Photo courtesy of Intel.
For the past few years, DSE has polled exhibitors on the digital signage technology trends attendees can expect to see at the show and in the near future. The responses we received this year include a number of notable departures from our DSE 2012 Top 10 Trends list.
For example, no one mentioned "transparent LCD displays," for which we expect to see further adoption in retail, grocery, convenience store, drugstore and vending machine applications. Nor did anyone mention "large format video walls," though we continue to see significant growth in this area with applications to almost every type of venue. Also not appearing on the 2013 list are "all-in-one-displays" and "cloud technology," though we know that adoption of these technologies remains robust.
So, what is new? Though we won't pretend that this is a definitive list, here's what some future-thinking exhibitors had to say:
1. LCD EXPANSION INTO OUTDOOR MARKETS: "Two major changes will drive the market to a different level," says Dan Smith, director of U.S. sales for the business-to-business division of LG Electronics. "The emergence of new-generation high-brightness LCD panels and the fact that certain high-brightness LCD-based flat panels don't need air conditioning, only ambient airflow."
2. 4K DIGITAL SIGNAGE: "Both from a content and display resolution standpoint, digital signage will increasingly move beyond HD resolution," says Kim Brown, senior marketing manager, Planar Systems. "More video is being shot in 4K resolution; this higher resolution content requires less scaling and looks sharper on megapixel video walls and on the … Ultra HD resolution signage displays [we will see in 2013]."
3. ANALYTICS-DRIVEN DIGITAL SIGNAGE: "While data-driven targeted marketing is a common practice for online retail stores, in-store digital signage is now finally catching up with using information extracted from both internal and external data to find the optimal message for each location at any time," says Stefan Menger VP of analytics, Scala Inc.
4. AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY: "Transforming the shopping experience, augmented reality allows customers to overlay computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, or graphics onto a real-world image," says Paula Polei , director, marketing, STRATACACHE. "Testing out a set of computer-generated golf clubs with projected swing speed or trying on computer-generated clothing options helps assist customers with product selection and visualization to positively influence purchase decisions."
5. HTML5 FOR CONTENT DEVELOPMENT: "Facilitating the next wave of innovation is support for the best content development tools. I believe the tool leading this innovation is HTML5, as evidenced by the exploding number of content providers who are using this development tool to serve up engaging and cutting-edge content," says Jeff Hastings, CEO, BrightSign LLC. "Add a device that can render this content and package it up reliably, and the entire AV industry will be re-invigorated."
6. LIVE VIDEO FEEDS: "Digital Signage operators are increasingly finding that inclusion of live video in their sign designs is effective at drawing customers to the sign and holding their interest for longer periods of time," says Lindsay Kelso, director of marketing, Enseo.
7. TABLET TECH: First iPads and now Android-based tablets are finding a place in the digital signage industry and generating a variety of accessories and applications. At DSE 2013, Armodilo Display Solutions, Rose Displays and i-Display and will be among the companies showing point of purchase and kiosk mounting solutions for tablets, with i-Display also showing its purpose-built line of Android-based tablets for interactive digital signage. Chief, Premier Mounts, Peerless-AV and others will also show various brackets, frames, mounts and other hardware for mounting tablets.
8. CONNECTED CONSUMER: Whether we in the digital signage community call the trend, today's consumers, in whatever venue they're in, are more connected than ever before. Digital signage, kiosks, tablets and smartphones are all part of our everyday digital experience. "There are a lot of great ways to engage and connect with customers through their mobile devices and their social connections, leveraging digital signage as part of that conversation," says Peter Cherna, senior vice president of R&D, Scala Inc.
9. INTERACTIVE DIGITAL SIGNAGE: "Digital signage without interactivity is like watching TV without a remote control," says JD Jones, director of digital media solutions, AVI-SPL."Interactive digital signage is more like today's Internet — a self-help system that is also capable of providing suggestions." In truth, interactive digital signage can do much more, whether the experience occurs via touch, gesture, mobile, augmented reality or, in the future (Don't laugh!) neural control.
10. AUTOMATED RETAILING/INTELLIGENT VENDING: As vending machines become smarter, the self-service "little box" is taking on more of the work of the traditional "big box" in the retail segment. The new generation of high-tech vending systems features such innovations as digital signage, interactive touchscreens, cashless payment systems, mobile interaction, telemetry for remote data collection, etc. Anonymous video analytics from companies such as Intel and Cognitec Systems GmbH adds to the intelligence of such machines.
Among the other new trends DSE exhibitors say attendees should watch for are content management system advancements, display image quality improvement, intelligent signage, solid state digital signage players, real-time social media integration and RF/coax distribution.