What is Digital Signage?
Digital signage is a new generation screen-based media network created to deliver dynamic advertising and communications at various out-of-home locations. Digital signage can be deployed at almost any locations where people gather, shop, entertain, walk by and wait. Unlike traditional print posters and static billboards, digital signage delivers dynamic and rich-media content using new generation media and network technology. Research shows that people are 5 to 10 times more likely to pay attention to dynamic rich-media content in contrast to the traditional static signs. With digital signage, content update consistency and efficiency are greatly improved while the content distribution cost and time are significantly reduced.
Digital Signage Advantages
Whether you are looking for new ways to reach your customers or a better and more efficient media to communicate with your employees, a digital signage network is the ultimate solution to reach your audiences with dynamic up-to-date content and messages. Digital signage can maximize your message and maintain relationships with your customers. Traditional media tools including billboards, print posters, and standalone video displays have all been created to deliver messages at high traffic locations. However, those traditional displays take a long and costly cycle to produce, distribute and update. More importantly, in today’s global economy the static nature of those traditional displays greatly handicaps a business that has the needs to reach the audiences spreading around a large geographical region or even across continents with timely, up-to-date and localized contents.
Digital Signage Applications
Digital signage can be deployed at almost any businesses or locations to provide an appealing visual environment, to promote products and services and to improve communications with customers or employees. Those businesses or locations may include retail store chains, shopping malls, banks, pharmacies, hair salons, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, doctor offices, libraries and many more. Deploying and Managing a Digital Signage Network A typical digital signage network project will most likely grow from a few displays to many displays, from a few locations to many locations. Digital signage is not an end product, but rather an on-going “Plan, Design, Deploy, Manage, and Grow” process. The concept of “think big, start small” is the key to any successful digital signage network. Before jumping into a digital signage network project, you should understand the process and the various components involved with digital signage including hardware, software, locations, content and more.
Determining the right locations is one of the first issues to consider in deploying a digital signage network. The location should usually have high traffic, unique demographics and enough attention span from your targeted audience.
- Display Panels
Almost any display technology including plasma, LCD, Rear and Front projection screens and LED can be used for digital signage. Plasma and LCD are the most popular displays used for digital signage. Depending on the locations, panels of different sizes and types should be selected.
- Media Players
Media players are either PC based systems or embedded media player systems. Options for PC-based player systems include regular desktop PCs and mini PCs.
- Display Mounting and Enclosures
Depending on the installation locations and requirements, mounting and enclosures can be an expensive initial investment. Ceiling mount, wall mount, pole mount and floor stands with various enclosures are the common options for installing display panels.
Wiring includes the electric power, the network connection and the audio/video cables between local media players and the display panels.
- Internet Connection
Broadband Internet connection is required for most digital signage networks to distribute content. Wire or wireless router can be installed locally to connect the media players to the Internet. Mobile wireless Internet is another option as the service becomes more available.
- Content and Player Management
At the heart of a digital signage network is the content and player management technology. Managing a large digital signage network can potentially be a daunting task. While there are many digital signage solutions in the market, only a few can qualify as a lifecycle content management service platform for digital signage networks. The right system should allow you to “think big, start small” and effectively manage the process of deploying, managing and growing a digital signage network. It should support a content publishing process where content can be in a different state during its lifecycle including drafting, pending, and approval, live and expired. You want to schedule and publish some content globally to every display, some only at the state level, and some only at the city or a zip code level. No matter where the displays are located physically, within the same zip code or half way around the world, content should be updated dynamically and centrally in real-time; the displays and the players should be monitored and controlled centrally; various detail and summary play reports should be generated as needed.
Just like with any other media network, content is still the king when it comes to digital signage. You build your digital signage network to deliver content. You should plan ahead for a content strategy that can fulfil the objectives of your network. You want to keep your content up-to-date and appealing. In addition to your own content, you should determine what kind of external content feeds might be appropriate for your network. You may also integrate your digital signage network with your existing information systems or your application service providers to automatically deliver dynamic content and information about your business.