The Digital Signage Insider

A Sneak Peek at the Pricing Report, Mechanical Turk and DSE 2011

Published on: 2011-02-03

I'm working on a rather interesting assortment of projects this week, and I thought some of them might be of interest to the digital signage community. If you're into the business, tech or content development sides of the market, then read on. In this article, I'll be providing updates on our annual pricing report, the development of technical standards, my presentations at the upcoming Digital Signage Expo, and a new method for testing the effectiveness of digital signage content using Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Coming soon: The 2010 Digital Signage Pricing Report

In addition to our annual articles on the cost of digital signage, we upped the ante last year and published an in-depth report on digital signage pricing. The report featured 60+ pages of charts and graphs that detailed the component pricing, experience levels and historical trends in greater detail. I completely forgot how much work it was to put together the report last year, and consequently, I'm only now finishing it up. I expect we'll have an announcement about it during the next few weeks. Just like last year, the report will be free, and we'll automatically send it out ahead of time to the people who chose to respond to our survey and leave their email address or other contact info (thanks again, guys!).

New research on content using Amazon Mechanical Turk

... and speaking of research, I'm very excited about a project we started last year to devise a more efficient way to analyze digital signage content. Up until now, the task of figuring out whether a piece of content was effective or not was neither an art nor a science; it was just impossibly difficult. And even now, aside from following some best practices for digital signage content creation, there's little a designer can do to guess whether his content will work without deploying it to a bunch of screens and waiting. So we spent the last several months experimenting with ways to partially automate the process, eventually settling on a crowdsourcing approach using a freshly-built web framework and Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform. I'll be talking about our approach and reviewing the initial results at the 2011 DSE.

Presentations and meetings at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE)

... and speaking of the DSE, I know lots of you will be there, and many of you already have your dance cards filled up. As usual, I'll be walking the floor and mumbling to myself while looking down at my shoes. That, and I'll be giving two talks. The first is about the aforementioned content testing method. We tested color/contrast combinations, message length, screen size, orientation (portrait/landscape) and a couple of other variables in our first round of experiments, and I'll be outlining our findings as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach. So, if making content is your gig, you might want to check it out on Thursday at 3 pm: Seminar #48: Effective Content Design and Display.

I'll also be joining up with fellow blogger Ken Goldberg, plus Mike Nickerson and Dirk Hulsermann, to discuss the different standards efforts that are taking place in the industry right now. There was a lot of talk about consumer privacy at last year's show (on the heels of POPAI's publication of a best practices guide for not stomping all over consumer privacy with digital signage and retail media systems), and I expect one of the other industry organizations will be announcing something similar this year. We've also got a bevy of updates on technical standards, content and media standards, and other essential stuff like that. If you're coming from the business side or the content creation side, or you simply want to play a bigger role in the industry, this interactive roundtable discussion is for you. Unfortunately, you'll have to be an early riser, since it's pegged in the 9 am slot on Wednesday: Seminar #9: Driving Industry Growth through Standards.

Finally, POPAI will be hosting an in-person meeting of their digital signage standards group on Wednesday evening, from 4-6 pm in room N243 of the Las Vegas Convention Center (just upstairs from the expo hall). You're invited to drop in for a while, learn a bit about our technical and content standards, enjoy some free refreshments, and then head to the DSE's official mixer just down the hall. A good time will be had by all, I'm told.

Progress on technical standards

... and speaking of digital signage standards, the POPAI team has been holding weekly hour-long meetings for over three years now, and having published documents on consumer privacy, screen media formats and most recently billing/play log formats, we're getting ready to make a big announcement about scheduling and playlist interoperability. We're not quite at the level of getting any Player A to plug into any Server B just yet, but this latest standard brings us a lot closer to that goal. Drop by the meeting, email me, or watch the interwebs for more details in the coming weeks.

Want more information on any of the above projects or meetings? If so, leave a comment below and I'll get back to you.

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