There were a number of new technologies on display at the recent Digital Signage Expo, from wearables and holograms to direct view LED displays.
Rich Ventura, NEC vice president and chairman of the Digital Signage Federation, provided an overview of different display technologies emerging. Among those mentioned include:
- OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes), which is a flat light technology that is very fragile, but light and easy to mount. It is also responsive to multiple resolutions.
- Laser projection, which allows for more extended use. “This is good for retail,” Ventura said. Users can project on a number of surfaces and if you’re able to project on a wall, this display technology really comes in handy, Ventura added. Other projection technologies include stretch displays, transparent displays (with no backlighting), micro LED, projection cubes (“holograms are really starting to blow up,” Ventura said), and 3-D.
- Video walls, which Ventura calls the “king of display solutions.” The keys to executing these are thin bezels and color uniformity. He adds the opportunities for video walls are limitless.
- Interactive or kiosks. Europe and Asia is ahead of the U.S. for this market, but Ventura predicts in 2 to 3 years, 75 percent of QSRs will have a kiosk.
- Projection mapping, which can actually change the environment. An example is the Walt Disney World castle, which projects snowflakes in the winter. “This is really unique. It builds an environment,” Ventura said.
- Outdoor technologies continue to grow, but they require high brightness and ruggedness. “The worst thing you can do is put a display outside that you can’t see during the lunch hour. You will lose revenue,” Ventura said.
Some of these technologies, such as LED and projection, work well together.
“If one technology can’t do everything you need it to do, you can leverage another technology,” Ventura said.
Ventura predicts the following trends will pick up in the near future:
- Projection from cell phones
- Integration from IoT (Internet of Things)
- Screens “everywhere”
- Digital wallpaper
- Every surface being interactive
- Displays in clothing, wearables. “Smartwatches are displays,” he said as an example.
“Minority Report is coming,” Ventura said, referencing Steven Spielberg’s science fiction film.
Though Ventura predicted that 75 percent of the QSR market will include a kiosk in the next 2 to 3 years, kiosks have been around for more than a decade in airports, hotels and some retail outlets. What is taking this industry so long to find its footing in other industries?
“The cost is now lower. It’s that simple,” said Truc Nguyen, business and technology consultant at Prosus Inc.
His company, for example, has developed a kiosk that it is giving away – getting away with it by selling only support.
“We’re taking the cost out of the equation. If our customers are happy, they’ll come back,” Nguyen said. “When we sell support, we keep business.”
He agrees with Ventura’s prediction about the increasing ubiquity of kiosks in the QSR market. He further adds that within the next 10 years, kiosks will be able to automatically scan customers to assess gender, age and other personalized information and push out content according to what is popular with those demographics.
“People are more accepting of this technology now. Smartphones familiarized people with touchscreen technology and the cost is down. Soon there will be kiosks everywhere,” Nguyen said. ”It’s exciting. We’ve been around for 10 years, but I still feel we’re the new kids on the block.”
Photo provided by Public Domain Pictures.