Digital Signage Of The Future: Trends, Innovations And Changing Consumer Demands

August 23, 2022 by guest author, Wayne Rasor


Digital signage is fast becoming one of the most sought-after visual communications technologies in the market. While not limited to retail, research suggests its impact on the sector is significant, with more than 40 per cent of shoppers revealing that digital displays can change what they buy.

Today’s savvy consumers expect more and, as the call for more advanced products and services across the world grows, businesses need to keep pace.

While we may no longer face the same challenges as we did during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, digital signage’s purpose, versatility and sustainable nature has never been more crucial to businesses in all industries

So what does the near future hold for the sector, and how can digital signage specialists best keep a handle on where customers need help to attract and serve the public?

Digital signage is more important than ever

The versatility of digital signage as a powerful marketing and sales tool is being increasingly utilized by so many types of organizations. In reality, all sectors can benefit, but it’s the food service and retail industries that are reaping the rewards most.

It’s these businesses that see the most regular changes to the information they provide to their customers — from menu updates several times a day, to displaying product offers. The high-tech signage allows them to update their information as often as required, while having no impact on waste that would be produced if using physical signage.

Those same benefits, though, are ideal for other industries. Healthcare, for example, is a particularly important area. In any doctor’s surgery or hospital waiting room, the notice boards are crammed full of flyers that give information of seasonal illness outbreaks, symptoms to be aware of and the availability of clinics. These go unnoticed by many patients, whereas digital signage can capture their attention and impart the information quickly and memorably.

This is something that many organizations — both in healthcare and other sectors — realized during the Covid pandemic, and adopted digital signage to efficiently update the public with rapidly-developing information in an engaging and more environmentally-conscious way.

Fast Signs

What’s next for digital signage?

As with all types of technology, it’s natural to wonder where it will head next, and to what extent. One direction that shows glimmers of potential is with holographic imagery — or, rather, the effect of it.

Holograms have been a favorite of science fiction for decades, but systems do exist that produce hologram-like visual experiences. These use a spinning fan with LEDs set into the blades. When the fan spins quickly, a moving 3D image can be produced, with the background still visible behind.

It’s this three-dimensional, translucent effect that makes the images particularly eye-catching and immersive, and the different-sized units can be positioned both indoors and outdoors. Of course, the technology is still in its infancy, but the steps towards its gradual refinement are already happening.

LEDs themselves are constantly improving, with the development of direct view and fine pitch LED TVs producing more intricate and brighter images. This is already being used on a large scale for screens at sports venues, for example.

Immersion, AR and the metaverse

With more intricate screens, it’s possible to create a far more immersive experience. This leads to inevitable thoughts of augmented reality, or AR, and digital signage’s role within it.

However, although it will undoubtedly have a significant role to play, it’s easy to get a little too excited. The metaverse, as a singular entity, doesn’t yet exist and AR experiences are disparate and fragmented.

From my knowledge of the technology available, it’s clear that there is only currently the capacity to have isolated systems. In other words, the experiences are highly immersive, intense and enjoyable, but they are restricted to the specific apps or programs in which they operate.

The ethos of AR or the metaverse is the open interaction between users from different systems and sources, which doesn’t yet exist. Facebook may be the most active brand in envisaging it at the moment, but its development won’t be down to a single company. Instead, it will be from several creative technology businesses, operating closely to integrate with each other’s work.

The e-commerce opportunities the metaverse will bring are incredible, but it’s still probably 10 years away. However, the advancements that are being made to create such a system are huge. It’s definitely an important space to watch, as digital signage could serve a crucial role as a bridge from the real world into the metaverse.

How to stay ahead of the curve

Our customers, as all digital signage professionals will understand, are one of the main driving forces behind our innovations. The requirement to fulfill their needs is what leads us to develop new and fresh solutions to the situations they bring to us.

For example, a business recently challenged us to create a system that displays a dashboard of information, which is updated automatically based on information from several departments, without human input. This means bridging several software platforms together that haven’t been integrated before. Happily, even though it tested our capabilities, the system was a success.

This ability to integrate new technology from several providers is crucial in digital signage. Attending trade shows is a useful way to connect with vendors, allowing you to stay close to them and develop an ear for new customers’ needs.

This means we can try out technology and find out as much about it as we can, to see if it’s right for what we do. Even if it doesn’t, we can share that experience to others in the sector, who may find it useful, or we can keep a record of it in our files in case we come across a franchisee that has a customer looking for something unique. This accumulation of knowledge is what you need to stay ahead of the curve. As with everything technological, it changes so quickly.

About The Writer

Wayne Rasor is the US-based digital specialist at FASTSIGNS, which specializes in digital signage, visual communications and graphic design. He’s also a longtime board member of the Digital Signage Federation.

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