On Tuesday, more than 300 people logged in to a webinar to hear results and analysis from the Digital Signage Association's 2010 Digital Signage Future Trends Report. The report is the results of surveys from more than 1,200 participants, along with forward-looking commentaries from 13 industry experts and 20 success stories.
Among the most interesting findings was that 45.6 percent of respondents said that none of their screens were networked. A further 18 percent said "some are, some aren't."
"If the screens aren't networked, you have to wonder how elementary the installations are," said Bill Yackey, editor of DigitalSignageToday.com, during his presentation. "It means very likely that the playlists and the content refresh is minimal. So many users are missing out on the top advantages of digital signage: flexibility and economy."
Also participating in the webinar were digital signage industry consultant Lyle Bunn and retail media consultant Laura Davis-Taylor.
Bunn was enthusiastic about the findings in the report:
"The Digital Signage Future Trends Report offers the most comprehensive view of the industry to date. The results of 1,200 survey respondents on the status, value and directions of network deployments are reflected. The report is a sound piece of status reporting with the survey results pointing to some must-know trends."
In addition to revealing a SWOT analysis for the digital signage industry during his presentation, Bunn outlined some other key points of the survey:
• Twenty percent of the 1,200 responding firms indicate they will spend between $200,000 and $1 million per year — this represents 240 firms of the survey respondents themselves expecting to spend a total of $48 to $240 million.
• Enhancement of the customer experience, branding, cost savings/efficiencies and ad revenues are seen as driving investment decisions.
• More than 40 percent of responds believe that retail has, and will continue to benefit most from digital signage. While 53 percent of respondents expect to spend more on digital signage, 24 percent are still uncertain. This suggests the high value of continued marketing of the enabling value/ROI/ROO of digital signage.
• Significant opportunity exists for new and high growth deployments with 39 percent of those who took the time to reply to the survey indicating they have no displays and a further 39 percent indicating one to 24 displays. Almost 490 respondents indicate they expect to deploy one to 24 displays in the next two years.
• Generally, a third of respondents expressed that they would add functionality such as audience measurement, 3D, interface to POS, etc. Many believe that interactivity with mobility, touchscreens and social networking will impact digital signage significantly over the next two years. These suggest an available "after market" or upgrade path for suppliers. It bears noting that displays and media players that are nearing "end-of-life" offers a ready opportunity to upgrade technology platforms and elements that allow digital signage to better serve communications objectives.
• The growth in "entirely employee-facing" displays by 20 percent and the decline in "entirely customer-facing" displays by 33 percent indicate a dramatic growth in staff-facing (corporate) networks and an increase in "hybrid" use, which may draw from multiple budgets.
• A full 60 percent of displays have no third party advertising, with 29 percent having less than half the airtime and only 10 percent of networks having 50+ percent of advertising. By way of comparison, of about 200 known networks in North America, the 47 networks comprising OVAB membership are typically close to 100 percent ad-based.
• 65 percent of content uses Flash. This format enables attractive content but it comes with a higher performance demand on the media player, which suggests the need to specify capable media playout technologies.
Lyle Bunn contributed analysis for this article. Bunn's complete SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysisis available here.