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Digital Signposts: The Interactivity Expectation

Apr 23, 2012 9:20 AM, By Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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As you have probably noticed, these days the first thing many people do when they see a digital signage display is touch the screen. This happens time and time again, especially among younger audiences. The reason: It is now expected that any content appearing on a screen that is within physical reach should have an interactive element to it. This is fascinating on many levels. First, it demonstrates that digital signage has progressed beyond its role as a simple replacement for printed content, becoming a medium in its own right with unique, interactive characteristics. Second, it shows that audiences are not only willing to take the time and make the effort to interact with content, but they want to experiment and are genuinely curious to explore and dig deeper into content.

For digital signage operators and integrators, this expectation of interactivity cannot be ignored. It means that both the creative and the technical aspects that provide the very best interactive experience must be leveraged. Content creators must constantly be coming up with new ways for users to experience the presentation. Fortunately, the possibilities are endless, from custom filtering to gaming to recognition systems. The most vital criteria are that interactivity remains on-brand and doesn’t deteriorate into a gimmick that has no connection to the brand or venue.

With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, interactivity has become the norm and it is expected on any screen of any size. Location-based screens have become “giant iPhones,” and users expect a level of performance and an experience that is nothing less.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director, and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at

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