Business opportunities: Digital Signage

by FESPA | 10/04/2014
Business opportunities: Digital Signage

With the digital signage market continuing to expand at a significant rate, Rob Fletcher investigates the potential for sign companies to diversify into the sector and what steps they need to take to ensure success.

It seems that you can't go anywhere without seeing some sort of digital signage application. Whether it is shopping in town, sitting at a train station or cheering on your local football team, it is more than likely that you will be accompanied by some form of digital-based signage.

It is no real surprise that this form of signage has grown to such great levels, with digital advertising now the first choice of many brands and marketers around the world. And this has not gone unnoticed by companies in the sign industry with many having already branched out into the market in order to take advantage of the work available.

However, it is important to remember that you cannot just simply diversify into digital signage without planning the move properly. With this in mind, what should sign companies consider before jumping on the digital signage bandwagon?

Great position

One company that is well placed to advise on this area is BrightSign, a supplier of digital signage players. Pierre Gillet, vice president of sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the market is growth rapidly and BrightSign has felt the benefits from this.

He explains: "Digital signage is growing rapidly. Major industry events like DSE in the US and ISE in Europe are consistently reporting higher visitor and exhibitor numbers. BrightSign is seeing strong growth and expanded interest in its product lines."

Gillet goes on to say that due to the level of demand in the market, those that do opt to diversify into the sector can look forward to a number of advantages.

He continues: "At the entry level, repurposing existing print sign artwork for delivery on screen is straightforward. However, the real opportunity is for sign companies to engage with their customers and help them grow their businesses through truly effective use of screen-based signage.

BrightAuthor - BrightSign's DOOH authoring software

Fig 1. BrightAuthor - BrightSign's DOOH authoring software

Using video, integrating with social media, managing content to appeal to different audiences throughout the trading day, integrating broadcast content are just some of the options sign companies that fully embrace digital signage technology can bring to their customers. With 4K technology emerging, screen images are fully able to match the quality of even the best printed images, for premium applications in the fashion industry, for example."

Gillet believes sign companies are well placed to move into the market but should consider a number of points before doing so: "Sign companies are in a great position to diversify into this market as they already have strong customer relationships and an understanding of how to develop content that works. At the entry level, they need training in how to take this content onto screens effectively.

"They should then build on this and develop skills in new forms of content such as video and social media. They should explore the opportunities that interactivity present, both directly through the screens and through devices like smartphones and tablets."

Gillet is keen to explain how BrightSign can assist companies considering diversifying. He says the firm sees supporting companies that are new to the sector as, 'central to its mission'. With this in mind, he highlights BrightAuthor, a PC software application free to BrightSign customers that can create, publish and manage BrightSign presentations

He continues: "Using BrightAuthor, sign companies can take content in a range of media formats and quickly and easily deliver it on screen. Content from a number of sources can be presented simultaneously, and scheduled to appear depending on the time of day and other factors.

"In the latest version, users can 'drag and drop' content onto video walls, while the software handles screen synchronisation automatically. It also provides the ability to preview signage presentations so the author can see exactly how they will appear on screen prior to publishing the presentation."

With plenty of work available in the digital signage market, it is safe to say that the sector is a genuine diversification option for sign companies. However, as with every new market, considerable planning should go into any move before diving head first into new work. Maybe it is time for your company to take to the screen with a digital move of its own.

Recurring revenue streams

Interactive display systems developer MultiTouch has reported plenty of demand for its digital signage solutions. Hannu Anttila, vice president of business development, says the firm's interactive technology allows companies to 'leapfrog' the competition.

He explains: "Digital signage opens the possibilities for recurring revenue streams to keep content up to date and manage the signage system. Our MultiTaction technology combines unlimited interaction capabilities with unparalleled responsiveness and scalability.

"MultiTouch allows companies to leapfrog current one way push based digital signage systems by offering interactivity. Our MultiTaction Cell interactive displays allow unparalleled ways to engage with individual customers and attract larger audiences."

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