Beyond Displays: Latest Trends in Digital Signage

By Marina Gregory, CAO - 11 May, 2017
Collaboration & UC Services

Digital signage displays continue to grow in popularity as a powerful communications channel for companies and organizations. Digital Signage Expo 2017, the world’s largest international trade show and educational conference dedicated to digital displays, interactive technology, and digital communications networks, recently showcased the latest trends in Las Vegas. Among the innovations featured were the use of touchscreen technology, video walls, digital fabric graphics, and high-resolution content displays. As the technology surrounding digital signage continues to advance, traditional displays are proving to be less impactful and, increasingly, fail to capture the attention of customers. Let’s take a closer look at the latest trends in digital signage.

Basic Displays Don’t Work

Basic digital signage displays are becoming less effective at grabbing and holding your customers’ attention. More often than not, people who visit retail stores already have a mobile device in their hand and are so focused on their device that they overlook simple digital signage displays. In response to this challenge, many retailers are employing beacon technology that can push content or coupons to mobile devices which can drive the viewer’s attention from his phone to the digital signage display.

Digital signage is also showing a shift towards video walls. While traditional displays are limited in the content they can convey, video walls have the ability to share a more detailed advertisement or story about a brand or product. You can attribute the rising popularity of video walls to increasingly thinner and lighter bezels.

Digital Signage for All

Many believe digital signage is only for big business or corporations—it’s not. All signage is transitioning to digital signage. Billboards, restaurant menus, and highway signs are all beginning to move from traditional signage to digital signage. Digital signage has more appeal than traditional signage because of the colorful and moving displays, and it also allows companies to share more content. What it boils down to is that digital signage is simply more efficient at conveying content than traditional signage. The efficiency of digital signage is proving to be very effective for the restaurant industry.

The restaurant industry—in particular, fast food and fast casual establishments—has become an emerging market for digital signage. At the Digital Signage Expo, almost every booth featured a menu board or restaurant solution. Using this technology in the fast food and fast casual restaurant industries has the potential to improve the customer experience. And, it’s possible that we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to the possibilities of digital signage in the restaurant industry.

In the near future, for example, digital signage could be used for customized Drive-Thru experiences. Drive-Thru menus could be customized to display items based on specific customers’ previous purchases. While the technology is still developing, it’s no doubt that digital signage is going to change the restaurant industry.

Developing Touchscreen Technology

Touchscreen technology has become an accepted part of our daily lives, and touchscreen technology in digital signage is advancing every day. From hands-free 3D displays to light measuring surface areas, companies are developing different touchscreen technologies for digital signage use. However, there are still obstacles to overcome regarding this technology advancement.

Unlike smartphones or tablets, users don’t feel the seamless interconnectivity of touchscreen technology when used in digital signage. There have been many ideas to address these issues, like creating recesses on the screen to imitate a keyboard, which would make the user feel more connected to the signage. Despite the challenges touchscreen technology presents in digital signage, with technology advancing every day, a solution will be found sooner rather than later.

Digital Fabric Graphics and New Configurations

Graphics printed on high-quality fabric have existed in the marketplace for years. Digital signage is taking high-quality fabric graphics to another level. By installing a screen behind the fabric graphic, the signage comes to life and creates more light, motion, and color than traditional fabric graphics alone. Not only does digital fabric graphics allow companies a more attention-grabbing display, but it is also cost-effective. Installing a digital fabric graphic is 15 percent the cost of installing a TV, and allows companies to create a similar effect without a substantial investment.

Along with digital fabric graphics, new technology has allowed digital signage to be created in new shapes, sizes, and configurations—curved digital signage, massive high-definition screens, outdoor waterproof screens. Digital signage can now be configured to fit the needs of any space, and this freedom allows companies to create custom and unique digital signage that can fit anywhere.

The Takeaway

Generic digital signage is a thing of the past. The Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas showcased the latest technology and trends in digital signage. One thing is certain—as digital signage technology continues to advance, companies of all sizes will utilize digital signage in new and intriguing ways.
Photo Credit: dimedis GmbH Flickr via Compfight cc

Author: Marina Gregory, CAO