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Digital signage: More than just a pretty fascia

When you look at a digital sign today, don’t be surprised if it is looking back.

An increasing number of digital signs are being loaded with sensors and analytics programs so retailers can glean useful data like mapping out the shopping patterns of customers, said Johanny Payero, Senior Manager of OEM of Marketing and Program Management with Lenovo during a recent ITWC Briefing.

“Some of the areas we’ve been focusing on from a content management perspective include analytics around demographics, consumer behaviour, even facial expression and levels of engagement and interest. We’re trying to understand things like whether the weather impacts buying behaviour. The time of day. The people you are with. If you’re shopping with your children, for example, does that change your buying behaviour?”

Big growth means big business
The digital signage industry is a huge business. According to Grandview Research the global digital signage market in 2020 was valued at $29.49 billion US. It’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% from 2021 to 2028. That growth is attributed to the demand for digitized promotion products and services that effectively attract the attention of a target audience.


Payero said an integrated digital signage system can create captivating, immersive experiences while collecting data on shoppers or customers at the same time. It’s a dynamic medium with touch screens and advanced technology designed to bring users into a shared experience.

Tradition television advertising usually features a standard appeal to buy a product. The experience with digital signage can be much more immersive –– sensory-grabbing graphics featuring sizzling steaks or Coca-Cola pouring into a glass as the shopper walks by, for example.

Digital has been replacing print in signage for about 25 years but it’s often been a passive experience, according to Dane Oldridge, Technical Sales Specialist/SME – Display and Transactional Solutions with Intel. “Recently we’ve found digital signage to be more interactive; more of a two-way engagement because of video analytics where we can measure things –– metrics and KPIs –– that will tell advertisers, for example, whether their content is being used.”

The details in the data
Collecting data is one thing. Using it effectively is the key to a good analytics program, says Payero. “We’re looking at different content management system platforms and even content management service providers, addressing how the data translates into decision-making.”

Retail has been the conduit for the growth in the digital signage industry, according to Payero, but the transportation industry –– trains, buses and terminal kiosks –– is running a strong second.

The potential for digital signage systems is impressive, but only if users take full advantage of content development, according to Payero. “We need to put the focus on sign integrators ––the companies and the organizations who work to get the most out of signage on the behalf of a multitude of end users.”

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