"As emerging technologies continue to expand the application of digital signage, what types of new innovations are you most hoping to see at DSE 2013 and which new advances do you think will best keep digital signage relevant to the consuming public?"
For me personally the most exciting thing about attending the Digital Signage Expo is finding new technologies that I couldn't have even dreamed about. It is an opportunity to explore the innovation of an entire industry under one roof. I try not to go into the event with too many preconceived notions of what I am hoping to see, but rather with the expectation that I need to allow myself the time to explore in order to take in all that is available. I generally have a list of problem statements or scenarios I am trying to work through when I arrive. The intention is to look for solutions to business problems, whether that is communicating, or targeting or creating a stronger call to action. The applications I discover through my explorations always go above and beyond my expectations. The examples present almost always deliver on my specific business needs, and usually lead down a whole series of other paths I hadn't even considered. That opportunity to 'blue sky' solutions and talk to industry experts on how to make it a reality is not something that is easy to accomplish outside of an event like this.
I think this year we are going to continue to see new ways that digital signage is becoming more ubiquitous in our daily lives. We should see new advances around seamless integration into common objects and products, and new applications for immersing the viewer and engaging them in an enriching experience. Mobile integration is another hot topic area that I would expect to see new advances. In general I think it is an exciting time to be a retailer who is considering digital signage and how it fits into your customer experience. A show like the Digital Signage Expo provides a glimpse into possible applications that retailers may not have considered, and that is why digital signage will continue to be relevant to the public — because it still hasn't even begun to reach its potential.
I'm going to look for innovations at DSE 2013 that will focus on engagement of the viewer. NFC and gesturing are two items, which I hope will lead to ways to eliminate more paper. Connect the display content to a specific interest and permit gathering of email or phone information to permit subsequent sending of brochure-ware without the paper. Identification of the specific individual viewer of content specific to that which he is interested will be most relevant.
I'd love to see some advancement in content, specifically mobile application integration, to drive mobile and DS convergence. There is a smattering of this using smartcodes, but I'd like to see some fully enabled DS content that communicates with a mobile app, to provide seamless convergence. The content/app maker that gets this right will really change the playing field for DS in the future.
To see what emerging technologies you would like to see from DSE 2013, you should look at where you have been and the direction you are taking. What I love about new technology, and I REALLY love new technology, are the ideas that come out by taking these technologies and putting a "personal/company" spin on them and make them fit our digital signage needs.
We all love to see the latest and fastest widget, but is that what you are really looking for? In the coming months and years and with technology changing direction so quickly, each absorbing another large percentage of user base clients and leeching from others, you have to think at what point is the market saturated and what will keep having those customers keep coming back. We, as the instigator group, need to balance real world needs to budget and existing projects. We see many pieces of technology that are exciting and hopefully fit into our goals. I always look for new software and changes that come out from year to year. For most I would have to assume that we are looking for solutions that make our lives easier, better for our end users and capture the client base leading to a larger income base. That ranges from hardware integration, data repositories and end user access points through a multitude of input sources; smart device, Web, interactive machine or device, etc. As for me, the three items I go on the hunt for at the show:
- Hardware: What new advances have they come up with; PCs to interactive devices and machines.
- Software: What improvements on application and database integration and how front/end user interfaces are simplified.
- Final touchpoints: How to make the "device" (software, firmware or hardware) work in my environment and benefit both the client and the user.
At the end of the day to summarize the relevancy, I continue to see integration play a major focus and the variety of paths to get to the same information to reach the same goals and clients. It is the single corporate vision going through many paths to get back to that single client. It is the one-to-many-back-to-one answer. Enjoy, see you at DSE and take the path less traveled.
What is the takeaway from digital signage and how can I give feedback or information? I've been hot for NFC (near-field communications) in the digital signage space for a few years now. I'm hoping to see more applications and understanding to help connect the dots via digital signage. I am most looking forward to demonstrations of a simple and effective bridge, or connection, between digital signage and the patron/consumer. Tools that allow a user to capture and share information and resources, and then respond in an appropriate environment. For example, I may be interested in a message presented by digital signage, but don't want to respond or follow up immediately; how can I capture the information to review on my schedule at home or the office? I'm tired of taking pictures, from my supposed smartphone, of signage to save information. Maybe it's NFC, RFID, Bluetooth, QR codes, social media links and hashtags, or something new I'll see at the #DSE2013? I think that convergence integration will be most relevant in keeping digital signage as part of the conversation with the consuming public.
