AV News has asked a group of industry leaders about their expectations for ISE 2018. This month, it’s the turn of digital signage expert Jeff Hastings, CEO of leading media player manufacturer, BrightSign.
- Jeff Hastings believes that touch interactivity is pretty much a standard expectation in digital signage, whereas with gesture control it’s much less so. He attributes this to the complexity of communication that sees display viewers flapping their arms repeatedly in an attempt to effect meaningful communication. Jeff expects to see further announcements but is yet to be convinced by the solutions on the market today or anticipated at ISE 2018.
- Jeff is however expecting to see early demonstrations of voice interfaces with digital signs, but is not anticipating any real breakthroughs until ISE 2019, He believes that voice control could be useful but does not underestimate the difficulties of developing a solution with ability to react to commands featuring an extensive vocabulary and huge variety of accents. It’s doable but not perhaps in three months.
- Jeff is less convinced about that other doyen of personalised digital signage content, facial recognition. The theory behind this is that the ability to automatically collect data on age, gender and mood can help to define the right content offering for individuals reading the digital sign. The argument runs that accurately targeted content increases user engagement and dwell times, and thereby the effectiveness of the sign. Jeff doesn’t doubt that improvements can be made to the technology, but he questions whether such improvements would have any quantifiable impact on, for example, retail sales. “The task with digital signage is to convert mere viewing of the sign into ‘an experience’ in less than 30 seconds.”
- Jeff is much more positive about the integration of Big Data as a feed to AI technologies that choose appropriate digital signage content, but is wary of the Big Brother syndromes that turn consumers off the shopping experience in some stores.
- So will digital signage become omnipresent? Jeff thinks it depends how you define it. Take Smart Cities as an example: in Jeff’s opinion, Smart Cities are: “just digital signage with ‘extras’.”
ISE 2018 – a breakthrough year?
Jeff Hastings believes that ISE 2018 will be a consolidatory year, building on technologies, like 4K and collaboration, that are just entering the mainstream. “People are talking about 8K, but it’s just too far away.” What would Jeff like to see at ISE himself? Experienced users. “Experienced users are great for us. They have often bought something before from someone, and they are now aware of the issues around quality. With novices, everything is “Yeah, Wow, Awesome! Give them 18 months and they are experienced buyers.”
If you would like to discuss further with Jeff, and perhaps challenge some of his ideas please make an appointment to see him on the BrightSign booth (Hall 8-G240) at ISE 2018, at the RAI Amsterdam from the 6 – 9 February 2018.