Growing pains are always had in nearly every industry imaginable. Often such pains are associated with the lack of rapid acceptance of technology or a general market slum. Whatever the reason for slow market penetration; there always seem to be naysayers present who wish to cut down potential with words of harsh criticism. I am among those to hurl stones at times. While I do believe digital signage as a whole has some great potential and will stand the test of time, I also think many entrants need a harsh reality check.
Let me give a few specific examples of “why” this is. It seems the majority of market entrants come from the DOOH advertising network arena. While these entrants are sometimes motivated entrepreneurs there is often a lack of industry-related knowledge. To be more specific, they have, in general, not taken the time to study and familiarize themselves with those who have tried it all before. The harsh reality of the situation is that very few ad-based networks succeed immensely. The reason is that ad sales are often overlooked while they are the lifeblood of an ad based network. I am an optimist at heart, but I also try to live in a world of reality. If anyone runs the numbers, they will find
In his book Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters, the author Jerry Porras made the following statement:
Success in the long run has less to do with finding the best idea, organizational structure, or business model for an enterprise, than with discovering what matters to us as individuals.
There are those who are determined–either based on necessity or passion–who will never let digital signage fail.They are the software vendors who have engineered the seemingly perfect digital signage software bundle. They could include the bootstrapped ad network or the hardware provider. Even content creation personnel are extremely passionate about what they do.
One of the most blatantly obvious reasons digital signage will not die is based on the fact that venture funding is being infused into this marketplace with wanton abandon. And when the likes of Intel, Microsoft, and Google start mixing their deep pockets in, the powder keg will continue to grow until an explosion takes place. Some of the companies in this space have funding to last them a while–if they are careful to be wise stewards of the resources given. Such external investments into the industry will aide and magnify the efforts of growing companies to help the industry blossom into something more than it is today.
Another reason this industry is here to stay is due to the fact that it’s applicability is so vast. Think of the places, events, and venues that already use digital signage. Now, think for a moment of what would happen if you would cut out digital signage from those events. Many of them could really lose their luster. I know of several individuals who rely on their digital signage for specific tradeshows and events. This individual swears by digital signage for such events. Cut that out and you cut out a major effective tool for him.
Once a technology sees more broad adoption and acceptance, getting rid of it becomes next to impossible–even if you do find it obnoxious and ineffective. Furthermore, once organizations find it as an effective medium, they will develop a reliance upon it which is hard to break–like an addiction to a drug. I would like it to my addiction to cellular phones. I was certainly a late adopter of cell phones. I believe the first cell phone I signed up for was in late 2004, but I can now admit that I am addicted to the technology. What would I do without my cellular phone? Well, I would not have an immediate outside world connection. My smartphone has added even more to this conundrum. Similarly, those who begin to use and see the effectiveness of digital out of home networks will experience a similar result: they will develop–at least to some degree–a reliance on the technology. Hence, digital sign technology is going nowhere.