As long as there have been businesses there have been signs to tell people where they are and what they do. Ironically, one of the most important tools a business can use to promote itself has been one of the slowest to evolve. For more than 100 years, the greatest innovations involved simply adding lights, behind or in front of a sign or display.
In recent times, the simplicity and increased cost effectiveness of video production combined with low-cost, lighter weight flat panel display technology to create the “living sign”. Everywhere from pizza shops to high end retailers use these flat panel “media platforms” to deliver information and improve their customer experience. It is said that an educated customer is a motivated customer.
Where these implementations have fallen short, despite the availability of so many technological innovations, is in their interactivity. Signs connected to the internet can be updated easily, but without a means of responding to the customer it is a one-way conversation.
Next generation materials are enabling higher performance, custom touch-panels and touch buttons that can be made much more cost-effectively in the moderate volumes necessary to customize retail applications. This will enable not only interactive signage, but also simple, low-cost retail displays that can measure AND respond to customer interactions.