Connect Through Print: Touchless Technology That Will Change Consumer Behavior Forever
Smart NFC signage launched just in time for the new contact-less era of serving customers.
By Larry Oberly, SpeedPro
Overnight, there was a sudden and immediate need for more virtual solutions across all industries around the globe stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic closures.
Within mere days, video conferences catapulted Zoom into a household name, students logged into Google Classroom for assignments each morning, and telemedicine went from a predominantly rural-town demand to mainstream. Franchise businesses of all types and sizes pivoted to meet the demands of more socially-distant consumers with new operations, products and services that they didn’t have a need for just months ago.
With the critical needs of businesses in the new contact-less era of serving customers, we expedited the development of our Near Field Communication (NFC) smart signage technology. There were no plans to roll out this technology so early, but the pandemic dramatically changed the timeline as restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers struggled to stay open in accordance with strict public health guidelines.
Although smart signage can be used in nearly limitless settings, events, museums, hospitals and retail stores, we piloted the touchless app-less NFC signage technology, called “InfoLnkX,” in the restaurant segment first this past May in time for the phased reopening of businesses across the US.
In a partnership with some of Denver, Colorado’s top restaurants including Wynkoop Brewery, a local institution that has been around since 1988, and both locations of Cherry Cricket, SpeedPro tested and fine-tuned the smart NFC embedded signage products to improve the user experience.
How it works is simple. NFC technology, whether used alone or paired with QR codes, is strategically positioned within signage at high-interaction touchpoints, and allows customers to hold their phones up to a sign or decal, and then a web browser opens on their mobile device to deliver a website, video, audio or other media directly to a customer’s smartphone, without the need for an app.
While the restaurant and retail industry are certainly the most critical early adopters for touchless in-store technology, to offer products such as touch-free menus, it won’t stop there.
Consumers are now expecting touch-free solutions wherever they go. With NFC signage, visitors could walk into a museum, retail store or hospital – anywhere information is shared – and simply hold up their phone to access content, rather than congregating around other people to view the same directory or menu posted in a window. Smart signage allows the ability to provide more information than can be printed on a display, and will play a critical role in community safety across every industry moving forward.
Any notion of ‘business as usual’ has been fundamentally disrupted as businesses, institutions and organizations are grappling with how to adjust day-to-day operations and find solutions to serve consumers while complying with health guidelines and new social-distancing requirements. We all know change is hard, even in the most normal of times. This pandemic, however, will require a fundamental shift in what business operations look like for the future, well after the imminent threat is behind us.
As we continue to cautiously move into our new normal, businesses can look to the signage industry and technology like SpeedPro’s InfoLnkX to provide solutions that allow businesses to reopen, and stay open, safely.
Larry Oberly has three decades of franchise experience across such brands as Baskin-Robbins, RE/MAX and the sign and graphics printing company SpeedPro, which he joined as CEO in 2017 and currently has 130 franchisees. Oberly is committed to building sustainable growth and spotting fresh opportunities for the $74 million business. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member SpeedPro, click here.