Pixelart Is Now Fugo; This Is Why You Should Care

Need a creative software platform to drive your digital signage displays? Well, Fugo, formerly Pixelart, wants to be that company for you. Here’s a video explaining what Fugo is:

COVID-19 has turbocharged digital signage as it’s helping everyone reopen. Things like touch-free experiences, facial recognition, proximity sensors, people counting and bridging the physical and online experience are emerging everywhere since mid-2020. But, Fugo sees something more. Robot assistants, stores that could display custom on-screen promotions based on your online shopping behavior, smart mirror displays that use AI and gesture recognition to superimpose clothes onto your body for a virtual fitting room experience, and cashierless grocery stores where automated checkout lets you walk in, shop, and walk out without ever queuing up for a register; are all on its radar and roadmap.

Ironically enough, it is COVID-19 that reinforced the significance of digital signage. In facilities that had to remain open during the pandemic — hospitals, supermarkets, government offices — digital signage played an important part in communicating health and prevention measures to keep frontline workers and guests safe.

And now that the whole world is facing the same challenge together — how do we get people back to work, back to school, and back out into the economy, safely — it’s becoming clear that digital signage is part of that equation. Its function will likely expand way beyond its pre-COVID role. In fact, it already has.

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The reopening of society comes as a relief to businesses who are now able to generate revenue again. But it’s also a lot of work as they have to make sure employees have masks, and they don’t have too many people in the store and that customers follow social distancing.

One simple but problematic way to handle that has been to place security personnel outside the store to count people manually. But besides possibly exposing them to the virus, it’s also a costly endeavor – personnel must be paid.

Fugo is helping deploy digital signage networks that:

  • Integrate precision AI systems for counting people.
  • Use infrared temperature sensors and advanced algorithms to measure heat signatures and detect abnormal temperatures.
  • Leverage biometric facial recognition to make sure people are wearing masks and keeping social distance.

As Fugo says, and I agree, “As we gain more freedom to move around, you’ll be encountering more screens letting you know when it’s safe for you to enter a building, informing you if you are violating safety protocol, and leading you around places like shops or hospitals so you can keep personal interaction to a minimum.”

Entrance control is just the first part of the conversation. One of the other operational challenges of running and patronizing a business in the age of COVID is staying on top of information that is constantly changing.

One of the biggest opportunities presenting itself for digital signage is to be that information source people can turn to. There is a heightened awareness and appetite right now for answers to questions like “Is this space being disinfected regularly?” “What are you doing to keep your customers safe?” “Do you have this or that in stock?” or “What are your hours like now?”

Digital signage, and connectivity (or fluidity) between your personal devices and inventory via digital signage will solve this.

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It’s probable that given people’s aversion to touch screen anything right now, the development of technologies like gesture and speech recognition, and smartphone remote control will be accelerated. But, touch isn’t going anywhere. At least not yet. For a couple of reasons:

  • Touch screens are still the preferred method for communicating preferences.It’s fast, intuitive, and still a lot easier to control than person-to-person interaction. After all, you can always sanitize your hands after using a screen. And it runs no risk of coughing or sneezing on you.
  • The alternatives just aren’t there yet. Speech recognition technologies can have limited vocabularies, be sensitive to ambient noise, or struggle to understand and parse accents. Gesture technologies have a small vocabulary too — one of very precise hand movements that often require a learning curve. And smartphone remote control raises a host of concerns about privacy and doesn’t account for those who don’t have that kind of technology in their pockets.
So, until a better alternative is fully developed and in high enough demand, there’s no reason to be pessimistic about the future of touch.

“Experience” is something that is always being redefined, and perhaps one of the positives to come out of all this sweeping change is that consumers are now becoming more comfortable with the digital experience. Think about how quickly we all had to enter the digital fray. Think about how Zoom took over the world in a matter of weeks, how we acclimated to working remotely with virtual tools. We did it because we had to, and now that the tech is out there – it won’t be going away.

COVID-19 and digital signage will play a key role in accelerating the effort to embrace the “new consumer” and develop ways to accommodate and encourage industries to reengineer and evolve the way they do their business.

You can learn more about Fugo at www.fugo.ai