What do you see as the five trends that will have the largest impact in the digital signage industry over the next few years?”
Technology is moving so fast that it is very difficult to predict trends more than sixmonths or a year out. I would suggest there are some trends that will most certainly play a major role in digital signage over the next several years:
- Cloud-based everything– The old saying, you have not seen anything yet. Well, the cloud is already a major component in many digital signage implementations, but our future is most certainly cloud-based. Connectivity and bandwidth will soon no longer be a limiting factor.
- Interactivity – Have you noticed that toddlers expect all screens to be interactive. We have seen an explosion of touchscreen technology in the last few years, but the overall number of digital signage screens are still non-interactive. Look for new technologies to take our ability to engage with our digital signage surfaces (both indoor and outdoor), including our phones, to a new level of interactivity. This brings one other very significant benefit to DS in the future, increased interactivity means increased stickiness. In other words, more reasons to come back and interact with screens and more ways of engaging the customer after they have left the immediate area where they first engaged.
- Great content that engages people is going to become harder to create. – Today, there are so many advertising messages that hit us daily. The result is NOISE. Everywhere, there is more and more noise, so it will become more and more important to focus on content that stands out above the noise. There will need to be more storytelling with pictures and video and less words.
- Display hardware will increase digital signage effectiveness. Innovative technology like transparent OLEDS and very tight pitch indoor LEDs are going to have a major impact on our ability to make our message stand out and be seen. Mosaics and larger screens will become commonplace. Not sure quite how, but I most certainly see VR playing a part of our digital signage systems based on the current generation and the kids that are growing up expecting to experience their world rather than just look at their world.
- Wayfinding – I am old enough to remember printed maps. I remember my first strategic stop was a store to buy an up-to-date map. Then came the GPS wayfinding on our PCs, and dedicated GPS appliances changed the way we navigated through cities. Now, no one buys maps, and everyone uses their phone to navigate. While these solutions already exist, wayfinding digital signs are still in their infancy relative to their adoption. It is still fairly expensive to create all the graphics required and still a struggle to provide the right combination of technology (strategically located interactive wayfinding screens or phone-based way finding). Look for new buildings to include wayfinding integrated into the building, not just in the lobby. Look for more and more ways to engage you phone in your navigation inside, not just outside. People will start downloading their internal wayfinding to their phone before they arrive on location.
Most concerning future trend – More and more digital signage will be implemented by internal sources (internal IT department) The concerning element, while this looks like a simple technology box buy to many IT professionals, digital signage is most certainly not a box buy. The net result will be why our classes at shows like DSE will continue to grow in attendance with the number one attendee being a person from a company or organization that has something already installed, and they are there on a mission to find out how to make it better or work in the first place.