Why do you think we’ve seen an increase in focusing on displays and hardware rather than concepts and communication?
The obvious answer is that displays are sexier than concepts and communication. While hardware gets glamorous photos and glitzy headlines, the content (concepts and communication) is described as “feeding the beast.” From an experiential perspective, the hardware can often be more important than the content. The fact that you have digital communication instead of printed communication changes the perceived brand values. A light source rather than reflected light, moving images instead of still images, multiple messages and interactivity … all these things convey a sense of immediacy and modernity regardless of the communication.
As a former director of photography, it has taken me a long time to come to terms with this concept, that the medium is the message. I always liked to think that the monitor was just a vessel to hold my beautiful images, but the vessel does matter. In a perfect world, the hardware and messaging combines into a single visual element, and neither stands out on its own much like lighting for videography. Good lighting is invisible, and does not call attention to itself. If you’re aware of a lighting instrument, you’ve lost your emotional connection to the message. Likewise, if you’re aware of the hardware, you’re not paying attention to the message, but if you’re aware of the message, the hardware is a clear glass vessel. When the hardware and content combine to become one concept, it impresses the viewer on both an intellectual and emotional level. That’s the best digital signage experience possible.