Few digital signage providers, especially AV Integrators, are pursuing the convergence of digital signage with mobile technologies. For those that are, the implementations are basic and generally limited to the display of 2D barcodes or SMS short codes.
Convergence is rare because most digital signage solutions providers are ill equipped to handle the complexity of mobile. This complexity was made evident in recent work being done by the Digital Screenmedia Association’s (DSA) Mobile Committee.
Earlier this year, the DSA’s Mobile Committee was tasked with completing a “mobile mind map” to complement the mind maps already prepared for digital signage and kiosks. Early work on the mobile mind map identified 27 elements comprising 4 levels of complexity. This early effort, although essentially not more than a placeholder, paled in comparison to the size of the digital signage or kiosk mind maps. However, when the Mobile Committee finished updating the mobile mind map, the results were far different.
The updated mobile mind map contained almost 300 elements representing 6 levels of complexity. This made the mobile mind map more complex than the digital signage and kiosk maps combined. It should be noted that nothing in the mobile mind map was filler or placeholders. All of the depicted elements were deemed essential to conveying the complete scope of the mobile environment.
So what lessons can be gleaned from a map with 300 elements with 6 levels of complexity? At macro level, not much except that the map provides a good visual of the mobile landscape. At a micro level the mind map can help those thinking about convergence to assess their ability to architect a solution without consultative guidance.
In summary, convergence requires more than a digital sign and a smartphone. Convergence often requires an expansive solution consisting of a digital sign, a smartphone, a smartphone app and supporting infrastructure and services.