The Next Generation of Digital Signage
One can say without a doubt high-speed Internet and falling prices for LCD technology have pushed digital signage development forward to where it is today. But what can be said about the future?
There are several discussions about the next generation of digital signage products. Overall, they can be generalized into three topics: kiosk integration, intelligence, and mobility. Looking deeper into each of these topics, one can see that all-in-one design, touchscreens, sensors, wireless transactions, and video analysis will be the key elements of the next generation of digital signage platforms.
Interactive digital signage
A few years ago, there was a significant distinction between digital signage and kiosks. Today, the line between the two is rather vague.
As touch panel functions mature in larger-sized panels and prices drop, kiosks with small panels cannot satisfy market demands. At the same time, the expectations from users are expanding. They want more from digital signage than advertisements. People are hoping to get service and promotional information too. As a result, one can see a variety of integrated applications appearing in digital signage solutions. They can deliver information or advertisements to audiences, as well as provide services to users at the same time.
For example, an interactive digital signage application may enable a user to enter a public utility bill account number in order to perform an online transaction, or collect cash in exchange for merchandise. When not used as a kiosk, it can play advertisements, video, or display electronic posters as in more traditional digital signage applications.
The difficulty of interactive digital signage is that of integrating technology and software between kiosk functions and digital signage functions. There are a few specific elements necessary to make a digital sign interactive, including display monitor, input device, media player/server, and interactive software.
While touchscreen may be the primary input device, other devices like proximity detectors, RFID tag readers, weather instruments and motion sensors also are popular inputs used to interrupt a conventional, linear digital signage presentation and launch an interactive application. Providers need to offer customized components such as coin hoppers, bill acceptors, card readers, and thermal printers to enable interactive digital signage to meet the owner's specialized needs.
Intelligent Digital Signage
When we speak of interaction, apart from the integration of the kiosk, intelligent video analysis also plays an important role in digital signage development. In the past, video analysis technology was widely used in the surveillance and security industry. In public transportation surveillance systems, license plates were interpreted by video analysis to recognize license plate numbers. During high-speed movement, in order to read all vehicle license numbers efficiently, video analysis technology progressed so that it can determine a number in a split second. In implementing this video analysis technology, a long-term difficulty of digital signage for advertisers was also solved.
Over the years, digital signage in public places has become an increasingly common sight in shopping centers around the world. However, the effectiveness of out-of-home advertisement has always been doubted by advertisers. There has not been sufficient data to prove its effect. But with video analysis technology, the system can digest all the information it sees and create a profile without ever having to ask the customer a single question or tell them that it is doing it.
As a customer looks at a digital signage display, data can be gathered by a video analysis server which can address the advertiser's concerns. In fact, with the onset of the recession, there is even more of a push to get the right advertisements in front of consumers, and for advertisers and manufacturers to save money in the process. Additionally, digital signage systems can also measure in-store shopper engagement and demographics data as well.
A further application of video analysis is to provide different content to the consumer based on different customer types. This provides the advertiser a more targeted audience and makes commercials more efficient.
All-in-one Portable Digital Signage Stations
In the past, a traditional digital signage application consisted of a player box and a TV panel. As a result, over 95% of the digital signage applications have been wall-mounted. However, as digital signage systems have become more prevalent, digital signage applications are becoming more flexible.
Today, the all-in-one portable digital signage station has become quite popular. It's easy to move around depending upon the location and the audience. For a marketer or retailer, a portable digital signage station is a great marketing tool for delivering messages toward targeted audiences. Integrated with wireless transaction technology, such as Wi-Fi or high-speed 3.5G systems, it can be managed by a central management system. The all-in-one digital signage system which comes with integrated Wi-Fi or a wireless module can be placed anywhere in a mall or other location and deliver real-time content.
What Advantech Offers
Responding to the needs for the next generation of digital signage systems, Advantech has already powered thousands of digital signs across retail, healthcare, transportation and other enterprise organizations. With over 25 years of industrial computer design and manufacturing experience, Advantech products are designed and manufactured using industrial-grade components for reliability and long-term support.