Dont look now, but youre surrounded by video screens. From the moment you get on the freeway to when you shop in drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants, video screens of varying size are sending you messages about what to buy, tips on health, and information on a variety of topics.
It really hit home a few days ago when I went to my local Walmart. There were video screens on the endcaps of every section in the store flashing images of products and text about product features.
We may not like it. There is a Big Brother feel about it. But I cant deny that it made shopping at Walmart easier since I knew at all times where I was in the store; there was no scanning the ceiling for far-away signs. The video screens gave me more information faster, even if it was more information than I wanted.
I also noticed it last week when I went to the doctor for a physical and a video screen on the wall in the waiting room flashed health tips and prescription ads.
The video screens make things more convenient and theyre changing how we live and shop.
In automatic merchandising, a host of video screens have been introduced in recent years. More will be on display at the upcoming National Automatic Merchandising OneShow.
All three of the nationals Compass Group, Aramark and Sodexo have pioneered digital video signage in their foodservice operations. They are using video menu boards to communicate nutrition information and other information in real time to customers. The software allows them to update their daily menus faster and easier.
Video screen technology has green benefits as well. It reduces printing, paper and maintenance costs, as well as waste created by the disposal of out-of-date materials.
Being a relatively new technology, the cost and capabilities of video screens are improving. Users note that the hardware costs are falling and there is a greater range of image options and screen sizes available.
With so many environments going digital, the absence of such presentations in vending becomes more noticeable to those of us who are particularly attuned to it.
The tools are emerging to change this.
And the need is growing as consumers are getting conditioned to seeing video screens just about every place they conduct their daily activities.
Vending operators have a lot of challenges to contend with in todays business environment. Many may think that evolving technology is something that belongs on the back burner.
The fact of the matter is that some of these technologies will help vending operators become more relevant to consumers.
The next time you notice a video screen while shopping at a store, consider what impact it would have on one of your vending machines.