Do you spend large sums of money every year on printed signs and point-of-sale material? Are you tired of seeing all that investment end up in recycling bins? Perhaps it’s time to start converting your static printed signs to digital signage. With its support for images, animated content, video, and live data, digital signage represents a quantum leap over printed signs and other static forms of communication. Digital signage lets venue owners and operators publish professional HD quality content from any source, like social media, YouTube videos, and professional royalty-free content. This means everyone can afford great content for their displays.
So, who should invest in digital signage?
Anyone who wishes to motivate, inform, and entertain an audience. It’s no wonder that digital signage has become so popular in airports, banks and financial institutions, bars, billboards, call centers, car dealerships, casinos, cinemas, city halls, clubs, cruise ships, corporate offices, elevators, factories, ferries, fire halls, government offices, health clinics, hospitals and doctor’s waiting rooms, hotels and convention centers, houses of worship, lobbies, museums, parking garages, police stations, quick service restaurants, retail stores, sports arenas, taxis and busses, theaters, trade show booths, train & bus stations, visitor centers, warehouses, and many other types of venues. Digital signage is perfect for getting your message across, whether you’re reaching out to customers, staff or visitors.
Here’s an easy way to determine if digital signage is right for you.
- Is your business growing, and do you need to communicate with an expanding workforce?
- Do you need to engage large audiences, or communicate over long distances?
- Do you wish to adapt your content to specific audiences?
- Does your message change often, or randomly?
- Is your content time-sensitive?
- Do you need to track which content was shown, and where it was shown?
- Are you a retailer trying to deal with “showrooming”, where customers cross-shop your products using smartphones?
- Are you looking to increase sales, reduce overstocks or promote new products?
- Do you want to change your content based on the time of day, day of the week or any other interval?
- Do you need to share management of your content with other staff members?
- Do you wish to improve your company’s image?
- Are you trying to improve customer’s experiences, or reduce perceived dwell times?
- Would you like to publish content from multiple sources, such as social media and live news?
- Do you want to motivate and empower staff in remote locations or mobile workers?
If you answered yes to only half of the questions above, you will benefit from digital signage.
Why digital signage?
Consider this. No other technology lets you control the narrative, and ensure only the right content is shown at the right time/location.
Digital signage lets you create compelling programing that grabs and retains viewer’s attention. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular with advertisers, brand owners, and display network operators.
Furthermore, modern CMS software makes it easy to track playback statistics, and bill clients based on ad impressions. Network owners can also offer hosted services to outside clients. Getting into digital signage has never been easier, regardless of the number of screens you deploy, or the geographic distance between locations.
What about the displays?
Display technologies have evolved over time. There are virtually no barriers to the shape and size of the screens you can use to show your multimedia content. For example, areas where space is at a premium can use small tablets instead of large displays. Tablets are also perfect for replacing desktop printed signs. Large spaces, both inside and outside, can be covered up with LED panels. And most locations can use readily available LED displays from a growing number of manufacturers. LED displays come in standard sizes that are similar to what’s available in the consumer market. However, some manufacturers also market non-standard sizes for custom applications. There are no limits to what you can source.
Displays can be mounted in any location and orientation. You can hang them from the ceiling, or mount them on a wall. Displays can be organized vertically, horizontally, or assembled in a mosaic to create visually interesting layouts that will complement any venue. You are no longer limited to rigid video wall layouts. Today, expert installers can mount displays in any configuration you can imagine.
What actually “plays” the content?
There are two components required. Hardware and software. Digital signage player hardware can be a PC, an Android device or tablet, or a “system on chip” (SoC) smart display. The player software runs on this hardware to play out the content.
Your choice will depend on the type of application, your comfort level with dealing in technical matters, and your budget. PCs are great for multi-screen installations such as video walls. However, they require more technical knowledge to set up and configure. Android devices and tablets are no more complicated that your average smartphone so they tend to be easier to get up and running. SoC smart displays are probably the easiest to deploy as the playback hardware is embedded inside the screen. There are no additional cables to deal with or software to configure. It’s essentially a “plug and play” type of installation.
SoC displays are becoming more and more common for the reasons mentioned above. There are now more hardware choices than ever before, and the trend should continue as hardware components get ever so smaller and more powerful.
Digital signage is keeping in step with all the new hardware and software.
- You can purchase displays that can be viewed in direct, bright sunlight. These are ideal for storefront display windows and exterior applications.
- Weatherproof display enclosures let you deploy digital signage in extreme weather conditions. These enclosures protect the equipment so most LED displays can operate normally, even in very hot or cold weather. We’re talking way below zero during winter. In the summer, a cooling system ensures the equipment remains at an optimal operating temperature.
- LED flat panels can be assembled in various ways to cover very large areas, or even an entire wall.
- Weatherproof LED panels have steadily begun to replace exterior billboards. Some of these can display images, videos and animations. You will find these along busy highways, or mounted on the side of buildings.
- High-output LED projection systems are used for special events. These projectors can dress-up any building by wrapping the structure in light. You can project still images, animations, videos, etc.
- Transparent LED displays have started to appear in grocery, and convenience stores. These are modified LED displays that have no backlighting. These are mounted inside refrigerator doors to show promotional ads while letting customers see the product inside the refrigerator. You’re essentially looking right through the display.
- Small, shelf-front mounted LED displays are used as point of sale signage. These “shelf talkers” can be updated with content from a digital signage CMS to display promotions and special pricing right at the point of decision.
- Curved LED Displays have begun to appear in high profile installations. These are stunning examples of architectural displays that become part of the overall décor. Expect to see many more creative uses of LED display technologies in the future.