I’ve just published a major new report, The Digital Signage And Display Opportunity in 2016.

Since Forrester was founded in 1983, we’ve never had a coverage area on digital signage  ̶  until now. Why? In the age of the customer, digital signage and related display technologies are growing rapidly, because:

  • It’s now a dynamic, disruptive, interesting technology. Once just a simple, unidirectional, broadcasting mechanism, digital signage now offers an array of new technology features like interactivity, facial recognition, and magic mirrors, and others that can drive valuable business scenarios across any vertical. Digital signage also interacts increasingly with mobility, as more installations allow customers to take what they see on the sign with them on their own smartphones.
  • Regulatory and business requirements drive adoption. The FDA ruled that all QSRs must provide nutritional information on all food and beverages by December 1, 2016. Digital signage solution providers report QSRs as one of the fastest-growing segments of the digital signage market as a result of this ruling to help package nutritional information with dynamic menus.
  • New vertical industries are driving innovation  ̶  and volume. In my report, we feature insights from High Liner Foods, the leading North American processor and marketer of value-added frozen seafood, a company using digital signage to engage with employees. We also feature Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, one of many healthcare businesses globally leveraging digital displays in a variety of contexts. Lessons learned from verticals as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, government, hospitality, and financial services complement the traditional focus on retail.

McDonald’s automated digital display for ordering

Digital signage and display technologies include magic mirrors (like the Memomi device now deployed at numerous Neiman Marcus locations), increasingly sophisticated kiosks, and self-service solutions. So there’s a link to automation and robotics; see McDonalds’ continuously growing legion of self-service kiosks.

What it means is this: Digital displays will become one node in a larger world of devices that act as automated sales associates, coworkers, and even medical clinicians. In the classic tale of Snow White, the Wicked Witch asked of her magic mirror, “Who’s the fairest of them all?” By 2020, it will be common for people to turn to digital displays to ask their own questions, as digital displays become a key connection between the digital and physical worlds.