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Making the Leap into Electronic Digital Signage

(December 2012) posted on Tue Dec 13, 2011

Is this dynamic medium the next horizon for print service providers? Here are four print shops that have experienced varying degrees of success with electronic digital signage and display work.

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By Michael Antoniak

They’re cropping up everywhere, it seems: attention-grabbing LCD displays, panels, and systems that are shouting for attention wherever consumers meet products and services.

All falling under the umbrella of electronic digital signage, these systems share two major common features: They all provide changeable content and do so in a digitally delivered electronic format. Some would argue that they also are capable of producing graphics that are more dramatic and more eye-catching than their print counterparts – but that, like a printed graphic, is largely dependent upon quality of the system’s components and its installation.

The question for providers of wide-format graphics is: To what degree does electronic digital signage merit your attention? It’s a growing market, to be sure, and most industry consultants will indicate that electronic digital displays probably represent the next frontier for advertising and promotional graphics. But the over-arching concern for any shop should be whether you have the mindset and resources to make it a viable venture.

Print service providers already have the customer base likely to benefit from electronic digital displays and signage. Capitalizing on those relationships, however, requires a total commitment to a market that’s driven by tools and technologies likely to be quite new to you and your staff. If you choose to bring this in-house, you’ll be making a decision sure to have an impact on your current company – not only on its product offerings but also for its entire business structure, from staff and skill-set training to marketing and resources in general.

The four print shops that follow all have experienced varying degrees of success with electronic digital signage and display work. They’ve chosen to treat the medium and its technology not as a threat to their print work, but as a potential additional revenue stream, exploring how they can best derive an advantage to their business.

Hitting the mark: Visual Impressions
“Right now there are a lot of players in the electronic digital signage business,” observes Beth Osborne, director of marketing for Visual Impressions in Charlotte, North Carolina ( “They’re not all offering the same thing, or doing it as well.”

Her company, with its roots in the wide-format graphics business, is one which has apparently gotten digital signage right. Osborne happily reports that dynamic-signage services now represent 25 percent of her company’s revenues. “Hopefully, by the end of this year it will represent even more,” she says.