Industry bloggers and critics are quick to post articles, images and opinion on the most recent failed digital signage installation. In fact, it’s one of the things prognosticators do best–critique the validity of others’ work. I have seen and even participated in such pointed and often reasonable barbs toward some integrator’s attempt at reaching out-of-home audiences. While there are certainly a great number of ways to get an installation right, there are even more ways to do things wrong. The up-and-up of the situation is that in recent views of signage installations, I’ve noticed many more good examples than bad. As the industry comes into its own, I believe we’ll continue to see more examples of getting it right than the all-too-often showcased “digital signage fail.”
As we move into digital signage 2.0, we’ll see more failed attempts. Failure is a natural byproduct of pushing the envelope of the cutting edge. As technologies and companies mature, “getting it right” becomes that much more natural. No longer do we see the ridiculousness and obvious blunders of exposed cables, visible mediaboxes, or terribly-created content. Instead, we see maturity in the integration, quality in the content and overall efficiency of the processes. Even industry consolidation can help to fuel this type of growth.
So, as the market for digital signage products expands and morphs, I think it is easy to get caught up in how people are getting it wrong, but we need to remember that there are still many, many ways to get it right. What may be wrong for one particular venue could actually prove effective for a completely different rollout. For instance, static content with no digital signage audio may not be the best option for a quiet waiting room or an elevator, but may be the only way to reach a large, loud group. Let us ever be mindful that context should always be a metric used in judging the quality of an effective sign rollout.