What do you see as the five trends that will have the largest impact in the digital signage industry over the next few years?”
Simplicity. For users, simplicity is king. The more complex something is for an end user, the less likely it is to be fully adopted. Adoption is ultimately the measure of value for any given solution. I think that applies both to the users that manage systems as well as to those who contribute content and even the viewers that ultimately consume the content.
Actually, the digital signage market itself is a highly (read: “overly”) complex space filled with many solution providers, direct seller solutions, channel solutions, hardware manufacturers, displays, software add-ons, etc.
Many people want to play in the space from a provider standpoint, and the technology solutions are easily approachable for new entrants, but honestly, consumers simply do not need 50 different options for their digital signage solutions. All that means is that the solution providers and the channel have been driving the market, but sooner or later, consumers will reign. Industry consolidation will inevitably narrow the field for enterprise-grade solutions while SMB will remain congested with base-level solutions.
Standards. Standards go hand in hand with simplicity, and currently within the digital signage industry, there are plenty of standards to choose from. While interoperability may be less of a concern between disparate signage systems, it is absolutely a growing need for data access. The least we can say today is that there is a manageable range of standard hardware player platforms.
Scale. Given standards-based solutions that customers will readily adopt; we have all the key ingredients to scale up deployments and management. Add to that the falling prices of commercial-grade displays, and I think the industry is ready to deploy solutions on a whole new level.
Interactivity. This technology is booming in team collaboration and several other key areas, and digital signage will also move more in this direction. Beyond standard wayfinding solutions, I think user interactive displays will be more prevalent as users are presented with more interactive technology in their everyday lives.
Connectivity/Management. Just this week, I met with a customer who has global technology deployments including collaboration, UC and digital signage. Inevitably it will require some complex systems and multiple partners to move video, collaboration and content all around the world, so on the back-end, there are several systems they have to use for monitoring and management of the entire solution. This particular customer is able to monitor and manage all those networks and endpoint devices, video and UC platforms, network activity, solution uptime and even user activity… but still cannot say with certainly that the content channels they are pushing are actually showing up on all the target displays. Management solutions for digital signage must become more aligned to the standard IT management consoles, and the solutions providers that get there soonest will claim more of the enterprise customer segment.