Looking Back, Looking Forward: Key Developments in 2018, Our Predictions for 2019
Focusing on the world of digital signage, here is what we found to be the major technical and business developments of 2018 and what we predict will prove to be the motivators in 2019.
Intuiface is a relatively new entrant in the digital signage space, a space populated by literally hundreds of classic signage CMS vendors. From Day One, to survive and thrive, we were compelled to pursue uniquely differentiating technology based on the notion of interactive signage which, in our early years, meant touch-first content. Each year presents a set of industry moves, technical advances, and customer feedback that influence our strategy and investment heavily, and 2018 was no different.
Here is what we found to be the major developments of 2018 and what we predict will prove to be the motivators in 2019.
Major Developments in 2018
First, the expansion of “interactivity” to mean any kind of human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interaction. On the human side, interactive options include voice, gesture, QR codes, gender/age detection, and even the good-old keyboard. On the machine-to-machine side there are beacons, sensors, the Internet of Things, and Web services. Collectively, increased interaction leads to the increased stickiness of content, greater appeal to a wide range of demographic variants, and better fit for an endless variety of B2B and B2C scenarios.
Second, the need for dynamic, contextual content fit for purpose and for the visitor at the screen. Even the most technically advanced deployment is only as good as the level of personalization it can provide. Broadly speaking, passers-by don’t have the time (or desire) to dwell at installations presenting generic content. The solution is connectivity, an integration of signage with back office infrastructure containing personal, relevant information that can be pulled up in real-time. High value engagement results because the user can make the experience selfishly meaningful and useful.
Third, the increasing importance of a subscription software business model across the industry and across all regions. By adopting a software solution offered as a subscription, clients establish a healthy relationship with their vendor, even if services are involved. Clients can expect the receipt of long-term value in return for an annualized payment and have the ability – if dissatisfied with services rendered - to migrate a semi-complete solution to a new vendor without excess payment or non-portable code. A nice side effect for agencies and integrators is a more predictable revenue stream.
Our 2019 Predictions
As we look forward to 2019, four trends stand out.
First, screen as a sensor: There is an untapped well of information that can be collected at a signage endpoint. Not just user interaction (and the implied user preferences) but also context – like weather, gender, location – and supporting data gathered from connected objects. Put all this together and signs are no longer just emitters of information, they’re a sensor. We expect vendors will embrace this value proposition and promote it to their clients.
Second, analytics: If the screen is a sensor, and if each individual deployment has become a data source, then there is a need to combine, collate, and then analyze all of this information. With analytics comes business insight informing the design, operational, and business KPIs uniquely identified for each project. We are already seeing analytics become a necessity, not just a nice-to-have.
Third, certified provider’s IT infrastructure: With so much content mediation, let alone the capture and processing of personal information, it will become increasingly important for vendors and service providers to audit and certify the quality and security of their IT infrastructure and processes, by following, for example, the ISO 27001 guidelines. GDPR regulations have raised the alarm; we anticipate clients will demand proof.
Fourth, dovetailing of signage with sales presentations: Organizationally, different teams within an organization concerned themselves with public messaging via signage and the pitches delivered by Sales Representatives in the field. Innovations in the signage domain are equally effective in the sales world, and we expect the two teams to eliminate redundancy and join forces to create complementary assets.
As markets mature there is a tendency to commoditization, to focus on refining the delivery of known requirements rather than innovating. That was the digital signage industry for some years now and the resulting stagnancy has created an environment ripe for new players with new ideas. Intuiface is thrilled (and honored!) to identify and lead the changes so desperately needed for this next phase of growth.