Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Failed Projects Hurt Digital Signage Industry

While still arguably in its infancy, the digital signage industry has been evolving at a rapid pace, according to the latest market study by Futuresource. In 2007 the industry was depressed by a legacy of project failures and negative press.

Of almost one hundred projects evaluated by Futuresource, nine failed completely to meet any of the objectives set and ten were deemed to be only partial successes.

Though 40 percent of the projects were considered successful, for a further 30 percent it was deemed too early to determine the level of success. Key barriers to the development of the industry have included a lack of clear ROI modeling, few advertising metrics, too much network fragmentation and not enough scalability and project complexity.

One year on, ROI modeling is still an area for contention, though advertising and media agencies have begun to take notice of digital signage, as the effectiveness of traditional mass media communication forms become ever more diluted.

Efforts have been made to provide greater ease of use and flexibility in the content storage and distribution software. More display manufacturers are making software available, with varying degrees of sophistication, for use with their screens.

The industry has a clearer understanding of how content should look and what it aims to achieve. Gone are the days of reusing a TV commercial in its entirety, where only 10 percent, at best, has any kind of call to action in the content.

Regular channels research from Futuresource indicates a reseller community that is growing in awareness and now diversifying its current services and product portfolio to include digital signage.

Despite the myriad of essentially individual projects covering supermarkets, high street multiples, gas stations, gyms, restaurant chains and many other locations across the four countries, Futuresource was able to identify a number of common factors that increase the chances of achieving a successful project, or the absence of which will tip the balance the other way.

The industry has undoubtedly made strides to overcome many of the barriers holding back the adoption of digital signage. Stable and flexible software platforms have been developed, traditional display vendors and global IT giants have entered the market and the distribution or reseller community are beginning to focus on this area.

However, extensive research demonstrates the comparatively high proportion of complete or partial project failures. Further development of measurement and proof point matrices are still clearly required to ensure this medium is viewed as a viable alternative to the traditional communication mix.