Digital signage is definitely on the rise. It easily creates awareness, quickly connects customers to products and services, and creates unique experiences that convert into brand loyalty. The more we innovate on digital signage, the more we learn where the gaps are. Here are a couple of gaps to consider:
- Gap 1: A true "plug-and-play" CMS. The CMS is the "heart" of the signage. Users here at Mayo that are charged with keeping the heart beating find the learning curve for these systems to be high. Staff is asked to do more with less. Training time is a premium, taking them away from their core responsibilities. Having a more intuitive CMS that could potentially cut the startup time in half would be a major advancement to supporting digital signage in the future.
- Gap 2: Contaminant resistant interactive surfaces. Patients and guests in health care environments benefit greatly from the use of interactive technology. These environments offer patient information, way finding and promote amenities that support the overall patient experience. The use of sanitary materials in surface technology would help increase patient confidence that these environments are safe for them to use.
Whatever the gaps are, we should never stop trying to fill them. These opportunities not only strengthen us as an industry, but keep us positioned as leaders to set the benchmarks for innovations to come.
Would love to see any viable solution that have a proven "trigger-based marketing" approach with analytical data which supports the ability to push or pull consumers to a certain venue/outlet or to act on an offer/special. "Trigger-based marketing" is also called "one to one" or "peer to peer" marketing. It's when a specific offer is sent to a device based on behavior or preferences on a particular individual. An example would be you are on my property using my mobile app or Wi-Fi and I know you are looking at dining outlets, I would then send you a triggered offer based on your behavior.
Our big push is into cross-platform integration, i.e. being able to coordinate your messaging across all mediums (Web/signage/mobile). I also believe digital signage has to appeal to you personally. There are many apps that track your location and it is only a matter of time before you step in front of a sign that is at your favorite clothing store and it shows a picture of you in an outfit you recently bought. The software is sophisticated enough to get information from Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media and use it to anticipate your needs.
A drive-thru digital menuboard that is durable and affordable tops the list. Without a drive-thru solution, it is hard to execute a system-wide full digital rollout. We spend millions of dollars printing menuboard transparencies and those funds cannot be used to offset digital menuboards until we do not need to print transparencies for the drive-thru.
We need the same benefits of digital in the drive-thru as we have with indoor digital menuboards. Employees would not need to change out POP, especially in the winter. Daypart menus would change automatically, and menu updates would be made overnight. Consumers are not asking for a digital drive-thru solution but our store operators would love to have a durable, affordable solution NOW.
I am most looking forward to seeing the drastic technology innovations at DSE 2013. As a network operator of digital menuboards, my optimism is for progress on screen technology to enable them to be thinner, lighter and more energy-efficient. I also hope that commercial-grade screens incorporate more functionality and "horsepower" to eliminate the external media player; ultimately, reducing the complexity of the hardware side of a digital signage deployment.
Something I saw a lot of at DSE 2012 that I expect to see more of is 3D for digital signage, but I strongly feel that the practical use of 3D cannot require glasses by the audience.
As for relevance to the consuming public of digital signage, the industry needs to incorporate the right balance of consumer technology and media. By this, I mean that the consumer is getting more and more tied to their mobile devices; therefore content and the medium in which it is presented needs to grab their attention and bring their eyes up. I feel that the evolution of 3D will be one to watch and see how enticing and effective it is as a medium.
I’m excited to see where the industry has come as far as interactive digital signage. I believe that there is a huge opportunity to play content that is relevant to specific consumers, which can in turn drive sales. It should be an experience that better leverages our brand and products. In addition, I want to better understand what particular items customers are paying attention to while viewing digital menuboards. This will help us, as marketers, understand how we can better target the different variety of consumers we serve.
2012 saw an exciting expansion into what I call transparent screen digital, or the ability to sandwich digital images on glass, while remaining basically transparent. This emerging technology could be used for exciting displays that including applications for retail, museums, and more.
For 2013, I'm going to be very curious to where this has evolved in 12 short months because I see it transforming how we can put digital messaging in front of consumers in a new and unique way. Certainly, too, the technology keeps making digital players smaller every year. With solid state being more the norm than spinning discs and moving parts these units are not only more rugged, but adoption by many has brought down pricing, which is always imperative in large-scale deployments. There are rumors of some digital signage companies offering units for nearly free as their costs of dropped significantly as these products evolve in power and decrease in price.
