Digital Signage Expo– An Attendee's Perspective

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In the on-premise entertainment arena, the guest experience is the life-blood of the business. The more engaged the customer is the better the experience. At Georgia Aquarium, the main attraction is the diverse animal collection. The challenge we once faced was how to showcase this expansive collection and create an entertaining, educational guest experience at the same time.

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Jerry Harris, Senior Director of Exhibits, Graphics and AV Services, Georgia Aquarium The initial digital approach was to educate and entertain simultaneously through engaging digital signage. The maturation of this approach has reached a plateau. The cost of a digital signage network is much more achievable through lower cost equipment and content management systems.

So now we ask ourselves…”What’s next?” We have the screens, media players and content pipeline in place. But now is not the time to be complacent. Which brings me to the new technologies and product advancements that I expect to see at Digital Signage Expo 2016.

4K (and higher) Media Players
Content is and will always be king. However, the better your content is presented, the longer you can capture your guest's attention and convey your message. Since the introduction of 4K screens, they have become larger yet thinner and more mainstream. The challenge in the consumer realm is finding 4K programming. A few networks and content subscriber services, such as Netflix, have a few titles to choose from but consumer options are still limited, at least for now. The good news for the digital signage industry is that we can generate our own 4K content. Content producers can craft compelling messages through high-resolution video and animated special effects where static imagery fails to keep your audience’s attention. A good 4K Camera, editing software and imagination is all you need to produce rich, attention grabbing content. Now that we have the 4K content the next hurdle is deploying the correct 4K media playback equipment.

Interactive Technology
The push for deeper customer engagement and experience will separate the static from the full engagement between the customer and the digital signage system. Interactive mobile engagement has changed how we look at delivering messages and turns our focus to extending the customer experience. Whether you’re an entertainment venue or a fashion boutique you want to be at the front of your customer’s minds when they think of your industry. The best way to achieve this is to grab their attention through digital signage and then compel them to stay connected through mobile technology.

So how do we get our guest to engage and take the experience with them through digital signage? What built-in mobile technology will make it easier for the customer?

Not to long ago QR technology had taken off. There was a measure of success in the industry. However the adoption of this content bridge started with a blast, but has since sputtered. Bluetooth was likely to replace or complement the QR technology because of its incorporation into every mobile device. However Bluetooth comes with its own set of challenges. This architecture is not automatic, so an audience is required to actively pair devices with a digital signage system. Near Field Communications technology found in the latest Apple and Samsung mobile devices has the potential to take center stage in bridging digital signage content and a customer’s mobile device. Although Near Field Communications technology has been around for a few years it’s one of the many technologies that should help improve the customer’s experience as the industry continues to expand.

Many of us who have attended DSE before have developed our own approach to the show largely by focusing on specific goals. But not everyone knows exactly what they want or need, which is why professional systems integrators bring an added value for those who need guidance. DSE is a great opportunity to connect with people who may need help now or later. It’s also a great place to begin discussions about partnerships. Many exhibiting vendors need partners like you in the field to ensure that equipment is installed and in some cases, managed properly.

One last thing – make a point of stopping by the Digital Signage Federation booth. This year the Digital Signage Federation has introduced a Systems Integrator Committee comprised of organizations which focus on delivering solutions related to digital signage. This committee represents Digital Signage Federation constituents from the traditional reseller, ProAV, distribution and value-added reseller communities. Each brings a different level of understanding to help the Digital Signage Federation serve the needs of this industry sector.

As a member of the Digital Signage Federation, author Jerry Harris will be a panelist on the Digital Signage Federation’s March “Hangout” discussion entitled, “Interesting Outcomes from Digital Signage Expo 2016 – An Attendee’s Perspective,” on Wednesday, March 23 at 2pm EST. More information on this and other Digital Signage Federation events can be found on the Digital Signage Federation website.

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