Top 5 Trends That Changed the Digital Signage Industry in the Past Decade

One of the most innovative kinds of media, digital signage, is continuously changing with the times. Would you believe that just a few years ago, this medium didn’t incorporate social media and the Internet at all?

And it wasn’t even long before that when signages consisted only of still images — no audio, no video, and not anything remotely digital.

As the world prepares for another year coming to an end, marketers and business owners begin to reassess their on-site marketing efforts. Digital signages in Dubai have become more than just a means to attract customers – they also inform, engage, and connect brands with their target audience on a deeper, more emotional level.

To help you determine if you’re ready for the upcoming year, this article offers a look back at the evolution of digital signage and the top five trends that changed the industry forever.

Digital Signage: The Evolution

Before the touchscreen, cloud-based signboards, and 3D video walls, digital signage was just an idea – a concept that evolved through decades into a billion-dollar industry in 2021.

1970s: Digital signage inspiration

Like most things, digital signages started as a concept. Inspired by videos played on the TV and recorded on VCRs, the idea was to showcase brands using recordings of what are now called “commercials.”

Fun fact: Fashion designers were one of the first to use recordings (of their runway shows) for advertising their products using the concept that will eventually become in-store digital signages.

1980s: Hardware and software advancements

A decade later, retailers began making their own amateur videos to play in their stores as video cameras became more affordable.

During this time, the first content management system (CMS) was used as a platform to manage digital signage content.

Some companies also started using multiple TV screens, which was essentially the origin of video walls.

1990s: Commercial displays, media players, and the Internet were born

At this point, signages evolved into something that uses both screens and media players to display content, with support from the still-wired Internet that built the ecosystem for digital signages.

After retailers, the next wave of early adopters included the transport sector and casinos.

2000s: Wireless connectivity and multi-screens emerge

After the Internet became wireless, more multi-screen signages emerged and became the new normal in marketing.

More industries joined the bandwagon as well, including the hospitality and dining sectors.

2010s: New applications explode

As the Internet and tech hardware became more interactive, so did digital signages.

Touchscreens in in-store kiosks boosted customer engagement. Social media integration made it possible for brands to deliver real-time content for their in-store visitors.

This was also the age of big data, where analytics allowed business owners to better understand exactly what they get from digital signages and how to use it more effectively.

With the past as a foundation, digital signage experts now look forward to the future. More trends are emerging as businesses adapt to societal changes – like the COVID-19 pandemic – that triggered a butterfly effect.

Below are five trends that are shaping the digital signage industry today:

1. Touchscreen solutions

Many members of the younger generation probably have no idea how screens work without touch. Who can blame them? Even withdrawing money from ATMs or buying bus tickets now uses the same technology as everywhere else.

But as fears for health and safety were put front and center during the pandemic, touch became less desirable, especially in places accessible to the public. Still, the technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon; it’s just updated to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the masses.

2. Touchless screen alternatives

After the pandemic paved the way for economic meltdowns, many companies began looking to recuperate their losses.

Customers show discomfort and even unwillingness to use touchscreens or anything that will expose them to the virus, for that matter. Proof lies in the explosion of online engagements in retail, whether in browsing products, making purchases, or providing feedback.

Still, the need for that “personal touch” (no pun intended) between businesses and their customers remains.

Fortunately, certain innovations have the potential to accommodate both. One of them is touchless technology.

This gestures-based control system lets users enter commands without the need for physical input. In essence, it combines input from motion sensors, cameras, eye-tracking systems, and even voice recognition to understand commands.

Previously used in the gaming industry, this technology is far from new, but it may have new applications in the digital signage industry, particularly in visitor management.

3. Cloud-based Signages

Cloud-based signages have become quite appealing to business owners today. Besides offering a solution to the issue of virus transmission, cloud-based signages also let them save on physical infrastructure.

Accessible via an Internet connection, cloud-based software can be a more effective, flexible, and affordable solution to traditional signages.

4. Remote access to physical displays

From virtual business management and remote work to online shopping and online classes, many things have been transferred into the digital world since the pandemic hit. This so-called “new normal” challenged the digital marketing industry to create a personalized customer experience for the purpose of establishing deeper connections and fostering traction with their audience.

Since many people are now choosing to remain in the safety of their houses, QR codes, digital galleries, and even virtual tours have become the go-to solution for digital signage in the retail industry. This bridged the locational gap and brought shops’ inventory and physical displays closer to customers than ever before.

5. Live content streaming

As digital displays became integrated into more types of devices and gained access to the cloud, they evolved into an ideal channel for displaying contents of different nature.

From stills, slides, video clips, and promotional content, higher-definition displays used for digital signs can now accommodate even live streaming.

Whether you wish to put your products in the spotlight or share any interesting videos with your customers, you can easily play them on your on-site digital screen and trust that the quality will be on par with what they see on their own televisions.

Evolving for the Better

Cloud-based, touchless, remotely-accessed – all these things that describe digital signages today prove that the industry is evolving for the better. When you know where it all began, you’ll be surprised at how much one innovation adapted and continues to transform itself to accommodate your ever-changing needs.

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan