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Smart Life Businesses for Better Urban QoL
Content Delivery Using IoT and AI
Hitachi has launched a service that not only reduces workloads, but also provides more efficient operation. Through the real-time collection and analysis of sensor information from security cameras, point of sale systems, and IoT devices, and also other information from social networking services, the service delivers content that is tailored to the time and place. It also utilizes Hitachi artificial intelligence technology to achieve optimal content distribution in a timely manner.
Smart Mobility Development Department, Smart Society Division, Urban Solutions Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd. Current work and research: Business development of advanced information distribution service for digital signage.
Smart Mobility Development Department, Smart Society Division, Urban Solutions Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd. Current work and research: Business promotion of advanced information distribution services for digital signage.
Platform Infrastructure Operation Department, Systems Operations Office 4, Smartsourcing and Services Division, Managed Service Business Group, Hitachi Systems, Ltd. Current work and research: System development of advanced information distribution service for digital signage.
Solution Business Division, System Solution Management Department, Digital Signage Department, Hitachi KE Systems, Ltd. Current work and research: System development of advanced information distribution service for digital signage.
The digital signage market is anticipating considerable growth in the future due to factors that include the replacement of posters and other analogue media with electronic devices, its utilization for maintaining safety and security in the event of a disaster, and in preparation for the arrival of overseas visitors in Japan for the international sports events in 2020. Meanwhile, use of digital signage is increasing in urban areas, and this is creating a pressing need for solutions that can manage content distribution effectively and efficiently and reduce administration costs for the owners of sites where large numbers of units are deployed. Also essential is the effective and timely provision of information in response to societal issues that include an aging population and the information divide between urban and rural areas.
To overcome these challenges, Hitachi is seeking to collect and utilize information automatically from cameras and other sensors installed in the vicinity of digital signage units, and also other information from social networking services (SNSs) and the weather and traffic conditions in the area. What this means in practice is providing an integrated information service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify, on the basis of this collected information, where best to send different content depending on the information it contains and on the objectives set by the content distributor.
“Digital signage” refers to systems that use screens and other digital technology to display information at a variety of locations, including outdoors, in shops, and at transportation services or other public places.
Dramatic progress in fields like large-screen displays and network technology is being accompanied by a recognition of the value to digital signage of techniques for distributing and displaying content at the desired time and place, with such practices experiencing rapid uptake.
As an out-of-home medium, digital signage is also recognized as a new vehicle for advertising that offers an alternative to television, radio, and newspapers.
One example of digital signage within Hitachi is the solution from Hitachi KE Systems, Ltd. This operates around 30,000 screens in Japan across a variety of industries, including transportation, retail, and finance and provides a highly reliable multi-purpose platform as a cloud service (see Figure 1).
Figure 1—Overview of Digital Signage Solution ServiceAlong with operating as a signage platform, the digital signage solution service also provides content delivery, operational support, system monitoring, and content distribution services.
Once installed, digital signage needs to be continually updated with content. The operation of digital signage used for advertising in particular requires the meticulous undertaking of complex and burdensome tasks. This includes:
In addition to these tasks, things like preparing different versions of content to suit different types of screen also add to the workload. Moreover, because the market uptake of digital signage has been so rapid, the workload of site owners and operators is rising due to factors such as the increasing number of screens to be managed and the emergence of different forms of digital signage.
The integrated information service enables more efficient operation by reducing the complexity and hassle of operating digital signage.
The service is made up of the following four parts (see Figure 2).
Figure 2—Overview of Integrated Information ServiceContent suitable for time and place is sent out to signage units, smartphones, and other devices based on the real-time collection and analysis of information from security cameras, retail POS, SNS posts, weather reports, and on-site sensors. The service utilizes Hitachi artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide the right content to suit different places in a timely manner.
Hitachi supplies a CMS that is equipped with workflow functions that are used across a variety of different operations in the day-to-day running of digital signage. This is called an “intelligent CMS.”
It is possible, for example, to produce display plans that efficiently match content to the people who will view it by first grouping signage locations based on the attributes of the people found there, such as sites where large numbers of commuters pass in the morning and evening, or locations where family groups tend to gather during the lunch hour.
The central distribution platform runs on the cloud and serves as an interface for linking the integrated information service to digital signage distribution systems with different specifications.
The central distribution platform can broadcast content simultaneously to multiple different types of digital signage. By consolidating the task of sending content to different types of digital signage and enabling distribution to be done efficiently and in real time, this allows site owners to operate digital signage in ways that where not previously possible (see Figure 3).
Linking digital signage together with Internet of Things (IoT) devices has the potential to improve performance such as the practical evaluation of display effectiveness or providing more extensive services. As a result of dramatic improvements in the temporal and spatial resolution of cameras and other sensors and the analytical capabilities of software, it is becoming possible to make more effective use of data by identifying the performance of digital signage and how it is used at the installation location.
The service utilizes the IoT and AI to perform tasks such as the collection and analysis of information about the times and places where digital signage is located, display content, and the consequent actions of the people who view the signage obtained from POS or SNS data, and provides functions for service operators that include automatic distribution and suggesting where best to display content and under what conditions (see Figure 4).
Figure 4—Service Cycle Intended for Integrated Information ServiceA content distribution service with higher added value that is able to grow can be created through an organic combination of signage with AI and sensors.
Retailing is being driven by the megatrend of digital transformation in which all sorts of different “goods” are being transformed into services as a result of the changes in the industry resulting from the emergence of electronic commerce (EC) for consumer goods.
On the other hand, a resurgence in bricks and mortar stores is also taking place due to a shift toward omnichannel retailing and personalized service delivery. Meanwhile, enhancements based on goods delivery services and retail information and communication technology (ICT) are also needed to deal with societal issues such as labor shortages and an aging population.
The integrated information service developed in response to these circumstances uses the Lumada IoT platform to supply new forms of added value to customers based on the huge amounts of data obtained through the combination of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). Hitachi intends to continue engaging in the collaborative creation of high-added-value services with business operators seeking to adopt new ways of “selling” using its integrated information service for digital signage that uses Lumada, with the aim of it growing into an integrated marketing platform that also ties in opportunities for engaging with people as they go about their daily activities through the linking of in-store, community, and in-home information.