Retravision, Telstra leap into digital signage

IP and TV converge

National electrical goods retailer Retravision has teamed with Telstra to launch a digital signage and training solution which runs over the telco's IP network.

The new digital retail media solution allows enterprises to distribute advertising, product information to a number of stores simultaneously. Telstra is also trumpeting the solution as a modern method of delivering training to remote locations.

After an initial pilot involving four stores in separate states, Retravision will have 115 stores and 6000 screens fitted out with the solution by December with plans for a complete 400-plus store rollout across Australia and New Zealand next year.

Retravision national CEO Keith Perkin said last year the company began to apply its minds to the issue of training, which had been largely conducted "over beer and pizza nights".

"Getting a trainer to go around to 500 stores is expensive and time consuming and the evolution of technology sees products released every three months, not years," Perkin said. "We attempted to use DVD training but it was too slow."

Perkin was pleased with the outcome of the trial, saying most customers saw the content and appreciated the information that was delivered.

The software to make it all happen was licensed by Telstra from 3M Corporation and is hosted in one of its Sydney datacentres. Subscribers access the application via a Web portal where they can control the type and distribution of the content. Locations can be grouped and content delivered to groups as desired.

Perkin said Retravision plans to take advantage of the solution's instant messaging capability so individual stores can display their own messages, like manager's specials and community services announcements.

"It's also an opportunity to communicate corporate messages to the store network in the way we haven't done before," he said, adding a number of templates are being developed which won't allow individual content to go live until approved.

Telstra's convergent solutions group market development manager, Michael McKeon, said the end-to-end managed service software application can be used to create playlists and schedules to publish content in stores, down to an individual precinct.

"The Web interface gives an operator a preview of the media and identifies where you want it delivered," McKeon said.

Telstra's enterprise and government convergent solutions executive director, Lynda O'Grady, said the new retail solution is an example of how industries can leverage the company's national IP network to change the way they do business.

"This is quite a milestone for Telstra [and] the whole technology means it can be served to retailers and customers more real-time and as the circumstances might motivate," O'Grady said, adding an example might be Retravision offering discounts on air conditioning systems on hot days.

"Consumers have a latent appetite for in-store messaging and we're keen to see retailers use the solution."

O'Grady said extending the solution to mobile devices is the next step and she is looking forward to how converged networks can provide such services so "watch this space".

Retravision's content will be provided by its marketing agency PDM.

PDM CEO Michael Harms said when delivering advertising content to consumers, "what's right today may be wrong tomorrow".

"We now have the ability to change the message in a rapid way [and] the ability to finish what mass media is starting," Harms said. "By ensuring the content is relevant we are able to target the fast changing content and we built the largest retail consumer network to deliver media anywhere at any time."

Telstra's digital retail media solution is now being deployed to Boost Juice and 84 of its own retail stores.

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