The market for Electronic Digital Signage is growing rapidly.

The Electronic Digital Signage Market

Electronic Digital Signage (EDS) is a form of electronic display that shows information, advertising and other messages. Digital signs (such as LCD, LED, plasma displays, or projected images) can be found in public and private environments, such as retail stores and corporate buildings. Screens can be conventional (like television), interactive (touch-screen), or 3D. 

Content is played to the displays of a digital signage network from at least one media player (or an internal player for standalone screens). Various hardware and software options exist, providing a range of different ways to schedule and playback content. Content can consist of static images, animations, RSS feeds or videos. 

Systems range from simple, non-networked portable media players to complex networks consisting of multiple players, multiple screens and multiple and servers.

Some Common Applications

• Public areas such as airport terminals, hospitals, malls etc.
• Retail and POP in-store
• Menu boards, restaurants, hotels
• Large billboard displays (outdoor)
• Corporate offices, banks, doctor's offices

EDS Revenue Sources and Opportunities

• Software subscriptions
• Content creation or sourcing
• Content management (updating, scheduling etc.)
• Play list development and management
• Selling additional screens with a variety of content
• Third-party advertising
• Client education and training

How EDS is used compared to other communications devices:

• Internet users are reading and “clicking”;
• TV watchers are sitting, watching and “flicking”;
• Print readers are scanning, reading and “flipping”.

EDS viewers:

• Are out-of-home;
• Are involved in some other primary activity;
• Scan messages for relevance;
• Are drawn to animation

Assessing EDS deployment for clients involves:

• Venue – what kind of location?
• Where will it be placed?
• Proximity to the viewer?
• Who/where is the audience:
• Waiting in an office?
• Walking down an aisle?
• Driving down the street?

The main physical components of digital signage systems are computer hardware, computer software and display screens.

• Peripheral and supporting components include fixtures and furniture, network connectivity, and content creation.

• EDS combines traits of several graphics technologies: slide shows, television commercials, how-to videos, outdoor billboards, old-fashioned show cards.

• EDS is increasing its share in a number of market applications and gaining more acceptance and influence as an important 21st century medium.

• EDS is credited with helping to increase brand awareness and sales “lift” as well as being a community source of information.

• Sign businesses can tap into the digital signage market by taking advantage of their existing client database and their established identity as a signage provider.

• Sign companies and digital graphics providers that are used to working with print, paint, light and other graphic design processes can tap into the content component of digital signage.

• Sign and printing companies that are used to working with sheet metal, steel, wood and other types of sign and graphics fabrication can tap into the fixtures and presentation part of EDS.

• Print and sign making skills transition well into digital signage opportunities because similar graphic design skills are required.

• Knowledge of sign message construction

• Awareness of branding and merchandising

• EDS message content is most effective when clear, short textual messages are presented with graphics and motion.

• EDS information is dynamic and commands more attention, especially when content is relevant to the audience.

Technology impacts content:

• Interactivity (exchanges involving cell phones, credit cards, member cards, kiosks)

• High-definition video (also impacts bandwidth, distribution technologies, PCs, graphics cards and operating systems)

• Layers using 3-D techniques

• Wireless connectivity

Simple content:

• Still photos; slideshow

• Individual and personal experience for viewers

• Relate directly to the viewer

• Crawl lines allow streaming text and graphic content

EDS content:

• Static images (JPEGs etc), Power-Point etc.
• Video content converted into the Flash FLV format

• MPEG2 and MPEG4 (requires larger bandwidth, more cost)

• Live Video

• Database integration

Basics of EDS Message and Content

• A message is best delivered in three-second increments.

• The duration of a spot should be in context of the viewing time and the overall time of the play loop.

• Text within the message should be an easy-to-read font and size, and employ good color contrast; and state the subject, value proposition and call to action.

• Graphics may be a logo, brand name, or depictions of typical usage and benefits.

• Motion can be achieved by moving text or graphics, zooming in or out, shifting display location, flashing, blinking, and other visual effects.

• Audio is not essential to most DDS spots.

Total cost of EDS ownership

• Initial costs
• Hardware
• Software
• Monitors
• Installation

Ongoing costs. 

• Content distribution, scheduling
• Data feed fees
• Ongoing support fees
• Warranty
• Support