By Lyle Bunn, Principal, BUNN Co.
As the world gathers for the OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) World Summit, which will be held Sept. 20-22 in San Diego, Lyle Bunn will present "Brand Building and Customer Engagement with OLED." In providing the "skinny" on OLEDs for marketing use, Bunn will focus on the "why" of place-based OLED display, market need and the channels to revenue.
While OLED is attractive for use in mobile devices, automotive, control panels and other small-form factor applications, this lightweight, high resolution medium will be well-suited to dynamic signage, architectural and on-location display as its performance engineering and pricing advance quickly.
In January, Hee Yeon Kim, LGD's head of IR Division, said that LGD shipped around 400,000 OLED TV panels in 2015, out of which 50 percent were sold in Q4. In 2016, the company aims to ship 1 million panels — 40 percent of which will be 65 inches in size.
OLEDs are ultra-thin, flexible, almost weightless and can be configured to view from both sides. Media presentation is of an exceptional quality based on the blackness of the blacks and color resolution. OLED offers a superior image quality based on better contrast, higher brightness, a fuller viewing angle, a wider color range and much faster refresh rates. Power consumption is extremely low. These benefits currently come at a higher capital cost than the LCD displays that are widely used for dynamic place-based and ambient display, and engineering efforts continue toward reducing the need for erasure of screen "burn-in" images. Display-life engineering continues to take display operations beyond its current level of 10,000 hours.
OLED is a flat, light-emitting technology made by placing a series of organic thin films between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, a bright light is emitted. OLEDs can be used to make displays and lighting. Since OLEDs emit light they do not require a backlight and so are thinner and more efficient than LCD displays, which do require a white backlight.
In January, LG announced it would invest $380 million to double its OLED TV production capacity by building a new production line with a capacity of 25,000 substrates per month. The new line will be completed by Q2 2017.
In June, online retail revenues exceeded in-store retail revenues for the first time in history. The strong pressure on retail, banking and other consumer service locations to provide an engaging, attractive and influential environment inspires brands toward digital in-store/branch communications that provides better message targeting while adding modern vitality and improved ambiance to the environment. At the same time, establishments in the food services, hospitality and entertainment sectors seek to maximize the patron experience to increase visit frequency and on-site revenue activation.
Where finishing materials such as glass, Lucite, acrylic, tile and the many lighting, fixture and furnishing treatments are adding to productivity of building and outfitting an environment to maximize destination appeal, digital media adds significantly to the productivity of a patron or public space.
Whether it is revenue per square foot, revisit frequency, dwell time or measures of human resources productivity such as output, throughput, safety, absenteeism, retention or hiring, the use of digital media is a highly cost effective way to achieve business results.
The improved integration of flexible, lightweight OLED display into the immersive experience of modern architecture is very patron friendly. As media guru Marshall McLuhan declared, "The medium is the message," OLED can fit into the contours of the building design and emphasize the curves that have been poor options for installing a rigid rectangular display. This empowers the encompassing and immersive experience.
Leon Silverman, as chair of the Hollywood chapter of the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers, once said, "Never have we created entertainment so well, nor presented it so poorly." It was a call to action that has since been continuously improving in the entertainment sector, and it has translated across to the commercial application of location-based messaging.
As brands want truer colors and other elements that make for eye-catching and eye-holding images, they are better able to tell their story. Placing the legacy of a brand's story in a modern context and exceeding the expectations established by home TV use, brands are able to breathe new life into selling their story and making the viewer part of that storytelling. Imagine, for example, the image of a mountain view in motion in an outdoor equipment store where patrons can select their climbing gear, or images in a sports franchise store that allows fans to image themselves as part of the action on the court, field or ice.
Like the best image presentation imaginable enabling the success of the retailer, brand and patron, OLEDs also serve the interests of the providers and installers of visual devices. Audio-visual integrators, for example, are able to reduce the burden of additional staff and equipment needed for heavier displays. Mounting a much lighter display alleviates the need to reinforce walls or ceilings for display anchoring. AV integrators, along with content producers and others in the digital media supply chain welcome the advances of OLED displays.
In summary, the modernizing of display technologies, increased production capacity and the expectations of consumers make this an exciting time for improved image presentation at locations.
Lyle Bunn provides digital media industry analysis, education and counsel. He can be reached at Lyle@LyleBunn.com.