What will 2013 be known as the "year of"? We'll find out in less than a month!
At DSE this year what I am really hoping to see is integration. We are all becoming more digital and so are the places we are frequenting. Although most digital signage does well on its own, I would love to see examples of integration whether it be with mobile, interactive devices, digital posters or any other item that would alter a customer's experience. I believe the more interactive our signage is, the more we able to have it be relevant to our consumers. When they have more control on what they see although they may not see all that you want them to — they definitely find out more about what they are interested in.
I would love to see the emergence of the "smartphone" for digital signage. I'm willing to give a little on cosmetics and size, but it needs to do everything else the ubiquitous smartphone has done for the gaming, texting, surfing, banking, calculating, capturing, chatting, socializing, scheduling, talking, super-hybrid human of today. A couple, 3, maybe 4, infinitely scalable platforms to choose from. A good, better and best? It would have near perfect wireless communications and have a non-contract cost of $300 to $400.
I take back my previous concession on size, there's no reason to think the ultimate digital signage player-of-the-future needs to be any larger than a smartphone.
Digital signage needs to continue to evolve as a key marketing vehicle to deliver the right message, to the right audience member, at the right place, and the right time. I am most hoping to see integrations of digital signage with mobile (smartphone and tablet) technology.
Regarding relevancy, advances in efficiently getting screens to "talk" to each other (i.e. digital signs to mobile, and vice versa, etc.) will best improve digital signage relevancy to customers and advertisers alike. In addition, to ensure the digital signage medium keeps pace in this ever evolving marketing landscape, we must ensure that the cost of delivering content to these multiple screen types and sizes does not spiral out of control. Advertisers and networks will need content options that include low-cost, template-based, dynamically assembled content to keep the medium relevant in the future.
The new innovations I'd like to see are perhaps a bit ahead of their time for now, but I've heard about user interfaces either using motion (hand gestures) or even by tracking the user's eye movement/motion. I think to create the next level of interaction, a transparent natural interface is just the beginning. New OLED displays add a new range of products, lessening the weight and size of the physical units means an easier ability to place signage anywhere. With that said, digital signage is still relatively young, and we're looking for ways to attract people to those signs, to generate more interactivity.
While shiny new technologies are great, I believe one of the most valuable advances for digital signage would be a drop in screen prices. Making bigger, brighter and better installations easier to launch would make digital signage more noticeable to consumers and more attractive to advertisers.
I would also like to see signage that could easily give me more information on a product in store. I personally do a large amount of my shopping online, due in no small part to the easy access to additional information on a product, most notably user reviews. I currently use my smartphone for this when in store, but I would love to see a digital sign that could quickly display reviews and additional information for a product on request.
And while some good technologies already exist for this, I'd like to see displays and content incorporated more seamlessly into an environment, such as is done with projection mapping. I don't want a screen on a wall, I want a wall that is a screen.
I guess the summation of what I would like to see is bigger but less obtrusive screens, and the ability to utilize them as we do our own home and smartphone screens, but for more context specific purposes.
There are four areas of emerging technology that our airport has an interest in exploring at DSE that could result in expanding our use of digital signage:
- Content Creation and/or Management — Developing content is time-consuming and expensive. Any tools that allow the re-use or repurposing of existing content across multiple platforms will help keep our screens fresh and budgets in check. The general public would appreciate efforts to keep the content current.
- Remote Management/Remote Viewing — Proof of Play is critical for paid advertisers, so any tool that increases their certainty that their ads are on screen should ultimately help sell more ads. Adjusting content when away from the office, whether in the field, or off-site, will save significant personnel time, allowing for more time to be used on developing the program as a whole.
- Increasing engagement and interaction from existing networks will benefit both the airport, and the public that uses the signs. Any tool that increases engagement and interaction, potentially through entertainment, should result in an increase in the value of that signage and as a result make it easier to sell.
- Metrics. The value of the signage network can be best determined and communicated to others by accurately measuring how it used and/or viewed by the public. Cost-effective technology that measures "eyes on screen" will help determine (and communicate to others) the value of various screens around the facility.
Advancements in gestural signage and facial recognition are of particular interest to me. Additionally, the integration of social and mobile channel advancements will continue to rapidly expand. As these technologies advance, the customization and personalization expectations of marketers will continue to increase. Digital signage will have the ability to target your need state and serve solutions based on your behaviors, preferences, media habits, etc. It is a very exciting time.
