Digital Signage: A bright future for dynamic displays

New York Financial Institute_New York

Photos courtesy Daktronics

By Mark Meyer
Few situations have been as frustrating for businesses as the sluggish economy following the 2008 financial crisis, so it is has been welcome to hear researchers forecast a bright future for at least one sector: the digital signage industry.

Intel, for example, estimates a 26 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with 22 million digital signs sold by 2015. Global Industry Analysts (GIA), meanwhile, predict a $13.8-billion worldwide market for all types of digital signage by 2017. There are several reasons for such positive predictions.

For one thing, digital displays are coming into their own while the advertising effectiveness of newspapers, radio and TV declines. Broad-based advertising in these traditional media cannot be changed quickly and does not reach customers at the point-of-purchase (POP). And the proliferation of hundreds of radio stations and TV channels has only fragmented the market.

Emerging technologies like mobile phones and digital video recorders (DVRs) have further weakened the effectiveness of traditional media advertising. Many of today’s consumers use these technologies to avoid exposure to commercials and solicitations.

‘Through-hole’ LEDs work well for outdoor displays, as their brightness can compete with sunlight during the day.

‘Through-hole’ LEDs work well for outdoor displays, as their brightness can compete with sunlight during the day.

Digital displays are incredibly flexible in the context of advertising. They reach the entire ‘front-door’ audience, but can also target specific groups with messages tailored for certain demographics. Most importantly, unlike the aforementioned traditional media, the content reaches customers right when they can stop and buy the advertised products or services.

Clearer screens
As interest in digital signs continues to increase, market demands are dictating their product features. Future displays will have higher-quality image capabilities, particularly because retailers believe better graphics will increase sales. When a quick-service restaurant (QSR) runs an image of a burger and fries at around 11 a.m., that image needs to look terrific.

Displays with very high resolution are now available on the market. These include outdoor and/or very large displays that place light-emitting diodes (LEDs) close together to help content look detailed, vivid and crisp.

Manufacturers also offer a choice between ‘through-hole’ and surface-mount device (SMD) LEDs. The former type directs light to a specific area. SMD LEDs, on the other hand, are mounted to the face of a circuit card and can disperse light more evenly.

The choice will depend on the intended sign application. Through-hole LEDs work well for outdoor displays, as their high level of brightness can compete with sunlight during the day. SMD technology is better for indoor signage, allowing both closer and wider viewing angles.

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