Interview with Chris Chinnock, President of Insight Media, about 3D displays and their application in digital signage.

3D displays for Digital Signage

Chris Chinnock | Insight Media

Why would someone consider using a 3D display in their signage network?

For advertisers, it's all about getting your attention. A 3D display can do this very effectively, so that's a great reason to begin to look at a 3D display. Other signage networks might want to use a 3D display to enhance their brand image or make an impact on viewers.

Are there any metrics to prove benefits or ROI?

Yes and no. Some studies have been done and the benefits can be proven, but many are limited in scope so larger data sets would be more convincing. On the other hand, there seem to be a lot of 3D signage applications where metrics were obtained that are very favorable for 3D - but these operators don't want to talk about it. The fear is that the returns are so good their competitors will rush in. So the secrecy is not helping to expand the 3D signage base, but it also hints at a coming tipping point too.

How soon do you think we will start to see 3D applications appear in the real world?

They are out there now and I expect they will increase and become more visible in transport centers, retail, cinemas, casinos and more.

Can you give us some scenarios or examples in which 3D would be used?

A regional grocery chain has rolled out 73 screens and is expanding to over 200 now. This is supported by ads from Kraft Foods, Coca Cola, Nestle and others who show floating 3D products at the point of decision in the grocery store. Red Bull has done research on the viewing and sales lift of using a 3D display too, while cinemas can run 3D trailers of upcoming 3D movies on their glasses-free display in the theater lobby. Glasses-free 3D is best in controlled viewing situations so having it right above the vegetable bin, near an escalator or where people are waiting in line are all good examples.

Is the image quality good enough?

Image quality is very much as combination of the content creation process and the 3D display - which is quite different from 2D signage. Careful understanding of the 3D human factors in content creation is required. The 3D displays themselves can often have "sweet spots" - positions defined in space where you see the best 3D image. The ability to smooth out these sweet spots is already possible, so you need to create content that is matched to the display system and the goals of the content and signage. If you think this through carefully, you can definite create compelling 3D images.

Is there a no glasses 3D solution that you know of or are 3D glasses necessary?

Almost all of the solutions I have been talking about are glasses-free 3D.

This is mostly a requirement for any public signage system. Some events may be acceptable for 3D glasses, however. Glasses-free technology is advancing very rapidly in a number of technical areas. That's why we are confident 3D is a long term trend that will wave after wave of innovation for many years to come.

Can 3D display be part of a 2D network?

Yes. Many of the glasses-free display can easily show 2D content that looks just fine. In addition, Content Management Systems are also available to deliver and schedule both 2D and 3D content on a network.

How tough or difficult is content creation?

You will need to budget more time and expense for the 3D content and you will need to have an experience content creator doing or assisting in this process. It is easy to create 3D content, but much more difficult to create a well-crafted and optimized 3D experience.

Are there companies or individuals out there now who can build a 3D signage solution?

Yes. There are perhaps a dozen primary display providers. They often work with content creation partners, system integrators and agencies who contribute to the solution. Partners are almost always needed to create a complete solution, much like in the 2D signage world.


About Chris

Chris Chinnock is President of Insight Media, a display industry publishing and consulting company with a special focus on 3D technologies. Insight Media provides technology, market and product intelligence through monthly and yearly display technology reports, custom consulting, conferences and 3D training. Insight Media has a roster of over 800 companies that subscribe to various services, including custom consulting, on a worldwide basis. Mr. Chinnock takes an active role in all of these activities. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Colorado and for 15 years he worked in a variety of engineering, management and business development positions at companies such as General Dynamics, MIT Lincoln Labs, Honeywell Electro-Optics, GE AstroSpace and Barnes Engineering. This was followed by 5 years as a freelance journalist and consultant prior to starting Insight Media. 



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