Ask the Board – June 17, 2019 | RALPH SCHORBACH


“Which market segment is the one that is totally saturated with digital signage five years from now? (Is there a market where the gold rush is over and every new opportunity has been already taken?)”

Given stock market fluctuations, if I had insight to read the “magic growth ball” over the next five-plus years, I could not only give a concrete answer for saturated and hot spots on digital signage, but also project where the stock market will be then. Digital signage isn’t necessarily a stand-alone item. The medium works with other technologies and serves the growing demands of clients, corporations and the industry as a whole. If industries, such as fast food restaurants, or airports innovatively push the envelope now on what can be accomplished with digital signage, that will be reflected in the growth of the digital signage industry. Industry growth is reliant on funding and collecting data. If there is a niche that requires innovation and funding is available, digital signage will develop in that industry. The verticals that are and have already been funded will generate advances that will evolve to be picked up and used in other areas, ultimately at a lower cost. Case in point is the manner in which retail digital signage grew to be adopted by retail centers and is now established in areas beyond retail to be found in bus stops, convention space and stadiums. 

That brings us back to the five-year projection. The technologies that are HOT today will become commonplace and well developed in five years. As technologies become more interdependent, the two areas of focus will be the front-end (customer-facing) and back-end (integrators and businesses) and how they apply these digital technologies. There is SOOO much changing in hardware; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, beacon, etc. technologies that most venues will be rethinking interactions with clients, and the result will not necessarily cause a saturated market place, but force organizations already using digital communications technologies to adapt their installations to interact better with clients through SMART devices and thereby fortify the back end integration with a variety of hardware manufactures using off-the-shelf products. There is NO market that will be saturated unless that industry sector is dying. Players in the market will have to reinvent themselves and refresh. Most businesses invest in digital signage technologies and expect the system to stay in place and functional for 10 or more years. I call this “old-school brick-and-mortar thinking.” Most buildings plan a major physical facelift and upgrade every 10 to 20 years.  This is opposed to technology, which moves so much faster, in the range of about three to seven year cycles, and has to be considered in that mindset. 


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