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From: Corporate Tech Decisions by Rick Mattock

What are the Future Trends for Digital Signage?

The Audience
Technology can and will continue to play a part in objectively determining the audience (size and make up) of any participating device. There will be some bumps in the road as public opinion and laws are formed to clearly define anonymous audience analytics from facial recognition and tracking. But the revenue implications for targeted content are so large in the primary digital signage market segments (i.e., retail and transportation) this will be solved. Digital Signage vendors participating from content creation through software triggers through hardware (e.g., cameras and beacons) manufacturers must assume this will happen to be competitive.

The Medium
Watching the innovation from the display device manufacturers these last 15 years has been one of the greatest highlights of working in digital signage. From 3D projection to media sticks, from interactive and impressive experiences to flexible LED displays, and more to come. Remember when we thought a sub-$1,000 USD flat screen was the key to the digital signage explosion? It’s hard to imagine any limitations with laser projection and mobile devices. We humans like to look at shiny objects and digital signage – maybe, second only to the movie industry – is the place for those seriously interested in functional shiny objects.

The Timing
It is comforting that the fundamental tenet of “networked” digital signage is still one of the market’s main drivers. We have all heard it and many of us have used it – the right message (or content) to the right people at the right time. As a software guy by trade, I have been building systems to deliver on this promise since the late 90s. For those of you out there deep inside the CMS and content transmission software, you know designing for all the permutations required to meet the market needs is a reasonably challenging engineering task. Add in the continuous appearance of new endpoints and their sometimes quirky behaviors and needs; the often poor network connectivity and you wonder what it will be like when we really have the promised ubiquitous always-on broad band connectivity.

The Message
Over the last decade, this too has been an exciting area to watch. The progression from “produced” content of videos, animated graphics and images; to ready-made content from aggregators; to social media content (aka user generated content) from trusted, curated internal and external sources; and now to the newest trend of (what I call) synthetic content, the combination of real-time data with all of the above. All these sources present a unique set of challenges for the digital signage ecosystem providers. The ecosystem will be optimized when all the participant’s systems support the right mix of content production, content exchanges, content syndication, digital signage content management, content delivery, workflow controls, integrated “integration” components and presentation for all manner and size of digital signage deployment. Nearer term, advances in data-driven content creation and delivery in context like gamification and infographics should be fun to watch. As a recovering engineer, numbers in context like the scoring dashboards every Millennial sees at night in their video game play is an odd breathe of fresh air compared to tired reconstituted images of “scientists” in lab coats looking at projected spreadsheets. Think of Kal Penn’s Big Picture on National Geographic Channel meets Avatar (OK, I’m slightly dating myself).

The Response
This is the final frontier of communication. And, it’s the area that lags behind the rest for good reason. We are essentially at the earliest stage of causality – we played content X and we counted behavior Y – an ad was displayed and a product was purchased, a direction was given and a visitor moved to the next station, etc. That shows the message on our digital signage was effective. That’s a good start and may be as far as you ever need to go in many cases (e.g., digital signage in retail). But I do wonder what other responses we can pursue and objectively determine or count as we create content and delivery systems to support experiences beyond commercial transactions. For example, how do you assess the engagement effectiveness of digital experiences in interactive science museums, amusement parks and religious buildings?

Contact MCC’s Audio Visual Solutions Division today for your digital signage needs!