Throughout the United States, towns and their local governments have discussed ways to alleviate "sign pollution." Whether its political signs during election season or advertisements stuck into snow banks following storms, people just want to walk around their town without being bombarded by paper signs.
The ongoing global shift to green solutions stands as a focal point of the debate as well.
The solution to these problems may lie in electronic marquee signs. Not only do they greatly reduce paper waste, electronic signage allows for several companies to advertise on the same sign. Also, one company can use the marquees to provide several messages on the same unit.
Stores looking to boost sales while reducing their advertising budget have also become advocates of digital displays, according to Reed Construction Data. A store can advertise items from other departments in more heavily trafficked sections of their shop, which has led to increased business in some cases.
They have also taken advantage of point-of-sale digital signage by advertising future sales and other offers that drive return business. The messages can be changed more easily, and stores can alter messages at different times of the day depending on who tends to shop at those times.
The dates for the 5th annual Digital Signage Content Strategies Summit were announced on February 19. The conference will take place on April 13 and 14 at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas.
One of the primary issues discussed at the event will be marketing. Companies who have succeeded in boosting business by installing modern signage will offer their advice to the industry.
Not everyone stands behind the trend, however. In Los Angeles city council elections, voters have asked candidates to reduce light pollution caused by excessive electronic signage.
A local organization, Billboard Blight posted a list of pointed questions for residents to ask candidates who have been hesitant to restrict signage as it can curtail business.
A similar effort in Philadelphia to use electronic displays to light dimmer portions of streets and raise money for landlords who own abandoned properties has met resistance from local anti-billboard activist Mary Tracy.
"This isn't Times Square. This isn't Las Vegas. We're Philadelphia," Tracy told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Businesses have also begun implementing digital signage within the office to communicate with employees. Rather than using older technologies with changeable sign letters, they install a few marquees and can relay several messages at once.
Advertising within corporate environments has also benefited from the use of digital signage. Placing signs in elevators is a way to display advertisements and news without much cost. A leading developer indicates that these signs reach more than four million "spend-ready" consumers every year.
Many outdoor digital signs use solar power, which drives towns and companies to consider the switch. Digital signage has made it easier to alert drivers and pedestrians of crucial messages such as Amber Alerts and keep them updated.
The restaurant industry is also moving toward digital signage, especially fast food chains. As restaurants offer new products and deals, the ability to easily change the menu to highlight certain offers with the press of a few buttons makes the signage especially appealing.
There is an appeal to older signs. The feel of changeable menu sign letters and the look they offer provides an old-world feeling that can greatly benefit some stores. Still, as the last 20 years have shown, those unwilling to take advantage of certain new - and cheaper - technologies will struggle to compete with businesses that embrace new trends.