Digital Signage: What’s Driving Mass Adoption?
Experts who live and breath digital signage weigh in on what will be the next big driver of growth.


November 02, 2012 By Tom LeBlanc

I just can’t get over the astronomical projections about the expected growth of the digital signage market. Intel says there will be 22 million digital signs deployed globally by 2015.

That’s a big leap from the 3.5 million digital signs around the world InfoComm estimates existed at the end of 2011. Meanwhile, the digital signage market will grow to $4.5 billion in 2016, compared with $1.3 billion in 2010, according to ABI Research, which factors in both product and managed services revenues.

The projected growth, while exorbitant, can be backed up by logic. Digital signs barely existed a few years ago, so there is nowhere to go but up. Hardware prices are falling, expanding potential client bases. For integrators, it’s a category with limitless potential.

I asked some folks who live and breath digital signage what they feel is the next big driver of growth:

“[One driver is] near field communications. A potential client being able to find something of interest [on a digital sign] and being able to transfer that instantly - that’s the next big answer.”

- Dan Smith, director of commercial display sales, LG Electronics

Photos: 8 Digital Signage Products for Your Next Install

“Interactivity and touch are real game-changers for the digital signage industry as they enable brands to draw in users and provide a much richer, more personal experience. In the past, touchscreen signage might have been something deployed for way-finding and informational applications, but there are enormous opportunities for integrators who can tap into the potential of interactive displays.”

- Kevin Schroll, senior product marketing manager, LFDs, Samsung Enterprise Business Division

“Driving digital signage is interactivity and larger sizes. You see 70-inch screens being used for way-finding. Video walls and super-large formats, like NanoLumens, or video walls using 3x3 LEDs are driving [adoption].”

- Sam Taylor, executive VP and COO, Almo ProAV

“The next big feature will be truly affordable all-weather outdoor digital signage. Right now, tens of thousands of potential applications for mid-size (36- to 55-inch displays) outdoor digital signage are going unrealized. Why? Because facility managers and integrators are … working off the dated assumptions that outdoor signage either a) won’t work in direct sunlight and/or b) is extremely high-priced.”

- Tom Dixon, VP of marketing, SunBriteTV

Integrators are getting it. Digital signage is expanding well beyond the retail market with integrators providing valuable media display solutions to corporate, higher education, health care and clients from just about any walk of life.

According to InfoComm, retail is joined by corporate and transportation as the top three sectors in which digital signage will be deployed in the coming years, but health care and hospitality are gobbling up solutions as significant rates as well.

Once thought of as an advertising medium, digital signage has evolved to an interactive communication platform. An integrator’s point of contact isn’t necessarily its client’s marketing manager - it can be the HR director looking to communicate messaging in a corporate campus; a security manager looking to protect employees or students with a mass notification system; or school superintendents looking to make life easier on their faculty and administrators by keeping students in the know.

For integrators that are actively expanding the digital signage market in this way, the growth projections mean very little. They are taking the growth into their own hands by educating themselves on an evolving product category.

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About the author

Tom LeBlanc - Editor-in-Chief, CI,
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.
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