Web 2.0, Digital Signage, and Ubiquitous Computing

The image on the left was used by Paul Dunay over at Marketing 2.0 in a recent post on digital signage. Paul notes that a recent Razorfish survey ranked digital signage (32 percent) as only second to mobile (51 percent) in importance as an emerging media channel. He also takes note of examples of new media channels that combine the two, mobile and digital signage.

Mobile gaming is an example where multiplayer cell phone games currently allow gamers in the proximity to a digital sign to play one another. Paul goes on to outline a series of potential applications for combining digital signage and cell phones into social media marketing strategy.

Jumbotrons at sporting events where they can pick attendees to play an engaging mini game of basketball, baseball, football, hockey, or whatever sport you are watching. Rock Concert goers could dial into the Jumbotron to participate in a live chat with the band backstage. Tradeshow events could use this to allow real time Twittering and live Q&A via mobile. Anywhere you are waiting in line – airports, hotels, on airplanes, amusement parks (read Disney) could not only pre-engage their audience with the ride – perhaps they could let us sign up for tickets once we enter the park and call us when we are due to blast off!

However, it is important to note that use of digital signage in social media marketing isn’t confined to applications that leverage cell phones in mobile communications. Automobiles that increasingly incorporate ubiquitous computing technologies provide a platform for other mobile media applications, promising opportunities for digital signage in the very near future. In his most recent book, The Design of Future Things, Don Norman poses the following scenario for consideration as he discusses the design of automobiles.

“Your car will soon chat with neighboring cars, exchanging all sorts of interesting information. Cars will communicate with one another through wireless networks, technically called ‘ad hoc’ networks because they form as needed…At least, that’s what the researchers are working on. But you can also bet that clever advertisers are thinking about the potential. Each billboard can have its own wireless network, broadcasting its wares to the car. Imagine a billboard or store checking with the navigation system to see just what the car’s destination is, perhaps to suggest a restaurant, hotel, or shopping center” (p. 98).

My point is that the image Paul provides in his post, even though not explicitly recognized by him, provides another example of digital signage in social media marketing where the relevance of ubiquitous computing shows itself. Those who think Norman’s example is far-fetched need to read his book. The sort of application Norman mentions is quite feasible and likely to occur in the near future.

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2 Responses to Web 2.0, Digital Signage, and Ubiquitous Computing

  1. Nathan says:

    Another interesting example of digital signage using web 2.0 idea I saw was ScreenScape (screenscape.net). They’re using a social / community aspect that lets users share content with each other. Pretty cool.

  2. Larry Irons says:

    Thanks for the pointer Nathan, interesting service model.

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