For starters… What’s digital signage?
Digital signage used to be referred to as narrowcasting. It’s when you send content to targeted displays, unlike traditional TV which is called broadcasting. So instead of sending the same content to an unlimited number of displays, you get to pick which ones will receive unique content. You can easily switch to uniform content across all your displays, or target specific screens with unique content.
The advantage of digital signage over regular TV have been well documented, but it’s worth revisiting.
Digital Signage versus TV
Digital signage relies on a series of components that support targeted programming. There is a content management system made of some type of server and data storage. There is a dashboard, also referred to as a user interface, that people use to login, upload content, and create programs or schedules. On the display side you have a hardware media player and software that receives programming from the CMS and ensures the content is shown according to a predefined schedule.
Digital signage communicates mostly over the internet either through cabled or Wi-Fi connections. In some cases, cellular modems can also be used. Professional digital signage software products store content in a local cache so media players can operate even when disconnected from the internet.
With digital signage, you can send content to any display. It can be a screen in your office, or hundreds of networked screens all around the globe.
Broadcast television has evolved a lot, but it’s still built on the same traditional model where the same content is pushed across every available communication method (over the air / antennae, satellite dish, cable, internet). You no longer need a set of “rabbit ears”, but the basic concept hasn’t changed. You push the same content to everyone who tunes-in.
What about business uses?
While broadcast TV is still one of the most popular medium for consumers, its business counterpart called closed circuit TV has mostly been replaced by digital signage. You can recreate closed circuit TV’s functionality in digital signage and achieve even more, all at a cost everyone can afford.
Closed circuit TV and private TV networks are relics from the past. They required large capital investments in specialized broadcast equipment, professional cameras and complex studios setups. All of this has been replaced by high-quality IP video cameras and business-class computers. Now, corporate content producers have access to new tools that let them achieve professional results without having to spend tons of cash.
Digital signage dominates the corporate communication market because it’s inexpensive, it’s quick to set-up, and it outperforms old style cable TV.
Corporations have been spending a lot to modernize. The first wave brought the internet into the office and web technologies took over many traditional communication functions. Email and intranets came first, followed by social media. For a while, all this content was confined to an employee’s workstation. As time went on, smartphones and tablets emerged as a new conduit for corporate communication material. However, connecting to the company’s internal channels isn’t always possible. Not everyone has a company smartphone and tablets are still not used everywhere. That’s where digital signage displays can help. Displays can be programmed to show social media content, KPIs and other business data in a visual format, plus a host of useful employee information. Think of production data, employee schedules and recognition, and even training videos.
Digital signage’s versatility means you can deploy screens that face customers and employees, and still control the type of content each audience will see.
Selling more products with digital signage
The digital signage revolution has taken retail by storm. Take a walk through any shopping mall, or even downtown shopping district and you will be hard pressed not to encounter a single digital signage screen. Retailers have embraced the technology because it’s a cost-effective way of engaging shoppers while they browse store aisles.
Digital signage’s screen targeting capabilities make it easy for any merchant to change promotional items for any store, at any time. Content can be programmed well in advance of promotions and changes can be made even while the promotion is ongoing. Ran out of an item? No problem. Replace the product’s ad with another one. Overstocked on an item and need to clear out the warehouse? Push a special promotion to every store with a few mouse-clicks. Never have retail store owners and operators been better equipped to deal with e-commerce competition.
You can display in-store coupons with QR codes that shoppers can redeem immediately, or even let customers buy in store and get their purchases shipped directly to their homes. Digital signage capabilities also keep improving as the internet and smartphones continue to evolve.
Merchants can extend their brand’s reach to social media to build customer loyalty, and then publish the best customer experiences in-store. With social media interaction, screens become much more than advertising displays. They can engage shoppers and create strong bonds that encourage repeat visits.
It’s no longer enough to have an e-commerce website. Today’s retailer must leverage online interactions to help bring shoppers back to their stores. Retailers know it’s time to innovate when e-commerce retailers like amazon can deliver practically any product to a customer’s doorstep. There needs to be an incentive for shoppers to visit a physical store, and that’s where digital signage can make a difference.
Digital signage helps bank customers save more money
Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions use digital signage displays to help customers save money. Global financial regulations are always changing, and it’s difficult even for bank employees to keep track. Then there are complex tax regulations, and legal matters to consider.
Financial institutions have been looking for better ways to keep employees informed, so customers can take full advantage of new products designed to increase their wealth. It’s why more and more banks rely on digital signage to engage customers, and increase staff awareness of new products. It’s no wonder digital signage has emerged as a vital communication tool for financial institutions.
Strategically installed digital displays are used to convey live data including currency exchange rates, bank lending rates and many other types of constantly changing data. Digital signage is also often used to manage queues in locations where there is a lot of customer traffic. By providing useful information where customers have to wait, banks can reduce perceived dwell times and provide a more pleasant experience.
Transactions are optimized because all this happens before a customer has even met an employee. Better informed customers mean less time at the cashier’s desk, hence shorter wait times.
Financial institutions are always searching for ways to improve service and increase customer satisfaction. Digital signage gives them a useful tool to help achieve their goals.
What about hospitality?
Hotels and convention centers have a unique perspective on digital signage since most of their guests are in an unfamiliar environment. The type of content shown in a hotel lobby or convention center will differ slightly from what you would see in a retail store, or financial institution. For starters, the content will be mostly designed to help guests navigate the site, and discover some of the hotel’s features. The bigger the hotel, the more useful the digital signage will be.
The content loop will obviously show ads for local restaurants, and tourist attractions. You will also find interactive content such as directories, and wayfinding maps being shown from touch screen displays. Lobby screens will often show a mix of local weather, airline departures and other timely information which gets updated in real-time.