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Digital Signage Reaches Critical Mass

. In the study, researchers predicted that digital signage would be one of the AV applications to drive industry growth over the next three years.

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Earlier this month, prior to integrated systems europe, infocomm held a press briefing to preview the results of its new "2010 Global AV Market Definition & Strategy Study". In the study, researchers predicted that digital signage would be one of the AV applications to drive industry growth over the next three years. During the briefing, Duffy Wilbert, CTS, InfoComm's senior vice president of membership, specifically cited large venues, including sports stadiums and arenas, as ripe for new or retrofit digital signage networks.

No argument here. Again this year I had the pleasure of judging the Digital Signage Expo Apex Awards, given out this month in Las Vegas. Among the nominees, there were many well-integrated stadiums and arenas. Taken as a group, they demonstrate how best practices have developed for a this lucrative market (as well as others, such as transportation centers). And yet think of all the stadiums left to outfit.

By most accounts, digital signage was a bright spot in an otherwise grim 2009. But what's striking is how quickly it's become mainstream. Can you imagine an airport without flight information displays? A major hotel without the day's events on an LCD? Sure you can–the market couldn't grow without laggards.

But the industry has hit such a critical mass of systems and solutions that it may be harder to impress people. The race is on to keep up with clients who no longer need selling on digital signage–they just want it–while pushing new envelopes. We've seen social media integrated with signage, displays on the sides of buses, and technology that lets designers break from traditional shapes and sizes. The sky's still the limit.

But what makes the market great is what makes it attractive to a slew of industries, from AV to IT to niches in between. The rising tide is certainly lifting all boats, and AV pros should understand the best ways to position themselves for success (see "Turf Wars"). Imagine when a digital signage network is as routine a requirement as tried-and-true conference room AV. We're getting there.

Editor's note: In our November/December 2009 issue, we failed to identify the sources of the two installation pictures that accompanied the story "Green AV Design". AVI-SPL (left) and Acentech (right) worked on the projects pictured and provided the images.

Brad Grimes ¦ Editor
e-mail: bgrimes@hanleywood.com



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