermo, vice president of global marketing for Scala, says the system will collect enough data to accurately guess what different classes of people in different geographies might be inclined to buy on any given day. Delivered as a cloud service, Palermo says Scala Advanced Analytics is designed to aggregate thousands of data streams that can all be used to optimize the marketing messages being delivered via Scala's digital signage systems.

A lot of people realize that, to a limited degree, this kind of "personalization" is already happening online. But what most people don't realize is how this practice can be extended across a lot of different media outlets. As it happens, digital signage presents a fairly controlled environment that will allow marketers to begin experimenting with how far predictive analytics can be used to affect purchasing behavior in the offline world. The degree to which that capability ultimately influences buying patterns remains to be seen. But with more online data than ever being shared with geo-location services via our smartphones, it's becoming clear that, for better or worse, the world around us is increasingly becoming a reflection of what we both consciously and unconsciously project.

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