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Digital Signage: The Potential Of Self-Service Interactivity Is Enormous

Sep 10, 2008
If you've been reading my blog postings for some time now, you now how excited I am about the potential of hybrid, interactive digital signage.

For those who haven't ever before read my blog, let me summarize. Combining the ability of traditional digital signs to playback segment after segment of linear content (in other words, Item No. 1, Item No. 2, Item No. 3, etc.) with the interactivity normally associated with kiosk is hugely important. The traditional digital signage content can attract an audience; interactivity can hold them and direct them.

In June, new research from market research organization IHL Group underscored exactly why interactivity is an essential element in the future course of digital signage and the nearly unbelievable potential for upside growth. According to the researcher, transactions at self-service kiosks will exceed $607 billion in North America this year.

I hope you're sitting down for this next tidbit. IHL Group projects the value of these self-service kiosk transactions will more than triple to in excess of $1.7 trillion by 2012. According to IHL Group Lead Retail Analyst Lee Holman, the research confirms what's been seen over the past couple of years as all manner of self-service kiosks -everything from automated movie theater ticket sales kiosks to $1 DVD rental machines- grow in consumer popularity. In Hollman's words, "consumers are showing a preference for self-service kiosk activity of all kinds."

The research, "2008 North American Self-Service Kiosks," documents how self-service kiosks are being used in six particular areas: self-checkout systems, ticketing kiosks, check-in kiosks, food ordering, postal systems and other retail kiosks. While the traditional digital signage component might not be appropriate for every self-service kiosk, it amplifies the potential of others.

For example, consider the movie ticket sales kiosk. Add the linear playback component of traditional digital signage and this sales kiosk instantly transforms into a sales promotion tool by playing back movie trailers of what's showing in all the glory a high-definition display panel has to offer. Take that kiosk out of the theater lobby and place it in malls across the country, and you have a dual-purpose movie marketing machine that reaches potential customers who might not otherwise have given going to the movies a serious thought.

Or, consider an airline ticket kiosk. How often between flights have you walked by these kiosks and seen no busy travelers nearby. During these opportunities, couldn't these kiosks offer linear playback of travel related goods and services? Certainly, the linear digital signage content should in no way detract from the primary mission of these kiosks, but a well organized implementation could prevent that and offer the potential of increased revenue in the form of advertising sales.

In my mind, the bottom line is this: The full potential of self-service kiosks may be even larger than IHL Group forecasts. If the interactivity of the self-service kiosks is matched up with the "carnival barker" role traditional digital signage can play, it's conceivable that in the right situations this hybrid, interactive digital signage can drive the value of these sorts of transactions even higher.
About the Author
David Little is a digital signage enthusiast with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to effectively communicate their unique marketing messages. For further digital signage insight from Keywest Technology, visit our website for many helpful tips and examples.
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