Although it has been around for almost 10 years, Digital Signage is still in the early stages of it’s evolution. It has only started getting involved in integration and standardization, which is typically the beginning of explosive growth. That combined with the poor economy, the changes in how “customers” receive their information and the poor performance of traditional marketing mediums will help fuel the growth – especially during the economic recovery in late 2010 or early 2011.
One are of evolution is the screens that are used to display the digital signage content. Since digital signage is a computer based technology, there needs to be some sort of computer processor in all digital signage systems. How it is packaged is another question though.
Traditionally, the screens have been flat LCD screens using existing cable tv wiring for hotels and theme parks or a direct connection to the VGA or DVI port of a computer. The prices of screens with embedded pc’s is coming down, so they will remove the need for a separate pc to drive the content, but tend to have lower processing power. There are also small pc’s that can fit to the back of the screen. They too are short on power. As processing power continues to improve, prices drop, and more Linux based signage systems go online, these shortcomings will soon be gone too.
The future holds amazing things for digital signage. With 3D movies and commercials being produced, it is only a matter of time before 3D becomes a standard feature of digital signage software. Although tricky to get through local government reles and regulations, digital billboards will become more commonplace. And of course everyone’s cell phone will become a mobile billboard with great money saving coupons sent to you right as you shop. It will probably even be tied to the Internet shopping portals immediately as you browse the product offerings.
After being in this industry for over 6 years, and in the software industry for more than 20, I eagerly await the exciting changes that we will see in the next few years. I am sure they will be revolutionary (again).