There are two important areas that I am anxious to see companies start expanding. The first is metrics. I am excited to see which companies are developing ways to better determine who is coming within proximity to a screen, how long they are staying there and if they are even watching the screen.
The second is less technology focused and more focused towards the idea of keeping digital place-based media relevant to the consuming public. I really want to see more focus put on content. Not just advertising content, more specifically the "entertainment/'infotainment'" content used by digital place-based networks to engage a consumer and get them to watch long enough to see an advertising message.
Lucas Peltonen, (for Dave Matera)
From a theoretical perspective, new advances and innovations that we would most like to see include anything that will increase advertising relevance to the consuming public. The reason for this is that relevance will drive engagement, and engagement will drive impact. Impact will improve awareness and, ideally, ROI.
If relevance is the key, then what emerging technologies will expand the application of digital signage? We are eager to see the advances in technology that will display at DSE, but we suspect that the following will be present and advancing the medium toward greater relevance:
- Facial Recognition: These technologies exist and can be used in certain venues in which the viewer is close enough to the "reader/camera" that his or her approximate age and gender characteristics are determined. From there, an appropriate message can be served. How well are these technologies working now? What is their radius of functionality? How affordable and practical is this technology?
- Mobile Phone Recognition: I remember reading in the trades about a digital place-based vendor who was working with a technology provider that could read signals from cell phones in the area and be able to target ads according to the demographics of the cell phone owners. How is that technology progressing? (What are the legal implications?) Will we be able to see/experience this technology at DSE, see it reading my cell phone demo information and then serve up an appropriate ad?
- Credit Card Recognition: This technology is already in place in the gas station space. Will it spread to other arenas? I still haven't seen it in action — will there be a demo of it at DSE? For those who don't know, the credit card reader can read at least the gender and approximate income level of the consumer, and can therefore serve a relevant ad to the consumer while he/she is at the gas pump filling up his/her car.
All of the above technologies are based on a common sense theory about advertising — relevant ads are more effective. We can't wait to see what other new technologies will ensure that digital signage stays relevant to the consuming public.
Big, super high resolution displays were everywhere at CES this year. OLED is also enabling more dynamic range, super-rich blacks and prototypes of curved screens. All of the advancements are making video displays more immersive. It'll be a while before 4K screens get mass consumer reach in households, but I'm interested to see what the digital signage industry does with the spectacular new displays — and am hoping to see some of that on the floor at DSE. Glasses-less 3D TVs also made an appearance again at CES — and while they still induce headaches for prolonged viewing, again — there may be nearer-term applications for digital signage. I'm also expecting to see more work done with transparent LCD displays. Lastly, I'm looking forward to seeing the continued evolution of interactive technologies — including touch, voice, gesture and mobile.
2013 may be a pivotal year in bringing greater engagement between digital signage and the consumer to the forefront. New innovations in digital signage span from greater display brightness and clarity with LCD expansion and 4K resolution as well as greater interactivity through mobile, social and augmented reality — all of which will likely compel consumers to engage with a digital sign.
In my position as a marketing director, I am extremely interested in "analytics-driven" digital signage and I am very intrigued by how we will leverage technology such as image recognition to measure audience exposure, engagement and perhaps even sentiment.
From a consumer perspective, I feel that ease, relevance and interactivity will be the driving forces behind engagement. To that end, one segment of digital signage I expect will expand this year and beyond is intelligent vending and automated retailing. The idea of "instant gratification" and "self-service" will experience a whole new level as more "little box" retail and virtual stores deploy in our airports, malls, bus and train stations. I surmise, that ease of transaction through mobile payments, especially near field communication when penetration piques, will spawn the growth of these types of commerce.
Further, these types of transactions are poised to offer analytics from traffic all the way through sales.
"MY Vision" of the innovation I want to see …
Walking into the local mall and approaching a rail behind which is a digital sign I have my "NEW" VISA 'mobile pay tag' on my cell phone. The sign is approximately six feet tall and three feet wide. Above the rail is a large but transparent dish that contains both a microphone and speaker. An image of an attractive young person appears and says, "Good morning Mr. Marks, how are you today?" I respond, "I'm good, thanks for asking. By the way, I need some new shoes today."
