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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Emerging Technologies in the Outdoor Digital Signage Market

Static signage has been transformed into a dynamic high-tech electronic display medium
train station using LCD displays for information
© GDS
Many train stations now use LCD displays to provide passengers with information, but with the advent of higher resolutions and improvements in networking, other information now can be presented along with basic data.
LCD displays at Universal in Orlando, FL
GDS
45-inch LCD displays from GDS were added adjacent to two existing LED displays at Orlando, Fla.-based theme parks to quickly provide additional information, entertainment, demonstrations and directions to attractions. They also were designed to withstand demanding outdoor conditions.
optical bonding process for GDS outdoor displays
GDS outdoor displays undergo an optical bonding process before delivery to end-users. The global market for digital signage displays is currently worth over $1.5 billion and estimated to reach more than $3.5 billion by 2009.
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By Marco Cohen and Graham Williams, Global Display Solutions

As with every other segment of the display industry, outdoor digital signage is experiencing significant growth. The global market for digital signage displays is currently more than $1.5 billion and projected to exceed $3.5 billion by 2009, according to DisplaySearch.

Although considerably smaller than the indoor market, outdoor digital signage is gathering increasing momentum, as it expands into "street furniture" and provision of passenger information in airports, train and bus stations. While the manner of deployment of the first large Digital Signage Networks (DSN) for large retail chains such as Wal-Mart did not go as well as expected, this has had little overall impact on the requirement for and development of digital signage display technologies, especially for public and private viewing outdoors.

The outdoor display industry is not a new market. It is, however, an evolving area that is changing from traditional printed graphics such as the familiar billboards by the side of the road to cost effective electronic signage that gives advertisers and site owners alike the ability to manage content, and hence maximize advertising campaigns without the need for "a man on a ladder" having to change the poster. Certain technologies such as electrophoretic, electrochromic, cholesteric, nanochromic type displays are starting to appear on our roadsides, they are slow enough and low-power enough to provide a cost effective solution over printed posters, as well as not breaking various national laws about showing moving video to drivers.

With the introduction of high-brightness and high-resolution images, static signage has been transformed into a dynamic high-tech electronic outdoor display medium. Many train stations now use LCD displays to show passengers train information but, with the advent of higher resolutions and improvements in networking, other information now can be presented to the public together with this basic data.

Changes in our personal lifestyles also are leading to new markets for the digital signage industry. A good example is the growing market of TV and information displays being placed outdoors, an unexpected side effect of the smoking bans that have been or are being introduced in many countries around the world.

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