Digital signage (DS) is a well-established, commercially important part of the overall market served by the ISE show. The message that came out of the 2020 Digital Signage Summit ISE was that while the sector had consolidated its position it was continuing to grow and develop, both technologically and commercially, although it was undergoing some upheavals.

Figures from AVIXA show DS to be the second largest segment of professional AV, but conference chair Florian Rotberg, Managing Director of invidis consulting, warned there could be some disruption from both the coronavirus outbreak and Brexit. On the second issue, Rotberg said, “There will be more paperwork and it could be difficult to win projects.” His advice was to prepare.

Technologically LED is continuing to make inroads, even though it is still one hundred times more expensive than LCD. Rotberg identified a new trend of architecture firms moving into DS by setting up their own digital units. “This allows them to integrate DS early on into a project or place,” he explained. Rotberg’s colleague Stefan Schieker added that in terms of platforms the market was moving from digital signage experience (DSXP) systems to full digital experience (DXP). Through better interoperability, retailers and service providers were now able to reach more channels and gather information. “But it is a difficult step from DSXP to DXP,” Schieker said.

This transition featured in the presentation by Christophe Billaud, Managing Director of DS software developer TELELOGOS. The company recently moved into system integration and Billaud said customers were now asking for management of all devices, not just the displays. “We are integrating big data with DS,” he commented. “Through that we can target [advertising or information] and also know about the people interacting with the display.”

The next step for DS appears to be moving on from conventional displays to deliver interactive or augmented reality (AR) experiences. In the panel discussion Digital Signage Innovators and Disrupters, developers of new technologies laid out how their innovations might benefit or change this market. Hypervsn Solo attracted a lot of attention when it introduced its 3D holographic Solo display in 2014. “People either thought it was a gimmick or didn’t believe it,” said company co-founder Kiryl Chykeyuk, who describes the technology as “AR but a bit different”. This means it does not rely on glasses or headsets and has been expanded into the Hypervsn Wall, which has applications in the DS domain.

Mapwize has developed a mapping system for wayfinding in smart buildings and is now expanding it into DS applications for banks, hotels and other public places; this allows maps and plans to be shown on displays and kiosks or sent to mobile phones. Innovation is not just being driven by small start-ups; NEC is using its Anonymous Video Analytics (AVA) platform in conjunction with the ALP display to, in the words of analytics platform strategist Kelly Harlin, “focus on the consumer journey”.

In a ‘Fireplace Chat’ with Florian Rotberg, Jon Sidwick, Senior VP of Maverick AV Solutions, observed that the DS market was now taking a new technological direction: “The technology used to dictate what was put in a room. Now things are going the other way [and responding to the application]. Data is becoming a new tool, a currency in our business that can be turned into something useful.”

Digital Signage Summit ISE took place on 12 February 2020 at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Please find the image gallery here. See you next year at Integrated Systems Europe 2021!