Image credit: ComQi
Hotels and hospitality venues often have brochure displays to provide visitors with information about tourist attractions. While they can be helpful, the information is often outdated, and brochures can get lost in the wall of offerings or tucked behind other pamphlets.
Intel® partner CTM Media Group, a leader in visitor and tourism information, is one of the companies behind these offerings. Initially formed to promote Broadway theater in New York City, CTM now partners with more than 100 convention centers and visitors bureaus to display local business offerings and tourist activities in 19,000 cities across North America, reaching 300 million visitors every year.
Signs of Improvement
CTM wanted to expand its brochure displays to include a digital component and contacted ComQi, which provided 15-inch LCD displays to sit above the brochure stands. CTM began offering a premium service for their customers, including additional information, photos, and videos. It was an improvement, but the information was fairly static.
With the success of the digital displays, CTM decided to roll out interactive displays and kiosks to increase visitor engagement. CTM already had an online presence with VisitorFun, a database of local tourist attractions that features venue descriptions, images, and video links. The company wanted to make that information available to visitors at hotels, convention centers, and other locations.
The challenge was bringing the existing online database to an interactive digital display. Again, CTM turned to Intel® partner ComQi. With ComQi APIs, CTM created an interactive touchscreen program that could present the relevant information from the VisitorFun database. The system is integrated into 32-inch and 42-inch touchscreen displays, which CTM calls VisitorFun ExploreBoards. They sit in high-traffic tourist areas, including more than 400 hotels.
Image credit: ComQi
The VisitorFun ExploreBoards allow guests to explore their surroundings and search for activities based on different categories, such as restaurants, shops, attractions, and theaters. Guests can view images and videos, find nearby attractions, access maps and directions, and preview menus. Content is refreshed daily, and each screen presents different information based on its location and updated content.
The first year, more than 400 screens were deployed, and they were used more than 4.3 million times. Since then, ComQi and CTM have added support for multiple languages, QR code activation, flight information, event booking capabilities, and content sharing via text and email. That allows guests to send information to a smart phone and click links to purchase tickets directly from the ExploreBoard screens.
The entire system is controlled through ComQi’s EnGage Content Management System, an Intel® IoT Market Ready Solution. The cloud-based digital signage software operates even in areas with limited or spotty Internet service, which was critical to CTM Media and its clients. EnGage allows operators to control thousands of remote digital players in multiple locations through a single browser-based interface without additional infrastructure requirements.
Content can be created using full screen or customizable layouts with drag-and-drop widgets, images, text messages, tickers, live feeds, and more. Operators can schedule content for distribution, choosing traditional playlists, dynamic tagging, or content targeting, which uses metadata tagging to ensure the right messages are presented in the appropriate locations automatically. Metadata also can be used to restrict what and when content is displayed.
In addition to content management, the EnGage CMS provides device management. It enables remote reboot, resynchronization, and touchscreen calibration. Operators can access player logging data, firmware, and system information. Remote monitoring ensures operators can track daily operations on customizable dashboards and are notified when problems arise.