DSE Question of the Month: In what circumstances could smartphone adoption be considered a threat to digital signage, and what are some of the ways that mobile technology can be integrated with digital signage to maximize advantage?
Whether in an enclosed space or a more fluid and open shopping environment, people are becoming more and more reliant on their phones for information and entertainment. The biggest difference and, therefore, threat to digital signage is that the consumer is completely in charge of the content and entertainment within his/her phone. While digital signage generally still strives to provide engaging content and relevant advertising in a contextual environment, it is not as 100 percent personalized to the viewer. The question then becomes: Can digital signage integrate itself adequately with mobile technology to drive notice and usage?
The answer is that mobile technology and digital signage integration can work both ways to maximize advantage.
1.Use digital signage messaging to drive to mobile usage
2.Ping mobile phones with messaging that drives users to digital signage
First, digital signage messaging can work in numerous ways to drive to mobile usage. This messaging can range from text-in messages, URL, to QR code. Such mobile technologies allow the user to immediately interact with the brand that they've seen advertised or presented on the digital signage. Additionally digital signage is becoming increasingly integrated with NFC technology. Messaging that drives smartphone users to tap onto an NFC tag immediately integrates the two technologies. While upon initial examination it may seem that this "integration" will, over time, drive consumers away from the signage and toward their phones where the deeper interaction will continue; in fact, the opposite will happen: The more such instances of this integration, the more consumers will turn to signage to inform them about opportunities that mobile technologies can help further develop.
Secondly, areas surrounding digital signage can send messaging out to mobile phones, informing consumers that pertinent, relevant information is on the screens inside a certain place-based venue. This option directly integrates the two technologies and immediately draws in mobile phone users. The messaging that the digital signage sends out can be over Bluetooth or WiFi or even the geo-fencing technologies of data plans. It is important that such messaging is opt-in so that users remain in complete control of their personal device and do not feel bombarded or intruded upon by the messaging. As long as the messaging draws the mobile user toward the digital signage or at least the messaging is similar, the new methodologies of messaging will complement each other.
While smartphone adoption can be a threat to digital signage, mobile technology can be integrated with digital signage to the advantage of both types of media. The place-based and contextually relevant advantages of digital signage can feed into the user-controlled functionality of the mobile phone (and vice versa) creating a 360-degree experience that engages the consumer and continues the conversation in a powerful and personalized way.