We spent the last week of March at our industry’s largest trade show, Digital Signage Expo. Hosted every year in Las Vegas, DSE brings the world’s most innovative hardware, software, AV integrating, content creation, and strategy companies that work in digital signage together to showcase what’s new. We spent two full days on the show floor demoing our online content creation tool and unveiled its next logical iteration: a tool for creating and managing interactive kiosk experiences. In the midst of the madness, we found a few minutes to peruse the exhibit hall to see what’s in the future for digital signage. Here are a few takeaways from our experience:
You can put digital signage almost everywhere. We saw digital signage everywhere— It’s Vegas after all. From tiny screens above bathroom sink faucets to massive ones covering complete sides of buildings, everywhere we looked there were screens staring back at us. After a week of seeing them in the headrests of taxis, at blackjack tables, and as casino directories, even we were experiencing a tiny bit of screen fatigue.
Asymmetry is in. Screens mounted at 45 degree angles were quite popular this year. As seen in the photo below, images can move across multiple screens, much like a standard video wall. While this is cool looking for their examples, we’re not convinced that it’s as effective for conveying the type of content that most viewers are used to. For example, text wouldn’t be as easy to read as it goes between displays in this setup. Projects that go this route should expect high content costs, as developing graphics for these non-standard sizes and aspect ratios will present unique challenges for designers.
DSE is truly an international affair. We met attendees from every continent (except Antarcticans, who can’t handle the Vegas heat). One of our favorite parts of DSE is networking with our counterparts from other parts of the world and seeing how their needs and strategies differ from our own. We are a huge believer in diversity here at Codigo, so we take every opportunity to meet and interact with people from places we’ve only read about.
Hardware is only as good as the content on it. All of the cool, large screens we saw would be pointless and boring without quality content on display. This brings to mind the old marketing saying that “content is king”— it’s as true now as ever. No matter how much money you spend on massive, impressive screens, you won’t keep anyone’s attention unless you’re showing something worth taking a moment to enjoy. That’s why our new content creator is designed for users of all design skills levels, enabling anyone to build quality content in minutes.
LG knows how to build some cool tech. LG definitely had one of the most impressive booths. From screens mounted to motorized actuators, to dual-sided monitors a mere half-centimeter thick, they brought their A-game to DSE. The other major players in that arena—Samsung, NEC, elo—certainly came to play, but didn’t quite turn our heads as much as the tech unveiled by LG.
Video and animation is where it’s at. Of the screens showing content at DSE, the ones displaying animations or video really stood out compared to those with static images, such as menu boards. Motion simply catches the eye faster and easier than still images do. In the content creation realm, it’s becoming critical to develop smoothly animated graphics in a reliable, simple, and affordable way.
People love interactive kiosks. We really drew people to our booth with our variety of interactive kiosks, which allowed users to play games, browse videos, and submit their info to us with forms. Eye-catching video attractor loops used bright colors and pleasing animations to grab the attention of attendees walking by, who then proceeded to begin tapping on the screen and engaging with the content—just for the fun of it.
Holograms are freaking cool. One of the most interesting new technologies we got to experiment with at DSE was the interactive hologram units at the ASKA3D We’ve seen holographic displays before, but ASKA3D’s units utilize motion capture sensors similar to Leap Motion and Microsoft Kinect to give the user the ability to manipulate the floating image in real time. Where do gesture-based interactive experiences and augmented reality meet for retail purposes? Maybe we’ll learn that at DSE 2018.