Fifth screen

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The Fifth screen is the most recent in a historic line of communication screens. It is commonly called Digital signage or Digital Out Of Home. The Fifth Screen represents the combination of the World Wide Web and mobile 2G, 3G and 4G technologies, Internet, displays and data/media uploaded and streamed to displays placed in various public environments.

The Fifth screen is typically found in three main categories; Point of Sale, Point of Wait and Point of Transit. It is expected that millions of these screens will be deployed over the next five years in places like retail outlets, while waiting in line, and in transit (e.g. digital billboards).

The Fifth Screen represents an unprecedented new medium that requires three main elements to support it, Technology, Media and an Audience to see it. On the technology side there are three main categories that support the Fifth Screen: software, connectivity networks and hardware, displays and cameras. On the Media Side of the equation there are a number of elements that need to be considered to play proper media that is relevant in a venue that include type of network (Point of Wait, Point of Transit or Point of Sale). The audience that views the Fifth Screen is also a measured and quantifiable using AVA (anonymous video analytics) and physical counts.

History[edit]

The history of screens may be summarized as follows:

  1. First screen, the Silver Screen (movies)
  2. Second screen, television
  3. The Third screen really came about after the advent of two technologies melding together - the personal computer and the publicly available World Wide Web in 1995
  4. Arguably the Fourth screen is related to mobile hand held devices.[1] It followed in 2002 with the advent of hand held technologies and Wi-Fi, 2G and 3G mobile services.
  5. The Fifth screen, screens in public areas.

The Fifth screen is the digital screen that is seen outside the home in many different venues. Screens are installed in elevators, malls, airports, train stations, on a subway platform, in retail stores, banks and are used in back office corporate communications. The Fifth screen is seen as a new and separate medium.

Historic review[edit]

For the past 120 years or so, rapid advances in technology have transformed human communication faster and to a greater degree than in all the time before. Since the development of the motion picture in about 1890 with the advent of Dickson and Edison’s Kinetoscope, the silver screen, with moving images and text, became a dominant form of communication. At first a source of novelty, then entertainment, it also became a source of news, information, propaganda, and advertising within its first decades.

From this First screen, it was another half century before the first electronic screen, television, entered daily life. Although movies had been a very public form of communication, experienced en masse, this Second screen was one that spoke to people in a much more intimate setting, their living rooms. Because of that, it was able to deliver different kinds of messages that were perceived differently by viewers.

Another 40 years passed before the Third screen, the personal computer, came to market, and it wasn’t until the early 1990s, with the advent of the internet, that its potential as a communications medium became clear. For the first time, individuals had a personalized, on-demand screen for viewing the information they wanted at any time and in (almost) any place that suited them.

When PDAs met cellular technology, the mobile phone came into its own and took its place as the Fourth screen, the most intensely private and controlled screen yet. This revolutionary handheld screen accompanied people into the real world and let them access information wherever they were at any moment.

All of these screens enable people to communicate with one another, whether providing information or stimulating purchases. Each screen has unique characteristics, and each of them reach people in different places, offering different degrees of viewer control. Yet, as a whole, they do not fill the gaps in the communications grid. There are myriad places people go every day where none of these screens can deliver messages from a marketer, employer, or other entity to inform a recipient and guide decision making.

Digital signage[edit]

Today, a combination of technical advances, low-cost flat panel screens in a range of sizes and projectors, Internet, cellular, and Wi-Fi networks and web-based control software make it possible to create a Fifth screen in places where the presence of the other four screens is diminished. From miniature screens on a retail shelf that inform consumers about products and shape their decisions to buy, to bright, ever-changing highway billboards that convey the right messages at the right time, and even screens in public toilets which exploit downtime, digital signage offers a new medium for communications in education, marketing, retail, and employee communications environments. This Fifth screen creates a crucial visual connection with messages delivered on the other screens we encounter daily, intercepting our inquisitive nature at our points of decision.

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