Signs of the Times - January 2013 - (Page 34)

THE MOVING MESSAGE By Bob Klausmeier Digital-display consultant Bob Klausmeier brings 34 years of firsthand, professional experience to all digital-sign markets. You can reach him at How the Digital-Billboard Industry is Reshaping the Sign Industry More than 3,500 digital billboards are presently installed in North America. his year, I celebrate my 35th year in the electronic-display industry. The first display I sold was a doubleface, 7 x 64-lamp (24-in. letter height) message center, crowned with a bank logo. In 1978, that display cost $35,000 and was noted in the Collinsville, IL newspaper as an example of “the exciting new technology” embracing the world. Looking back, the industry has changed negligibly, until recent years. My first display sale was fundamentally similar to the ones I sold in the mid-90s because incandescent lamps were the most viable medium. But incandescent lamps’ inherent problems stymied the potential of what was then identified as programmable-display technology. By the late ’90s, the light-emitting diode (LED) lamp was becoming acceptable as outdoor illumination for programmable-display faces. And, as important as the display face were parallel advances in T computer and telecommunications systems which allowed programmers to create and send large-data files from the programming station to the remote screen. Lamar Advertising’s Bobby Switzer is credited with founding modernera, digital-outdoor advertising – the proliferation of LED-based, electronically controlled billboards. He’s often said that “a great convergence of multiple technologies” was required before the advertising industry could fully embrace electronic, changeable-message billboards. It required: • The LED-lamped, RGB pixel; • Faster computers with greater memory; • A viable method – telecommunications technology – to send messages quickly; • The Internet, as a platform for advanced programming; • Software and firmware developments necessary to create multiscreen networks. Most ST readers don’t work in the outdoor-advertising industry, but we’ve all noted the electronic billboard’s impact on the entire signage and electronic-display industry. Without digital outdoor’s contributions, the high-magnitude industry changes that have exploded in the past decade wouldn’t have occurred. Consider, for example, the impact of outdoor advertising on LED prices. Because of the digital billboard’s sheer size, coupled with the quantity 34 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JANUARY 2013 /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2013

Signs of the Times - January 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Scenes from the Global Village
Crane Truck Safety Advice
Supreme Wrap
The Value of Signs
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2013