Mapping the New Digital Signage Terrain

Is the digital signage industry matures, and we focus on the business models at the heart of successful digital signage strategies, it’s important to understand and share how the landscape is shift 6/07/2013 7:44 AM Eastern

Mapping the New Digital Signage Terrain

Jun 7, 2013 11:44 AM, By Brad Gleeson

Is the digital signage industry matures, and we focus on the business models at the heart of successful digital signage strategies, it’s important to understand and share how the landscape is shifting and changing. When we ask questions such as, “Is digital signage an industry?” or “Are we in digital signage or are we in place-based media?” I think we are asking the wrong questions. It would be nice for everything to be neat and tidy and to have all those answers lined up, but at the end of the day, most of that line of thinking does not advance market success.

More important to the professionals in the industry—the integrators, installers, designers, and suppliers—is “How do we get better?” Unless you have a patent on some critical component of the supply chain, or your reputation is so strong that you are pushing business away, you probably need to spend half your time keeping customers happy and the other half finding new ones (and all the while, reducing your operating costs).

As part of an initiative under the banner of several NewBay magazines/web portals, we are starting a forum where the real-world business problems of digital signage are discussed, debated, and solved. This conversation will be a dialog, a conversation with the industry—both the solution providers and their customers, and the end-users of digital signage. If you have read this far, you are probably as interested in these real-world business issues as I am. If you are, please go the rest of the way and contribute to the conversation. We are starting on Twitter with the hashtag: #DSBigQuestion

What are the critical business challenges facing digital signage professionals in our industry today? What keeps you up at night in your business and what are the priorities that drive your business to stability and profitability and, hopefully, growth?

Let me kick around a few possible answers…

“It’s the economy, stupid!” What is being dictated by larger economic trends, not inside-the-industry trends?

“Funding, funding, funding.” Whether we are talking about funding for your business to market and expand, or funding by your customers for digital signage network projects or expansion, is access to capital slowing your business?

“Too much competition.” Are there only a small number of digital signage platforms worthy of consideration by corporate customers? But the actual number of signage platform competitors continues to grow.

“Customer expectations are unrealistic.” One thing I have heard a lot recently is that customers are getting educated about opportunities in areas like social media integration, NFC interactivity, zero-bezel videowalls, and other cutting-edge digital signage capabilities and they expect all the bells and whistles, yet their budgets haven’t kept pace.

We’ll be curating conversations and mapping trends. Where to start? Let’s start with that big elephant in the room: the selection of digital signage content management software. Is the “market speaking” in terms of there being some consensus that indeed a small number of those digital signage content management software providers get the most market share? Which signage platforms make up your short list of viable solutions/companies? Let us hear from you on Twitter. Include the hashtag #DSBigQuestion in the message.

Brad Gleeson ( is managing partner at TargetPath, and a long-time AV and digital signage industry consultant.

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