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The Evolution of Digital Signage

THE EVOLUTION OF
DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Blog Post

Examining the past and future of this impressive and eco-friendly tool

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Jenna Worrell 2019

Jenna Worrell
Director of Marketing

While digital signage hasn’t replaced the need for printed signs, it has enhanced the way consumers interact with retailers. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Those digital images reinforce brand messages, improve recall rates, drive in-store traffic and motivate buying decisions.

As if that’s not enough, digital signage has well-known environmental benefits too:

  • Less paper waste due to needing fewer static signs that need to be frequently reprinted
  • Lower carbon footprint associated with the manufacture and shipping of paper signs
  • Reduced use of chemicals, inks and adhesives that are used in printing process

It’s a fact: Digital signage has become a powerful engagement tactic. Let’s take a look back at its evolution before taking a look ahead at a few future trends.

A brief history

The first wave of non-traditional signage came in the ‘80s and ‘90s when retailers used VHS tapes and video monitors. As noted in David Bawarsky’s blog post, analog video signs evolved to digital signage once DVDs were invented. In fact, DVD players, some of which use Blu-ray high-definition discs, can still be found in use today.

Many retailers exchanged their video monitors for flat-panel displays when that sleeker equipment became more affordable. More importantly, discs were replaced with media players supported by computers. Content that had previously been static was now dynamic. Content was also easily accessible, allowing for real-time updating — a significant improvement for marketers.

The popularity of digital signage shows no signs of slowing down. The market size is predicted to grow from where it was in 2017 ($21 billion) to $32 billion in 2023.

Tech improvements

With digital signage, retailers now have versatile and flexible options for custom content, menu boards, video walls, kiosks and touch-screen displays. According to Digital Signage Today, digital signage hardware is consistently improving and digital signage software is getting easier to use. Technology is driving cutting-edge applications too, some of which have been dubbed “smart digital signage.” Think of it as the intersection of location beacon technology, mobile, big data, POS and more. That leads us nicely into what we can expect in regard to future trends.

Trend 1: Intelligent brightness controls
More and more outdoor screens and exposed window displays are featuring intelligent brightness controls that automatically dim the screen on cloudy days and at night. This makes the low-power displays far more efficient.

Trend 2: Data-rich applications
In Noel Sheppard’s blog post, he predicts 5G networks will mean greater access to superfast communications and download speeds — allowing digital signage to offer high-quality live-streaming and rapid access to data-rich applications and big data.

Trend 3: Unique visual experiences
In its market report on The State of Signage in 2019, Commercial Integrator predicts projection will remain relevant because of the ability to edge blend displays for a massive video wall effect. Additionally, they believe holographic images will become more popular.

Look for digital signage to continue to shape the retail experience, bringing greater interactivity and personalization to the customer journey.

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