Digital signage is booming across the United States as an integral part of the next generation of “smart cities.” According to a recent Deloitte article, the goal of smart cities is to create digitally connected ecosystems that enhance people’s lives through a digital connection. This movement focuses on leveraging a combination of data, digital displays, and user-centered design.

The technologies being introduced into public spaces and urban landscapes incorporate hardware, software and network technology through the capabilities of digital signage. The top five digital cities in the United States include New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle all which ranked within the top fifty on an international scale.

Each city utilizes digital signage in various ways including:

  • Digital wayfinding
  • Free Wi-Fi kiosks
  • Real-time news and weather updates
  • Live bus and train schedules
  • City construction information
  • Contextually relevant advertising
  • Hyperlocal community information
  • Emergency Alerts

New York, New York – Ranked #4 Internationally

Home to the iconic and vibrant Times Square, New York City can be considered the heart of digital signage displays. The fast-paced consumer-driven culture influences much of the larger than life technology being deployed in the city. However, eye-catching digital displays are making their way onto the streets of the concrete jungle. New York City has made strides to replace phone booths on the streets with over seven thousand digital kiosks. These digital displays provide access to interactive wayfinding services, weather updates, and free Wi-Fi. New York Public Transit is also magnified through the use of forward-thinking digital technology. Digital displays are emerging on subway platforms, tourist attractions, and retail stores across the city. The constant installation and cutting-edge technology that is seeping into the city makes New York City a major authority on how to build a smart city through the means of modern technology and digital signage innovation.

Boston, Massachusetts – Ranked #7 Internationally

Digital displays fuel transit solutions throughout the country. In Boston, digital signage has been rolled out across the city’s metro system. Not only is digital signage spread across the transit routes in the city, but Boston also leverages the power of digital signage in their world-renowned convention centers. The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is considered the most technologically advanced convention facility in the United States. With state-of-the-art digital displays, BCEC encapsulates the integration of digital signage in major technology hubs in cities. The flexibility of digital advertising and digital displays has grown immensely over the last few years. With the introduction of digital billboards in Boston, there are even more possibilities for advancements towards smart city initiatives.

San Francisco, California – Ranked #11 Internationally 

Smart cities and digital signage are all about reaching people instantly and improving the lives of communities. San Francisco’s network of digital signage does just that. Tourists and residents are greeted with a digital network in the center of San Francisco at the Moscone Center, with digital panels lining all sides of the building. The digital presence in the city travels from the historic Union Square to the Financial District, and even throughout the Westfield Shopping Center on Market Street. Digital panels also surround AT&T park where nearly forty thousand Giants fans attend each night during the season. San Francisco is home to a network of billion-dollar companies all constantly working towards enhancing technology within society. It’s no surprise that digital signage has become a key component of everyday life in this innovative environment.

Chicago, Illinois – Ranked #17 Internationally

Deep-dish pizza, the Chicago Bears, and digital signage are all three features highlighting the uniqueness of the windy city. Digital displays are scattered throughout many parts of Chicago, including the iconic Millennium Park. This must-see attraction includes an LED video wall overlooking the reflecting pool off the corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street. This figure features video segments that utilize over 147 LED displays and speak to the creativity and smart city initiative happening within Chicago. Digital displays also have a huge presence at the Chicago Sports Museum, where LED displays allow museum-goers to participate in interactive games through motion sensing technology. Digital displays can be tailored to any environment and Chicago is a great example of how cities can create a unique experience for consumers and city structures.

Seattle, Washington – Ranked #18 Internationally

Built nearly 50 years ago, the Seattle Space Needle has symbolized innovation in the city for decades. By combining interactive digital signage with a 360-degree view of the city, visitors can experience the observation deck like never before. Installed in 2014, the SkyPad leverages digital signage technology with a 135-square-foot video wall created to showcase the history of the Seattle landmark. With more than 1.5 million annual visitors, the SkyPad embodies digital signage that is designed to capture audiences and increase interactivity in areas with high traffic.  Across the globe, cities are taking steps toward digital integration allowing for greater levels of functionality, convenience, and technology. Digital signage will continue to provide seamless connectivity and efficiency within the constantly innovating city landscape.