TORONTO—A sign isn’t just a sign when it’s 3D animated, interactive and helps move people where they need to go—it’s a wayfinding digital signage system. Janus Displays by Morrow Technologies launched a new product at HFTP’s Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) Toronto that is outfitted with leading-edge technology for more functionality and aims to be visually appealing to the end user.
“Janus has been doing digital signage for more than 30 years in North America and we’ve worked with all the major hotel brands. Our core business is something we take seriously. It is being developed around these big brands and it’s about working hand-in-hand with them to create tools that meet their needs,” said Jason Hutty, marketing director, Janus Displays, based in St. Petersburg, FL. “The state of technology is developing, and hospitality is a brand-driven business. Janus has had a focus on brand and design quality and what’s important to our customers. We’ve seen in wayfinding signage that it’s very generic and flat, and while function is very important for our clients and their customers, we don’t believe the product has to sacrifice design and brand standards.”
Janus Displays plays a key part in the brand experience mainly because digital signage is so prominent. It’s a feature used daily for guests navigating their way to meetings and events or on-site amenities such as the pool, spa or restaurant.
Interactive touchscreens with wayfinding methods incorporated are something Janus has done for a long time, Hutty noted. The new 3D interactive wayfinding solution provides guests with animated directions to a meeting space or amenity. The solution has been in the making for the past 30 years, but actual development of the solution took a solid 18 months. Hilton, Sheraton and Marriott properties are on the company’s client roster.
“These things are a big part of the brand and interior design, adding the company or hotel logo so it’s branded according to the hotel brand’s guidelines,” said Hutty. “Not only do we work to ensure our digital signage meets the requirements of the brand, we develop signage standards for any brand globally.”
On the back-end, the signage solution is powered by Vizia, a digital signage software suite, and a content management system for scheduling events that interfaces with all revenue management systems.
Always working on new ideas, Hutty explained this new product was borne of the way we constructed our wayfinding maps for a long time. “We’ve always drawn our maps in 3D design tools, but never found an interface technology that really suited them, so we exported them in a different way,” he said. “There’s no shortage of players doing basic, but functional 3D maps. We’ve been working on doing it better and keeping it pretty. We launched it at HITEC. For us, it was a nervous time, but exciting to show our longstanding customers who got a chance to play with it, and we received good feedback. It was also an opportunity to really listen and let that guide us over the next 12 months. It’s a new product for us and we have a million ideas, so it’s infinitely more valuable to get ideas from our clients.”
The new interface is kept clean and simple for an intuitive experience, while being fully interactive. Hutty explained that it was imperative to ensure the presentation was in line with what Janus clients have come to expect.
“We maintained what they wanted from a design point of view and took their feedback to implement features our clients wanted. We have a long ream of ideas, but it’s much more valuable to get the feedback,” he said.
Whether it’s an interactive screen or an individual user perusing a static screen, the goal is for the hotel to service all guests and not just one. The new signage solution aims to provide a frictionless experience for guests, getting them where they need to go quickly and efficiently.
It’s a really exciting time for the hotel business and, therefore, for Janus. Technology is moving at a faster pace and we’re privileged to have hardware that can do what we need,” he said. “We wish to develop tools to keep on developing for another 30 years.”