The “new normal” is something we’ve all heard about during the Covid crisis and, while it’s almost un-definable in real terms, it’s going to be a way of life in our digital world.
Communicating information effectively is fundamental for all our communities whether it’s work, school or retail. The integration of digital displays with content that educates and informs will play an immense role in each and every persons future.
Whether we use a smartphone, tablet, computer or smart TV for school and work, we rely on being able to connect effectively. There is of course more than one meaning to connect; one is the technology and infrastructure we use to connect to enable data to be transmitted and the other is how brands and companies, schools, governments and communities share information.
Globally, network infrastructure is developing at speed and opens up the opportunity for digital connectedness for everyone from London to Lima and San Francisco to Samarkand. Digital will be key to our economies, our education and our businesses on all levels.
While copper is still the backbone of many networks and communications platforms, the growth of fibreoptic, cellular (4G and 5G) and satellite networks is making the connections easier and faster. The launch of new micro-satellite networks is expanding coverage to places most of us would never have imagined would be possible or cost effective.
The relationship between digital devices and the network infrastructure that makes it possible is taking away the audio-visual versus IT question (where we previously asked “how will AV and IT be integrated”) and delivers the answer that devices and systems are now becoming synonymous.
Digital screens and networks are the tools we use to communicate with. A screen on your desk or your smart device helps you communicate with others, while a display on the roadside, at a bus stop or in a shopping mall helps others communicate with you.
That relationship is now even more important as every digital device can now be more than just one thing.
Digital displays with cameras and software are now tools for checking temperatures at hotels, schools, restaurants, shops and offices around the world. With the right software and interconnectivity these devices can help, right now, with track and trace and preventing the spread of Covid-19. While they are not medical devices they do provide a useful first step in monitoring and prevention.
These devices shouldn’t be a short term and disposable item but need to be developed to offer more diverse content when the current requirements become lower priority.
Let’s be honest, all these new devices have helped integrate more digital touch points into our lives than ever before and our industry has an opportunity to expand how we connect to individuals through building better relationships and making interactions more useful and desirable.
When advertising and wayfinding can be added to these new touch points they become an even stronger tool for reaching out to customers and for customers to interact with our clients and businesses.
The content displayed on a kiosk at the pharmacy or in the retail shop should now be the tool that enhances the click and collect experience when social distancing is required.
Everyone using the internet has a digital ID in the form of an email address or mobile phone number. Upgrading the digital ID with simple facial recognition or a digital passcode (perhaps our own personal unique bar code which I’m told is in development) with your medical and Covid-19 testing results, could make checking-in for a flight, clearing immigration safely and travelling across borders safe again.
Communication will be key to managing health, education and community safety and our own digital portfolios will play a bigger part in this over the next few years. Advertising revenues have been slashed for owners of out-of-home displays but building new partnerships between government, business, education and advertising is the way forward.