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Digital signs set to bloom further in UAE

Forecast to grow as much as 50% over the next three years, LG says

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Visitors at LG pavilion at 37th Gitex Technology Week at Dubai World trade centre.
Gulf News


Digital displays have disrupted traditional marketing, propelling brands to create innovative experiences to connect with customers.

Audai Altaie, regional director of sales for business-to-business at LG Electronics, said that screens have now become a crucial component of marketing and merchandising strategies, cascading across industry verticals to create demand for vivid, vibrant, immersive content.

“Most significantly, marketers have done the math to find that the returns on digital signage far outdo print. Strong growth is seen ahead for digital signage over the next three years as marketers leap to engage eyeballs across digital platforms, with screens seen as pivotal to strategy,” he said.

Altaie said that digital signage growth has evolved gradually — up to 25 per cent over the past year — but is forecast to grow rapidly to as much as 50 per cent over the next three years in the lead-up to 2020 when Dubai is expected to receive 25 million visitors for the World Expo.

He said that the forecast growth trend is attributed to an increase in malls, hotels, health care, transportation and real estate developments that now consider screens a fundamental part of the architecture when designing their environments.

Moreover, he said that ubiquitous use of smart devices has made digital displays a core component of marketing strategies, evolving as a force that immerses, engages and interacts with customers.

“Increase in video consumption worldwide has made it impossible to ignore digital signage as a necessary marketing channel, and one that makes it easier to frequently update content,” he said.

In terms of growth of digital signage installations, Bill Fordyce, COO at HyperMedia, said that there has been a pretty big acceleration with forward-thinking developers like Nakheel and Meraas for example.

“They have large digital signage networks within their properties, so it’s part of the architecture now. In fact, digital signage is now part of every retail development in the country. Maybe five or six years ago it was an afterthought, but now it’s a primary consideration,” he said.

Fordyce thinks that this trend will continue to grow with more malls coming up in run-up to the Expo 2020.

“We will see more adoption of digital signage in the next three years. We’ll also see firms using programmatic to deliver the best return on investment from digital. There’ll be a greater focus on 4K technology, which will deliver stunning displays at a higher resolution rate. And there’ll be a push for more touchscreen technology, which will allow consumers to have a richer experience based on their choices when engaging with the brand,” said Alex Malouf, Chair at International Association of Business Communicators for Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

Market leaders say they are planning to invest in digital signage solutions across the board over the next three years, from installing new displays to refurbishments, to converting existing traditional advertising spaces.

From pillars to light poles, walls to highway billboards, brands are invested in surpassing traditional signage limitations with innovative digital displays, Altaie said.

He said that both indoor and outdoor are a focus for increased investment in digital signage. Content creation for an increasing number of digital displays is going to become a major area of growth and investment as marketers tap into the freedom and flexibility of instantly delivering an infinite series of targeted messages.

“Demand for creative and engaging content is expected to surge as the speed of deployment accelerates,” he said.

Amith Khanna, director of operations for support at InterContinental Hotels Group India, Middle East and Africa, said that with high-resolution screens available in the market, the options are far better. The aspect of targeting multiple customers with different messages has only gotten more and more sophisticated, with various technology options and creative content. This will only continue to evolve.