By Richard Trask
Dynamic Digital Signage (DDS) is popping up everywhere. Retailers such as Best Buy use signage to coordinate the weekly specials from the newspaper with the onscreen messaging in the store. Wal-Mart has a network of instore TVs to promote “what’s new.” Movie theater owners such as Regal Cinemedia use a satellite network of digital projectors to entertain and advertise before the feature film begins. Fast food operators such as McDonalds and Burger King employ digital menu boards to motivate sales. Grocery stores such as ShopRite and Tesco use strategically placed displays to influence customers’ buying habits at the critical point-of-sale. Corporations and government facilities are implementing DDS to motivate and train employees in the workplace. Even relatively innocuous locations such as your local bank or your doctor’s waiting room are likely to have a DDS to inform, educate, entertain, and promote products and services.
According to recent studies, technology sales to the DDS industry in North America totaled $972 million in 2003, up from $810 million in 2002. Revenues are expected to keep rising to more than $1.9 billion in 2006.
No matter how you define the market, the potential for DDS is huge. Consider the minimum size of only a few of the outlets for DDS: 800,000 restaurants in the U.S., each with at least one menu board; 400,000 billboards in North America alone, each of which has a message changed on average every 6 months; 40,000 shopping centers; 36,000 pharmacies; 10,000 hotels; 5,000 large trade shows. Other opportunities for DDS include airports, train stations, bus stops, theater lobbies, sports arenas, and the holy grail of DDS, retail stores.
In 2006 more than 26,000 companies will implement DDS systems, nearly 92,000 sites with at least one networked display, and an installed base of over 387,000 displays.
These 26,000 companies represent only 1.6 percent of the 1.6 million retail and service companies that have more than one business location that could implement DDS systems. Isuppli/Stanford Resources reported that the worldwide retail signage market was $501 million in 2003 with a growth projection of 29 percent CAGR to $2.35 billion in 2009.
A unique aspect of DDS is its ability to serve a myriad of markets. To better understand this diversity of DDS, consider some significant installations:
Rabobank - Ultrech, The Netherlands
Rabobank is made up of more than 1,300 independently operated local banks throughout The Netherlands. In its Dutch home market, Rabobank Group has 1.3 million members, with 9 million business and private customers.
When Rabobank wanted to reach its customers more efficiently and grow new business worldwide, company officials chose a DDS with plasma screens located in bank locations and next to the bank’s ATMs. Each plasma screen displays short, focused ads about the bank’s products and services.
content is created and distributed to each bank location from a central location over an ASDL infrastructure. To date, Rabobank has installed more than 375 screens with a plan to reach 600 screens in 2006.
Pharmacy TV Channel
T-Systems - Warsaw, Poland
T-Systems launched the first dynamic advertising network for Power Media. The network is composed of more than 220 plasma screens and placed in a third of all pharmacies in Warsaw with the next 120 screens being deployed in other Polish regions. The projected network growth is 1,000 new screens over the next year.
The objective of the network is to sell branded ad space over the Pharmacy TV Channel. The broadcasts follow the pattern of a standard TV program, containing news, weather forecasts, an events calendar, advice of the day, medical messages, and branded commercials advertising OTC drugs, cosmetics, dressing materials, and medical services.
Hospital de Clinicas Caracas - Caracas, Venezuela
Hospital de Clinicas Caracas, the most technologically advanced health institution in Venezuela, is the first to install a digital dynamic entertainment and advertising network. Fourteen high-definition plasma screens display entertainment and relevant health-related information to patients and patrons. The network is the first DDS of its kind to be installed in Latin America.
Berkeley Cinemas - Auckland, New Zealand
Berkeley Cinemas rolled out the first cinema DDS installation in New Zealand. The driver for the project was the deployment of high-definition plasma screens in portrait and landscape mode, creating a cutting-edge cinema environment that enhanced the moviegoing experience. The plasma screens, as well as a “floating” screen driven by a projector, provide relevant up-to-date content such as movie session times and prices, entertainment with movie trailers and previews, and advertising.
Cumbria Constabulary - Cumbria, UK
Managed by the Force Intelligence Section, Cumbria Constabulary installed a “Telebriefing” DDS system that provides real-time intelligence on wanted criminals and other critical crime-based information to officers each day. The Forced Intelligence Center distributes the intelligence to nine rural police stations across Cumbria. News, criminal alerts, new department processes, laws, and acts of parliament are compiled into the briefing content and distributed over the DDS system. While the users of the system are the officers, the beneficiaries are community members, who enjoy a safer place to live.
Public Spaces and Conference Centers
VisTaTech Center - Schoolcraft College - Livonia, MI
The newest landmark of Schoolcraft College’s campus, VisTaTech is a technology-rich venue for training, business meetings, corporate events, innovative learning, and culinary arts education. VisTaTech is a result of a $27 million addition to, and renovation of, the Waterman Campus Center, which for years has served as a gathering place for the college community.
VisTaTech is home to Schoolcraft College’s award-winning Business Development Center and its acclaimed Culinary Arts Department. The facility includes meeting spaces for large and small groups; advanced DDS telecommunications technology throughout; flexible furniture configurations; on-site catering services; and some of the nation’s most advanced instructional kitchens.
2005 began with a DDS conference in Toronto hosted by the Strategy Institute. The tenor of the conference was focused around what DDS is, what technology is required, and what relevance this technology has in the industry. One of the major questions to be answered was what to call this technology. A few months later at a similar conference in New York, hosted again by the Strategy Institute, the tenor of the conference changed to DDS as an accepted phenomenon, and the discussion was focused on the application of DDS. To say that DDS is growing is an understatement.
While the holy grail for DDS is the retail industry, DDS also has significant application in many markets including corporate communications, cable and community television, education, government and military, airports and transit systems, hospitals and medical offices, sports venues, financial centers and banks, casinos and gambling, museums and amusement parks, cinemas, call centers, and hotels. In a world of specialization, few technologies have such far-reaching application in the marketplace as DDS.
Richard Trask is director of marketing for Scala Inc., www.scala.com, a digital signage solution company headquartered in Exton, PA.