Digital Signage Gets Physical - Part 2: Motion Detection

Getting physical in the 80's
This next post in our series on integrating digital signage with the physical world will focus on motion detection. In the world of digital signage, motion detection is used primarily for detecting the presence of a viewer. When no-one is actively viewing the signage it might make sense to display some sort of  'attract screen' which can capture the viewers attention. Then, when a viewer is in front of the display, switch to a more concise message. In many instances digital signage with audio can become repetitious and annoying to people in earshot of the display all day long. This can be remedied by adjusting volume or muting the signage all together when nobody is present. Some motion sensors also have the ability to determine the distance to a viewer which can be beneficial for fine tuning the activation of your signage. Not only can motion detection be used to adjust your digital signage in real-time, but can also be used a simple metric for counting opportunities to see (OTS). Anytime the sensor detects motion it will record that as an OTS and will be available in your Revel Digital reports. OTS reports are a great way of determining which content is attracting the most attention or what time of day has the most viewership.

Motion detection can provide some basic viewership metrics

Motion Sensors

There is a wide variety of motion sensors, most of which can be easily be integrated with the Revel Digital platform. The common types for digital signage include:


Pros: Can be used to determine the distance to the viewer
Cons: Reflections of the sound waves can cause false triggers

Passive Infrared (PIR)

Pros: Sensitive to heat so only heat emitting objects such as a person will trigger
Cons: Sensitive to heat which can mean any heat emitting object will trigger


Pros: Very easy to implement when using an integrated camera
Cons: Anything within the view of the camera will potentially trigger

Revel Digital Integration

Ultrasonic sensor embedded in display
There is a wide range of integration options when considering motion detection. It's important to first determine the best detection method based on the environment and the trigger conditions required. For example, distance based triggering would require Ultrasonic, but has a limited range. Infrared and camera detection has a longer range, but may be more susceptible to false triggers depending on the environment. Of course, we are always happy to assist in determining the best options for your project. Once a sensor type is determined it's important to then determine the best location for the sensor mount. In many cases the sensor can simply be embedded right within the digital signage enclosure or display stand as seen in the photo.

On the software side, Revel Digital provides a number of methods including Smart Scheduling and custom scripting for dynamically adjusting your signage based on sensor input. Simple scenarios like an attract screen can easily be accomplished with Smart Scheduling and requires no scripting or custom coding whatsoever. More advanced interactions much as adjusting the volume of the display based on distance to the viewer may require a few lines of scripting. Either way, all of the logic is fully customizable and able to be modified at any time using the Revel Digital CMS.


Our demo will utilize the integrated camera in an All-in-One (AIO) Android system for triggering an 'attract screen'. We will be using the motion detection with Smart Scheduling in order to conditionally play a template when motion is detected.


The only hardware we need is the Android AIO itself since it already includes the camera.

Step 1:

Register your Android AIO player with your Revel Digital account. If you are new to Revel Digital look here to get your first device registered.

Step 2:

With your player registered in Revel Digital and running, attach a keyboard and press Shift-F12 to access the player settings. We need to toggle the Camera Mode to Motion Detection.

Step 3:

Create a couple Smart Schedules for both the attract screen and the content we want to play when motion is detected. We will assume you have content in the form of a playlist or template already created for this purpose.

First the Attract schedule. Login to your Revel Digital account and go to Schedules. Create a new Smart Schedule and name it 'Attract'. This is the default schedule that will play whenever there is no motion detected and simply plays the specified content Always.

Attract schedule
Now we need a second schedule that is triggered by the motion detection. For this we create a new Smart Schedule and call it 'Motion Detect'. This schedule will contain a When condition for motion detection. It's important to set the priority of this schedule to High.

Motion detected schedule

End Result

The camera will now detect any movement and automatically switch your digital signage content to the template specified in your schedule.


Motion detection is an easy method for increasing the effectiveness of your digital signage. Context awareness in the form of viewer presence is a powerful tool especially when combined with targeted content. For more information or for help getting started with your project, feel free to contact us.

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