Report suggests much closer ties between digital screens and mobile in future

November 20, 2008 by Dave Haynes

Arizona-based market research consultancy Multimedia Intelligence has issued a report suggesting a big chunk of the digital screens that get installed in the future will have some interaction with cellular phones.


The promise of interactivity between potential customers and display technology is only at its beginnings; however, advertisers are looking to enable a higher level of engagement with digital signage audiences by enabling a backchannel. Due to the simplicity of SMS messaging and the ubiquity of wireless handsets, 40% of new network digital display platform installations will leverage SMS for interactivity by 2012, according to MultiMedia Intelligence. This is up from approximately 5% in 2007.

SMS is not the only manner for providing interactivity. Other wireless methods such as RFID, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will also find significant penetration in interactive digital signage platforms. In 2008, 169,000 newly installed digital displays had Bluetooth, RFID, Wi-Fi or SMS capabilities or some combination of these four protocols.

“Wireless is the operative word for how digital displays engage customers,” asserts Rick Sizemore, chief strategist for MultiMedia Intelligence. “Implementing SMS interactivity is a path that opens new revenue streams and will bring back 1-to-1 marketing. MultiMedia Intelligence expects that no alternatives will find the potential success enjoyed by SMS.”

I’d agree the percenrage of screen networks that have some tie-in with the wireless world will climb significantly. The penetration rates for phones is staggering, yet still growing. I don’t, however, think SMS as it current works is as simple as presented. I’m not stupid, and I text back and forth with kids all the time, but this business of text a number here and putting in a keyword there still leaves me confused. And if I am confused, so are many others.

Bluetooth is really interesting, but overcoming the enabling and pairing thing is a big hurdle, particularly for the Crackberry crowd.

I’m also very suspicious of the assertion that almost 170,000 displays installed this year were doing something with wireless or RFID, but that number had to come from somewhere.

If you want to read the full report, called  Network Digital Signage: Infrastructure, Displays, Technology, it will set you back $3,500. That has to be at least five such reports out in the last month or so, all pretty much covering the same territory.


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