What role will digital signage play in the post-pandemic world and when will people be ready to touch again were just two of the topics covered in “Digital Signage Download,” a session held during the AV Network Nation virtual event. Hosted by SCN’s Megan A. Dutta, the panel included digital signage experts Katherine Bell, McCann Systems; Paul Fleuranges, Digital Signage Federation; Bryan Meszaros, OpenEye Global; and Michelle Montazeri, Legrand AV.
Before diving into the future, the group discussed the current trends in digital signage, including its role as a safe space solution that began at the beginning of the pandemic and continues to this day—informing people about the precautions a business has used to protect customers and visitors. The panel also noted an expansion in outdoor integrations. “People are more comfortable with outdoor spaces now, which has opened up opportunities for outdoor products,” said Montazeri. “It has also opened opportunities for window-facing advertising and marketing.”
This panel and all the others that took place during AV Network Nation are available on demand. Visit avnetworknation.vfairs.com and log in to watch recorded discussions.
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The AV Network Nation Virtual Exhibition will be live until Jan. 7.
Looking ahead, the panel mused on when the public would be ready to interact with digital signage through touch again. “Touch will not go away,” Meszaros insisted. “People were interacting with their personal screens through all of this. It will continue, but the actions will shorten, so you will not have them sit at a touchscreen for a long period of time.”
As an example, he pointed to the OpenEye Global-produced “Jimmy Kimmel Experience” (one of SCN’s 2020 Installs of the Year). “It made you feel as though you are having a sitdown with Jimmy Kimmel,” said Meszaros. “You go to the ‘set,’ and it immerses you. It has a hilarious takeway that you get without touching much—just answering prompts on a screen. Good example of a fun experience without spending a lot of time with it.”
Bell added that she expects more integration of QR codes. “It is so much easier because the general public now knows how to use it—it’s how you get your restaurant menus,” she said. Everyone agreed that, once your parents learn how to use a technology, it should be easy for everyone to do it.
“QR codes are now implemented in a greater capacity,” added Montazeri. “Why not integrate with the tech in our hands? This is the push we need to improve the tech that exists already.”
One thing they could not see gaining widespread use is voice control. “We are fixated on voice, and we have relationships with Siri and Alexa, but do we want to do that in public?” asked Meszaros. “I don’t want to have an argument with Alexa at a gas station. Can you imagine your parents yelling to check out at a store?”
The pandemic has also forced clients to rethink how they see ROI for digital signage projects. “ROO over ROI,” said Montazeri.
“At McCann we did several hotels in Vegas—such as The LINQ—with a tremendous amount of digital signage,” said Bell. “The content is not marketing; it is creating dwell time. They wanted the customers to come in to the space and feel comfortable and excited enough to hang out. The more they stay, the more money they make. It is less about advertising and more about hang out.”
“The investment will pay off in the long run,” added Fleuranges. “When I was at the MTA, we started a digital art program when we opened the Fulton Center, and the program has exploded. It is about taking people out of their normal routine when commuting. The digital art has drawn people to the space. You have to make it exciting. It is still running now—they just don’t want advertising; they want to entertain people, too.”
“Trying to accomplish something is important for ROI, but more important is the client knowing what they are trying to accomplish,” said Bell. “They have to know the end goal. If the client doesn’t understand what they need to get from their customer, they cannot calculate their ROI.”
All of the AV Network Nation content—including the exhibit hall—is available on demand for the next four weeks. To learn more, visit avnetworknation.com.