Earlier in October, GEFT Outdoor LLC filed a lawsuit in Indiana federal court in an attempt to bar the city of Indianapolis from enforcing its ban on digital billboards. The lawsuit follows the recent US Supreme Court decision on first amendment issues with sign codes.
The lawsuit brought by GEFT alleges Indianapolis’s sign code violates the First Amendment by having different content standards for "on premises" and "off premises" signs. They point out that on-premise signs are allowed to have digital content while off-premises signs, which advertise a business, service or product located elsewhere are not allowed to have digital content.
According to the complaint the issue directly relates to the content issue because the ordinance imposes more restrictions on one type of content than another. The City/County Council is expected to address the issue regarding the code sometime in November.
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Hexa Research, a market research and consulting organization on industry, released findings on the sign industry that indicate a significant growth in the digital signage market to occur over the next decade world-wide.
The report identifies the influx of well known manufactures of digital sign components including media players, networks and panel technology that will ultimately support and push the digital industry to greater capabilities and flexibilities. Just a few of the large name companies currently involved and seeking to gain more participation in digital signage include Cisco System Inc, Panasonic, NEC Display Solutions, Microsoft, Samsung and LG Electronics.
Market segments identified as growth areas within the studies include health care, education, transportation, and retail which are already showing great opportunities for industry expansion and diversification.
The report "Digital Signage Market Analysis by Technology (LED, LCD, Front Projection), by Application (Transportation, Retail, Corporate, Banking, Healthcare, Education) and Segment Forecasts 2012 To 2020" can be found at:
An informal meeting of city planners of Greenwich CT and local businesses has taken place in an effort to make strides toward easing some sign regulations for sign producers and businesses using signage. City planners are revisiting their sign codes after realizing the codes are difficult to understand and the limits of sign types may be hindering the attraction of new businesses as well as the growth of existing businesses.
One of the goals for the city planners is to introduce a clearer code language and education on sign codes that is helpful. Another goal for the city is to work closer with businesses on new sign technology options involving digital elements while still holding onto the historic aspect incorporated into the town aesthetics, an interesting exercise that could be a model for other communities to follow if successful.
A more formal process on addressing the current sign codes and issues will be sought sometime in the first quarter of 2016 and will involve city planners, business groups, sign producers, land-use experts, and local community groups.
The recent Supreme Court decision highlighted two challenges the sign industry faces when attempting to comply with sign codes and meeting business needs. Having a sign type that has more restrictions than other similar type signs and having the sign regulated based on content. The last challenge is something that many communities struggle with and the sign producer and/or sign owner are left with the consequences.
With this court decision there is now a message to municipalities that they need to have sign codes that are not based on content and indirectly they should recognize the business purposes and needs when structuring its sign codes. This would apply not only for temporary signs, but all signs in general.
For municipalities that have considered revising or updating their sign codes, this may spur them to take a deeper look and have more involvement from stakeholders for input. This of course, leads to sign code changes. For areas that have more problematic and conflicting codes, there can be more legal challenges brought by sign producers and sign owners.
Where codes are to be reexamined by a municipality they can work with stakeholders while the revisions are underway or they can impose a moratorium on sign permits and approvals until the new codes are established. The latter choice would be the more difficult for the industry as it would limit or halt the ability for signs to be installed or used.
This court decision also gives the sign industry a stronger voice and options when working with municipalities on balanced codes and bringing back the business position into the discussions.
The California Energy Commission has proposed energy efficiency standards for computers, computer monitors and sign displays. Energy Commission staff proposes to regulate computer monitors and commercial signage displays, such as those seen in airports for airplane schedules. Staff has excluded other digital picture frames and electronic billboards. The Commission will be holding a public workshop on April 15th.