Over the years, printer manufacturers have demonstrated various methods of connecting printed graphics with updatable content on a smartphone. The goal is to create “smart signage” that integrates printed materials into measurable, multi-channel communications programs.
Recently, SpeedPro introduced a smart-signage solution called InfoLnkx. It takes advantage of the fact millions of consumers now carry smartphones that can automatically read tags programmed for NFC (near-field communications). This means consumers don’t have to download an app or use a camera to scan a QR code to open the connection from the printed piece to the online content.
SpeedPro is a network of more than 170 studios in the U.S. and Canada that provides a variety of printed products, including large-format graphics. SpeedPro studios can use InfoLnkx to help buyers of graphics for stores, restaurants, stadiums, and events improve the customer experience.
For example, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Restaurant Group is using InfoLnkx technology to eliminate the need for customers to touch menus. When restaurant visitors put their smartphones near a tabletop sign, they can read the menu on their phone screens. The restaurant can update to digital content to show daily specials or suggest alternatives to beers or other menu items that are temporarily unavailable.
“Signage is playing a bigger and more critical role in our restaurants than it ever has before. It’s involved in almost every aspect of the new guest experience and is helping to guide our teams and guests on how to navigate this new normal,” says Alex Bunn, Director of Marketing for the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Group. “Touchless menus create safer dining out experiences for us all.”
How It Works
InfoLnkx uses programmable NFC tags applied to printed graphics. When sign viewers place their smartphones near a designated portion of the graphic, they will immediately see the on-screen messaging. The NFC tags can connect viewers to whatever type of digital messaging the client wants to provide, including audio or video files.
The graphics could be posted in a variety of locations, including posters in high-traffic entryway or on graphics applied to tables, stadium seats, or elevator doors.
“We knew this touchless technology would change the customer experience,”said SpeedPro CEO Larry Oberly. “We were developing it prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but expedited the launch of the technology in order to aid businesses that were re-opening and seeking innovative ways meet new public health requirements.”
A Versatile Solution
SpeedPro studio owners are working with their clients to explore other ways to use the technology, such as reducing long lines at stadium concession stands by enabling in-seat ordering or helping non-profit agencies connect people with disabilities to online communities.
Museum visitors concerned about touching an interactive digital kiosk that has been repeatedly touched by other people could scan InfoLnkx-enabled posters to get wayfinding or exhibit information delivered to their smartphones.
While print-service providers routinely research innovative materials and applications, most smaller print shops don’t have the time or staff to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of implementing different options for smart-signage technology.
SpeedPro’s corporate group worked with the EdgeDweller business-growth consultancy to develop and build a system that all SpeedPro studios could use.
Lauren Ziegler, who owns SpeedPro Innovations in Reading, Pennsylvania, helped source NFC chips that would work with typical large-format graphics applications. She says InfoLnkx technology is easy to implement once you learn how to interact with the tags.
For More Information
Click this link to visit a landing page about InfoLnkx: SpeedPro Website: Smart Signage
This link takes you to an article on the Wide-Format Impressions website: SpeedPro Smart Signage Technology Helps Restaurants Improve Customer Safety and Experience
See how the technology works by watching this YouTube video: SpeedPro Smart Signage | Near Field Communication (NFC) | InfoLnkx