The image says, "I see from your buying history that you prefer Regal Shoes, which has a store here in the mall. Would you like to see what's on sale today?" "No thanks, but can you show me where the store is?" The display image changes to a map of the mall displaying my location relative to the store and provides directions. The human image returns when I don't leave asks me, "Do you need better directions?" I respond, "Yes, I've not been in this mall before."
The display shows a layout of the mall, then changes to 'transparent' mode, and shows me the general location of the store. The sign then begins to describe how to get to the store while generating a 'holographic" 3D image of the pathway through the mall, then asks, "Mr. Marks can you find your way to Regal shoes?" I say, "Yes," and the human image waves and says, "Goodbye Mr. Marks. See you again!"
While walking to my destination a "wayfinding sign" appears at every turn or intersection and points me in the right direction. When I get close to the store I want, a message on a sign tells me I have arrived, and because I am a local customer, it provides a two-for-one offer if I make a purchase during this visit.
This is a future innovation that combines Virtual Reality, voice recognition,
voice synthesis, 3D holography, artificial intelligence, proximity detection (RFID), and customer preference/shopping knowledge — All rolled up into ONE, BIG, interactive digital signage experience! Now that's innovation!
"Anything short of that, will be a disappointment.... :>)"
As the concept of BYOD (bring your own device) becomes more common in the workplace, the smartphone and tablet that already seem so important in our lives will become truly ubiquitous. This integration of these devices will truly demand that digital signage find even more ways to connect to them, both to make the information "sticky" and go with the viewer, but also to include interactivity and data collection, bringing much higher recall. I am hoping to see more software solutions for integrating these devices, and innovative new ways to handle that interaction.
As dynamic media and place-based engagement converge and digital signage increasingly fits into the communications continuum and "paid-owned-earned" media model with other communications approaches, many innovations in the application of digital signage suggest themselves.
- Better links between digital signage and mobile devices is an area of growing value, so mobile engagement in the place-based signs/mobile interface, and the analytics that can optimize this are important.
- As the industry moves into adding messaging displays to dispensers, doors and other devices, more elegant, turnkey or all-in-one integration of digital signage for add-on will be of high interest.
- Since data and analytics are critical to digital signage investment and optimization, more cost-effective approaches to this element of digital signage can make very important contributions.
- Software, the primary element of efficient digital signage network operations must continue to advance as networks expand and include more types of devices, third-party paid messaging increases, Android advances and software/media player integration increases.
Economies in CONTENT creation and adaptation with approaches to improve messaging effectiveness are of critical importance to the economies of operation and transmedia.
I think I've had my fill of far-fetched gadgets and unrealistic approaches. What I'm hoping to see are some more pragmatic concepts that will really help end users figure out how to take advantage of multiple technologies to influence customer behavior. A hot topic for our industry right now is omni-channel marketing, and I believe that retailers and other end-users have to understand and learn how to integrate into their marketing mix the wide variety of technologies that exist. We've already gone from "combatting" showrooming to "embracing" showrooming in less than a year. So, what I want to see at DSE 2013 are rational, realistic approaches to integrating digital signage, social media, mobile, and other technologies.
When Apple introduced voice command on mobile devices (in other words, when Siri became iPhone users' personal valet/information source), they changed the game. Immediately, consumer expectations rose to an entirely new level.
It would be fantastic to see an expansion of voice command capability in regard to digital signage. Right now, digital signage lags considerably behind the user-friendly aspects consumers now enjoy ... perhaps even take for granted ... in their mobile devices.
Short of that, any new advances that cater to the needs of the audience/customer ... that provide them with targeted, contextual content such as product availability, product options, personalized service, improved wayfinding, meaningful interactivity ... advances that focus on the audience, not just the latest, greatest technology ... those are the advances that will stand out as digital signage continues to evolve.
I'd be looking for new hardware suppliers that have embraced technologies from the consumer electronics space that can be applied to our industry. There's an amazing amount of innovation in mobile devices these days that are not PC-based players nor are they dedicated HW players of the past. The technology in your average smartphone these days is incredible ... and will give both the PC industry and traditional fixed function media players a run for their money in terms of price/performance. And then the question is ... who will be the first company to really successfully exploit this major paradigm shift? Can't wait to find out! I'm booking my ticket right now! :-)
I am hoping to see advances in the weather-proofing of digital signage, so that HVAC is no longer needed for outside in-the-elements displays. The restaurant industry cannot expand the usage to their drive-thrus without this technological advancement.
