By: Carol R. Emmens
Digital signage (digital displays of information or video) fulfills the needs of all types of corporations and businesses, educational institutions, houses of worship, bars and restaurants, retail stores, and hospitals; it is used everywhere from airports to zoos and everyplace in between: hallways, lobbies, classrooms – even at gas pumps and in elevators. The proliferation of digital signage has occurred because the associated costs have come down, it is a quick and efficient way to communicate in real time, and it saves the costs of printing. Digital signage has enormous potential communication applications:
- Post schedules of meetings, events, works assignments, menus
- Share news, stock prices, traffic reports, sports results and information
- Recognize achievements and milestones
- Warn about severe weather and security threats
- Sell a product or service
And those are only a few of its uses.
As the costs come down and the quality goes up, there’s no better time than the present to consider the addition of a digital signage display to your current signage or an addition or upgrade to your current digital signage display(s). But, prior to any decision, there are many questions that you have to answer.
First, what are your goals? They will impact the design and content of the digital display and every decision you make about the hardware and the software for it. Content is king and it affects every decision beginning with the design: a single display, multiple displays, a video wall? In turn, the type of digital signage determines the flat screen display specifications such as the resolution, the size, and the number. It also determines the appropriate location within your business or venue to be seen by the greatest number of viewers to have the maximum impact and to avoid problems such as washout of the images due to bright sunlight.
The greatest challenge digital signage presents is in creating it or adapting it from existing printed materials or PowerPoint presentations. For example, if the content exits, is it “digital ready” or does it need to be reformatted to ensure that it fits the display in the correct resolution and that the text is a color and size that can be read easily. Do you have writers and graphic designers in house who are available to adapt or create the content?
What software will you use and where will that software and the content reside? Who will have access to it? Will it be on your network or in a cloud? Determine the role of your IT department. Is it desirable to do more than display static messages? Do you want to display messages or information in real time? Do you want to access the internal network and/or outside sources of information such as Reuther’s or the Weather Channel? Do you need IP-addressable displays? Social media grows in importance every day. Do you want to integrate it and if so, how difficult will it be do it?
For many digital signage displays, it is no longer enough to deliver information; the information needs to engage the viewer – it needs a “wow” factor such as video or audio. Is the location suitable for an audio zone that will immerse the viewer without blasting the speech, sounds or music throughout the room, lobby or store?
Do you need an interactive display? For example, retail stores are especially under pressure to make sure that the digital signage displays deliver a positive “return on investment” (ROI). Their displays MUST be innovative, eye catching and engaging. They were among the first users to adopt interactive displays and the pixel density of 4K, which is four-times the resolution of HD, and allows up to eight quadrants in the display and they, in turn, offer ways to have up to 32 interactive touch points. Today it is possible to see how you look in a new hair style, try on glasses or clothes, even see what it would look like to decorate or paint a room with digital signage.
The questions we raised are the tip of the iceberg, but digital signage does not have to be a daunting task if you partner with an experienced audiovisual company. Zeo Systems has a successful track record designing, installing and supporting digital signage systems that are extremely effective and affordable. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your digital signage needs.