A pandemic-inspired digital signage solution, designed to help retailers of all sizes – from small independents to multi-national chains – to open and operate safely while also enhancing their communications with customers, has been awarded the highly prestigious and globally-recognised Digital Signage Technology of the Year Award for 2020.

The range of PeopleCount queue management and safe social distancing solutions from PPDS combines Android-powered Philips displays with technology from its network of partners, including intelligent camera technology from Bosch and powerful CMS software from NowSignage was, incredibly, designed, manufactured and shipped within weeks of retailers in Europe being forced to close their doors due to the pandemic.

Global names in retail, as well as restaurants, corporates and other public settings, are now using the solution, helping to keep staff and customers safe, while adhering to strict rules without the frustrations or added expense of deploying existing or hiring additional staff. 

First of its kind

At launch, PeopleCount was the first solution of its kind in the global marketplace and was hailed by the judges as a ‘perfect example of collaboration and innovation in action, responding and reacting instantly to market conditions.’

Franck Racapé, Vice President, EMEA, commented: “We had a roadmap for 2020 and 2021 and, it’s safe to say, PeopleCount wasn’t part of it! That all changed when the pandemic hit and we responded to support our customers. Retail was one of the hardest hit industries, with many countries imposing strict rules and lockdowns. Through our close partnerships, a global team of innovators and an inherent desire to support customers in their times of need, we responded as quickly as we could. And, for some, PeopleCount has truly been a lifeline – the difference between businesses being in a position to be able to reopen and stay afloat. We didn’t do it to for the plaudits, but we’re delighted to be recognised with this award.”

Relief to retail

The PeopleCount solution uses Google-certified, Android-powered Philips displays (such as the D-Line, available in multiple sizes), which are positioned at the entrances of a retailer’s premises.

For the Making PeopleCount solution, one or more intelligent cameras with built-in Video Analytics technology from Bosch, securely connected over encrypted IP connections, are strategically positioned to count customers as they enter and leave a premises, providing live automatic updates and alerts to the display(s) as and when capacity is neared or reached, while also calculating average waiting times

A fully customisable traffic light system automatically informs customers when and when not to enter and can be easily integrated into a store’s automatic doors, opening and closing according to capacity calculated from the data received.

Meanwhile, the PeopleCount Now solution, delivered in collaboration with NowSignage, combines the capacity management solution with powerful management information.

Racapé added: “We’re living in unprecedented times and our health and safety, whether we’re isolating at home, working or visiting a store, is of paramount importance. Something as simple as visiting a retail store or supermarket may now require a new level of thought, from queuing up outside to following marked-out routes. It can be confusing and intimidating for some – so communication is vital. Technology can play a huge role in ensuring the current rules and guidelines are maintained and that customers and staff feel confident, safe and well informed at all times.” 

Tim de Ruiter, Business Manager EMEA overseeing strategic partnerships, added: “With our digital displays running on Android, our partners can easily integrate their solutions into our products. Supporting our customers during these unforeseen circumstances and into the future is vitally important and, by partnering with some of the world’s leading organisations, such as Bosch and NowSignage, we have been able to quickly and efficiently bring a solution to market which, just a few months ago, was not in our pipeline. 

“Our solution is incredibly versatile and can be easily adapted to help many different verticals, whether for retail, a corporate office, libraries, museums, sports stadiums and many more.”

Tom Ross, Commercial Director at NowSignage, added: “When PPDS approached us to collaborate on a digital signage solution in response to covid, we didn’t quite know where the journey would take us. However, after a few weeks of intensive research and development we had implemented a class-leading solution that helps the retail industry navigate new restrictions and comply with ever-changing regulations. Over the past nine months the PeopleCount Now solution has continued to evolve with in-depth analytics and reporting, and we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of this award-winning technology with PPDS.”

More information on PPDS PeopleCount can be found here