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Still More Signs

Jun 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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Welcome to Sound & Video Contractor's digital signage extravaganza. As we hit the InfoComm trail, we thought it made sense to comprehensively examine what is probably one of the two or three biggest growth markets in our industry.

Approximately a year ago, we discussed in this space how digital signage systems had already moved from what we called the “early adopter stage” to the “early majority phase.” Just a year later, it seems like the concept has moved into the “almost everywhere, or soon to be” phase.

In the following pages, we will take you inside the clever — and affordable — installation of a major display at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau; we'll examine the technology's use at a major health-care facility and a metropolitan airport; we'll look at some of the latest, most sophisticated digital signage systems tailored for corporate installations; and we'll convene a roundtable of industry experts to discuss the latest trends and tools for this market.

But in terms of how to wrap your mind around the future direction of digital signage from a business point of view, please check out Jeff Sauer's Picture This column on p. 22. Jeff predicts, based on the approach of businesses such as Gas Station TV (GSTV), that the real golden nugget for the technology might well lie in what he calls “broader, lower-profile penetration” — applications that do not require hugely expensive monitors and installation costs, even while being strategically designed to lure far more eyeballs on any given day than even the fanciest, gigantic videowall.

In other words: The technology to send images, messages, and audio directly to consumers engaging in commonplace activities, such as buying milk or pumping gas, is already here — and it's affordable. He points to GSTV's business model, and others, as potentially a new template for how users, and therefore the installers who help them, can lure big profits out of this development.

I'm looking forward to seeing how far ahead this trend is likely to steer the industry in the next 12 months. Perhaps InfoComm will provide some clues.

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