“Does gesture control really have a place in digital signage, or is it a flash-in-the-pan trend?”
When considering gesture controls’ place in digital signage, I think it is important to understand that gesture control is the ability of a machine or computer to interpret movements of the human body to interact and control a system without physical contact. In considering this, most think of a person’s ability to control a mapping screen or computer program to access information. I think this technology can be used ultimately to increase the effectiveness of digital signage as well as provide some interaction with the person that will be using or controlling the content or actions.
One of the challenges that traditionally placed digital signage is facing is the continued proliferation of smartphones. As most people are walking to and from an area, they are continually staring at and accessing their smartphones. This also means that digital signage that is in place for the use of the public for information, advertising, and wayfinding may not even be looked at or noticed by many walking by. There are also many others that may be looking for information that could be provided by that digital signage that may not understand if the display is interactive or just a set of informational screens.
Gesture control could be used in the sense that the same cameras used to identify and respond to movements for control could also be used for analytics. This would allow the system to identify someone in the view of the camera that may be looking to interact with the display. You could trigger a pre-recorded message or content based on the movement that is identified with the gesture controls to target advertising or encourage someone to interact with the digital display. Gesture controls could then be used to interact with the display and allow the person to access additional content. In a crowded environment, this system would need to be able to identify and singularize persons in the camera view to allow a single point of control. As new and emerging technologies continue to improve, I believe this could become an important part of digital signage.