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Digital signage sector powers up the green agenda

Florian Rotberg, (l) and Stefan Schieker from invidis Consulting

Sustainability remains a pressing concern in the digital signage and display industry, as highlighted by participants in the ISE Digital Signage Summit (DSS) on Wednesday. 

In the keynote session titled The Power of Pixels, which refers to concerns about power consumption as well as the power of content, Florian Rotberg, managing director at invidis Consulting, noted that the industry still needs to “get greener and more sustainable”. With regard to products, “it’s about eco designs, energy saving, circularity and recycling,” he added. 

While Rotberg observed that there are many interesting green concepts on the show floor at ISE2023, he also warned that there is “still a long way to go”. 

This message was highlighted by participants in a separate panel titled Managing Green Signage: Making digital signage more sustainable. Craig Francis, digital signage partner manager at Google ChromeOS, said sustainability is at the heart of what Google does, for example, and it adopts a “cradle to the grave” approach when considering the environmental impact of products. 

Rotberg noted that power consumption, the circularity of products, and product warranties are all important aspects to consider. Another is to adopt a modular approach to enable only certain parts of a product to be replaced when required. 

In terms of other challenges for the sector, Brad Koerner, director of hardware and application innovation at Cooler Screens, warned that the wider public is “suffering from digital signage burnout. You can put a screen up there to get a beautiful content, nobody pays attention,” he said. 

“How can we as designers start to think through that? Well, you can break the proportions you can try to create something that doesn’t look like a 16 by nine screen,” he said. Fortunately, the industry is “already technically capable of putting signage in any shape, size or format that we want,” he added. 

Ending on a positive note, Stefan Schieker, partner at invidis Consulting, pointed to preliminary figures from Futuresource that show global sales of large-format displays rose 12% to 7.7 million units in 2022, with 23% growth in EMEA alone. “To be honest, that really surprised us,” he said, noting that market sentiment was not that optimistic at the end of the year. “The market seems to be back on track.”