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SPOTLIGHT ON NIKK SMITH OUR MD

What excites you the most about the work you and the team do at Pixel Inspiration?

I really appreciate the variety. Each one of our projects is different, and that can be an unusual thing working in the tech realm. Coming from a background in web development, where, regardless of the brand or project, you’re working with a limited number of variables, the opportunities for on-premises technology feels limitless, and that is exciting. I also love seeing the fruits of our labours - we often start working with brands at the conception and design phase, so seeing see the finished result, how the solution works on site and the impact it has on visitors and service is very satisfying.


During your career, what have been some of the biggest changes that you have seen in the way that brands have employed digital signage?

The most significant change that I have seen has been the acceptance and expectation of using digital technology on-premises. We used to have to explain what solutions were available and the value of technology to brands whereas now they understand. The pull is from the market accepting digital as an integral part of the in-store marketing mix. Businesses have gone from “Let’s try this” to “Let’s create a great digital experience that forms a key part of the customer journey.”


What is it that you like most about working with Scala?

The platform’s flexibility- it's essential for us to create the award-winning projects that we do. Scala isn’t out of the box, but it gives you the necessary tools that you need to create something exceptional and scalable. There are lots of products out there, but very few have the experience of managing 5000+ screen networks with live data and sensor integrations adapting playback in realtime.


Are there any particular projects of which you are especially proud?

Even after eight years, I think the Argos project still stands up as one of the best implementations of a rules-based CMS and signage system. Delivered through Scala and designed by us, the system accesses thousands of products via the Argos APIs to ensure we only show products that are in stock in each store and that the prices are always in sync with their EPOS and online channels. It's a well thought out and robust system that has been expanded to several thousand displays since its initial installation.


As for a spectacular project, the WHSmith facias are very impressive and have probably set the scene for a variety of corporate and retail projects which have come since.


In general though, I am most proud of the fact that we have won and retained clients for over ten years. That shows the skill we have across the team to really listen to brands and work with them to provide digital solutions that work over the long haul.



Where do you think are the opportunities for brands to use digital signage in 2022?

I believe in the natural developmentevolution of technology – organic changes that are informed by past projects while being driven by client and customer demand. With digital, it is definitely more of an evolution than a revolution as more brands across different sectors start to integrate digital or upgrade and expand what they already have. For example , There is a noticeable shift from LCD to LED due to the greater creative possibilities available, but LED has been around for over 20 years or more, it's simply evolved over time to a place where it's an affordable and realistic proposition for many more situations. We’re also seeing more brands incorporate projection alongside digital screens. The award-winning install at Lloyds Bank Manchester Flagship is a great example of what can achieved when businesses use a variety of technologies to tell their brand story.


What do you wish brands knew about digital signage?

It is a bit of a generalization, but digital projects tend to be driven by marketing or creative directors and, as such, are led by visuals and experience rather than considering the background rules or logic. There is a real opportunity for businesses to think about linking touchpoints to offer customers a more convenient and personalised service to customers while also giving companies more data to inform future strategies. By considering operations as well as customer experience, businesses can use digital to create a world-beating offering. I do see things moving in this direction as brands become more aware of what digital can do, and we’re here to help them with that.


Any resolutions or goals for 2022?

Business-wise last year was a fantastic one for us so I’m hoping for more of the same - we have over 90 big-brand clients, so there's a snowball effect when you get to that sort of scale. In terms of personal resolutions, I’d like to make the time to do the things that I enjoy like such as messing around on the drums and riding my motorbike.