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The future of digital signage: targeted, relevant and engaging

Using digital signage to deliver timely, relevant and effective messages

Young female with a backpack reading a monitor

Reaching tenants, visitors or employees with timely, location-specific information is a challenge. In a world where people face a flood of information and expect instant answers at their fingertips, it’s more important than ever to deliver messages that break through. A network of digital displays and touchscreen kiosks offer a powerful way to reach the audience you want with the information they need. Rogers has teamed up with Corum Digital to provide a fully customizable, cloud-based digital signage solution.

We sat down with Amedeo Tarzia, the President & CEO of Corum Digital, to get his take on how digital signage can help get the right information to the right audience.

Effective communication with dynamically updated messaging

Tell us about Corum Digital and what you do.

We inspire our customers to become more effective communicators through the use of our products and technologies. We do that by understanding our customer’s target audience, their intended message, the location and the specific environment. These details, combined with deep industry knowledge, allow us to present the ideal medium for our customers to deliver their message most effectively. Ultimately, we enable technology that our customers deploy to engage, educate and empower their audiences.

Given how technology is changing, how is the need to communicate, both indoors and outside, changing?

From a technology perspective, the expectation is that digital displays are in fact “connected” or “smart”. For example, a digital sign many years ago was simply that, a digital replacement for a static sign. Nowadays the expectation is that digital displays are both interactive and dynamic, and connected to other devices or resources that become the catalyst for driving the audience’s experience. This trend will continue as digital displays become more pervasive in our society, providing constant access to very relevant information. 

When it comes to communications with employees, customers and residents, what are businesses and municipalities worrying about now that they might not have considered two years ago?

What is on most peoples’ minds nowadays is employee, patron and resident safety, in light of the ongoing pandemic. Effective communication is of the utmost importance. Health regulations are changing constantly and getting this information out in a timely fashion is of paramount importance. Digital Signage is very effective at getting information out quickly with very little effort and with the flexibility to update as information changes. Well placed digital displays with engaging and dynamically updated messaging are an effective way of insuring compliance with local regulations.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how people look at digital communications?

The pandemic has increased our need to effectively communicate with others, especially in public places and workspaces. Digital signage plays an important role in facilitating that communication. Furthermore, local and provincial authorities are constantly changing the requirements for safe environments. Digital signage allows information to be easily updated at a moment’s notice with very little effort. Digital signage has become an essential communications tool for public spaces and work environments alike.

Connected signage helps break through the communications clutter

How are improvements in technology impacting the expectations of the both the people managing communication sites and the end users? How do you see that evolving in the next 2-5 years?

Connected devices have become far more prevalent in our society. Devices that were previously silos are now expected to be connected and work together seamlessly.  Likewise, end users have the expectation that digital displays are connected and keep pace to be more engaging, dynamic and relevant in nature.  The pandemic also facilitated innovation in digital signage. One example is the ability to interact with devices without the need to touch the display. Audiences remained very comfortable touching their personal smart phones, so we innovated by allowing audiences to use the touch displays on their smart phone to navigate interactive digital signage by simply scanning a QR code. This is a significant departure from the simple video loop of old.

People sometimes bring up ad creep or sensory overload—how does smart signage address those concerns?

This is accomplished by making the content as relevant as possible to the target audience. Rather than a simple loop of full screen content, far more relevant and dynamic content is made available. This can involve integration with various external sensors or data to help ensure relevance. Furthermore, creating interactive experiences that invite the audience to navigate relevant information and take the information with them on their personal devices simplifies this process.

Do you expect developments in AR/VR technology to have an impact on the digital signage space?

This would be highly dependent on the environment they are used in. Augmented Reality can use physical elements to trigger relevant digital media, whereas Virtual Reality creates a fully immersive digital environment allowing users to be virtually engaged. It is likely that Mixed Reality, or a mixture of both virtual and real-world elements will be most impactful initially.

Similarly, do you see AI and machine learning having a role in signage and interactivity, such as kiosks learning how people interact with them in order to provide better service?

AI and machine learning definitely play a significant role in modern Digital Signage and will continue to evolve. This includes everything from utilizing various sensors to determine audience engagement, to creating more intuitive, interactive user interfaces. This will enable more relevant content based on a myriad of external factors. All of the data collected can then be used for deep machine learning algorithms so that the experience continues to be refined.

What role do you anticipate digital signage playing in the evolution of the IoT space?

Digital signage is only one component in a vast IoT space. It is, however, a critical component, as it is audience facing and not merely a sensor behind a wall. Time must be taken to consider how this IoT device will engage its audience. We ask customers to take the time to think about who their target audience is, where the display will be located, the specific environment and the desired message. Considering each of these aspects helps us recommend the best medium to effectively communicate that message. The medium, of course, refers to the type of digital signage, or the IoT “device” in this case. For example, a single display, a video wall, an interactive kiosk, a tablet, an outdoor LED sign—each of these deliver a message and engage their audiences in very different ways.

Learn more about our smart buildings solutions or speak with your local Rogers representative for more details.

This post is part of a series on transforming business operations with smart technology. Check out the related posts here.