The Digital Signage Insider

Early Thoughts on the Digital Signage Market

Published on: 0000-00-00

The concept of out-of-home advertising is not new, and sales of POP (point-of-purchase) displays and fixtures are stronger now than ever before (according to Point of Purchase Advertisers International, or POPAI). This is good news for purveyors of digital signage products and services, since dynamic signs often have the same purpose as their static brethren: attract attention, create brand awareness and drive sales (the thousands of other uses for digital signs notwithstanding).

An interesting side-effect of this new bevy of products being introduced into the market is that there are two primary drivers for digital signage product offerings: technology companies, many of which are fairly small and new, and traditional POP or signage companies, who are looking to digital products as an extension to a current lineup of fabricated displays and signs. On the one side, you have companies like WireSpring, producing one line of products (in our case, the FireCast suite), that focuses on the industry and produces a few targeted products for use with any number of other complimentary services, and available to anybody for a trial or full-scale rollout. On the other side are established POP display companies like the aptly-named POP Displays or Andersen Merchandisers who have started to either experiment with dynamic displays or at least build their traditional fixtures to accommodate more sophisticated technology. And somewhere in the middle are companies like Dotronix and Express Technologies who have digital signage-like products and applications, but approach the industry from a more traditional point-of-purchase angle.

In a previous article, I mentioned how I didn't think that the interactive kiosk market was ready for the wave of consolidation that some others have predicted. I would maintain that the same is true in the nascent digital signage industry. While there are a lot of great technologies being developed that a wealthy POP company or even a display manufacturer could easily acquire and integrate with their own offerings, the industry is too immature for that to be worthwhile. Nobody has a clear understanding of the potential of this technology, and new uses are being discovered every day. Practices that seem like a good idea today might turn out to be highly inefficient or even detrimental over time, and technologies that seem to be a good investment right now might not actually be.

That's not to say that people should stop experimenting with digital signage. Quite the contrary, actually. Trial rollouts and nontraditional approaches will likely yield strong positive results in the next few years. As the cost of deploying a trial network continues to decrease thanks to competition in the large form-factor digital display market, individuals and companies alike will be able to take more creative and aggressive approaches to deploying dynamic signage networks. While we may eventually see a consolidation spree happen, right now we are participating in the earliest and most innovative stages of what is proving to be a very interesting emerging market.

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