Evolution of Digital Signage

evolution of digital signage
17 January 2019


Almost everyone knows what a digital signage is, although many still know little about it. Digital signage is a network of centrally controlled digital screens that can effectively help in engaging one’s audience. This is simply what a digital signage is all about, but there are still a lot more to know about it. Almost everyone has ordered products from a digital kiosk stand or glanced through the arrival and departure times at the train station or airport. There are innumerable examples of where one must have seen digital signage. The digital signage industry was worth $19.6 billion in 2016, which is also grow to $32 billion by 2032. This is a rapidly growing space.


Digital signage is a very broad term. Quite simply, it is a digital screen that displays content and information in any space. The evolution of digital signage is principally not about the screens or the size they come in. These are not the reasons why it is considered as a game-changer technology, but because of the possibilities it allows for both small and big businesses. The power of digital signage can be explored in numerous ways.  Information must be responsive, interactive, and user-friendly.


The term “digital signage” firstly emerged in the latter part of 1992 in a United Kingdom shopping center. In the early days, old tube televisions were used to display DVD and VHS contents. Thinner televisions became affordable in the early 2000s, and retailers adopted it for promotional values. Flat panels then became conventional in numerous stores and public places, which engendered the replacement of paper posters and banner ads. However, the displayed contents were usually static in nature – either still images, simple slideshows, or a looping ad.


Digital signage started with displaying traditional static messages, and has successfully advanced to a point where it is embracing complimentary technologies, capable of evoking a reaction and providing expeditious benefits and positive experiences, for both the owner of the network and the users. Despite the growth and advancement of the digital signage technology, the one-to-many passive signs are still predominantly the majority of the market today. Passive digital signage is used in retail stores, corporate lobbies, airports, and so many other places, and it is a cost-effective method of broadcasting information to visitors, customers, and even employees. The display of digital signage kept on improving as the generation also increased. Below are the formats by which the contents of digital signage are displayed accordingly:

  • Text: As previously stated, digital signage started with static display. Precisely, it started with scrolling text, where information was displayed strictly through text that keeps scrolling. Digital signage was either scrolling text or text dynamically updated through external news feed source.
  • Images: After the scrolling text, digital signage advanced to scrolling images, which was typically in the form of digital advert posters. A picture worth a thousand words, so this was perceived as a dramatic revolution.
  • Video: This advancement made digital signage more significant. Numerous display control devices use canned video and graphics, nonetheless, custom video can still be self-developed or contracted by companies able to provide this type of content.
  • Interactive Interfaces: This format involved the integration of signage with sensors, beacons, RFID technologies, touch screen, and many more, to permit two-way communication with users. This format was more engaging and more effective for advertisement. Apart from these admirable benefits, it also allows advertisers to gain understanding of customer behavior.
  • Context-aware interfaces: This format involved the integration of signage with sensors, cameras, and software to study the ambient audience and environment, which makes it possible for the signage to be updated according to the present audience, weather conditions, and other factors.