What's Trending in Digital Signage?

Digital signage is a term that we, as AV professionals, hear tossed around almost as ubiquitously as AV. How many times have you had a client or potential client say, “I need some AV in my conference room,” which leads to dozens of questions that we use to hone in on what they really want.  Digital signage has been going down this path for the past few years and the world events in 2020 are only accelerating this trend.

Digital signage has more use cases and is used in too many applications to count so let us focus on a few trends that are most prevalent uses for digital signage.  

Return to Work

It seems we cannot get through a day in our professional lives without a discussion about return to work, and helping our clients educate their employees through technology is a large part of our job. Retooling and expanding existing digital signage solutions and adding new signage locations in an effort to provide information to employees is a hot topic. Whether it is just reminding people to wear masks and wash their hands or enhanced kiosks that allow employees to find and reserve sanitized hot desking stations, digital signage is playing a large role in many company's return to work strategy. At McCann Systems, we have a client that is using digital signage on their conference room displays to reassure employees that the conference room was recently cleaned.        

Entertain Me Please

Digital signage is no longer just about corporate branding or providing information on how to sign up for a blood drive. As competition for talent among companies continues to grow, companies are investing heavily in making their facilities a "cool place to work” and digital signage can be an important factor.  

A large LED display in the cafeteria or conference center is likely to be displaying digital artwork from employees or local artists during the day and baseball or football at night, encouraging employees to gather in a casual setting to be entertained.                 

Did I Do That?

Static digital signage is quickly going the way of the DVD player. Whether in a corporate lobby, casino, museum, or college campus, the goal of digital signage is engagement.  The longer the engagement, the more likely the message is delivered—and that is single most important factor in measuring the success of a digital signage deployment. User interaction is the best way get and maintain engagement.  This can be accomplished in a few ways, the most popular being interactive signage using a touch screen display.  

The pandemic has made some rethink touch, but in the long term, it will remain a viable option. We have personally been involved in other cool interactive signage applications using motion tracking cameras to allow users to insert themselves in and control the content using their bodies. There is something inherently cool about seeing people jump and dance around when they realize they are controlling the screen.

Content Is King

Speaking  of content—and this is not necessarily a trend, but it should be because it is still overlooked in many corporate signage applications—content is king! I have probably talked myself out of a dozen digital signage sales just by pressing them on a single question: "Who is doing supplying the content?"  

We have been fortunate to work on some amazing projects in the gaming and entertainment world where clients understand the value and are willing to pay for great content. In other cases, the answer to the question is “I don’t know” or even worse, “We’ll figure that out later.”  That’s like booking a vacation and trying to find a hotel when you land.  

There are dozens of awesome digital signage platforms in the marketplace and even more amazing display solutions, but none of them will engage your audience if you put up PowerPoint slides. I always encourage my clients to budget the same amount for content as they do for hardware.    

Katherine Bell

Katherine Bell is a senior account executive with McCann Systems and works out of the company's Boston office. She brings a wealth of experience in business development, finance, and account management in the audiovisual space. Bell also uses her wide variety of leadership skills to provide strategic business planning and channel marketing. She assists in collaboration over the entire project lifecycle and brings her clients consistent, effective audiovisual solutions.