Digital Signage and CES: What was New and Exciting in 2020
For more than 50 years, The Consumer Electronic Show, CES, has been the place for companies to show off their next-generation technologies. As expected, CES 2020 was busy and buzzing with innovative new technologies, new ideas in
search of attention, and visionary concepts that aren’t available yet. This year, there were more than 4,400 exhibitors, 1,100 speakers, and 170,000 attendees.
However, it’s not necessarily the big-name tech companies that made the biggest splash. Many of the largest popular tech companies, like Apple and Tesla, had minimal presence. Traditional electronic makers made up the bulk of the displays. And many companies you wouldn’t expect, like Delta Airlines and Uber, had a strong presence.
As CES says, “Every company is a tech company.” As such, the show has become a good way for non-traditional exhibitors to get media coverage by showing off either their own innovations or the innovations of their partners.
Three Reflect employees were among the 170,000 who were in attendance. They had some takeaways from this year’s show that are worth sharing.
New Technology for Digital Signage Applications
CES may not focus on digital signage applications, but it’s still the ideal place to see the latest in display, computing, media, and behavioral trends. Here are some key takeaways.
Screens: Screens are still screens, but technologies and designs continue to evolve. Screens are now more integrated with all of the world’s streaming apps and digital assistants. HD applications are still in use, but 4K resolution is now the standard. Newer 8K screens are beautiful, but not readily available. They also have little content available and are costly, so there’s no need to upgrade yet.
Configurable LED Displays: A standard for years, LEDs are also the future for all cool things. Inexpensive, super low-resolution LEDs remain a storefront staple, while big, expensive LED displays are the go-to for high-impact, high-budget installations. And now there are flexible, configurable, easy-to-use, high-quality LEDs, as well as specialized screens like Planar’s giant, 240-inch 8K screen and Sony’s stunning Crystal LED displays.
Mini LED Panels: These panels are very high resolution, weather safe, low energy, flexible, can fasten together, and will bring dynamic displays to life. With many newer, lower-cost LED options for smaller installations, LEDs are crossing into more areas where they can be integrated into retail fixtures and other products. Expect to see a proliferation of these display types in the next few years.
Additional Dynamic Options for Displays
Additional shapes: Displays are no longer locked into standard 16:9 or 9:16 sizes. Other shapes, like square and ultra-long displays, are coming to market. The cool, modern look not only captures attention, but also creates limitations on how existing content can be used.
Flexible LED paper: This high-resolution, wearable product was constructed into garments and bags, and can wrap around physical elements in a store . Another innovation is the LG Transparent OLED Signage, with improved content, technology, resolution, and multiple applications.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR): Although still focused on gaming and very specialized industrial modeling and control systems, this flashy tech will eventually filter out to other uses among the masses.
Digital advertising: Mobile and web-based ads are shown in more and more digital out-of-home (DOOH) areas. The opportunities here are many, including ads in mass transit stations filled with bored and idle passengers. Expect to see more screens mounted everywhere and an increase in non-traditional connected devices like smart speakers and haptic systems (technology that creates the sensation of touch).
New and Exciting Tech for Your Lifestyle
Of course, much of CES is focused on services that enhance our lifestyles. The capabilities of connectivity and Internet of Things (IoT) are moving beyond connected appliances and lightbulbs and into every aspect of our lives. Here are some of the interesting trends:
Google assistant and Alexa connectivity and applications: For the U.S. market it’s all about building to either Google or Amazon’s standards, though there are other companies offering fully integrated home systems. There is ample opportunity for more integrations like doorbells, motion sensors, smart speakers, Crock-Pots, and mirrors. IoT is here to stay, and future consumer products will need to be connected or they’ll miss the market. There was a lot of discussion around security and hacking risks for IoT devices, but everyone appears to be counting on Google and Amazon to do this right.
Interactive closet: Answer a few questions about your mood and what you’re dressing for and the interactive closet highlights the clothes that are the best fit. Expect to see this technology also applied to retail soon.
Health and Fitness: Fitbits, Apple watches, and other wearables are everywhere, of course. The deeper trend now is wearable or smart medical devices like smart scales, glucose-reading watches that don’t need needles, and AI-driven health and weight loss programs. With a large presence at the show, these look to be an area for growth.
Telemedicine: Have a virtual doctor visit within the comfort of your home, or at the office, dorm, hotel, or airport.
Transportation Automation: Cleaner, safer cars are where it’s at, and these displays filled up about 30% of the show. There were many examples of self-driving electric cars, flying Ubers, and automated shipping. There was also a focus on digital entertainment within these driverless cars.
CES always provides an interesting look at the latest and greatest tech available, and what companies are working on for the future. As companies continue to innovate, we’ll continue to look for ways to incorporate new designs and capabilities into our digital signage applications.