Imagine you’re entering an airport, and there is a personalized welcome message. Then, as you walk further in, more tailored messaging accompanies you throughout your shop, bar and restaurant visits. Finally, this messaging directs you to your departure gate, where you arrive fully informed. Well there’s no need to just imagine any more; the technology for this is already in place. But just how do we start using it effectively, and what impact will it have?
From tired displays to holographics and 3D
Whether it’s at work, in a leisure venue or an educational outlet, digital signage is continually evolving and offering more than traditional static message boards. With the average human’s attention span running roughly eight seconds, it is no surprise that these outdated message boards have struggled to capture and engage audiences. Advancements in display technologies now mean that this no longer needs to be an issue, though. Developments in digital signage now mean that messaging can be displayed in a host of different ways from curved LED screens, flat panel displays and glasses-free 3D screens to holograms, 4K ultra-HD screens, arena floor projections and interactive technologies. There is a plethora of new signage technology designed to interact with audiences in a more engaging and immersive manner.
These new dynamic display technologies are extremely adaptable, versatile and flexible, fitting into any environment, complementing the surroundings and bringing the environment and messaging to life. For example, LED screens have the ability to be placed indoors and outdoors, to be curved or built to a particular size, thereby grabbing attention and delivering messages with impact and vibrancy. Holograms can create interest and deliver imagery and messaging subtly without changing the surrounding landscape.
The digital signage industry has not only seen huge growth in its uses, but also in the capabilities of the technology itself, driving changes in the way society is interacting with signage. A recent study has revealed that eight out of ten customers have entered a store because a digital sign caught their interest, and 71 percent of people said they felt advertising on digital billboards stood out more than online ads.[i]
We are now surrounded by digital landscaping, which is providing users with immersive and tailored experiences that increase engagement in various different areas of our lives. In business, it can be used to great effect to increase employee engagement, create moods and change atmospheres within the workplace as required. In an educational environment, it can help deliver an enhanced student experience by providing targeted information regarding a student’s curriculum or interests, improving their safety and acting as a real-time guidance system. In leisure venues, digital signage can attract more customers, create atmosphere and provide a cost-effective way to communicate to all visitors. The uses are multiple and, if used well, can benefit many areas of our lives.
Bespoke data-driven solutions
In order to drive engagement, the content displayed on these digital displays has to be informative, tailored and entertaining. It is not just the hardware that has evolved, but also the software behind the displays, as marketing today is driven by ‘big data,’ which provides insight into consumer usage and interaction. Digital signage is an extremely effective tool for collecting data as the screens have cameras that can track exactly who is walking past and then engage with that person.
Usage of clever data-driven solutions has increased sales for some organizations, such as the O2 arena, which recently announced that it will be going 100 percent digital to deliver more dynamic offers to its customers. In fact, one of the venue’s refreshment suppliers reported that it had seen a seven to twelve percent uplift in sales, which it has directly attributed to an increasing in advertising on digital screens.[ii] Due to the large amount of data being continually collected, Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows the data to be quickly sorted and analyzed and for the messages to be personalized. These messages are then displayed on a variety of platforms, from LED screens to mobile phones and holograms.
The personal touch
Despite privacy concerns, research conducted by Deloitte suggests that more than one in four 16-to-24-year-olds are happy for businesses to use their personal information to offer them more personalized products or services[iii]. If properly implemented, a reliable digital signage system will allow users to provide seamless personalized messaging to a wide audience across various locations and platforms, benefitting all involved. In a retail environment, these bespoke messages have been seen to grow and retain customers’ trust, as well as help maximize ROI as customers are being presented with the most relevant content possible. This helps to increase brand loyalty and maintain retail presence on the high street.
The possibilities for digital signage are endless. From train stations to motorways, in-store shopping, employee engagement and emergency announcements, digital displays are capable of creating atmospheres, invoking emotion and acting as an effective communications tool. Combining these displays with data-driven technology and innovation is what creates market-leading signage solutions that are not only able to go beyond purely display technology, but also deliver value to their audiences and the businesses using them.