Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the Digital Signage Expo 2015.
It’s the world’s largest and longest running trade show, exclusively dedicated to showcasing innovative digital communications and interactive technology solutions. Launched in 2004, DSE was the first event dedicated to the digital signage market and has been a significant contributor to the growth of this fast-paced industry.
With the world of Out of Home media being gripped by the rise of digital, in both large and place-based formats, the DSE was a great place to see emerging technologies and learn about how marketers are taking advantage. Every kind of screen was on show, as well as more niche forms of signage such as holographic displays, transparent LEDs and some rather interesting configurations.
Aside from the impressive and engaging possibilities of multi-touch displays, allowing up to 10 fingers at one time, or the mesmerizing effect of transparent hi definition digital glass, there were also some really cool demonstrations of interactive 3D projections that had me captivated for quite some time. This car over here has projections at all angles, and I can apply color effects to the different parts on the top or the sides.
What you may not notice is that those are not digital screens behind or on the floor, but in fact individual mini-projectors, each beaming their part of the background onto the canvas making up the full display.
Important for our business is this company, Screenfeed. They are most comprehensive one-stop curator of live data-feeds that I’ve seen and an excellent facilitator for digital place-based campaigns – which are made ever richer and more relevant with live updating content. They have all the weather, stocks and news as you would expect, but also infotainment, sports, local events and an amazing variety of health and illness related content. Here he is demonstrating the latest cold and flu, the arthritis index, and even local air quality feeds.
For the retail space, get a load of this. This is a Harlequin Smart Shelf. Each product has a mini digital screen beneath which can be used for special offers or just to attract attention. But each product also has a motion sensor which detects when a product is lifted off the shelf. The digital screen beneath it flips over to some more detailed information about the product, like a book synopsis or nutritional information in the case of a confectionary item.
The shelf is equipped with a camera sensor that tracks all manner of the customer’s positioning in front of the shelf, whether they walked past or stood for a while examining the products.
As you would expect, there is a comprehensive dashboard showing all of the customer activity during the day. Realtime stats tally up which products are being picked up and who is nearby. Then as if that wasn’t enough, check out this really neat heat-map showing which product are most popular and were picked up the most during the day. This gives insight like never before into precise consumer behavior and how they are interacting with your products.
Check out the interactive clothing mirror. Stand in front of it, wave your arms to select colors. Try on different outfits, and even turn from side to side to see how they might look on you. I would imagine this is good for the clothing retail space, but you could get creative at a special event and make people look like superheroes.
The rest of the vast Expo floor boasted a wide variety of digital screen suppliers, each boasting an ever-increasing pixel resolution, and some or other improvement on the year before.
However, as marketers and advertisers, we’ve come to expect that screens will always improve in quality, that touch will become more responsive and that prices will eventually fall down. So what does all this really mean for us, and do we even need to care about the advances in digital signage?
The answer is very much a resounding YES. Ever since the first digital sign appeared, the media-buying world was only ever concerned with where it was placed, who owned it and how much it costed for the duration of a campaign.
LED boards are now flexible, and can be built to any size. It is now possible to place large format, immersive and interactive digital experiences in some of the world’s highest traffic and most populated places – but do so in the same manner as we would traditionally for a special build or experiential event.
What’s great about this is that we can spend more time dreaming up amazing experiences to interrupt, surprise and delight consumers on the go, and less worrying about whether the ideas are even possible in our market.
Thanks to the rapidly evolving world of digital signage, the sky … is the limit.