At the Reporter Roundtable for the RISE Spotlight on Digital Signage, our panel of experts discussed the post-pandemic digital signage solutions that could shape client and consumer experiences of the ‘new normal’.
The panel, moderated by Florian Rotberg, Digital Signage Summit Chairman and MD of invidis consulting, comprised Laila Hede Jensen, CCO, ZetaDisplay; Roland Grassberger, CEO, Grassfish; and Richard Daugherty, Digital Media Solutions Engineer, AVI-SPL.
As many doors move towards reopening, this session looked at what has changed for digital signage and championed the need for creative content. Laila Hede Jensen and Richard Daugherty agreed that while hardware sales slowed in 2020, conversations about digital signage experiences increased. Roland Grassberger explained that while many projects were delayed, the demand for software solutions grew as corporations had to rethink communications and content strategies.
Watch the Reporter Roundtable here:
In 2021, those ‘digital signage experiences’ conversations have turned into potential projects. So, how has the market changed and what new innovations will be driving digital signage in the future?
“Digital signage has evolved from a lobby with a display, to offering new advantages like sensors, cameras and things that really assess the situation [in a building] – how many people have entered, the number of people in a meeting room – to meet safety standards,” explained Richard.
Laila agreed that there has been an evolutionary shift in the market, driven by a need for new services and a change in client/consumer expectations.
“Digital signage has had a fundamental role throughout this pandemic in keeping people safe and informed. We managed to react quickly to the market and released a number of new products, for example entrance control solutions. We also entered a new agreement with [coating technology company] Kastus for infection-free screen solutions,” Laila said.
The industry has found new solutions to navigate through the pandemic, maximising the benefits of digital signage to keep people informed, no matter where they are. Companies have stayed connected to a remote workforce by pushing signage and messages directly to desktops. Richard explained that clients have also found success by integrating corporate messaging with applications such as Microsoft Teams, Webex and Slack.
The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation in society and as such, people will expect more digital encounters out in the real world to guide and keep them safe, but also to provide enriching experiences.
Looking to the future, Laila highlighted the importance of digital signage in encouraging people to go back to the office and making them feel safe to do so. Some of the solutions that ZetaDisplay has introduced include heat sensors to detect fever, touchless interaction and mobile interfaces so employees can use their own devices to access and engage with content. Companies are also keen to make the office a more attractive proposition for when teams are in the building. Making employees feel welcome with personalised greetings and implementing fun, sociable activities with entertainment in waiting areas can also add to a more enjoyable experience.
Roland explained that clients now look for a digital signage ‘environment’ to deliver a valuable, integrated service that can support many aspects of a business. He shared real-life examples of synchronised screens with cleverly orchestrated content.
The cloud has helped to make digital signage ecosystems simpler to manage as CMS content, playlists and other information can be scheduled across multiple locations via one interface. These environments need to be carefully controlled and global platforms can provide operational challenges.
Roland shared how Grassfish addresses this: “We have developed our own speed test, software and modules that can monitor the access speed from all different locations. We can adapt the structure of the central system to the speed and access necessities worldwide. We’ve also set up our own department that focuses solely on the global infrastructure and security of our globally hosted systems.”
So, what can we expect in the post-pandemic era? There are two key messages that will dominate clients’ requirements as we move out of lockdown: safety and creative content. To attract people into your space, it’s vital that they feel secure. Touchless delivery and click and collect services are part of everyday life now, and elements of this will move out of our homes and into the outside world.
Digital signage will see an increased use of overlays – barriers that kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria without harming the display. Messaging at kiosks will highlight the importance of hand sanitisation stations. QR codes will help to drive the digital customer experience from your own device.
On a less sterile note, content will be driven by creativity. The use of in-store beacons can trigger specific content on the journey around a store, delivering coupons and exclusive invitations. AR can help customers to interact with products, for example taking a photo in store and later placing the image of that product within their home. Mobile gaming experiences and projection mapping will bring an element of fun, encouraging interaction and then brand engagement. Once again, content will be king.
This edition of RISE Spotlight – Digital Signage: New Solutions for a New Era – was sponsored by AVI-SPL.