The next four years are expected to be explosive for the digital signage industry. It has been hailed as one of the fastest-growing AV solutions according to AVIXA’s 2020 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA), with expected growth of over 38% by 2025.
This is largely being driven by the increasing demand for on-premise and out-of-home communications, especially to support new security and health protocols.
Instead of spending tons of words, let’s begin with some statistics:
The digital signage market is predicted to be of $29.63 billion value by 2024.
What it means: Businesses are most definitely finding optimistic results from digital signage.
The digital signage software market will have a higher estimated growth rate than the digital signage hardware market.
What it means: Businesses will be more focused on implementing advanced solutions.
45.9 % of businesses consider customer experience (cx) as their top priority for the coming five years.
What it means: Your competitors will look for every possible way to communicate and engage customers better. Digital signage is a key tool for that.
The modern digital signage solutions not only entertain customers through dynamic content, they have, in fact, acquired the potential to influence consumer decisions and actions.
- A Shift Towards More Functional Digital Signage
Digital signage has come a long way from being just a dumb large screen flashing ‘SALE’ to attract customers. It is moving towards a more functional role. Be it through gamification or productivity-related activities.
Let’s explain with the example of digital discount coupons. Besides showing promotional and entertaining content, digital signage can also be used to give away discount coupons for a customized or randomized set of consumers. A large digital screen strategically placed on the store window is giving away a 10% digital discount on any product to the first 50 customers who scan the QR code on the screen. Customers passing by the store may not need the product immediately, but they will still be tempted to avail the discount as it offers them the joy of being a smart shopper. However, once we have a discount coupon in our pockets, how many of us really let it go for a waste?
Digital signage can also be made to work double shift as a signage and a gaming console. In a restaurant or bar setting, what if two or more players could pair their smartphones to a large digital signage to participate in a game that will be displayed to all in real-time? Even better, what if the winner could get one drink free ! Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
One doesn’t have to be a marketing guru to realize that these kinds of heightened engagement tactics can significantly shoot up sales and add to the popularity of a brand.
- Increased Applications of the Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) refers to an ecosystem of wireless-connected “things” that are capable of sharing data and influencing each other’s activities. These things can be smart appliances like digital screens, refrigerators, cameras, security systems, smartphones, smart watches, etc. The data sharing across the things within an IoT is facilitated by the software, sensors, WiFi and other signaling technologies linked to the appliances. So, the IoT is a hybrid of different technologies like machine learning, AI, automation, etc.
IoT finds useful results particularly in organizations or establishments with many co-dependent departments, for example in a hospital setting. Due to a workforce crisis, doctors and nurses are often unavailable to attend patients in case of sudden emergency situations like slip and fall, declining heart rate, post-surgery issues, etc. This problem can be easily solved through IoT. Several digital signage screens throughout a hospital can be connected wirelessly with every patient’s vital monitoring devices or bedside emergency buttons. So, in the case of any emergency, the alert is displayed across all the digital signage screens placed throughout the hospital premise. This ensures immediate attention to high priority alerts and quick response from any capable healthcare professional who is at the nearest proximity.
In a retail setting, IoT can be used differently. For instance, using a top digital display software, several store displays can be connected to the store’s inventory ledger. As a result, the customers can view the quantity of any given product available in the store in real-time. Every time, a product is completely sold off, it gets updated across all the digital screens in the store. Besides offering customers the ‘fun element’ of watching a product count drop in real-time, this IoT-enabled system also becomes useful in case of urgent requirements or bulk purchase of essential products like groceries, books, medicines, etc.
The crux of the matter is, there are endless possibilities to play with the features of IoT.
- AR/VR-enabled Immersive Experience
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are still cutting edge. For this very reason, most brands are in a hurry to adopt this technology and use it as their USP. Many Fortune500 businesses are experimenting with AR and VR, and by 2030, the global AR/VR market has been forecast to reach $1,274.4 billion.
The immersive experience of trying out a product without even physically touching it or walking down a house which is not real has immense potential to draw in customers and increase sales, simply because of the ‘excitement’ factor. Therefore, AR/VR can be a game-changer when it comes to making digital signage more personalized, interactive and relevant.
AR/VR has been shown to give exceptional results particularly in real estate, e-commerce, retail, education, tourism, healthcare and manufacturing industries. For example, the Italian brand Gucci has introduced an app called ‘Gucci Try On’ that uses AR to give an immersive experience of virtually trying out Gucci shoes.
- Artificial Intelligence
At the core of it, what distinguishes humans and machines?
The answer would be: A human’s spontaneous sense of perception and judgement.
Let’s help you understand with an example. Have you ever been to a clothing store, where the human staff comes up to you and suggests you kids’ fashion brands when you are clearly an adult? Most likely, the answer will be ‘heck, no!’. That is because, using his/her senses of perception and judgement, the human staff is able to distinguish the looks, behaviors and needs of an adult and a kid.
Now, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machines are doing the same. Facial recognition algorithms can detect demographic details such as age, gender, as well as other details like clothing, accessories, mood, purchase history, shopping patterns, etc. and analyze a human’s profile with impressive efficiency and precision.
For instance, if a child is passing by a departmental store window that has AI-powered digital signage, the smart digital signage will identify the child as a child from his/her height, behavior, and walking patterns; conclude that a child might need toys (and not barbecue sauce!) and based on that judgement it will display toy products and promotions.
One of the ways, AI can be used excellently is via digital signage for the food & beverage industry. Everyone has their favorites when it comes to delicacies. People often like to stick with their go-to dishes while ordering. In such a scenario, AI-powered digital menu boards can be used to show more personalized discount offers based on the individual customer’s previous order history.
Learn how to create professional-looking digital menu board designs for free and without any expert guidance. Click here.
- Data Analytics
There shouldn’t be a doubt as to why data analytics will be important for any businesses in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted many established trends and patterns for both businesses and consumers alike. In this situation, more and more data is required to assess those shifts in patterns.
Digital signage can be easily equipped with data analytic solutions to generate daily, weekly and monthly reports.
In a retail store, when is the peak shopping hour? Maybe, show more offers at that hour?
On which hours, does a certain toll plaza experience maximum traffic? Perhaps, deploy an advanced queue management solution there?
In an automobile shop, what car features are people more interested in? Maybe, next time, highlight those features in advertisements?
These are some of the umpteen ways data analytics can help businesses and organizations to optimize resource allocation and chalk out a much more effective operational design.
The Bird’s Eye View
Digital signage screens are now not only meant for displaying predefined images or videos but also dynamic, contextual and real-time contents. Over the years, we have seen good progress in integrating digital signage with social media, RSS feeds, news feeds and weather and many other useful applications. Now we are witnessing a piece of quite complex information dissemination through digital signage that is dynamically created by integrating with several back-end systems targeted for a specific display.
For example, a bus station signage displaying real-time arrival/departure information is based on the GPS location of the bus and Automatic Vehicle Location System. At the same time, it is playing a trigger-based commercial. At the same time, the digital signage is acting as a bus-ticket generator. Simultaneously, it is acting as a way-finding application and so on.