Am I Right About “Innovation” in the Digital Signage Industry?

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

When I think of the future and how digital signage plays out and how mobile plays out, here’s what I think:

  1. Digital signage won’t go away. It will have its place, but to what extent – I guess that’s the question. Will it be more like billboards, where it’s primarily push? Or will it be, by and large, interactive?
  2. We won’t need digital signs to interact with the outside world because of mobile phones and tablets and their capabilities. Specifically, their capabilities to “turn anything on” and even more, provide personal experiences on a personal screen.

Mobile technologies will have a profound impact on the future of digital signage. It’s just that simple.

Part of the reason is that innovation is happening in mobile in a short amount of time. For the past few years, we’ve all been talking about whether or not this is going to be the year of mobile. Well, if we weren’t there last year, we’re certainly there this year. One of the ways you can see this is through the innovations brought to life in the mobile world. Tablets. Apps. Siri. Near Field Communication.

And while mobile’s innovations might be young, I think you can feel pretty comfortable that they’ll be around for a long, long time. As we can see in the short amount of time, creating these innovations is not confined to a select few Technorati or business minds – anyone can innovate and get that innovation out in the market place. To me, this is one key development and asset that the digital signage industry does not have yet. Innovation is confined to a few companies. It’s closed to a seemingly few, albethem brilliant in their own right, minds. It’s not the open-to-the-masses platform like mobile is. And perhaps that’s the reason its innovations and, as a result, its place in the market, have not developed to the point to where the industry has been expecting and hoping for, literally, years.

Unlike mobile, I feel like the digital signage industry will ask themselves again, in 2012, “is this the year of digital signage?” Maybe they can take a page from the mobile book and strive for open innovation, that which is brought on by the masses, not a select few.

One thought on “Am I Right About “Innovation” in the Digital Signage Industry?

  1. Paul Flanigan

    There is no such thing as “the year for digital signage.” The reason is that digital signage does not live in a vacuum. It’s part of a greater ecosystem of engagement and communication that is driven by online and mobile behaviors.

    Digital signage is an industry in the realm that the combined efforts of output (tech+content+strategy) give it a place at the table, but marketers across the board are considering mobile as the driver and everything else as complementary to the experience.

    You are absolutely correct, Mike, in your final statement. The problem is that too often the select few are those at the podiums talking about what they are doing to drive the industry. Instead, it should be leaders from other industries (mobile, online, etc.) that should be talking about how digital signage helps the entire ecosystem grow.

    This means that digital signage is relevant and useful and should always be part of the conversation, but it will never be a solitary breakout industry.

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