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Digital signage has come a long way since the early days of static displays, DVDs, and manual updates. But the best is still to come.

The future trends of digital signage show that existing users and new industries are in for a treat when it comes to using digital displays to enhance their products, boost their business, and connect with their audiences. Let’s take a look.

New uses

Traditionally, digital signage is commonly used by retailers, fast food establishments, offices, and the occasional hotel. However, the success of digital screens across these sectors has led to the development of digital signage for other sectors and purposes.

1) Automotive

Self-driving cars will not only give people more time to concentrate on other matters during the daily commute, but it’s predicted that they’ll also lead to an increase in shared vehicle use.

This presents an opportunity for the placement of digital out of home advertising screens in the center console, which can display localized content relevant to the passenger and their destination. For example, someone getting a self-drive taxi from the airport to their hotel could trigger advertisements for local eateries and tourist attractions.

2) Fragrance

Digital signage brands in Japan are already trialing aroma-emitting devices that emit a scent alongside the digital content displayed, and it’s looking likely that this technology will take off.

This will open up the world of digital signage to fragrance and cleaning brands who want to offer an interactive experience that advertises their best feature: the smell. Other uses for scent-emitting screens include tempting commuters to your bakery with the smell of freshly baked cookies or creating an emotional connection with your brand by using memorable scents.

3) Touch

Now we’re really stepping into the future. Haptic technology creates the feeling of touch through the use of motion, vibrations, and forces – transforming a 2D digital display into a 3D experience.

In the future, this could be integrated into existing digital displays to help convey 3D sensations and transform the retail experience.

For example, your audience could feel the texture, shape, or weight of a product you’re advertising – helping them make an informed purchasing decision without touching the product or speaking to a sales assistant.

New functionalities

Digital signage already helps your message stand out from traditional printed signage, but these new functionalities are about to take that to another level.

1) Holographic displays

Holographic OOH signage has recently popped up on the streets in Estonia, where a double-sided virtual display makes it look like the lead actor of a television show is on the street taking photographs of people. This innovative use of digital advertising could potentially be used to beam people in for live interactions with your audience – creating a memorable experience that’s one to talk about.

Holographic displays will give businesses a new and exciting way to capture audience attention, engage interest, and generate buzz around their brand.

2) Artificial intelligence

AI isn’t new, but the combination of AI and digital signage is. Advancements in automated technology will allow digital screens to analyze and decide what content to display to specific audience members.

This might be influenced by their behavior, the weather, recent news, or where they came from – creating a personalized experience that is more likely to attract attention and result in action. For example, if it’s raining outside your screen can switch to your latest line of umbrellas, or if there’s been a major traffic incident, your office information screens can display the latest travel information.

3) Proximity technology

Proximity technology uses radio-frequency identification (RFID), beacons, and sensors to trigger relevant content on digital screens – creating a personalized experience for different audiences.

For example, RFID tags on a clothing label can trigger a changing room display to show a video of the item on the catwalk or an interactive display of coordinating items. Beacon technology can extend a digital screen campaign to the audience’s smartphone, displaying follow-on content and a relevant CTA. And, lift and learn technology can trigger relevant content about a product and its accessories when a customer picks up the item.

Other trends worth noting

It’s not just new features and functionalities that will enhance your digital signage in the future. Other upcoming developments and trends include:

1) Facial recognition

Measuring the success of your digital screen campaigns can be challenging, especially with outdoor advertising. Facial recognition and proximity technology hopes to solve these challenges by providing accurate data on how many people pass a screen, how many people engage with a screen, and the demographics of these people.

These insights will enable you to run more informative split testing campaigns to create the perfect content for your audience. They might also give you insights into unintended audiences who nonetheless engage with your content.

2) Media players

Media players will continue becoming smaller, more powerful, and increasingly userfriendly. You’ll be able to display content at a higher quality and of a more complex nature, without paying for additional help or system upgrades. Other digital signage hardware and software improvements will include remote access and control, synchronized screens, and real-time updates.

3) Increased use

Digital signage is already an effective way to communicate with audiences outside of the home, and it’s predicted to become an even more impactful form of communication. The rise of automated technology, such as self-driving cars, gives people more time to see and absorb OOH advertisements. Meanwhile, the crowded inbox and social media platforms make OOH digital advertising more likely to be seen, heard, and appreciated than current forms of advertising.

Accordingly, more brands will be utilizing digital screens and more people will be paying attention.

Final thoughts

The technology behind digital signage is constantly evolving to meet new audience needs and generate better user experience and results.

This is just a selection of what’s to come in the future and who knows exactly where technology will take us. However, what we do know is that by embracing digital signage technology now, you’ll be no stranger to these benefits in the future.