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The days of billboards and posters are nearing their end, with digital signage becoming the primary platform for many advertisements, displays, and even placing orders at restaurants.  There is no arguing that technology only moves in one direction, which is why screens are replacing more and more surfaces that catch our eye. The Digital Signage Awards exist to highlight the industry's best and show us where this innovative technology is moving.

At the 2020 Digital Signage Awards, the best of digital signage went to Second Story for their signage piece, “Unify,” which is the largest interior LED display globally—making them the winners of the Grand Prix award. 

But what about the other winners who participated in 2020’s Digital Signage Awards? Don’t worry; below, we’ll showcase the best of the best from the event.

The Best of the Digital Signage Awards: 2020

The use of digital signage is expansive and seems to be growing annually, which is why the categories for which awards are given are updated each year. Let’s look at this year’s winners.  

Grand Prix (Winner)

While most other awards in the Digital Signage Awards primarily go into categories and are not heavily ranked against one another, the prize every entry hopes to win is the Grand Prix.  

Second Story’s developer, Lincoln Harris, has the honor of claiming the Grand Prix award this year for their digital signage entry called “Unify.” This work of art greets employees of Legacy Union in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The local community takes pride in this piece, as the vibrancy of this digital signage reflects the city's atmosphere. “Unify” is a true example of the artistry found in digital signage and is the largest LED screen globally, with a width of 70 feet and a height of 30 feet.

Corporate Workplace

Corporations have highly adopted the use of digital signage in the workplace.  The versatility of digital signage makes it a practical tool for sharing information with employees or is often simply used as a digital canvas to enliven the atmosphere of a workplace. Let’s look at the winner of 2020:

  • Winner: Studio Banana – Olympic House for the International Olympic Committee:  The athletic world has proven to be a major contender in this year’s digital signage awards, and who better to represent it than the Olympics. Studio Banana’s piece is meant to tell the story of the Olympics and share its values to all who visit the new location for the committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. This digital signage serves as a multimedia platform and hosts a library of content that provides a fresh view, whether you come in casually or frequently. 
  • High Commendation: Second Story: “Unify” – Lincoln Harris: Having not only won the Grand Prix award, “Unify” has received a High Commendation for the Digital Signage Awards this year. This piece can only be described as emotional—featuring a color scheme that is as powerful as it is beautiful.  Digital signage like “Unify” is casting the stereotype of a dreary corporate atmosphere into the shadows. 
Digital signage awards
Image via Studio Banana

Digital Out-of-Home Media

Digital out-of-home advertising is fast becoming the standard, with billboards being a thing of the past. Digital signage gives advertisers a platform that is engaging and can conveniently be easily manipulated. Here are the Digital Signage Award’s best Digital Out-of-Home Media of 2020:

  • infiLED EM – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: NASA’s space center in Merrit Island, Florida hosts infiLED EM’s winner for Digital Out-of-Home Media, giving viewers an experience of history through an immersive video displayed on digital signage. This award's major accreditation is due to infiLED EM’s collaboration with RGM Networks, who managed the LED screen's dynamic video.  
  • High Commendation: Screen Network – Mindshare Poland for Fox TV “Help is Coming”: This digital signage is a series of LED screens that span 165 meters (over 500 feet) displayed in Warsaw, Poland, and shows Fox TV’s emergency service dramas 911 and Chicago Fire. As real-life ambulances race down the street, the digital signage displays “Help is Coming” on the screen. This is achieved by a sophisticated network of cameras and sensors that detect emergency vehicles approaching the area.  

Education and Healthcare 

Navigating yourself around an intricate campus or building can feel like finding your way out of a labyrinth and become frustratingly tedious. That is why this year’s Digital Signage Award for Education and Healthcare went to RMG Networks (KORBYT) for their work at the University of Kentucky. The university currently has an 814-acre campus, which gave the incentive to create a “smart campus” using an intricate network of digital signage. 

The impressive work behind RMG Networks’ interactive digital signage has proven to accomplish much more than just display a digital map of the campus. Here are some of the ways students and university colleagues use the signage: 

  • Interactive campus map
  • Event management 
  • University information
  • Emergency alerts notifications
  • Social media 
  • Weather 
  • University photography and videography 

This kind of use with digital signage is an excellent way to add practicality and organization in every setting, from educational centers and hospitals to shopping malls and beyond.  

Hotels, Resorts, Theme Parks, and Attractions

As you anticipate your next vacation, don’t be surprised when you find digital signage playing its role in making your holiday all the better. That is why the Digital Signage Awards glorify the use of digital signage in the Hotels, Resorts, Theme Parks, and Attractions category. Let’s see who came out on top this year:

Image via CruiseIndustryNews.com
  • ProntoTV – HMS Roland Amundsen: When you step onboard a Hurtigruten cruise ship in Norway, you will be amazed not only by the scenery but by the creative use of digital signage to enhance the experience. ProntoTV-HMS Roland Amundsen claims the award in this sector for their work with the Hurtigruten company, which features the tallest LED screen at sea. This digital signage shows off the scenery of what’s to come on the cruise, displaying views that rival the actual environment and leaving passengers with their jaws dropped. 
  • High Commendation: NanoLumens with KAOS and the Palms Casino – KAOS Display Network: Win or lose, when you roll the dice at the Palms Casino, you will be amazed by your experience. A remarkable 120 curved displays turn this casino into a digital signage oasis. Most gamblers come to the Palms Casino to play poker and craps, but to no surprise have a hard time leaving for reasons other than the prospect of stacking their chips. NanoLumens, with KAOS, is given credit and praise for their impressive digital signage use at this casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Best Digital Signage of All Time

So, we’ve looked at the stars of this year’s Digital Signage Awards, but to truly appreciate digital signage, you’ve got to give recognition to those that have come out on top in the past. 
Let’s dive into some that have stood out over the years:

  • 2013: AKQA is the Grand Prix winner for demonstrating creative work, which successfully reached its target audience. 
    • Also worth noting from 2013 is System 9 Media who won the digital signage award for Entertainment for their work with Turkey’s largest cinema chain, Mars Entertainment Group. Their work included networking 250 screens in 20 different cinemas, which amounted to reaching 1 million viewers.
  • 2014: Neutral, based in Vienna, Austria, claimed the Grand Prix for its work with augmented reality done with advertising and showing outstanding innovation.
  • 2018: Silver Curve won the top prize of this year’s Digital Signage Awards for their work at the famous Lord’s cricket grounds. This digital signage featured Raspberry-Pi technology, which systematically controlled all the scoreboards and made operating the grounds much more efficient.  

Final Thoughts

In a world growing more technologically advanced by the day, digital signage continues to pop up in more and more places. This year’s Digital Signage Awards have highlighted the use of digital signage in the corporate workplace, out-of-home advertising, and education. They have also given recognition to the individuals that are pushing the industry in the right direction.

With the expanding use of digital signage, we can expect the Digital Signage Awards to include more categories in years to come.