What happens at ISE doesn’t stay at ISE.

It goes to Vegas for DSE.

Digital Signage Today and Peerless-AV recently hosted a well-attended webinar focusing on digital signage trends in 2015, “Hot Digital Signage from ISE 2015: What to Expect at DSE 2015.”

The webinar was led by Brian McClimans, vice president of global business development for Peerless-AV, and Rich Ventura, vice president of business development and solutions for NEC Display Solutions of America. McClimans was supposed to attend this year’s Integrated Systems Europe show in Amsterdam in February, but had to miss the show after breaking his foot. But Ventura was at the show, and was able to bring back an in-depth report about the hot trends in digital signage from ISE, and what to expect at this year’s Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas.

This year’s ISE show was heavy on the LEDs, Ventura said, especially the sub-2 millimeter pixel-pitch displays. The Internet of Things also was a big focus, which he expects to continue through this year’s DSE in Las Vegas and on into the InfoComm show in Orlando in June. And interactivity was everywhere, he said — and not just touch interactivity, but spatial, mobile, augmented reality and more. “It was pretty amazing to see all the ways people were looking at interactive.”

Touching on interactivity in digital signage, McClimans said, “It seems like the most conversations we’ve been having over the past six months have been involving interactivity and understanding the differences of the different [kinds of] interactivity … It just seems to me that is where digital signage has really evolved into more an interactive signage rather than a passive digital sign.”

Ventura also reported seeing significant growth in outdoor digital signage, projection mapping, 4K digital signage, and analytics and context-aware signage as well. Looking at some of the other new technologies that stood out from the show, he pointed out significant advances in hologram technology. “You can see [that] in a retail environment this would be very attractive,” he said.

Circling back around to LED displays, Ventura raved about the improved resolutions being attained by LED boards, all the way up to 4K resolutions. Some of the newer displays, which also come in different shapes and sizes than before, are offering even better resolution than some LCD displays, he said. And while LEDs probably won’t ever compete price-wise with LCDs, the technology is changing the conversation and crossing the barrier for practicality in many more use cases, he said. They’re not just for stadiums and outdoor digital billboards anymore, he said.

Speaking of 4K resolutions, the entire 4K ecosystem seems to be coming into focus for digital signage, according to Ventura. Now it’s possible to run the gamut from desktops to displays to LEDs to projection displays all at 4K. And in a conversation with a well-known solid-state media player provider, Ventura learned the company had sold more than 10,000 4K-capable media players since introducing them late last year, at least some of which were bought in order to future-proof HD digital signage for future 4K displays and content.

“So you can see how much 4K is really penetrating the market space,” Ventura said. “Four-K was just a huge discussion point at the show this year.”

McClimans steered the discussion back to projection mapping displays and digital signage, from the NBA All-Star Game to ISE and beyond. While some have argued to Ventura that projection displays aren’t truly “digital signage,” that’s an argument he’s not buying. It creates the same engagement and equity between audience and brand, and can create some amazing experiences, he said.

“Projectors have really made a big statement in the last 12 months of how important they are for digital signage,” he said. “We really are entering a new phase where no matter how you want your content to look, no matter what shape the wall is or what the surface is, you have technology — [you have] LED, you have LCDs, and you have high-end projection — and it can truly create experiences. And it’s not just one or the other. You can mix and match.”

McClimans and Ventura also touched on digital signage trends and topics such as video walls (They’re for more than selling; they can be used for environmental and experiential displays, Ventura said.), OLED displays (“They’re just not 100-percent ready for primetime right now,” he said.) and a rise in interactive digital signage tables (They were much more prevalent on the show floor than in years past, he said.), before landing on outdoor displays.

“Outdoor’s a huge growth opportunity for everybody,” Ventura said, before pointing out that 70 percent of quick-service restaurant business goes though the drive-thru and noting outdoor signage’s utility for mall and transit terminal deployments as well as for digital out-of-home advertising. “Different vertical markets are going to drive the need for outdoor.”

And all of these continued developments “are going to be huge pieces of this industry going forward,” Ventura said.

“That’s the beauty of digital signage,” McClimans said. “It’s constantly evolving, and it’s always growing, and you have to constantly stay on with it.” DigitalSignageToday Christopher Hall

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