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Is There a "Next Generation" for Interactive Digital Signage

September 21, 2017

Is There a

To say that digital signage is hot is just scratching the surface of a technology that provides a powerful medium to deliver today's rapidly evolving interactive marketing strategies.

Just as there are next-generation automobiles that drive themselves and computers with exponential leaps in processing power, there will be next-generation interactive digital signage?it just won't be your father's digital signage.

Value-added resellers (VARs) will likely see an interactive digital signage landscape that emerges based on increasing demand for delivering personalized interactive content.

Frictionless experiences that keep customers engaged, no matter what the vertical, will be standard for next-generation digital signage solutions.

Unlike the auto and computer industries, which create new product lines based on what they anticipate will be the next "latest and greatest" trend, digital signage manufacturers will make products designed to transform the end-user experience by making interaction with the technology as seamless as possible.

This means that VARs will likely see more turnkey systems designed to keep interactive end users focused on the message at hand, whether it is selling a product or providing information, as opposed to struggling to engage with cumbersome hardware or ineffective, static content.

Some of the trends driving the next generation of interactive digital signage include:

Facial recognition digital signage

Digital signs are using facial recognition technology in order to determine a shopper’s gender, age, and other basic demographics and is being marketed to retailers as a way of helping them deliver more measured campaigns and provide tailored on-screen advertising to consumers.

For example, facial recognition can scan a shopper’s face and body, suggest dinners he or she might like based on his or her general appearance, and download the recipes and ingredients to his or her smartphone.

Besides being able to tailor content based on time, location, and other factors, facial recognition systems provide measurable results that can further improve personalization and effectiveness of content delivery.

New software employed by interactive digital signage can even determine the mood of a passerby and assess what advertising content to direct toward the end user.

As the industry pushes forward, it's likely that this technology will be more actively deployed as part of a digital signage solution, especially in the retail space.

Open architecture systems

Whether it's legacy vendors extending the shelf life of older products with new features or new entrants in the interactive display space, products based on the “closed architecture” model are yesterday's digital signage.

The user needs to “buy into” the entire system from one vendor, whether it's proprietary software, cameras for videoconferencing, etc., in addition to the digital signage displays or projector.

Closed architecture systems also require extensive training in order to use them properly, and they don’t mesh into BYOD (“bring your own device”) environments or new cloud-based videoconferencing environments without having to buy new hardware or software.

On the other hand, "open architecture" interactive systems allow for seamless integration of newer, advanced technology into an existing interactive display installation.

Benefits of open architecture systems include the ability to integrate advanced technology at more modest costs. Another benefit is the option to purchase off-the-shelf pro AV hardware at lower costs than proprietary technology.

For the moment, the education and corporate verticals are more willing to embrace open architecture digital signage, because they tend to be more restricted when it comes to the high cost of enterprise-wide digital signage upgrades.

Is 8K on the horizon?

There is a fairly consistent sentiment in the pro AV digital signage community that since 4K UHD displays are still somewhat in the early adopter phase, it's still too soon to talk about 8K. For one thing, there are still only a handful of full-blown 4K digital signage installations on an enterprise level. It's more common to see 4K sprinkled in throughout a larger installation or confined to verticals focusing on advertising, promotions, or visual aesthetics.

Even though 8K sets the standard for digital signage technology, many applications don't yet call for it, especially since 4K interactive content is still being explored for its ROI potential. If 4K resolution on a digital display provides measurably effective signage solutions, “Why upgrade?” goes the argument.

But there may be a need for 8K for certain applications in the healthcare vertical where the ability to see fine detail may be beneficial for training surgeons who need to see fine detail or to review radiology to better diagnose disease.   

In today’s hyper-competitive market, VARs need to know the direction that interactive digital signage technology is heading, even if it's not widely deployed yet.

Are your customers asking about cutting-edge digital signage solutions?