Blog: Lyle Bunn 
Lyle Bunn (bio)
Strategy Architect
Monday, 16 May 2011
The time is now to stop using the term digital signage. The term has served its purpose as a name for the emerging industry and its function.

This simple, vague and encompassing term allowed the sector and end users to speak short-hand while it has matured through elements, such as planning, technology, integration, applications and operating practices as well as supply chain, product maturity, proof of value and other required areas of development.

This period is complete.

Just as state of being names move from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly, it is time for digital signage to be more suitably named.

Frameworks for success, standards of practice, viable sourcing and operating options, and critical mass have now been developed. With annual revenues exceeding $7 billion annually in North America.

Through its evolution and growth, the communications medium has been called by many names in order to gain budget access. These many names by project managers, network operators and suppliers point to unique inherent characteristics, such as dynamic, place-based, captive audience, screenmedia, channel, targeted and many more.

This myriad of terms has generated attention and appeal for the medium, while none has emerged as a standard industry description. Vested interests and past investment mean that a single industry name has not been possible.

This smorgasbord of industry names is now hurting the industry. It looks scattered and disparate (which it is not), and the term is now in active conflict with the static sign and digital graphics printing industry, which, at almost $50 billion in annual North American revenues calls itself digital signage.

What to do?

Acknowledge the growth, maturity and metamorphosis by at least narrowing the descriptor to reflect the applications of the media.

Dynamic signage (DS) as a more suitable umbrella term.

Enterprise media is used for patron, staff and student applications. This application is funded internally and integrated with other enterprise operating application systems, if applicable.

Place-based media is funded by third party advertisers and the content is sponsored.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version). This is good advice to an industry that has left infancy.

Maybe a tour guide I heard recently says it well too – “moving, moving, moving…we’re moving along people. Stay with the group. Keep up.”

It is time to put the term “digital signage” away.

Posted by: Lyle Bunn AT 11:09 am   |  Permalink   |  11 Comments  |  
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