As the 10th annual DSE approaches I recall the first DSE in San Francisco where you could visit every vendor there in an hour. We've certainly come a long way but in many respects we've stagnated within the definition of 'digital signage.' I'll be looking for innovations that go beyond the traditional boundaries of digital signage technologies to the design, management and publishing/delivery of digital media to cross-channel displays — e.g. mobile, online, social media, digital signage, broadcast and print. I'll be on the lookout for media tracking and analytics integration solutions with legacy systems and workflows. Digital signage is one of a host of communication channels available to marketers. I'll be interested in seeing who and what type of solutions realize this reality and address it in innovative ways.
In his 2001 Berkshire Hathaway annual report, Warren Buffett famously wrote, "We have embraced the 21st century by entering such cutting-edge industries as brick, carpet, insulation and paint. Try to control your excitement." His businesses have certainly been greatly aided by new technologies, but only as accelerants, rather than core dependencies. Personally, I tend to look at new technology as accelerants that give new opportunities, but get the most excited about the latest creations and innovations in content — the Sine Qua Non of this entire industry. For every small advance in technology, I'm excited to see the multiplying effect that can be applied with cool content. Above all, I love seeing examples from other networks, which have morphed their installed solution after countless hours of trials and how that eventual solution differs from the initial deployment. The actual progress and change of the solution itself, implemented by other people, teaches me the most about future trends that are relevant.
Although simple screens are still one of the mainstays in health care networks such as my mine, they are the last thing I want to see at DSE. I would like to see the newest and greatest innovative technology designs that are most eye-catching and interactive with the common passerby. A small toaster-size machine with a life-size interactive character displayed on a clear screen is a very creative solution that utilizes technology to not only initiate interaction, but can also hold a viewer's attention. This type of technology allows for content to be delivered in a new way, enabling marketers to dramatically improve their efficiency in promoting brands.
As we approach DSE 2013, I'm looking forward to seeing innovation in interactivity, more development in HTML5, and, as always, faster, cheaper and more reliable media players.
Deployment of interactive applications suffers from the high cost of large-screen touch displays. This year expect the release of new technology that will allow us to turn any standard TV (consumer or commercial) into a truly interactive display. We've all read about a day when interactivity will resemble scenes from "Minority Report." We might actually come close this year with the release of the Leap Motion Controller, a $69 device that's smaller than a smartphone and many times more sensitive than the Microsoft Kinect. The product has received widespread attention in the tech world, but it's gone virtually unnoticed in digital signage. Because the product hasn't shipped yet, we won't likely see any examples at DSE, but I'd bet that some developers in our universe will create applications using Leap's technology before the year ends.
The march to HTML5 will accelerate this year, and I expect to see more examples of the standard being promoted at booths on the show floor. A prominent DS software vendor recently told me that their roadmap replaces all Flash components with HTML5. I suspect many more software providers are making the same change.
Every year I go to DSE hoping to see more advanced, low-cost media players. Last year I didn't see too many. I think 2013 will be different. With the uptick in HTML5 development, it's more possible than ever to develop robust digital signage applications that can run on cheaper machines. We've had success with units that cost less than $250.
One of the more exciting trends we at Lamar are encouraged by is the continued integration of various forms of data into the digital out-of-home ecosystem. The possibilities seem to grow exponentially each year. For years now, we have used real-time data as a great way to embellish dynamic content on our digital billboards with our iSpot program. Doing so has helped our customers create some amazing content and campaigns. We expect this trend to grow so that even more of our digital customers benefit from these capabilities. We also plan to seek out even more ways to improve our dynamic content abilities this year.
Moving forward, integrating 'DATA into DOOH', doesn't just have to be just about content. My hope is that we begin to see companies be much more creative with the wealth of data available. Planning, targeting and measurement are key areas where we can innovate to make DOOH more effective for our customers. The key to success here is developing technology partnerships and tools that can help make sense of this vast and complicated world they call 'BIG DATA' and make it work for the Digital Out of Home industry as a whole.
I am most interested in innovations that enhance user/viewer experiences through interactivity and how it can help consumers get the information they want when they need it from either a news source or an advertiser.
