Digital signage has long since moved past being the latest “cool trend for the future” and has become a useful business staple, in fact, it’s arguably close to being a must-have for businesses. As is typical of any new technology, digital signage has been getting noticeably better over the years and 2018 could see some of the most exciting changes yet. Here are three trends to watch over the coming year.

Increased emphasis on aesthetics

Bluntly put, in the early days of digital signage, manufacturers largely concentrated on just getting them to work effectively. This is entirely understandable since manufacturers clearly recognized that getting digital signage into the mainstream meant producing signs which could work reliably in all kinds of locations and conditions, particularly outdoors in the face of everything the weather could throw at it.

Now that manufacturers have dealt with the practicalities, they can devote their energy to making their screens look good. This is far more than just frivolity, aesthetics play a crucial role in many environments (perhaps most notably in retail), hence displays which are attractive themselves are likely to be vastly preferred in these situations, even if they carry a cost premium (which will probably drop over the course of time).

Content gets both smarter and more personal

If you look up some video clips of early TV programs, it’s only too clear that the production values are nothing close to what amateur YouTubers can produce today, armed with only a basic smartphone.

That’s not to say the content was at all weak; some of these programs are still repeated decades later because the overall quality of the show went far beyond the basic technicalities of the production. It does, however, provide a useful example of what can be expected from digital signage.

In the early days, digital signage was largely used in the same way as photo albums; they just displayed images, albeit images which could be changed much more easily than paper posters could be updated.

These days, however, content for digital signage is already far advanced from those early days and it’s getting smarter (more data sources) and more personal (customized, interactive and responsive) all the time. What’s more the boundaries between the real world and the digital one are becoming ever more fluid, which opens up even more exciting opportunities for content creation.

Content becomes longer form

Blatant adverts are an interruption and many people are very good at ignoring. Stories, on the other hand, are sources of entertainment to be enjoyed. Some brands grasped this reality decades ago and have long focused on creating entertaining adverts people actually enjoy watching even if they aren’t interested in the product, or at least don’t think they are (Apple, Ikea and Coco Cola all have impressive track records here).

These brands are likely to be well placed for the future as the “soundbite-sized” messages which have long been an advertising staple are being pushed out by “story-driven” content, based on emotionally-engaging narrative and compelling, relatable characters.

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