2016: A big year for digital signage in general and Convergent in particular. We’re growing, and the industry itself looks to be on target to edge over the $20 billion mark in worldwide sales predicted in the next couple of years.
In that spirit, we got out our crystal ball and made some of our own predictions for the coming year. Here are six of the biggest trends we expect to see in our industry in 2017. In addition to me, our prognosticators include my colleagues Greg Davis, vice president, sales and marketing; Trevor Davies, chief architect; Adam Shilling, creative director; and Kris Konrath, director of marketing.
Digital signage will integrate more closely with mobile and the IoT
Beacons were only the beginning of the digital signage leap into interacting with outside triggers. While beacons are sure to remain a hot topic, we see more people integrating signage with larger interactive experiences and that includes being able to connect with the Internet of Things, including mobile devices. For example, because smartphones can monitor themselves, gather data and share it with other devices and services, businesses will leverage them to augment their digital messaging with additional information and provide a means to begin a dialogue with viewers.
Interactive experiences will be all the rage
As the digital signage industry continues to mature, the technology will become a normalpart of a company’s marketing strategy. In addition to traditional uses, though, there will be a larger shift to more experiential environments to deliver deeper brand connections. Retailers will look to more intelligent interactive applications to create remarkable customer experiences and drive greater engagement at the point of purchase. They will rely on data-driven content to allow for quick updates and adapt to ever-changing store layouts.
The content challenge will continue
As we mentioned in an earlier blog, content actually accounts for about 60 percent of most digital signage budgets. Since most buyers of digital signage spend more time and effort on the technology and its capabilities than they do on content development and maintenance, users will continue to struggle with the effectiveness, relevance and cost of operating their signage platforms. This issue remains a largely overlooked and misunderstood one for our industry and it will continue to plague it in 2017.
To help meet that challenge, organizations will turn in ever-greater numbers to automated and data-driven content. Recognizing that compelling content can make or break any digital signage project, and that keeping it fresh costs more than all other aspects of the solution combined, customers will look for more ways to automate content creation.
Data-driven content also will mature. We see more and more customers looking for flexible and realtime updates for their messaging. Data-driven content can provide that and more, including dynamic playlisting and even real-time customized design based on that same data.
For digital out-of-home networks in particular, a programmatic approach to ads will allow network owners to make their inventory available to other networks, agencies and buyers, and, through the use of automation, target content to end points based on actual live data – demographics, people count and location environment.
Digital signage will become an even more important part of the workplace
Our customers have been using digital signage to help communicate with and engage employees, recognize teams, deliver real-time KPI data to inform and motivate and gamify business processes. However, the use of digital signage in the workplace is going to get even more interesting. According to a recent Gartner report, for example, to continue to improve productivity, information sharing, collaboration and employee engagement, new platforms will leverage “the synergies between digital signage, computing endpoints, the IoT, digital workplace graphs, indoor mapping and productivity applications to create a well-planned smart workspace to advance the ways employees conduct knowledge-based work.”
Analytics will come to the forefront
Digital signage has cruised along on its good looks for years. There’s a lot of talk about measurement, but not enough of it happening. However, that’s changing fast. Organizations are no longer going to take for granted that their digital signage is doing the job it’s supposed to, and will push to measure its effectiveness. That’s good news both for the businesses that are looking for critical sales and engagement results from their signage and for providers who welcome scrutiny, focus and confirmation of the effectiveness of their solutions.
2017 will be the year of DSaaS
Just over a year old, the Digital Signage as a Service (DsaaS) concept that Convergent birthed and that is common in so many other aspects of technology (SaaS, UCaaS, IaaS, PaaaS, etc.) will begin to take hold in the industry and dramatically shift the trajectory going forward. Customers will look to suppliers that offer digital signage as a turnkey, fully managed service, instead of a onetime equipment sale, and take advantage of the reduced start-up costs and scalability DsaaS offers.
We began the year by saying that our industry is broken and DsaaS is the way to fix it. We think 2017 will be a turning point for the concept as organizations look to start, add to or revamp their digital signage in a more cost-effective, manageable and reliable manner than in the past – a bright future for all, indeed.
Want to start off your New Year right? Download our Digital Media Iceberg whitepaper to learn more about best practices for implementing a digital signage solution.