Over the last decade, this too has been an exciting area to watch. The progression from “produced” content of videos, animated graphics and images; to ready-made content from aggregators; to social media content (aka user generated content) from trusted, curated internal and external sources; and now to the newest trend of (what I call) synthetic content, the combination of real-time data with all of the above. All these sources present a unique set of challenges for the digital signage ecosystem providers. The ecosystem will be optimized when all the participant’s systems support the right mix of content production, content exchanges, content syndication, digital signage content management, content delivery, workflow controls, integrated “integration” components and presentation for all manner and size of digital signage deployment. Nearer term, advances in data-driven content creation and delivery in context like gamification and infographics should be fun to watch. As a recovering engineer, numbers in context like the scoring dashboards every Millennial sees at night in their video game play is an odd breathe of fresh air compared to tired reconstituted images of “scientists” in lab coats looking at projected spreadsheets. Think of Kal Penn’s Big Picture on National Geographic Channel meets Avatar (OK, I’m slightly dating myself).
This is the final frontier of communication. And, it’s the area that lags behind the rest for good reason. We are essentially at the earliest stage of causality – we played content X and we counted behavior Y – an ad was displayed and a product was purchased, a direction was given and a visitor moved to the next station, etc. That shows the message on our digital signage was effective. That’s a good start and may be as far as you ever need to go in many cases (e.g., digital signage in retail). But I do wonder what other responses we can pursue and objectively determine or count as we create content and delivery systems to support experiences beyond commercial transactions. For example, how do you assess the engagement effectiveness of digital experiences in interactive science museums, amusement parks and religious buildings?
During my days as an Art History under-grad (stop laughing), I learned a wonderful German word, Gesamtkunstwerk, which is applied to define a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms. I have been lucky to be involved in the (sadly) mostly plebian pursuit of this goal. It’s a nice living, don’t get me wrong, and I trust the next ten years will exceed the last.