Why Digital Signage is Still Valid in the Age of the Second Screen

In Mobility by Daniel Newman1 Comment

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Digital signage commanded an impressive share of mind when it didn’t have to compete with omnipresent mobile devices. It was new. It was exciting. It was sexy and compelling.

Today, we seem to have entered an age where we walk through public spaces with our heads down and our hands lifted—so we can keep an eye on our mobile devices as we go. Is our love for smartphones making digital signage irrelevant?

As Rick Schadelbauer commented in a recent post for NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, “Emily Post spent the vast majority of her 87 years instructing the ill-mannered and the boorish how to behave in polite society… Pew Research Center has recently examined Americans’ beliefs about mobile etiquette. Suffice to say, the results would have upset Mrs. Post greatly.”

Small Screen Versus Digital Screen: Not As One-Sided As You Might Think 

As the Pew study confirms, “mobile” and “etiquette” are almost contradictory concepts. In a summary of the research findings, Lee Rainie—director of Internet, science, and technology research at Pew—said the concept of good etiquette has been forced to adapt: “Some 92% of Americans now have a cellphone of some kind, and 90% of those cell owners say that their phone is frequently with them. This ‘always-on’ mobile connectivity is changing the nature of public spaces and social gatherings. It is also rewriting social norms regarding what is rude and what is acceptable behavior when people are together.”

Our society isn’t just enamored of its mobile devices; it’s addicted to the constant flow of readily available, real-time information. This obsession has created a battle for our attention spans, being fought between “the world around us” and the mobile “second screen” we can’t seem to tear our eyes from.

The digital signage industry is pushing back—and it’s working. Solid double-digit growth in the digital signage market is forecast for the next several years, and its usage is exploding in a wide range of markets, including retail, education, banking, hospitality, and healthcare. The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is fueling some of this expansion, as is new technology: Sensors and innovative functionality make stronger interaction possible, and expand the possible applications for digital displays.

New Digital Signage Tech In Action

Consider this: With near field communication (NFC), marketing can get flashier while practical uses become more numerous. Retailers can enable anyone with a smartphone to interact with signage to access information or download music or video with a few taps. Or they can use touchscreens or facial recognition to deliver a custom, personalized experience. New sensors can track data and respond appropriately—and not just for marketing and advertising campaigns: They can also be used to detect practical information like carbon monoxide levels or temperatures.

Another growing market for digital signage is the banking industry. Scala, a digital signage software and service provider, says the move to smaller branch locations and more personalized service makes banks a ripe market for mobile and digital signage.

In a post on the Scala blog, senior marketing and communication specialist Andrea Poley explained that there’s a synergy between interactivity and mobility: Leveraging both allows a bank to provide a personalized experience that builds customer confidence and attracts a younger (and more profitable) audience. “Many digital signage companies view the use of mobile devices as a threat, but Scala believes that it complements digital signage,” she said.

When technology can determine the information customers are looking for, their willingness to engage beyond their mobile device will increase exponentially. As the digital signage market continues to grow, expand, and test new functionalities, organizations will continue to find creative ways to engage people with real-time information, captivating them in spite of—or even because of—their attention to the second screen.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Ask the Experts: How do we bridge the smartphone gap?
Smarter Digital Signage Inevitable in the Workplace (and All Places)
Omnichannel Commerce: Inside In-Store Tech

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photo credit: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge_3 via photopin (license)

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.