Since the so-called “mad men” era of marketing that instigated a flood of mass advertising, marketing communications have undergone tremendous changes in terms of presentation and customer experiences. And with the rise of digital signage, the paradigm has shifted from promotions to personalized and immersive experiences for customers. It focuses on engaging customers after catching their attention. Increasingly, organizations are leveraging the latest developments in the digital sign industry for informing, engaging, and entertaining customers. In this regard, they are consistently striving to create useful content.
But even compelling content needs a digital device to make it all happen—securely, reliably, and with affordable quality. That’s why searching for digital signage media players is one of the most important aspects of the digital media puzzle. The latest crop of media player technologies is enabling richer experiences. Some key trends to be watched in this domain are:
Real-Time Content Streaming
Integrating rich media and real-time content streaming creates a dynamic digital experience. Digital signage technology functions as a presentation platform ideally suited to sharing immersive content on embedded-graphic devices using IP. From live video streaming to audio content, there are many possibilities to be explored in this domain. The latest media players come equipped with the capability of functioning as IP streaming servers that connect 4K (UHD) content directly to presentation screens or video walls. This kind of display that easily scales larger than life is useful for training, entertaining, instructing, and promoting products and services in a fun, immersive way.
Enhanced Mixed-Media Experiences
Digital marketers and advertisers often need ways to enhance content relevance, and employing a content principle called “sticky” is a tried and true technique that meets this need. Considering this for digital signage, media players play a significant role by enabling widgets that source useful information that is often location specific, or event specific, or whatever is relevant at a given time and place. For example, when used at a ski resort, a digital sign placed near a lift queue gives riders specific weather conditions at the peak. Or, in a warm and cozy bar, an on-screen reminder may pop-up that lets everyone know their favorite craft brew is half-price between 3-6 PM. These kinds of sticky on-screen presentations provide better communication by being relevant to the audience. When searching for digital signage media players, seek out devices that support widget or app technology.
Cloud-Based Deployment and Security
Up until recently, swapping SD cards (memory) on digital signage media players was the most common technology for updating media playlists. SD cards are relatively inexpensive, are easy to copy for multiple locations, and are reliable. Unfortunately, updating media players by swapping SD cards does not gain much more usability than shipping around VHS tapes like we did 20 years ago. Today, there is a much better method available. The best digital signage media players use ubiquitous cloud technology that offers secure, effective, instantaneous, and scalable deployment. These cloud networks have overcome severe challenges for the deployment and security of the content. Hence, this new approach to digital signage is gaining momentum in the industry. As a result, businesses are experiencing more transparency, more cost savings, and lesser maintenance costs on their digital signage systems.
When searching for digital signage media players today, don’t forget to put mobile interactivity on the checklist! With the integration of NFC and Beacon technology into these systems, retailers are enhancing their engagement with existing and potential customers. The two-way communication between media players and customers through their mobile devices helps by sending more personalized messages to the users. This targeted approach has improved the overall experiences and maximized the impact of digital signage technology. Indeed, this technology makes “location” one of the relevant factors in marketing, potentially reducing the annoyance that comes from a barrage of unwanted ads or messages. The right kinds of incentives may also prompt customer buy-in, which can lead to social sharing, and ultimately, can help build goodwill when tied to corporate purpose.
Advertising on Digital Signage Media Players
Considering how often advertising needs updating—think daily—the process of managing ad content on media players can be truly daunting for media managers. If this is your primary reason for deploying digital signage, then it is important to search for software systems that allow easy tagging of content and assignment to media players. Once again, cloud-based digital signage media players make all of this so much easier than in the recent past. A better system today is managed over a web browser. It should have multiple zones with assignable admin privileges for those zones. It should support nested playlists that can be triggered with external inputs such as weather conditions, traffic conditions, or some other variable, such as inventory, etc. These scheduled or triggered ads ensure that relevant, targeted content gets delivered to specified audiences.
These are some of the trends shaping the future of this industry. Yes, there are still elements of the Wild West in digital signage, so you should be leery of gimmicky pricing schemes that promise the world for free, old technology, or inferior technology that makes your screen blue and turns your face red. When searching for digital signage media players, prefer the system that is in sync with your needs and makes sense from a corporate viewpoint—not a consumer viewpoint.