Everyone had their eye (literally) on digital signage in 2020 during worldwide lockdowns. Now, the technology has been cast as a leading role in back-to-work and back-to-school efforts. Growth is stemming from increased demand for on-premise and out-of-home communications — especially, according to AVIXA, to support new health and security protocols.
Before understanding how digital signage can help in the “great return,” recognize that the market dynamics of digital signage differ from other AV verticals’. With a boom in digital signage last year came confusion among resellers and AV integrators as to the best go-to-market strategies. Rather than looking at digital signage as another vertical market, think of it as a set of technology tools that address customer communication needs.
A few digital signage variations we’ve seen (and we predict further materializing) to help schools, businesses and more open back up:
- Contactless messaging in public spaces. 2020 laid forth a heightened need for better large-format digital messaging in public spaces, like visitor management kiosks that share messages of health and safety or even just news. An unexpected comeback while we explored touchless solutions? Quick Response (QR) Codes. Although QR Codes aren’t new, they’re facing a resurgence as customers seek contactless technology. Picture these on check-in kiosks or digital screens in public environments, allowing the user to access the control panel and information on their own device rather than on the shared one. Touchless peripherals with built-in sensors — which can often be added to existing media players — can also enable contactless experiences. Sensors allow AV/IT to easily convert customers’ existing touch screens for frictionless, touch-free interactions, triggered by gesture or movement.
- Interactive wayfinding displays can help reduce overcrowded spaces, like travel hubs, enabling passengers or visitors to get to their final destination quicker. Wayfinding signage can showcase building capacity and improve flow for high-traffic pathways. Better yet, consider a signage solution with built-in hand sanitizer stations.
- Bridging physical security and digital signage. New solutions in retail are addressing a previous divide between physical security and digital signage. The retail market is quickly combining digital signage with wayfinding and/or marketing messaging, as well as with building access technology such as health screening or other forms of visitor management.
- Projection everywhere. Video projectors, like Epson’s LightScene, allow you to project video onto any surface, without a projection screen. This can help anything from storefront windows to classrooms become a hub for messaging and content in the return to reopening.
- Signage for meeting-room booking. With social distancing with us for the foreseeable future, displays for meeting-room booking will be useful. They’ll help ensure safety, manage room occupancy, and keep people out of harm’s way at work. Often, these booking solutions can be integrated into a customer’s existing digital signage system.
- Outdoor signage, which began with QSRs (quick-serve restaurants), are unique in that they need to withstand the elements — for instance, operating in both freezing and 100+ degree temperatures. Outdoor signage will grow through the form of dvLED (direct-view LED) in applications like sports, hospitality, and outdoor venues looking to bring safer ways to gather outdoors. More outdoor signage will lead to demand for bigger, brighter, and more rugged outdoor AV displays.
- Voice recognition, facial recognition and antimicrobial applications are additional technologies to explore in the movement to reopen. Integrated into digital signage networks, each of these can help customers feel safe interacting with signage again.
Digital signage is one of the fastest-growing segments of AV, expected to grow from $31 billion in 2020 to $42.7 billion in 2025 (AVIXA 2020 IOTA report). While knowing the growth potential in digital signage is great, that’s only the half of it. To capitalize on the market and offer customers signage solutions for getting back to business, it takes partnerships.