If you had asked me at the beginning of 2021 what I expected to happen in the world of digital signage, I likely would have told you that as companies welcomed employees back to the office, restaurants welcomed more and more customers and retailers regained in-store traffic, digital signage would become even more important for driving business outcomes.
And, while the industry did grow and our customers did invest, we didn’t see the return to life as we first expected. However, here we are, at the beginning of a new year, filled with hope and new, innovative ways to turn digital screens into works of art.
As I look at 2022, there are three key factors that make digital signage a must-have for companies of all sizes and industries:
- The ability for digital signage to flex and serve numerous use cases within organizations
- The ease of use and rapid increase of content types and content sharing
- The ability to connect virtually any screen or media player to the internet – through LTE, wifi, or ethernet
Expansion into new use cases
Digital signage has been widely used in retail and restaurant markets over the past decade. Owners and operators recognized early on the benefits of dynamic and engaging content. And, they deployed digital signage solutions that resulted in enhanced customer experiences and, ultimately, more sales.
Now, with decreasing costs and increased availability of digital signage hardware, companies within many other industries and markets are evaluating how digital signage can help grow their business. From manufacturers who want to easily communicate with employees throughout their facility to corporate offices who are creating amazing workplace experiences, companies are using digital signage in new and exciting ways every day.
Cloud-based content and content management systems are enabling advanced content sharing via digital signage in ways we haven’t seen before. Organizations have mastered the art of sharing images and static content and are moving on quickly to sharing real-time data, live-stream television, social media content, programmatic advertising, and more. And, they’re not just sharing that type of content one at a time – they’re building out advanced programs and playlists that leverage all content formats available today.
As I talk with our customers, I’m amazed at the content they are sharing and the impact it is making on their business. For example, in working with a manufacturing customer, they have transitioned all of their internal communication content from billboards, breakroom flyers, and direct mail to dynamic digital signage. It reaches their employees in ways that other channels haven’t been able to. What started with internal and safety messaging has now evolved to real-time production data. We worked with this company – and others – to help them display the production dashboards only managers had access to previously. Now, everyone within the business sees if production is on track and, if not, how it can be improved.
Increased connectivity and reliability
As the world continues to connect to 4G, 5G, and beyond, so does digital signage. Increased connectivity has enabled companies to confidently invest in digital signage solutions. The administrators operating digital signs now rarely have to worry about the sign not being connected as they can be operated via ethernet, wifi, or LTE – or a combination of all three.
Many IT and communication teams are strained right now and are short team members during a time when the workload is rapidly increasing while companies devise their next round of return-to-office plans. I’ve heard from our customers that as leaders in IT or communications (or both!), they do not have time to worry about if the right content is showing on the right screen at the right time.
Thankfully, IoT, cloud-based content management systems, and increased connectivity are reducing those concerns. In today’s world, the administrator of digital signage can easily manage their solution – either at the device level or across an entire network. This visibility and control allows them to see – at any given time – what is happening with each individual screen and media player. And can remedy issues remotely, if needed. That power has the ability to truly change how companies communicate with employees, visitors, customers, and the world.
So, what does 2022 hold for digital signage? While we still live in a world of change, one thing is for sure. New ways to communicate with and engage core audiences will remain an important goal for companies. And, digital signage is here to help meet and exceed that goal.