Technology Inside: Anatomy of a Good Digital Signage

February 12, 2013 by Leo Preston 3 Comments »

Digital Signage? What is it used for?

Whether we are talking about a huge chain of stores or just a very market-oriented location, digital signage systems seem to be useful to all varieties of business. Sometimes, these systems can even be useful to entertain customers in line while they wait to purchase their goods. Of course, the main purpose is not necessarily to keep us entertained while we are waiting in line or in at the dentist.

The digital signage system is an excellent opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to focus their client’s attention on their latest products or promotions. And the thing is that, seeing how you are already in the store, the signage advertising does have the chance to be a better selling system more traditional forms of advertisement. But the secret is just in delivering the kind of content that is personally relevant to the customer in a way that compels them to take action, and a lot of that actually boils down to the quality of the system itself because, if you can actually see pixels or the image is fuzzy, you are not going to be interested in the product even if it is good.

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What the System Should Look Like

The complete system can be as complex or as simple as the store can afford to make it. Ideally, you would have a series of monitors that receive a signal from a central unit. How often that feed changes is one of the crucial aspects of how successful a signage system will be. It can be used to display ads for different products but it is really great when the store can afford to put up information that the clients will value, such as cultural attractions and weather updates.

Combining the ads with promotions going on in the store and information that is relevant to the client is essential as it will engage your audience in a more effective manner. Customers are rarely interested in knowing what new products have been brought into the store. However, if they glance at the board that is showing what new movies are playing, it may be interesting to see that bananas are on sale down the street.

How the Software Works

There are several software packages on the market that have been designed specifically for the digital signage system. The most basic software will just play whatever feed it is given and it is very little more than a fancy media player. However, there are other systems that can display two or even three sources of information at once or that deliver a secondary live feed. This live feed is extremely interesting in car shops, for example, because it allows you to see how they are working on your car and, if you are like me that is really going to make you feel very comfortable while waiting.

Other software systems also allow the operator to make actual changes to the feed. So if my mechanic finds that he needs to change more than he first anticipated on the car, he is going to ask me about it. But he is also going to feed that data into his system and I can get a live view of how my bill changes and why.

What Are the Your Basic Hardware Options?

As far as the hardware is concerned, you really can’t go too big with this system. Of course you go wrong in how you use it and never make your money back, but you can choose between foot-long LCDs, plasma or project monitors. Your choice depends on how much room you have and what kind of cash you’d like to spend. There will obviously be a digital player to provide the feed or you can use a computer and that will immensely increase your display capabilities. Finally, there are a host of cameras that can be added so the system has the live feed we’ve talked about.

The great thing about a digital signage system is that it is basically comprised of individual products that you probably already know about. So it can be a very interesting experience to research each product, especially if you are tech-oriented and enjoy learning about a technology before you use it.

 
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  • Earthling1

    Outdoor advertising – specifically ‘Electronic
    Digital Billboards’ are by far the most aggressive ever perpetrated on
    society. This industry uses every trick
    in the book to push advertising on us.
    Without strict regulations they will do things like: over-use the harshest of colors (ultra-white)
    to its max; they will over-do it with brightness, over-do it with ultra fast animations and
    motion; ask for height waivers so they can be seen from blocks and miles away. No
    one wants to be blasted by advertising close up let alone from blocks and miles
    away. In no time flat, these TV’s on a
    stick will adversely transform the look and feel of a city, cluttering streets
    with light pollution and creating light
    trespass.

    • http://twitter.com/ChristopherIsak Christopher Isak

      Hi Earthling1
      I do understand where you are coming from but if you focus only on advertising, there will be usually a negative perception – no matter what media is used.
      Digital Signage goes a tad further than that and qualifies as valuable media for some time already to be frank. Just think of the flight plans on the airport. I would not want to spot my flights information on a print-out that needs to be updated every 5 minutes.
      What do you think?

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