Tava goes to market with digital biometric screens

The Vancouver-based company offers smart screens that can scan passers-by and gather viewer numbers, time spent looking and even gender identification.

Tava Touchpoints, a new Vancouver-based company, is using cutting-edge technology to refine grocery store marketing with smart, interactive digital screens for retail and hospitality environments.

Tava president Alex Karch tells MiC her company is currently in negotiations with ‘several major’ Canadian retailers to secure placement for the screens, with a goal of deploying 100 to 200 units in the next nine months, primarily on the West Coast.

Tava has partnered with Toronto-based Planet-Tek Systems, which operates digital screens in select Ontario and US locations of the grocery chain Whole Foods Market. Planet-Tek is in the midst a five-year contract with the chain as its digital signage provider. Tava will operate Planet-Tek’s EcoStream and its interactive EcoTouch display units. Built from environmentally friendly materials, the screens range in size from 22′ to 32′ and show video ads in an audio-free loop.

In addition to touch-screen technology, the units also employ sensors and biometric face readers capable of determining everything from audience numbers by time of day and gender to how long consumers view the content. The technology was developed by Markham, ON.-based CognoVision.

Karch says the screens will further refine the digital OOH medium by delivering hyper-targeted advertising, such as ads for baked goods in the bakery department or produce ads in the produce aisle.

‘If you’re on a train and you see an ad for Pepsi, as good as it might be for brand exposure, it’s not relevant,’ she says. ‘We’re definitely not just in the business of capturing eyeballs.’

The screens are placed at eye-level, says Karch, putting them in front of consumers and distinguishing them from competitor networks that suspend screens from high ceilings or hang them on walls.

While research indicates that up to 70% of all purchase decisions are made in-store, Karch says the digital OOH medium has yet to achieve its full potential.