- On December 6, 2022
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Digital signage has come a long way since it was merely a mount on a television set in bars in the early 90s. High-end retailers were among the first to see the potential of the technology, and not just for advertising. They quickly adopted them to add engaging visuals and ambiance to stores and to improve shoppers’ overall in-store experiences.
Today, the ever-increasing demand for digital signage is present in virtually every industry. You can find digital wayfinding signages on college campuses, casinos, airports, convention centers, hotels, hospitals, and even out in the streets. This high demand is prompting companies to explore new ways and invest in new technologies to make them even better.
What is a Digital Wayfinding Signage?
Navigating large venues and buildings can be difficult. It can feel a little awkward to ask a stranger for directions in a large facility like a college campus, hospital, or shopping center, and somebody may not always be around to help out. Digital wayfinding signage is exactly what its name implies – a digital sign that can help people orient themselves and find their way in an easy and fun way. Many institutions and companies with multiple and often large locations invest in various digital wayfinding solutions.
These digital signages are often placed strategically all over a large facility. Their primary purpose is to help visitors save time and effort, reduce stress, and improve people’s overall experiences. As technology evolves, these signs have evolved too to help inform people about the facility or organization and to boost the brand’s image.
The biggest institutions have gone a step further to install wayfinding kiosks that act as high-tech guideposts to inform visitors about where they are and how they can get where they need to be. Wayfinding kiosks are fancier and often use more advanced technologies than signages, but they also make things easy for users while improving their overall experience. As of 2022, digital wayfinding signages have evolved from mere signs to have a lot in common with digital TVs.
Digital Wayfinding Signage Trends to Expect in 2023
There are many reasons that digital signage and wayfinding are replacing their static counterparts. The most important are convenience, connectivity, and interactivity. As assistive technologies, combining the two has been a game-changer in how brands provide necessary information to their customers and visitors.
Here are five digital wayfinding signage trends we expect to see more of in 2023.
1. Interactive Touchscreen Signage with Digital Maps
In 2019, the University of Georgia attempted to overhaul its football training facility. Their initial plan was to create an interactive experience map allowing visitors to locate the hometown of all their then and former Bulldogs players. The initial design was flush with inspiring motion graphics, fancy highlights, futuristic wayfinding maps, and a thrilling touchscreen. Their budget for this upgrade was a whopping $90 million.
While the newly completed upgrade of the stadium is a world-class facility, it does not include the initially planned interactive signage. The original plan was simply way ahead of its time. Touchscreen technologies on large screens were still a mirage; frankly, the software still needed to catch up with the University’s ambitions.
In 2023, we can finally expect this technology to become more mainstream. Touchscreen technologies are more popular and reliable, and software for digital signage has come a long way. Wayfinding software with personalized maps is now more accessible and is even already popular in institutions such as museums and businesses in the touring industry. Soon, educational institutions, hospitals, and even smaller retail stores may need to invest in interactive wayfinding signage that enhances customer experience.
2. Personalized Signages Content
Wayfinding solutions of the future will empower users to take charge of their navigation experiences. They will do a lot more than point the way; they will also guide them along the way and ensure they get to where they are going in time.
Today’s digital signs have taken us a step closer to that reality. Modern signage solutions are connected and feature powerful software that track crucial data and metrics. While it is still considered crude, they can suggest the most searched destinations and even recommend the fastest or shortest routes based on foot traffic.
In 2023, we can expect more personalization in the content the signage recommends. For instance, signages in large conference centers may be able to recommend content based on the day’s bookings and even suggest where the searcher can purchase required items like notebooks.
Wayfinding signage of the future will be able to do much more than show the way; they should help staff get to meetings on time, boost visitor experience, and minimize confusion across the facility.
3. Advanced and More Useful Wayfinding Software
At the core of modern digital wayfinding solutions is robust software. Regardless of how far the display hardware evolves, digital wayfinding will remain ineffective until the software catches up.
Most places with multiple, large, or complex facilities, such as school campuses, airports, and hospitals, are difficult to navigate. The people who have to use these facilities every day are often in a rush, which makes navigation more challenging. To ease this stress, wayfinding software of the near future will feature point-by-point directions, perhaps even send directions to the user’s mobile device via a wayfinding app.
The most advanced wayfinding signages today have a friendlier and more intuitive interface. Some have internet connectivity and are capable of using cloud-based software. As technology advances and becomes more accessible, the wayfinding signage of tomorrow will feature analytics and intelligence that connect to a content management platform to help users make faster decisions and improve how they perceive the brand, institution, or facility.
We can expect the wayfinding software of 2023 and beyond to be more interactive with 3D maps of floorplans and pop-up directories as well as dynamic positioning capabilities. They may also include additional wayfinding tools such as social media connectivity, live news and weather updates, transit recommendations, and real-time over-the-air updates.
4. Curved Wayfinding Displays for Video Walls
Today’s digital wayfinding signage solutions have some notable flaws. First, because of costs and space limitations, most facilities place signs at or after decision points. When these signs are placed in an area out of the line of sight, their effectiveness is diminished. Secondly, signs are cluttered and clustered in limited areas where they are convenient. This problem makes digital signs hard to see and even harder to use or upgrade.
The light at the end of the tunnel is an advancement in flexible displays. Signs no longer need to be thick and rigid appliances that must be installed as kiosks or on the floor. New lightweight but more dense video displays will make it easier to install digital signage on walls and even around corners.
There are many benefits of these new displays besides saving space. Curved and flexible displays also create a sense of depth by taking advantage of the viewer’s peripheral vision. This property creates a convex display that allows the viewer to enter into the reality of the sign and enjoy a more immersive experience.
5. Digital Wayfinding Signage as Art
If you happen to visit Lisbon, be sure to stop by Lumen Hotel and walk into the lobby. Right there at the center of the room is an immersive digital art installation called ‘Light of Lisbon’ that uses the architecture of the building as its canvas.
While the installation at Lumen Hotel is not a wayfinding sign, it is an impressive digital signage that a facility can repurpose and put to good use. Signage and art installations can serve complementary purposes in large and complex facilities.
When not helping visitors find their way around, high-definition and projecting digital signs can be used to subtly influence perceptions and experiences. For instance, they can provide visual clues about the facility’s layout or display the spatial characteristics of the brand or institution.
Learn More with Keyser
Display and signage technologies are constantly evolving. Interestingly, as they become better, they also become more accessible and affordable. In 2023, as more institutions, businesses, and facilities realize the benefits of digital wayfinding signs, innovations and investments will bring out their new features and capabilities.
These five are among the most notable developments we can expect to see. If you want to know more about wayfinding signage or other types of digital signage, contact Keyser today.