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What is Digital Signage

2019-11-05

Digital Signage is a network of centrally controlled digital displays and an effective way to engage your audience. We take a look at where the term comes from and where the industry is headed

We all know what digital signage is, at least implicitly. Most of us have taken a look at the menu in the drive-through lane at Mickey D’s, or even ordered our greasy goods from a digital kiosk stand. At the airport or train station, we’ve glanced at the departure and arrival times. We’ve seen perceived wait time on passport queues or trafficked highways.

There are countless examples like these, and they are all, in some form, digital signage. It’s everywhere, integrated with many different businesses and needs. In fact, the digital signage industry accounted for 19.6 billion USD in 2016. In 2032, it’s expected to reach more than 32 billion USD. It’s a rapidly growing industry with enormous potential.

As we grow more accustomed to a digitalized world, digital signage assumes a more significant role for enterprises. Workforces distributed across multiple locations benefit from a centrally controlled content distribution platform and old communication tools get replaced by new, smarter technology. That’s what digital signage represents – a solution that delivers timely information.

Airtame focuses on getting the most out of screens and projectors through best in class wireless presentation technology. With our platform-agnostic product, users have previously been able to mirror their screens, stream or set up static content. As our mission to unlock the power of professional displays develops, both the product and our focus is naturally moving in the direction of digital signage. With newly set up applications, users can integrate the Airtame Homescreen with dashboard services, beautiful backgrounds or simple tools like a world clock, inspiring imagery from Unsplash, Google Slides, and Trello boards.

In this article, we’re going to explore where digital signage came from, how it has evolved, and what the benefits are. Short on time? Jump to the chapter you need:

What is digital signage
How it all began
The birth of digital signage
Digital signage use today
Digital signage for schools
Digital signage for business
What will the future hold?
Should you care about digital signage?
How Airtame delivers digital signage
What is digital signage?
The term digital signage is very broad. It’s connected to digital screens that can display content and information in any space, but there is much more to it than that.

As a term, it’s often connected with the screens themselves, but the screens or the size of them is not what makes digital signage a game-changer for engaging audiences. It’s a sea of possibilities, not just for retailers but all businesses, big and small.

There are endless ways to explore the power of digital signage and how it makes the daily flow of information more interactive, responsive, and user-friendly.

But before we get to the use cases and many interesting ways digital signage can be deployed, let’s try to fit the term into a box.

More than a flash in the pan
Digital signage means a centrally controlled content distribution platform that can be used to broadcast many different messages. Today, it’s typically some type of screen that displays meaningful content to a specific audience.

It can be found in both public and private domains, and we’re already experiencing it in all kinds of environments. Digital signage is in many instances a replacement or an alternative to analog signage. It’s the small changes we’re not paying attention to, like the poster with the schedule by the bus stop that’s been replaced by a screen, or the digital noticeboard at the airport indicating gate and takeoff info.

Digital signage used at the airport
A lot of the time, you might not even notice that you’re being targeted through digital signage. It could be a billboard changing based on the search history of a by-passer or ads changing per real-time updates such as the weather.

Even though we don’t always notice it as a marketing tool, digital signage is immensely popular. Because the dynamic content engages an audience better than regular, static messages, the value of deploying it is higher. Up-to-date, relevant content, moving images and changing graphics make sure the message is always on point.

Both cost-efficient and eco-friendly
The setup varies from the most basic and simple to complex and diverse, ranging from one screen to multiple. The different screens may show the same or alternative content, giving the sender an abundance of choices to display the most valuable data.

Let’s go back to the menu kiosks we mentioned in the beginning. It’s a touchscreen that allows the consumer to interact, and in this case, place an order. It’s a great example of how digital signage can guide the customer journey. Oftentimes, the customer journey isn’t a part of the decision when people put up digital screens, which is a big loss.

Many think of digital signage as a means to display information around a venue but no more than that. Besides attracting attention however, digital signage allows you to promote or advertise your product or business, provide in-store entertainment, offer a personalized experience or talk directly to the customer, employee or visitor.

One thing that makes many types of digital signage differ from analog signage is the ability to not only display dynamic content but to be interactive as well. In the instances where interactive displays such as touchscreen are used, digital signage becomes even more user-friendly.

It’s cost-efficient and a step in an eco-friendly direction. Imagine a restaurant that rotates menu items as the seasons change or a promotional campaign for which thousands of copies are needed. After the season or the campaign is over, all that paper material is thrown out because it’s no longer relevant. With digital signage, all it takes is an update in the CMS, and the content displayed is again up-to-date.