I have to confess that before our partnership with Coffman Media I had no idea about digital signage. Now, I stand amazed at not only how cool it is, but with where it is going. Most of all I am excited to see how digital signage and web technologies have merged. It is my belief that the marriage of these two technologies will provide for some of the most interactive and engaging content ever.
EXPECTATIONS OF TODAY’S CONSUMER
Let’s face it…we live in an interactive world. We all want to be part of the experience. We thrive on it. We want to be engaged, absorbed, and captivated by whatever experience we may find in front of us. We want to touch, feel, and be part of the action. I’m going to publically confess that one of my favorite shows of the summer was Rising Star. For the first time ever you could download an app, watch contestants perform, and then vote for whom you wanted to win. On live television you were able to instantly see your results and know who was staying and who was being voted out. I felt in control. We like being part of the action. This interactive and engaging kind of content is what’s expected now. And it’s what people expect from your signage content as well. If you fail to understand this demand of today’s consumer for engagement and interactivity you are in for a rude awakening and will very well be left in the dust by those who do. The good news is that there is no need to be left behind.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS “WEB TECHNOLOGY” YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
One of the greatest leaps forward for us in the website design industry was the birth of HTML5. I still remember thinking to myself about how this was going to change everything. And it did. Up until then if you wanted any interactive and engaging content for the web you needed Adobe Flash. Flash was also (and in some cases still is) the go to platform for delivering digital signage content.
There were several disadvantages to using Flash. Flash requires the user to download and install plugins to play its content. Flash developers are expensive. And perhaps the number one disadvantage is that Flash at the time, and still in many cases today was not supported on smartphones and tablets including Apple’s iOS. It was very limiting and the user experience pretty much ended when they got up from their desktop or laptop.
A new day dawned once HTML5 became available. For the first time ever website design firms were able to take their web experiences to any device from smartphones, to tablets, and now to digital display boards. At the core of HTML5 is responsive web design. It’s called responsive because your content can shrink or grow based upon the screen size looking at your content. This was revolutionary. We were able to create one piece of content and deliver it across multiple screen sizes while at the same time deliver an experience appropriate for the screen size being used to view the content.
WHAT DOES HTML5 MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL SIGNAGE?
HTML5 and surrounding technologies are going to drive explosive growth in the digital signage industry over the next few years. HTML5 is lightweight in terms of computer resources required to run it. It’s adaptive and flexible. It will provide a solid foundation to innovate what can be delivered in terms of interactivity especially in the areas of touch and proximity-based solutions. We have teamed up with Coffman Media to deliver a web-based application that can be viewed through a digital whiteboard with built in touch technology. Still in development the response has been one of surprise and amazement at what is possible.
Imagine providing content in your business setting where those watching can walk up and interact with your content – live and on demand. Perhaps you want to easily deliver video to your audience. HTML5 makes video delivery easier than ever. Or how about delivering your content to someone sitting on their couch at home and it drives them to your establishment. Then as soon as they walk through your doors you can display content they are interested in on your displays or smartphones (perhaps offering a discount). The ability to create and deliver engaging and interactive media using HTML5 is endless.
WHAT WILL YOU DO
The times are ripe with opportunity. The possibilities of what you could do with HTML5 boggle even my own imagination. You have the ability to bring your viewers into deeper engagement with your brand. You can interact with them in ways like never before. Your content can stand head and shoulders above your competitors. You need to know why digital marketing works and then start creating that great content. You have no excuse. The only question now is what will you do?
About the author: Jeff Elder is Co-Founder and an Inbound Marketing Consultant at Bald Head Creative located in Dublin, Ohio.