Digital Signage and Controversy

Digital signage is a fairly new technology. Its use has increased dramatically over the last few years and the industry is continuing to expand as more and more people realise the potential of this exciting and new advertising and information medium.

However, as with any new technology, digital signage has received its fair share of both positive and negative reactions. While many laud the effectiveness and flexibility of digital signage, there are those that have drawn criticisms of this new technology.

Most of this technology is centred on outdoor digital signage but indoor systems have come under attack too. The main criticisms centred on digital signage are:

• It is power hungry and therefore environmentally unfriendly; adding to climate change.

Outdoor digital signage is ruining the look of traditional high streets making them look gaudy and tacky.

• Roadside screens are a distraction to drivers and can cause accidents

• The brightness of outdoor screens adds to light pollution and can be a nuisance to local residents

While many of these criticisms are genuine concerns from people, many of them are simply unfounded or misguided:

• Yes, digital signage does require a power source but so do traditional forms of print media. Every billboard, poster and sign on a high street has toe be erected and replaced by a technician in a van, this too of course consumes energy. Furthermore, with modern backlit LED TV systems the power consumption is incredibly low

• Digital screens can hardly be said to be lowering the tone of our high streets especially when you compare the modernity and dynamic nature of them in comparison to shabby, ripped or faded print media

• There is little or no evidence to suggest roadside digital billboards and other outdoor digital signage is anymore of a distraction to motorists than other types of advertising. And with regulations already in place in many State’s and counties, limiting the content changes and number of signs, motorists should be adequately protected.

• Whilst digital signs do are illuminated, they can be set to be switched off at night, once the high streets have emptied but if advertisers want to take advantage of late night revellers the screens can be tilted to prevent the light pollution escaping upwards.

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