How Analytics and AI Will Change Digital Signage
The digital signage market is at an exciting point in its evolution, it has grown rapidly in the last few years as solutions have become more affordable and businesses embark on digital transformation strategies to combine offline and online experiences.
As companies continue to compete for relevance and attention with the personalized communication now available in the palm of everyone’s hands, there has been a marked shift by the industry to focus on content and the user experience with trends such as personalisation and interactivity dominating. We’re getting closer to the widespread use of digital data in bricks and mortar settings.
Over the course of August 2019, partners from Sharp’s Open Architecture Platform were surveyed online and via a series of phone interviews to combine their observations and predictions for the digital signage market and to identify the upcoming trends for the year ahead in digital signage.
Sharp Open Architecture Platform and Digital Signage
From our review of the research, data and analytics have been identified by our partners as a key trend for 2020 and will be a clear driver behind change in the digital signage market as we enter the next decade and beyond. How digital signage users accrue data and act on insights will determine the success or failure of their campaigns.
“Signage is really about intelligently compiling data, using the data to send relevant ads to the right audience,” Bailly adds. “That’s signage 4.0, that’s the future. Content can only be as good as the relevance to its audience.”
Mark McDermott, Co-founder and CEO of digital signage platform, ScreenCloud believes that analytics are crucial to the evolution of signage: “We aren’t really measuring how impactful digital signage is as an industry,” he warns. “We need to know which content is really working, what screens are connecting well with an audience and what aren’t. People will get more demanding and ask why they’re seeing content for the 100th time.”
McDermott also believes that analytics will develop to the point where everything will be tracked with more rules-based and dynamic content planning. “Brands will have an idea of the type of content they think people will want and the analytics will re-inform that, even down to when and for how long you show that content on a screen,” he says. “As an industry, we haven’t settled on how analytics is going to work; we don’t have a Google Analytics equivalent for digital signage. Ultimately, the industry will settle on something, and the analytics will help inform how long we run content before we expire it.”
André Brinkmöller, COO at digital signage software company Videro, believes that organisations will need to make AI and machine learning work for them by collecting the right data to gain insights to maximise the impact of their signage. However, consumer data is subject to regulation that is catching up with technology and reflects societal concerns around privacy and data ownership. Use of consented data will be critical to the effectiveness of future interactive digital signage, as it will enable the personalised, customised experience that users demand.
Content creators will need to consider having proof of people opting-in if they are serving ads based on personal data, to ensure they are abiding by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, for example. Different markets are already developing regulations for other emerging technologies, for example San Francisco voted to ban the use of facial recognition software by police and other bodies in May 2019, and the EU is exploring ways to limit the use of facial recognition technology as part of a broader overhaul in the way it regulates AI. Navigating this increasingly sophisticated regulatory landscape is set to become another challenge for the industry.
While the future of digital signage is bright, with new innovations offering businesses the opportunity to explore the potential of data analytics and higher resolution technologies, our partners also highlighted a few challenges facing the industry in the year ahead including the implications of stricter data protection laws and the state of the global economy.
Digital signage is important for the end customer wherever they are – the mall, the airport– to help them make decisions. The onus is on us as a manufacturer, as well as the content management system (CMS) software suppliers, advertisers and others in the industry, to make sure that we create solutions that are useful and relevant to the consumer. Only by working closely together as an industry and contributing our best knowledge and value are we going to achieve that.
This involves complexity, so it’s important that businesses can work with suppliers that understand their unique challenges. We want to give our customers the best chance of success and help them to realise the full potential of digital signage for their business, that’s why we work closely with a selection of software providers and CMS experts offering genuinely tailored solutions that fit any business need.
More thoughts from our experts on digital signage can be found in our free to download ‘Which Way Next’ White Paper, which explores the opportunities and challenges for next 12 months for the digital signage industry as we enter a new decade.
Nordic Commercial Director