Sunday, June 21, 2009

Infocomm 2009: Digital Signage Recap

Attendance was down and exhibitors scaled back (like every show this year), but digital signage is growing. The Digital Signage showcase area of the expo floor is taking up more and more space at this annual show, the premier event for the Professional AV industry, with more and more affordable solutions. My quick take:
1. Still a lot of companies. There are a lot of digital signage companies competing for market share. Differentiation is the key. When will attrition and or the mergers begin?
2. Say hello to Atom. The new Intel Atom processor is now appearing in commercial-grade media players for digital signage in the $500 price range.
  Atom based consumer-grade netbooks with more then adequate video output capabilities are already available for $250.
3. Easy content creation for networked signage. FrameMedia has been offering the FrameChannel content management service for wireless photo frame owners for over 3 years now. With SignChannel, a $15/month business solution, hundreds of channels
of content (news, weather, sports, financial data, etc) along with editable templates for professional looking content on your digital sign is now affordable and easy to do.
4. Do you want live TV content with your signage? Roku/BrightSign had several new product announcements. In particular, a live video module that connects to a BrightSign player lets you display live TV in a predefined zone. The total price for this solution will be less than $1,000, a new and more affordable low.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Barrier To Entry Has Been Removed

Having spent many years in digital signage growing channel distribution and strategic partnerships for a tier 1 global LCD manufacturing leader, going after the millions of small business owners with affordable solutions was never priority #1, going after opportunities that could lead to thousands of units was. Perhaps that makes sense for a huge corporation, developing one for many opportunites instead of many for one. However I have since moved on and continue to be amazed at how inexpensive the investment is for a small business owner to get a digital signage solution. This was one of the compelling reasons why I started consulting in this area. As I head off to InfoComm this week, the professional AV industry premier event of the year, I expect to see more product offerings with more advanced capabilities at more affordable prices for small business owners to consider. My next post will talk about some of the specifics I found of interest.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Digital Signage & The Great White Way

New York City is a great barometer of established and emerging trends. A walk around Time Square and then towards the Empire State Building reveals that Digital Signage in foodservice has taken hold. Flat panel displays can be found in many restaurants as enitre menu boards, in hybrid menu boards (combining static menus with a flat panel display), or as promotional signage in portrait mode advertising daily specials. The entire menu board array is quite impressive and in some cases incorporates automatic changes based on inventory, environmental or price control triggers. Still pretty much state-of-theart stuff. Short term however a simple mpg/jpg player and inexpensive flat panel display is a way to benefit from some of the same advantages the state-of-the-art solution offers (improved efficiency, sales revenue, customer experience, brand impression, etc) but a much less cost.