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By ComQi

Imagine walking around a museum, looking at faded archival photos on digital screens, and instead of just reading the brief descriptions, you could pull out your phone and in no time, ask a super-computer for more detail.

That’s the premise of Panasonic’s LinkRay technology – which easily connects what people see on digital signage screens with their smartphones, and hooks in complementary technologies like IBM’s Watson super-computing platform.

LinkRay delivers mobile content by enabling ordinary smartphones to read IDs sent from LED light transmitters, such as digital signage displays, via their phone cameras. Through a downloaded app, users pick up the light signal, which launches a web address that connects users quickly, easily and securely to content tailored to that specific display or location.

The LinkRay technology is embedded in Panasonic displays, and the experiences are organized and activated using powerful digital signage software platforms like ComQi’s EnGage.


ComQi teamed up with Panasonic and IBM to show what’s possible with LinkRay through an aquarium application shown at the 2017 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conference.

In the demo, the LinkRay light signal picked up by phones included information about the various fishes in the tank, and an interface that allowed users to interact with IBM’s all-knowing Watson.

They could ask various questions about the different fishes – their natural habitats, swimming speed and what they ate. Watson easily fielded questions, even responding in the same language as the one used to pose the question.

Pairing phones with digital signage displays is not entirely new, but LinkRay makes it far easier. A precursor to LinkRay – QR codes – embeds 2D bar codes with the on-screen content and requires users to launch a scanning app on their phones, and then hold the phone in a precise position while the app scans and reads the images, and then launches a web URL based on the code’s information.

Anyone who has done self-checkout at a big box store knows how flaky reading bar codes can be, and that’s using commercial equipment, not free smartphone apps.

Another advantage is how LinkRay is not the finicky one-to-one experience of scanning bar codes. Multiple people can simultaneously pick up the light signal’s high-speed transmission, and at a distance.

LinkRay also has low interference properties, which means different messages can be sent through multiple light ID transmitter, even when installed next to each other.


LinkRay makes it possible for any display in a variety of settings to become rich, deep information stations, without adding the extra capital costs of touchscreen overlays or the operating costs of keeping touchscreens working and clean. With LinkRay, the big screens activate the touch experience on smart phones.

ComQi’s EnGage serves as the launchpad for interactions, running the core content that attracts viewers to exhibits, and the call to action and instructional content that gets people downloading the app and launching it around screens.

Museums, exhibits, art galleries and even retailers looking to enhance shopper engagement and augment sales associates’ product knowledge, are obvious homes for LinkRay technology. Program managers can add things like Gamification simply and with no hard costs.

For example, a scavenger hunt could ask zoo visitors to find endangered animals and scan screens to trigger interactive experiences. Watson could be then used to talk about the species, habitat, populations and threats.  LinkRay could launch, for example, a tab for donations and a link to a coloring page that has calls to actions.

It’s different and fun, and can help these venues provide custom and curated information about each exhibit. Think of it like giving guests their own secret ‘keys’ and concierge-like services.

LinkRay can also create awareness about the various wildlife conservation programs that these institutes are running.

LinkRay has an open API which means it can integrate a facility’s existing app, which makes adoption easy and promotes more downloads, because there are more reasons to want to use the app. Increased app downloads CAN help track the customer journey better and keep the guest engaged, even after they have left the Zoo.

For more details regarding EnGage or Panasonic’s LinkRay technology, please feel to contact as at:

Photo Credit: ComQi/Panasonic/IBM

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