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Digital signage: Technologies to watch
Category: Blog
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Author: Sean McGrath
Date Written: 20 June 2013
Title: Digital signage: Technologies to watch


Having successfully navigated the global economic crisis, digital signage is now thriving, with the most recent industry report estimating that the market will be worth $13.9 billion by 2017.

Organisations across the public/private sectors are constantly searching for innovative ways to reach their target audience and digital signage is quickly being recognised as an effective tool. The success of digital signage is thanks in part to the proliferation of several new technologies, though.

Android

Google's open source operating system (OS) has not only taken the smartphone market by storm, it has enabled manufacturers to offer highly competitive pricing on signage hardware built around a robust OS.

As is the case with all technologies, digital signage is tumbling in price while rising in quality and is seeing an increased uptake, especially in the small business sector.

Where many companies considering digital signage may have once given up due to the complex process of implementing a system, the process has now become more much simplified. Organisations are able to procure all the required components and infrastructure from a single source, before implementing a campaign with minimal knowledge and effort.

Cloud-based digital signage

It seems that almost all business sectors are being influenced by the cloud in some form or another and digital signage is no different. By moving away from a closed-circuit model to a hosted solution, there are many advantages that are helping to democratise digital signage.

Less hardware inevitably leads to lower upfront costs and near-zero maintenance allows for redistribution of IT resources. Not only this, but cloud-based systems ensure real-time updates and a centralised point of management for a network of signs. While this may not be an issue for SMBs, it can certainly make the management of a larger network less of a headache.

While hosted solutions are certainly not the answer for all, they are likely to play a more central role in the months and years ahead.

HTML5

As the newest iteration of the mark-up language standard slowly becomes ratified, the digital signage sector is already making use of its media rich features. Moving away from the static or flash based content of years gone by, designers are able to create much more interactive and immersive campaigns.

Some content designers are already going as far as to provide an app which allows users to fully interact with signage from their mobile device. Experts predict that increasingly, mobile technologies such as touch screen and geo-location will begin to play a role in digital signage.

This is still a relatively new domain within the industry and so it is difficult to gauge exactly what will work and what won't. There are certain technologies which seem to have fallen by the wayside, such as gesture-based controls and 3D.

That being said, this is fertile ground for innovative companies to engage with their audience in a brand new way and its possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the advertiser.

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