Here’s to the tipping point year

Well, a lot of us thought 2006 was going to be the year when things really started to take off, and there were certainly signs the sector was heating up in a big way. But I wonder how many companies met sales targets.

There’s every reason to believe 2007 is the year when it all really starts to happen.

My predictions:

1. Several major retailers and banks stop putzing around and go from pilots to rollouts. Hooray.

2. Yet more start-ups will get in the game with the latest, greatest revolutionary piece of software … even though little will actually blow anyone’s socks off.

3. Many existing players will look at the crowded field and go back to their company roots.

4. There will be a lot of consolidation and a few more notable acquisitions by players nibbling on the edges of this thing. You have to wonder, for example, why Dell hasn’t formally waded in yet, given their leasing capabilities.

5. Companies like SeeSaw Networks, or new ones, will start to roll-up diverse media networks and represent the aggregate to the agencies … probably with limited success.

6. More and more ad revenue-based networks will streamline their offers and simplify cluttered screens – so people notice the ads, not the news – or go out of business.

7. Display prices will continue to drop, though probably not as precipitously as during the past year. There is some suggestion that things are flattening out.

8. New network operators will finally get their heads around thinking through the content strategy first, and THEN worry  about the gear.

9. Packaged software prices and service fees will be under a lot of pressure because of the sheer numbers of competitors. Anyone charging premium rates next year will have taken advanced tap dancing lessons. One company is now offering free software in hopes of drumming up content production work. Expect more to follow, like display and PC manufacturers looking to move boxes.

10. No one will yet settle on a name for this industry, though the search terms records on this blog are overwhelmingly for “digital signage”.

Have a great holiday, and tip a glass or two to what should be a good year ahead!

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