5 Digital Signage Trends Driving Customer Experience Innovation

To understand the various trends at play within digital signage, it’s important to step back and understand where our market is heading. What’s becoming clear is that “digital signage” as it was narrowly defined just a few short years ago is giving way to a much more immersive experience. It’s not just about catching someone’s eye with digital signage, it’s about engaging people once you have their attention – and that includes long-tail engagement that continues subsequent to the customer leaving an establishment. Museums, brick & mortar retail, tourist attractions, tradeshows & events, educational institutions and hotels – these segments and many others are embracing the latest technology and using digital displays to entertain, inform and engage their patrons.

Digital signage content, players and screens remain the key elements of this “digital experience,” however the ecosystem is rapidly being enriched by hardware and software innovation that enables viewers to experience content in new ways. Five trends in particular are driving this next wave of innovation:

The multi-screen experience

Multi-screen experiences are on the rise. While it used to be exceptional to see and interact with a multi-display installation, now such interactivity is routine. Whether an audience is presented with a synchronized video wall, a simulated “shark tank” attraction or any combination of multiple screens building an experience, this type of on-screen presentation is becoming more and more commonplace.

Encoding and streaming over IP

Rich media is at the core of creating a dynamic digital experience. The latest hardware enables real-time encoding and streaming of content to a variety of end-point devices via IP. This opens the door to incorporate an extensive array of content, including live HD video, content from IP cameras, media streamed directly from Internet sources such as YouTube, and even audio content. Some players can even act as IP streaming servers, which securely distribute videos to a set of devices without the need to store content locally on the end-point devices.

Deployment technology

As the scale and complexity of networks continue to expand, deployment becomes a more daunting challenge. But this challenge is giving birth to a new wave of technologies that streamline the deployment process. For example, one new feature on the market allows customers to set up and deploy thousands of players all automatically, at once. Considering that conventional deployment often calls for SD cards to be duplicated and inserted in each and every player on the network, the ability to deploy a masse via the cloud is a real game-changer.

Tagging media and players

The ability to tag content and tag individual media players brings a new level of customization to digital signage, taking what would otherwise be a very complicated content management task and streamlining the process such that anyone can determine where and when desired content will appear. Individual media files and entire playlists can be tagged to display within certain areas at different times. Player tags can be created as well, adding a secondary level of content filtering for highly targeted content delivery to specified groups of players. These tagging features are especially useful for customers with expansive digital signage networks, and also for marketing firms that manage digital signage networks for many customers.

Mobile interactivity / beacons and blue tooth

Integrating Bluetooth technology into the digital signage ecosystem lets businesses engage customers like never before. The use of Bluetooth and beacons enable bi-directional communication between the digital signage and customers’ mobile devices. This increases customer engagement by enabling businesses to deliver highly relevant messaging and content. Additionally, customers can be presented the option of interacting with and controlling the signage via their mobile devices. This new ability elevates digital signage to a two-screen experience and enables highly targeted audience participation – presenting near-limitless potential to businesses interested in maximizing the impact of their digital signage networks.

Keep a watchful eye on these trends in the months ahead, as they are sure to elevate the customer experience in new and exciting ways.

10 Tips To Get Your Video Wall Up And Running

Deploying a stunning video wall that stays within your budget can be a stressful, even be overwhelming task.  So many options, so many potential pitfalls.  While I don’t claim to have a single magic secret that will make all your video walls perfect, I have been thinking about how to boil down some best practices to help. Here’s a list of 10 tips that you should follow to help your video wall deployment go as smoothly as possible.


  1. Clearly establish the main goal for your video wall

Define the business use of the video wall, and how you want to engage with end-user. With this info, you will have a better idea of the kind of video wall solution you need.


  1. Consider the location

Many factors will affect how your video wall will look, and what kind of video wall you need to get and the environment is one: indoor vs. outdoor; ambient light vs. direct light; sight lines to the video wall; angle of viewing; and distance from viewer to displays.


  1. Size of space and displays

The wall surface will limit the size of your video wall, but you also need to consider the number of displays and their sizes. Keep in mind the larger displays you use the fewer bezel lines you’ll have but the more you’ll pay. Remember to consider options like portrait vs. landscape orientation or even other unique angles.


  1. Content: part 1

Your video wall in the end is only as good as the content you put on it. Nowadays, your video wall doesn’t have to follow standard aspect ratios, but remember that content will be easier to source if it does. If you end up with a video wall that doesn’t match the content aspect ratio you won’t be happy with the results.


  1. Content: part 2

Why content gets two entries? Because that’s how important it is!

Consider the type of content and the input sources you’ll be using. Are you showcasing multiple pieces of content at once on your video wall? Are you using ultra high, 4K, or even 8K resolutions? Are you looking for more advanced features, like interactivity is scheduling required? You want to know all your potential content requirements, and ensure that the solution you choose supports them.


  1. Commercial displays vs. consumer TVs

Zero bezel, longer life, better brightness… Commercial displays make for a far better video wall, but they also cost more. Think about what works for you, but for sure if you need a controller or processor, get a solution that has the flexibility to work with any display.


  1. Components

Generally, video walls require different components—displays, media players, cabling, display mounts etc.— so make sure you have a complete purchase list, so that you don’t miss anything. Also, every solution is different, but ideally you would want a solution that requires as few components as possible, that way you’ll reduce the number of points of failure of your system.

  1. Video wall calibration

Video walls, if done properly, are quite stunning. Yet, if they don’t look seamless, the effect is the complete opposite. Calibration can be tricky, so it is best to choose a video wall solution with a simple calibration tool.


  1. Can you run it yourself?

It may sound overwhelming, but nowadays there are solutions that allow you to deploy a video wall yourself, which could save you a lot of money. Remember, for a solution to be great, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Of course the DIY approach can end up costing you more in the long run. We’ve all seen video walls built using devices like the Raspberry PI–unless you know what you are doing, going DIY to save some money can backfire very fast.


  1. What does your future look like?

Video walls can be a substantial investment, and one that you hope will last, and still be relevant as many years down the road as possible. So you need to ask, “is this solution futureproof?” Can it easily be upgraded to accommodate the latest content resolution or format or new functionality requirements? Solutions that are highly integrated, or that need specialized components usually prove inflexible. You may want to look for solutions that leverage the use of standard architecture (i.e. standard PCs, Ethernet network, etc.), or that are software-based, as they can easily adapt to the ever changing landscape of AV technology.

Keeping these ten items in mind will help you get your next video wall project started on the right foot.