When visitors walk through the doors at NikeTown New York, they enter a media-enlivened world of big, kinetic images and interactive displays. The store speaks the language of the media generation, celebrating Nike culture with an outpouring of energy and imagery.
Thanks to installations like these, retail media is no longer the visual equivalent of background music. It is more than a trendy design feature. For high-end retailers, in-store media is evolving as a customer experience and maturing as a marketing discipline. This trend has been building slowly for several years. However, 1998 saw a reinvention of retail video, driven by MPEG-2, digital video, network technologies, and show-control systems based on museum and theme park technology.
The design philosophy that made videowalls ubiquitous has inspired a new systems model, one based on the convergence of video and computer technologies. These systems support integrated, dynamic media that can be constantly changed and upgraded to deliver the corporate message to customers.
Nike's retail display systems have always incorporated a range of video and audio technology, but Welch says these systems were largely stand-alone, black box-based systems. Welch and his team felt that the next step would be achieved with digital media - media that could be distributed in a network run by a software-driven central control system.
Ultimately Welch envisions a globally networked system to tie the Nike stores together, allowing media to be downloaded to the individual stores from a central source, and providing remote diagnostics and other kinds of virtual access to the systems worldwide. The systems will continue to incorporate the pantheon of available video and audio technology - from companies such as Alcorn McBride.
Video Systems magazine, February 1999