I delivered a keynote talk at a conference in Las Vegas recently. The conference was focused on digital employee communications, and was connected to a much larger event, the Digital Signage Expo (DSE). After the internal communication conference wrapped up, I spent some time walking the Expo floor.
Wandering among the booths from big companies I’ve heard of and small ones that were new to me, I was reminded of just how prevalent digital signage has become and how little it gets mentioned in summaries of digital communication platforms. The menu at the Popeyes Chicken near me is digital. The images move, attracting the eye, while making changes (new menu items and pricing changes, for instance) can be done once and distributed across the network. No need to print and ship hundreds or thousands of new menus. Digital signage is catching on in malls. Digital billboards greet drivers approaching the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Digital signage isn’t new. I remember visiting the offices of Southern California Gas Company in the early 1990s, where communication staff produced the content for signs using PowerPoint. Employees could spend a minute or two catching up on important messages in common areas where the screens were located, or at their desks via their PCs. Today, it’s not unusual to attend a conference where digital signs stream tweets containing the conference hashtag. In fact, when I checked into my hotel in Las Vegas, the massive digital sign behind the front desk displayed a constantly updated waterfall of tweets from guests featuring hashtags the hotel had introduced, focusing on events at their property.
Advances in a number of technologies are making digital signage even more compelling. About five years ago, I saw a fascinating example of a billboard in The Netherlands,...
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