Opportunities await those willing to commit.
“As we began doing more and more P-O-P, we also began seeing electronic digital signage systems here and there,” recalls Sloan. “We could see it was the wave of the future.”
But for all its advantages, company principals wondered why digital signage wasn’t more pervasive. “We really spent our first year trying to identify the weaknesses – why hadn’t digital signage made its way more into retail?”
The issues, they learned, included costs, deployment, and awareness. They also identified projection films, rather than monitors, as an approach that would allow more creative applications.
“A projection film, surrounded by graphics, tends to draw more people in than an LCD,” says Sloan. “They want to step up to it, see what it is, how it works.” Combined with advances in high-resolution micro-projectors, the films bring digital signage to settings where a monitor simply won’t work.
Express Image has used the technology to convert the windows of a Mini-Cooper into digital signs. In another installation, the film displays a super-sized smartphone pedestrians could step up to explore features or play interactive games.
Then there are the virtual mannequins and minnequins. The mannequins can be built to spec, while the minnequins stand 10 inches. The package includes content production, including a green room recording of a model reading the sponsor’s message. Sloan sees applications at tradeshows, museums, exhibits, lobbies, and the point of sale. “Anybody who does any kind of advertising, or has something to explain to the public, can utilize them,” says Sloan.
Even with these innovations, and all the possibilities dynamic signage allows, he still considers the technology as a complement to print. “This has just diversified our market,” he says. “We don’t expect it’s going to encroach on print, but will create new opportunities for it.”
Creating effective content
For DGI Invisuals (dgi-invisuals.com) in North Billerica, Massachusetts, electronic digital signage helps make the company the single source for all clients’ graphic communication needs.
“It’s certainly growing, but not outpacing our large-format print business,” reports Glen Fairbanks, company vice president. He estimates the company’s turnkey digital signage solutions account for less than 25 percent of sales. Still, that’s a respectable showing for a graphics provider that’s been in the digital sign business less than a decade.