The Future of Digital Signage is Touch and Here’s Why

AV control_450x300An interesting thing is happening in the display industry: displays are quickly evolving from passive monitors into interactive touch devices. Smart phones and tablets are training us to touch displays. Years ago in the kiosk business, Planar’s customers had to design gimmicks such as attract loops to get visitors to touch displays. Now, everyone assumes touch interactivity. From ATM machines and point-of-sale applications to large multi-user digital signs and even desktop computing, displays are now an input device.

The future of digital signage will be touch as well. What lies ahead is a touch-enabled world where the experience will go beyond the visual to the kinetic and the personalized. Here’s why touch-enabled digital signage will soon be a reality:

  • Creating interactive content is getting easier: Windows 7 supported touch, and Windows 8 boasts support for multi-touch experiences right in the operating system. This means that nearly any web content or PC application can become a touch app. Furthermore, the ecosystem of developers is growing by leaps and bounds as more software developers are trained to create mobile apps.
  • Touch takes people places: As an increasing number of transactions move to mobile devices, the need for transactional systems such as ATMs, point-of-sale check out, and kiosks, are declining. As this happens, the point of touch is gradually moving from one of transaction to one of invitation – to connect in a real place, with relevant information personalized to the user’s clicks. Interactive digital signage offers the chance to connect and use the display with others in the same space. For example, Planar’s popular Clarity Matrix MultiTouch can create an interactive surface up to 300” with 32 touch points for multiple users at once. And with omni-channel trends extending beyond retail, people can take the experience with them with a text message, application download, social media post, or other engagement. Digital signage can make mobile and social campaigns, as well as location-based marketing, more relevant, driving higher engagement.
  • The displays can now keep up: A problem with large format displays with touch in the past is that resolutions weren’t optimized for close-up viewing. Get within arm’s reach, and the image would pixelate and the text would be unreadable. Now, with the growth of QHD, ultra HD, and 4K displays in various sizes and formats, images and text can look pixel-perfect and completely readable, even up close. This is a game changer for touch signage. For instance, the Planar UltraRes 84” 4K display boasts the same pixel density as the most popular tablets and desktop monitors viewed up close, at a size that is big enough to attract attention even from a distance. Now you can have digital signage that’s highly readable from any distance.

A growing number of customers are buying touch-enabled displays and video walls, not knowing yet how or when they’ll use the touch capabilities. They are thinking ahead about new, interactive ways to use the displays, without the expense of remodeling or reconfiguring their installations to accommodate touch in the future. These leading-edge companies realize that touch-enabled digital signage is the future, and they are ready today.

About Jennifer Davis

Jennifer Davis is Vice President of Marketing at Planar Systems and Runco International. Her work at Planar spans a wide variety of markets and technologies, including digital signage and architectural displays. Prior to joining Planar, Jennifer worked for Intel Corp. and held a senior marketing management role at a software start-up. She holds a BS in business administration and history from Warner Pacific College and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

3 Responses to “The Future of Digital Signage is Touch and Here’s Why”

  1. Absolutely! It is interesting to see how the role of experience design is gaining in importance as touch becomes more ubiquitious. If everyone can do it, then doing it well is the differentiator.

    We reguarly refer our clients to content developers with experience with interactive systems to assist them in this quest. It happened so frequently, we have started an online directory at http://www.planar.com/contentdirectory to assist folks in finding the resources they need to bring an interactive vision to life!

  2. Good article, making some fine points about the current market, where it is tomorrow, and where it will likely land a few years from now. While we (http://www.fourwindsinteractive.com) have been enabling touch devices for 4+ years now, it was restricted mainly to digital directories and tabletop signage in the beginning. But since its launch, more areas of our specific business and the industry in general have been asking–no, demanding–touch screens. It is here.

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