We will be going into more detail on our “Trends and Predictions for 2008” at a number of events to senior industry figures in Q1 2008, for the time being though, here’s our take on what we will see in the digital out of home industry in 2008…
- Screens won’t be (traditional) Screen Shaped. Whether it be a screen embedded in a piece of (digital) Street Furniture or a screen in a 6-sheet poster or elsewhere we expect to see screens no longer looking much like screens. In fact in many instances unless the image moves you may not know it is a screen display at all. We will see more portrait installations than landscape (landscape installs will decline dramatically) but bottom line, in Retail (fueled by a rise in screen based branded fixtures) and in Outdoor you will see an amazing variety of shapes and sizes of screens
- Device based signage solutions will start to prevail. Personal Computers, especially PCs running Windows are not the sort of devices that should / will be used to run digital signage solutions. We expect a marked trend for large installs to be chosen on signage solutions based around devices and appliances. Undoubtedly this will be a hotly debated topic – especially amongst vendors who have Windows only software solutions. The trend will be more marked in Retail where we expect the major Retailers to buy Screens (with signage built-in) rather than buy a signage solution AND then buy screens as an after thought. Think on that last line and you will realise why the embedded device approach will happen – Retailers want to and will buy screens (with intelligence, devices embedded or devices velcro’ed to the back of them and not signage players per se)
- Digital Street Furniture. We will see more and more digital street furniture, and we are not just talking about standard’ish indoor and outdoor 6-Sheets or bespoke other sheet-sizes – we have already seen parking bay meters, toilets and bus shelters with digital screens etc. We will also see giant two sided screens indoors and outdoors. Digital Street Furniture will be the biggest market for those involved with the Outdoor Media folks. More and more, when an outdoor media owner wants to make an impact they are THINKING DIGITAL FIRST.
- User Generated Content (UGC). We will see more networks accept and make use of UGC – whether it be a simple SMS or (polite) MMS, home grown video programme or wannabe TV production from YouTube, CurrentTV or elsewhere. Content from the masses will make it onto digital out of home screens and help fill the content void that is appearing. Moderation may be somewhat of an issue in the short term so early uses may be limited to interactive competitions and where some element of control can be easily maintained. Event based UGC will be even bigger as networks accommodate the brands’ desire to be seen as “cool by connecting to the consumer” and we will see more branded shop window, shopping mall and airport experiential marketing predominantly being based around digital screens
- Bluetooth as an out of home medium will die. We would argue that it hasn’t even got off the ground. ‘Bluejacking’ or whatever one wants to call it has had its day. Network providers who went to the expense of installing Bluetooth equipment would have been better off installing a Wi-Fi wireless access point and offering the consumer free (even walled garden) Internet access. We believe that Wi-Fi will replace Bluetooth in marketing campaigns
- Major Cities will have issue with Visual Clutter. It’s already happened in Sao Paulo, and Paris has even started murmuring about it. We believe that major Cities around the world will start having more and more issues with what they see as the visual clutter of outdoor billboards and other advertising hoardings. The result we predict is actually a BOON TO THE DIGITAL INDUSTRY as we believe that the traditional advertising hoarding to Digital migration will actually be speeded up!!! The Outdoor Media owners will remove several traditional poster sites and replace with one digital – the outdoor media folks will also push through utilitarian street furniture as a way past any possible ‘bans’
- People will see digital out of home as the industry to be in. We saw it happen towards the end of 2007 with a number of Internet, Web 2.0 and music executives moving into the digital out of home market space. Two things will happen here which will make it a good year for recruitment consultants; first digital screen networks will realise that they need good people from outside the predominantly technical digital / AV world to help them succeed and people outside our industry will look at digital out of home and want to be part of it