In 2013, we will start to see more phones and applications for NFC. And as NFC adoption increases, it will play a bigger role in the digital signage category. As I have written before, NFC is just one method of creating engagement with digital signage but so far the easiest to use. Any method which generates consumer engagement with signage will help keep the category relevant.
One of the main challenge remains in the actual cost to install a network, so I will like to see:
- Strong, stable and affordable wireless technology
- Price drop on LED displays
- Price drop on robust players able to handle rich media
- Easy to use content distribution and management software suite
- Affordable audience measuring technologies
I stay open to the idea that radical new technologies, when introduced can immediately prompt us to think about how our industry evolves. Therefore, my excitement lies in the notion that an innovator present at DSE will introduce "us" to a technology that thrusts us forward or even in a parallel new direction. From a media perspective, the innovations talk this year often made mention of augmented reality and how that can stimulate the consumer experience. I look forward to seeing what evolution is taking place in that segment. It is hard to deny that it is a fun and exciting technology … but will it be adopted and will is evolve remains open? Operationally, I always have any eye on hardware that will allow for ease of installation while maintaining stability. Digital installations still have a level of physical complexity and can be cost prohibitive. As those constraints get lifted, digital media will rapidly occupy the space in our world.
We are always looking for improved and more powerful software, ways to tie a network into mobile devices, what the latest innovations within interactive technologies (needs to be easy and cost effective) and wireless options to transmit the HD programming.
At DSE 2013 I'm hoping to see innovations that allow for seamless integration between digital signage and mobile devices.
I purchased my first Apple product, a Powerbook Duo (it's real, look it up on Wikipedia), about 20 years ago and have been a fan ever since. Nowadays when I walk in our family room, our Apple TV is waiting to connect with any device, iPhone, iPad or my MacBook Pro laptop. By connect, I mean seamlessly, wirelessly and effortlessly. While I realize this is our home setup, I would like to see similar connectivity with public digital signage installations.
Don't get me wrong, there are many applications of digital signage that I have no desire to connect with: Airport status signs and menuboards just to name two. I'm passionate about digital signage for retail, and it should be in place to make for a markedly improved shopping experience, either inspiring or informing, or ideally both. With that in mind, I'm going to be scouring the exhibitors at DSE 2013 looking for companies that have technologies and solutions that embrace the connected consumer.
As I have stated many times in my responses to the Question of the Month, solutions that embrace today's consumer and the contemporary path to purchase will win out in the long run.
Our expectations heading into DSE 2013 are to see some of the advancements display manufacturers have made in using OLED technology. One of our main concerns has always been around the total cost of ownership for the end user and especially image quality. I think those two factors alone have altered a few of the projects we worked on in 2012.
In terms of other technologies we are excited to see what advancements software companies have made to incorporate mobile content management and integration. I don't think we are necessarily looking for software innovation but more practical thinking and advancements in how we can manage content across multiple channels from a single source.
We are also design conscious and work closely with various architectural and retail design firms so we are very interested in seeing the latest innovations around large format display technology like microtiles and LED displays.
DSE is a great place to SEE what's new in digital signage but for me it's really about HEARING what's in development and what's on everyone's wish list. The conversations on the exhibit floor and between sessions are where you really learn about the innovation going on in our diverse industry. Last year I met several attendees from Canada … hey, they're doing amazing things up north, you betcha! So, yes, I look forward to seeing everything new, from automated retail to gesture interfaces to cool campaigns that engage the consumer in new ways. But what I really look forward to is talking to you (I'm assuming you'll be there!).
I'm hoping that DSE 2013 will showcase exciting developments in enhancing the connected consumer experience. For example, Near-Field Communication (NFC) and "touch-free" (voice and gesture-based) interactive solutions. Also, clearly defined tools for how marketers can collect predictive data via integrated digital signage campaigns. Big data is an imperative focus for marketers who need to be intelligently informed about their consumers in order to drive marketing efficiencies. Today's consumer culture is "instantly enabled" and digital signage needs to show its ability to deliver these types of experiences; not only to keep relevant with the consuming public but also to impress the value of digital signage to savvy marketers.
Year after year, I believe one area that will keep digital signage relevant to the public is what you show on the screen. I'm very interested to see new innovations in content. This could come in the form of new content examples, innovations in how software integrates with dynamic or syndicated content or mobile-to-screen apps. Though not much changes over the years — screens will be needed, some sort of media playback device, I think as an industry the X-factor is how we use content to meet the needs of meeting end-customers' goals.