With return to in-person: Digital signage follows

3 min read
Published April 29, 2023   |  Last Updated April 17, 2024

The return to in-person activity is driving the implementation of digital signage. This solution clearly hinges on whether we are out and about. The more foot traffic, the more signage becomes appealing and necessary for communication to the audiences. Globally, $34.2 billion was spent on digital signage in 2022, and it's expected to grow to $46.5 billion in 2027, according to the 2022 AVIXA Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis.

In simplest form, companies are using digital signage to deliver a one-way flow of information about their products and services in retail and hospitality. They are also keeping them informed in transportation hubs or venues so that navigating the spaces becomes easier and more enjoyable, as well as keeping the guest up to date on topics relevant to the situation (like scores for a sporting event or departure times for flights or trains). Given decreased costs on the displays themselves, we are seeing a more extensive installed base of them throughout a facility to ensure more continual coverage.

Some of the display real estate also becomes branding opportunities, thereby helping companies realize revenue opportunities. In some cases, two-way interactivity is emerging to facilitate more personalized delivery of content. An interactive map at a mall is one example, as would be a similar display in a retail store to look up pricing or availability. More sophisticated examples are smart mirrors, though these would seem to be rare still. Ultimately, signage in each case helps facilitate the customers tasks on site, thereby increasing customer satisfaction, conversion and loyalty.

The strongest area for digital signage growth is in venues and events, which AVIXA research estimates will grow by 9% over the next 5 years. Again, this is due to the return to in-person activity. Going to a hockey game today is incredibly different than it was 15 years ago, with projection mapping bringing the ice rink to life and massive scoreboards. Now sports organizations are using new visual technologies to transform the fan experience, amplify brand awareness, and cast a new spin on team history. At InfoComm 2023 this June in Orlando, experts from Forty Nine Degrees, Daktronics and Creative Realities will explore this topic in the session Touchdown! Interactive Branding Across Sports and Stadiums.

You could say that our increased reliance on screens in our own personal lives (TV, PC/laptop, mobile etc.) makes us more receptive to screens as a way of delivering information. This translates into additional screens/signs in all the usual suspected places – travel hubs, stores, venues, hotels, restaurants (QSR in particular) and general DOOH.

At the same time, digital signage pursuits can be challenged by the mere fact that a mobile device technically puts a "screen" in everyone's hands. Not many places have figured out how to leverage the mobile device in conjunction with signage. Instead, both delivery mechanisms seem separate. Similar content can be delivered to each, like the wait times for a ride at a theme park, but we still aren't seeing more personalized content flowing between them. At InfoComm, a panel of experts will unpack the best and worst practices of mobile integration in key verticals like retail, sports, QSR and hospitality in the session Maximizing Mobile in a Digital Signage Ecosystem.

For QSRs, the seemingly most prevalent use of digital signage is the digital menu board market, which serves as a good starting point. With the infrastructure in place, restaurants need to work on content delivery and customization. This can be offering time stamp related promotions or menu items on the signage, queued automatically throughout the day.

Some QSRS are also using interactive displays for order placement, which saw a major increase during COVID-19. One could also reasonably expect more QSR brands to leverage signage technology in replacement of human resources, particularly given workforce limitations. An exploration of innovative approaches to utilize digital signage to simplify how customers engage in QSR environments will take place in the session What's Hot in F&B? QSR Trends That Might Surprise You at InfoComm 2023.

When thinking digital signage, most immediately see it as a display opportunity. While true to some degree, more investment is actually made in the content management hardware to support the display. Media servers play a critical role assisting with content distribution across points of deployment within a facility or venue. In addition, signage needs both a reliable network for delivery of content, and a secure one to ensure the signage does not provide a back door entry into more sensitive systems and data. 5G and better wireless networks provide good connections, but cyber security is increasing in importance as well.

To explore the solutions, innovations, and big ideas around digital signage, make your way to InfoComm 2023 this June 10-16 in Orlando, Florida. The D=SIGN conference, produced in partnership with the Digital Signage Federation, returns on June 14 and 15. Over on the trade show floor, you'll get up close with content creation and digital signage software, direct-view LED displays, projection technology, and much more. Learn more here.

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