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The age of portable information is most certainly upon us. Smart phones, digital tablets, and video displays are presenting timely and frequently updated content to us in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not since the dawn of the printing press or the invention of the radio has the world seen a more convenient way of presenting data in a portable format.

In order to keep up with the digital preferences of their audience, media outlets are changing the way they deliver content. On February 10, Yahoo announced a new digital newsstand designed for tablet devices and cell phones. Calling the service “Livestand”, Yahoo will send customized data to users “based on a variety of factors, including their interests, their location and the time of day, and will draw from Yahoo properties like Sports, News, Finance, OMG and Flickr.”

Yahoo attributes the move to the rapidly growing tablet audience, stating that “Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in just eight months last year and research firm Gartner Inc. expects 55 million tablets to be shipped by the end of this year… With so many people embracing tablets, Yahoo is confident advertisers will be eager to pour more money into marketing campaigns tailored for the device.”

But certainly a portable device should do more than just replicate magazines and books. With that in mind, Yahoo is seeking to engage readers with more interactive content than is presently available for portable devices. The company is also working with a number of other publishers to provide additional content beyond the Yahoo platform.

From the look of it, Livestand will do far more than deliver the newspaper to your front step. Its personalization process is also focused and time of day and location. But this should come as no surprise to those who have been using location-sensitive apps on their smart phones for years now. Your phone knows where you are and delivers weather reports and maps accordingly. So shouldn’t your information content be similarly adjusted to suit your present location?

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As we become more and more accustomed to data which anticipates our tastes and our GPS coordinates, we expect more from all the visual displays around us. In the airport, we have become used to constantly updated video displays listing flight times and gate numbers. But in the grocery store and at the gas station, we’re used to mostly static information. What if you could walk through these spaces with a shopper’s discount card that contains a chip that tells all the store’s digital displays who you are and what your tastes are? What if all the signage was altered to reflect the weather outside — sales on umbrellas on a rainy day, or advice on sunblock protection for a hot summer day.

These ideas and more will be the topic of conversation at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) this week in Las Vegas. At the show, to be held February 22-25, big names in technology will present new ideas on interactivity and fascinating new content for digital video displays in stores, corporate lobbies, healthcare facilities, and countless other locations.

The DSE keynote address will be presented by Jose Avalos, from a very big name in technology, Intel. Avalos will talk about “Key Trends Affecting the Future of Digital Signage,” and the audience will definitely be interested in what he says. Already, Intel has developed a dazzling array of new retail experience technologies that will make shopping as fun and interactive as playing a video game.

Maybe the coolest application of this new Intel technology is “adiverse“, a collaboration with Adidas which created a “Virtual Footwear Wall”. With adiverse, shoppers will have virtual access to Adidas’ entire line of shoes, providing far more merchandise than could previously be represented in a physical store.

That’s what it’s all about — access. New digital signage technologies can provide innovative ways to display formerly static content, all while adding depth and dimension to the information experience. These high-tech signs go beyond sale prices and specials and into diverse content. The possibilities are endless — from recipes in the grocery store, to mechanical tips and techniques at the auto parts store, to weather reports at the boat rental counter. So keep your eyes open for new content that fits a new, digital era.