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Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

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July 07, 2017
Digital Displays
Bill Geoghegan - Bill@LGTConsulting.com

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The 2017 Digital Signage Expo held in Las Vegas was a Mecca for new designs and content systems geared to digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. LG introduced a family of products based on its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. This technology allows the displays to be curved and ultra-thin. In addition to a multicurved display, LG also introduced its Wallpaper and Dual-view products. The Wallpaper is 3.65 millimeters (0.15 inches) thin, can be viewed from any angle, and weighs less than 17 pounds for a 65-inch display. Dual-View has displays on both the front and back, which can be presented with different content. Perhaps if both sides are independent displays, there is no front or back. It can be suspended from above with a rotating mount or configured in a stationary flat or curved display.

Curved Dual-View Display       
Beyond the standard 16x9 aspect ratio screens, a number of vendors are offering displays in configurations that lend to applications such as directions or notifications. An aspect ratio of 16x5 lends itself to displays that are mounted perpendicular to a wall, with information such as airport gate numbers with the flight and departure information alternatively displaying. Size matters when trying to grab attention. The video wall has long been considered the best way to put forth a message that can't be ignored. Whether it is outdoors or in a public area, the large display is favored. For some time software has been available to spread a single image across multiple monitors. While there have been many offerings by manufacturers that stack multiple monitors vertically and horizontally, it has been frustrating that the bezels interrupt the image. However at DSE 2017, there were a number of companies that showed near bezel-less solutions that can be configured to almost any size with uninterrupted displays for both indoor and outdoor installations.
For those who do not want to see even the slightest bezel, a number of manufacturers are offering displays where each pixel is an individual LED, with no bezel separating the component modules. In these instances, the size of the LED dictates the quality of the image. The smaller the LED, the higher the definition of the screen, but also the greater the price. The LED panels are produced in a manageable size and can be configured to virtually any size. A screen of this type can be configured to show multiple programs simultaneously or as one gigantic image, and can change whenever desired. Some of the sportsbooks in Nevada casinos are using these screens to show sporting events simultaneously in varying sizes depending on the popularity of the game.   
The Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA) released its first programmatic standards for digital out-of-home campaigns. These standards include video ad formats and reporting to allow efficient advertising buys which can be placed across multiple DOOH media networks or other media channels.
With digital displays ranging in size from a smartphone to a giant video wall, creating content that can be scaled and easily controlled becomes important. Changing content quickly allows a property to have fresh content and trigger messaging that changes based on sensors or scheduled events. Swiss company Navori’s QL Digital Signage Engine and California-based Dynasign allow local control of all types of displays, with PC-based software for centrally maintained content.  
Numerous vendors displayed integrated touch-screen solutions for self-service. The success of these offerings is dependent on the integration of the touch screen with the back-end process, and the intuitive organization of the content. Digitally driven menus can easily be updated with specials, or to allow the removal of sold out items. Two barriers with the touch screen environment include that they are difficult to keep clean and the resistance many face touching a surface touched by others. Perhaps the most futuristic Sci-Fi product presented at DSE may be the answer. While it is not yet ready for commercial use, Asukanet has engineered an interesting solution. The content of a standard monitor is passed through a plate at a 45-degree angle and is re-formed in midair as a hologram. That hologram can be configured to re-form within a specific location. A sensor can determine where a person is “touching” the hologram, and interpret that location as any touch-screen interface would. The result is a screen that never needs cleaning and can’t be contaminated. Asukanet only sells the plates, but it is just a matter of time until the integration of this clever product into production. (aska3d.com)
The bezel surrounding the projected image has an infrared sensor that can determine the location of your touch, and respond exactly the same way as a standard capacitive touch screen. The future of digital out-of-home advertising and interactive content looks bright, both literally and figuratively.
Bill Geoghegan is a consultant in Las Vegas. He can be reached for comment at Bill@LGTConsulting.com.

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