The ‘new’ agenda for Digital Signage

Digital Signage Summit ISE will address a number of important industry trends that together comprise ‘The New Agenda’ for Digital Signage. We talk to Content Chair Florian Rotberg, Managing Director of invidis consulting, about what has changed in the marketplace, and what you get from DSS ISE that you don’t get on the ISE show floor.

Name three things that are affecting the digital signage/DooH sector. What effects are they having?
Sustainability: What has changed, especially during the pandemic, is that there’s a greater consciousness around environmentally friendly, sustainable digital signage solutions. In the past, end-customers never really asked about power consumption, but this has changed dramatically. More and more of them are looking at green signage solutions, and that is making a big difference. This started in the Nordics, but it’s also coming to Germany and southern Europe. We’re seeing a big change there on the demand side.

What’s really interesting is that only 20% of the carbon footprint of LED/LCD digital signage comes from its production. The other 80% comes from the five years on average that device aer used. This is the biggest lever we see. So it’s not about tearing out something you’ve installed and putting something else in there – that would be foolish; it’s really about finding more sustainable operational models. That means turning off LED displays at night, for example; currently the majority of LEDs run 24/7 because it was sometimes difficult to switch them on again in the morning – so instead just the content was turned off but the LED wall was left running, which is 40% of maximum power consumption. And not only does it use a lot of power, it generates a lot of heat, so the air-conditioning needs to run – it’s crazy. Self-service kiosk terminals on a factory floor or in an office building are often on 24/7 – but there’s absolutely no need for them to run at night if nobody’s there.

Consolidation: There’s a lot of consolidation going on as projects become more and more global. End-users are also looking for more global digital signage integrators. Some really big players are emerging, and what’s most interesting is that some of the first ones have been valued at over €100 million, so a lot of private equity companies have entered the market. It’s really taking off and we see dramatic changes in this drive to consolidation.

Connected experiences: Pro AV was previously planned and optimised within silos. Now these silos are being broken down to create connected experiences – almost orchestrating the different touchpoints. Rather than having a touchpoint here and a touchpoint there, now it’s about looking at the customer journey and making sure it follows a story.

For some years, everyone was talking about omnichannel but in reality they were doing multichannel. They optimised each channel for itself, but they never managed to connect them, to orchestrate them. Now for the first time, the big brands are really able to offer full omnichannel concepts.

The first ones who can do it are the vertically integrated companies like Zara, the Spanish fashion retailer, because they operate everything themselves – they operate the stores, they operate online. If you order from them, sometimes the package is shipped from the shop nearest to your house – it doesn’t come from a big distribution centre. In the past, many companies’ IT systems – ERP and warehouse management – were lacking. But now that their IT systems are better, the big brands are able to offer full omnichannel concepts.

What are the key themes being covered in the Digital Signage Summit?
The title of the conference is ‘The New Agenda’. It’s about green signage; industry consolidation; best practice; and the latest tech trends.

In terms of the technology trends, we don’t know exactly what companies will be showing at ISE, in part because of the current issues in the supply chain. But in general we’ll be seeing more LED, larger LCDs (surprisingly), and software becoming more important than in the past. As hardware becomes more commoditised, the big differences are in the software platforms and the seamless experiences that are created with them.

The second trend is power consumption, which we’ve mentioned – and also more recyclable materials used in displays such as metals, as we move towards the circular economy.

Another important trend is remote management of hardware, and serviceability – that’s a really big topic. In the past people sourced the cheapest equipment but it became expensive afterwards when it broke down and they had to send someone in a car to fix it. It’s about creating the right hardware concepts so you have a robust system that doesn’t need any ad-hoc maintenance. Remote access and remote control become more important here so you can check everything is OK and replace equipment in time before something goes wrong.

And that’s important because signage is increasingly business critical. Brands cannot live without it – they lose money if it’s not running. For example QSR (quick service restaurants) – they need to display their menus. They’re obliged by law to show prices, calories and so on. If the IT’s not running, they shut the restaurant down because they can’t sell a single burger.

How relevant are these themes as we emerge from the pandemic?
Customer and consumer behaviour and requirements have changed during the pandemic. People have become spoiled by service – when they weren’t going to restaurants they were having everything delivered to home within a short time; and this has become the new standard. They want perfect online service from their ecommerce partner and also the best service they could get in a physical store – as well as variety and breadth of offerings. So this makes it difficult for stationary retail.

Sustainability and green signage have become C-level relevant. CEOs and CIOs who previously didn’t care about signage because it was just a small thing, now have to deliver new carbon savings every quarter to their shareholders. Green signage can play a huge role in ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategy – they see that there’s a big lever there in saving energy, for example.

As I mentioned before, with digital signage projects becoming more global, this requires international and financially strong market players. While the market is consolidating, the barriers to entry are still low, so for every ten companies that leave the market through consolidation, another ten new ones appear. There’s lots of money in the market, so even small startups can get huge finance. The number of players isn’t decreasing, but market share is moving towards the bigger players.

And while during the pandemic, the focus was on ecommerce for most brands, now it’s back to hybrid connected experience. Hybrid makes everything much more complex. It’s easy to have a fully online world or a fully stationary world, but mixing both is challenging in many ways.

What can attendees expect at the Digital Signage Summit?
They can see and hear top speakers from leading integrators, tech suppliers, brands and retailers. There will be roundtable discussions around the topics mentioned above. There will be exclusive market insights, including the traditional invidis keynote. And they can expect broad market coverage around the areas of digital signage, DooH, digital retail, new work and smart city.

How does the Digital Signage Summit help to showcase the latest technology?
On the ISE showfloor you see hardware and software. But digital signage is much more than this, it’s about concepts, creating content and maintaining service. The conference puts all these things together and shows you what it means to offer a full end-to-end digital signage solution – and this is something you only learn at DSS.

Why should a visitor to ISE come to the Digital Signage Summit?
There are so many reasons. For networking, meeting partners, and generating new leads. To understand the bigger picture – how the digital signage ecosystem works. To get the context around the technology presented on the show floor. And to get the latest insights and market analysis – even before ISE has opened!

Digital Signage Summit ISE (DSS ISE) is a full-day conference produced by Integrated Systems Events in association with invidis consulting. The Digital Signage Summit series of conferences are events that explore the business, technology and strategy of the Digital Signage and DooH (Digital out of Home) marketplace. DSS ISE is being held on 31 February 2022 at the Fira de Barcelona on the day before Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), the world’s largest exhibition for professional AV and systems integration (1-4 February 2022, Fira de Barcelona).

  • Event Date: 31 January 2022
  • Time: 10:30 – 18:30
  • Event Venue: Fira de Barcelona
  • Tickets are available here