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Synect work in Forbes & PNAS Shows the Future of Digital Signage

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Synect CEO Yahav Ran writes on how our solutions affect, measure, and optimize behavior as Forbes and the scientific community recognize the power of visual communication.

Synect CEO Yahav Ran stands behind a microphone speaking about Evenflow Crowd Radar, which is shown on a digital display behind him port during the launch of Evenflow Crowd Radar

Synect CEO Yahav Ran speaks to the press at Orlando International Airport during the launch of Evenflow Crowd Radar.

Here at Synect, we often discuss the difference between digital signage and visual communication. One lens for exploring the differences between the two is passive versus active messaging.

Digital signage is passive. Most digital signage providers will put up a screen, and customers may look at it, or they may not.

Visual communication is active. We create strategies to affect, measure, and optimize behavior. Our clients know their customers get the proverbial message because their behavior changes. Lines speed up. Purchases increase. Compliance with guidelines improves.

This was the case with our award-winning Evenflow Crowd Radar implementation at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Forbes and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) featured this program recently, focusing on the program's active communication strategies and results.

Evenflow is groundbreaking because it uses visual communication based on a behavioral science framework to positively affect passenger behavior. We collaborated with a team led by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the London Business School, and the Yale School of Management to implement a scientific program exploring how content strategy impacts passenger response.

The program used A/B testing to analyze outcomes and effectiveness based on real-time measurement of passengers’ responses and physical positions.

We installed Evenflow Crowd Radar at MCO with regular messaging updates to test and measure the effectiveness of using visual communications to nudge passengers toward the desired behavior. The solution captured passenger responses using anonymous crowd-tracking technology. Read the case study here.

The program delivered massive success and a statistically significant effect. When displaying engaging visual content accompanied by nudges based on communal and personal benefit, the system increased the desired behavior by up to 16 percentage points. These findings strongly suggest that an applied, active content strategy will deliver a tangible impact on passenger behavior.

The science team reported their research in PNAS, a peer-reviewed journal of the National Academy of Sciences. The now-published article summarizes the project, the science, and the results.

More recently, the program was featured on Forbes, where Dr. Dafna Goor, Assistant Professor of Marketing, London Business School, and a leader on the science team, shared how businesses can use visual communication and messaging strategy. Dr. Goor writes about the Evenflow team analyzing data from over 57,000 travelers to demonstrate how the program’s visual communication and nudges affected viewer behavior at the airport. This program ran between November 20, 2020, to January 28, 2021, and the results were statistically significant.

The project is a perfect example of active messaging. Active communication requires a response from the receiver. The keys to active messaging are clearly defining the desired behavior and using effective strategies to affect, measure, and optimize the response.

Airports and other organizations can start with a clear goal, high-impact visuals, and messaging that centers benefits to the viewer or community. Stakeholders can measure it with LIDAR or other crowd-tracking technology. With measurement in place, content creators can optimize the visuals and message for the most significant positive impact.

It helps to note that true communication encompasses three parts: the sender, the message, and the receiver. It is the sole responsibility of the sender to ensure that the receiver has acknowledged the message. Key methods for accomplishing this are:

  • Building a clear, coherent, and engaging message—an effective content strategy helps.

  • Using a dedicated communication channel with no noise, which requires dedicated space and the removal of anything irrelevant or distracting.

  • Monitoring feedback from the receiver to make sure the message came across.

In the Evenflow program, we used LIDAR to anonymously track and monitor actual behavior, which let us measure the acknowledgment of and response to the message.

If you think your visual messaging isn’t clear, if it isn’t acknowledged, or the response isn’t being measured, there’s a high chance that your digital signage is simply screaming into the void.

The best way to know is to establish meaningful visual communication strategies from the outset. Because the future of digital signage isn't digital signage—it's active visual communication.


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