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The Winds of Digital Signage Change - for the Better

Changes in digital signage solutions since the first of the year have been exponential, not linear By Jeff Hastings, CEO Bright Sign

The changes since the first of the year have been exponential, not linear, in the complete range of digital signage solutions as companies and individuals use, refine and enhance/enrich the technologies in new and unique ways.  In traveling around the globe visiting our own software teams, content developers, integrators and customers, we've been seeing pockets of ingenuity in what I have to call customer engagement which are going to spread very rapidly in the months, year ahead.

Green, more energy friendly deployment is no longer just a checklist item.  It has been the leading priority of our integrators and their customers.  Manufacturers are more than meeting the demands with newer technologies that are significantly more power conservative than even last year, which was a dramatic improvement over "best efforts" two and three years ago.  

With support for Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) commands, a player can control the screen that it is driving via the High-Definition Multimedia Interface(tm) (HDMI(tm)).  With this feature, major screen states such as power on/off and all other standard CEC controls available can be conveniently managed without user intervention to save energy.
We and other signage controller/network solution providers have been asked to deliver products with improved feature/capability integration, smaller footprints and energy savings.  


Combined with richer, more robust software, those goals are being achieved and as a result, customers are upgrading/improving their installations more rapidly than in the past.  

We've seen two trends that are not only reshaping the landscape but, more importantly, adding depth, breadth and enhanced customer engagement by smoothly meshing mobile media and in-store/facility digital signage.  

Interactivity - Low-power, high-performance free-standing digital signs (shown above) and kiosks are becoming more responsive, more informative.  Content is fed to the interactive screens allowing people to educate themselves and make the right selection without interruption.  Some also include barcode readers and mobile coupon readers to let the user be in complete control of the information gathering process.

Almost every customer we talk with recognizes that we (the industry) are in a unique position to deliver greater customer/viewer information that strengthens relationships.  For example, content developers/managers are experimenting with the seamless integration of mobile device couponing, messaging with built-in information tailored to the mobile device "news" so that it feels both natural and logical to people.  

What we're seeing right now is that people and organizations are almost tiptoeing in this area because they want to enrich that relationship without being too intrusive.  It is a fine line, but when you see organizations - and we mean retail, healthcare, houses of worship, entertainment, general business - get it right, there's almost an "Ah-Ha" moment for both parties -the message developer/provider and the receiver, which is amazing.  

The third area that is making it easier for customers to justify upgrading their systems more quickly than they might have in the past is the use of the cloud to store/distribute content and messages.  

New kiosk and free-standing units that are Wi-Fi connected are gaining in popularity as organizations take advantage of the power of the cloud to help them communicate with customers and visitors more intelligently, more effectively while increasing the "owners" knowledge of the users.  The result is the ability to communicate in much richer ways.  

Coupon, Close - Blending mobile couponing/marketing with in-house touch screen digital signage not only alerts the mobile device owner of new products and offers tailored to his/her needs, it  lets the person using the screen make the selection(s) that best meet his/her preferences.   Not certain?   The individual can take all the time he/she wants in making the selection without feeling any undue rush.

In addition to delivering video, the cloud is helping us all provide information to endpoint devices - digital signs and mobile devices - in what almost feels like real-time.  In the coming months, we believe we're going to see organizations using turnkey hardware/software solutions to provide much more intelligent information built around the contextual and location-based information we're able to gather and process.  

The seamless merger of always-connected devices people have with them and the digital signage network that is being implemented are really going to change the face of what we in the industry will be delivering and what people will expect.  

And that's just in the first six months of the year.  It's almost rhetorical to say, but the combination of open system controllers, richer/more intelligent software and the cloud are changing the way we collect, transmit, analyze, distribute and use information on a massive scale.

We're going to see even more creative uses in the next year or two; and when they, arrive they will feel completely normal, natural.

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Jeff Hastings, CEO at BrightSign
BrightSign, LLC is a privately held company located in Saratoga, California founded in 2002 by Anthony Wood, the inventor of the digital video recorder (DVR).

BrightSign is a leading supplier of solid state digital sign and kiosk controller products that are innovative and easy to use for the commercial digital signage market worldwide.

Related Keywords:digital signage,Consumer Electronics Control,CEC,HDMI,High-Definition Multimedia Interface

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