Panasonic Partners With Photon To Build Smarter Signs In Stores

Photon Interactive, a company that’s been focused on building mobile experiences for large brands, is teaming up with Panasonic to bring what they say will be a more personalized experience to the digital signs you see in stores.

The goal is to combine Photon’s software with Panasonic displays, so that those displays will know more about the customer. That information can be used to deliver targeted offers, as well as check in, make purchases,and more.

For example, the company says that at a brick-and-mortar retailer, a customer might look at the digital signage, view personalized offers, bring up directions to where a product is in the store, and scan bar codes with the mobile app to make purchases. Or in a fast food restaurant, the customer could either order from a kiosk or on their phone, then pick their food and offer feedback through the kiosk.

The technology could also be used for hotel check-in, Photon says, and to help medical patients confirm appointments, find their doctors, and collect their prescriptions.

Behind the scenes, co-founder and CTO Mukund Balasubramanian said that Photon will work with businesses to “templatized the lifecycle of what a typical customer goes through.” Photon also says says it already has 60 million “daily digital touchpoints” — which should be helpful as Photon works to create what Balasubramanian described as “a holistic view” of the customer that combines their past purchases, as well as activity on the web, mobile, and in stores.

When it comes to making that Minority Report vision of personalized messages throughout the store a reality, Balasubramanian acknowledged that there’s plenty of competition. As he put it, “Apple and Google are trying to vie for the future of this omni-channel vision. But it can only be realized with a harmonious marriage of hardware and software” — and naturally, he said Photon and Panasonic have that marriage.

Richard Hsu, Panasonic’s vice president of global solutions and engineering, echoed Balasubramanian, telling me that this is “a partnership with the best hardware and the best software.”

How close is this to actually becoming a reality? Balasubramanian told me that from a technology standpoint, everything is in place: “I’m comfortable saying we’re ready and open for business.”

Photon and Panasonic are currently working with a few early partners (they didn’t say which ones) to test this out in stores. That’s a long way from the wide range of uses that the Photon team described to me, but hey, even for a vision this big, you’ve gotta start somewhere.