Wanted: One very large perturbation
A few weeks ago, I lamented that we've yet to see a truly "game-changing" event in the digital signage industry. But when we do -- for better or worse -- it will make everything that happened in the past look puny by comparison. A number of people commented on that idea, some saying that we've already seen some big deals, others saying that I'd better not be holding my breath.
Image credit: Edwin Dalorzo
There have no doubt been deals over the past five years that transacted for very respectable sums of money, regardless of what industry you come from. But their overall effect on the strength and viability of the market could be likened to a butterfly's ability to change the weather. Ditto every company that has launched a "revolutionary," "game-changing," "paradigm-shifting" new product, feature or service over that time. We've seen evolution, yes. And that's important -- it's a sign that our core is solidifying and maturing. But for revolution we need a much, much larger catalyst than we've had so far.
In short, we're still waiting for a large perturbation.
And while we're on that subject...
Making killer content is hard
Another thing struck me as I read about the solution to the Boltzmann Equation: this is why it's so freaking hard to consistently make good content! Time and time again, we'll be working with clients and find out that we can develop a methodology that, when properly followed, makes content that performs better. But on a scale of 1 to 10, we can only consistently turn a 2 or 3 into a 5, 6 or 7. It's nearly impossible to consistently turn anything into a 9 or 10. What's standing in the way? In short, we start running into the "small perturbation" problem, where after a certain point on the quality scale, small optimizations can only yield small improvements. To make content that's a 10 requires a major perturbation in the process, and the necessary changes can vary with every single piece of content and every single message to be communicated. This drives up the cost of content development. It makes me think that Show+Tell's Phil Lenger was right on the money during his DSE presentation from last year. According to Phil, digital signage content only needs to be exceptional some of the time. If reaching peak performance means revamping your design protocol for every clip, it quickly becomes too expensive and exhausting to make each one a 10 out of 10.
Will our "game changing" event be driven by technology? Content? Business model? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!