What is a Digital Signage solution?
A digital signage solution is comprised of multiple components from hardware to software and these all work together to deliver the best performance out of a digital sign. Typically, displayed content on a screen falls into three categories: video/entertainment, directional/informational and audio/visual. These three uses can — and often do — overlap, and are the most common ways that companies and organizations leverage digital signage in their everyday operations.
What is a Digital Signage Display
Digital signage screens are a vital part of digital signage systems that are used throughout the world by various companies and governments. Digital signage systems utilize technologies such as LCD, LED and Projection in order to display preselected content in a given location. The content can be different depending on the objective of the given screen, the objects can be digital images, videos, media streams of any other information.
The digital signage screens usually can be seen in populated or crowded places such as outlets, museums, hotels, restaurants and other locations that have high traffic volume. The whole purpose of those screens is to provide the viewers with news, wayfinding, marketing and other advertising information. Digital signage screen can be defined as a screen of any size that displays any type of content of any particular reason.
What types of Digital Signage solutions are available
Some examples of how digital signage is used today include the following:
- In retail: communicating in-store specials, acting as a smart store solution during pandemics (mask detection, traffic control), directing customers to desired parts of the store and conveying a brand message.
- In banks: information about interest rates and product information, as well as lifestyle messages and branding.
- In airports and bus stations, information about arrival and departure times, as well as advertisements from shops and restaurants.
- In entertainment venues: creating an enhanced customer experience that is consistent with the ambience and atmosphere.
- In DOOH: with digital out-of-home advertising, advertisers can create attractive, attention grabbing, targeted content.
- Businesses: other businesses such as beauty salons and dental offices use digital signage to display content such as news broadcasts, weather updates, and even television programs to help customers who are waiting to receive a service to pass the time.
Components of a Digital Signage solution
The components that typically go into a digital signage solution are the following:
- Display (HD digital screen)
- Digital signage content management system (CMS)
- Digital signage media player
- Content (video, graphics, web feeds and more)
- Network (LAN and/ or WAN, wired or wireless)
- Analytics software
How does Digital Signage work?
A digital signage system works by delivering and displaying content such as digital images, video, streaming media and information. The displayed content is filed and the schedule information is edited in the content management system. The data is stored in the CMS and distributed to the media players. Each player then reproduces the contents according to the schedule specified for it and updates the digital display accordingly.
Cloud or Premise
Digital signage is accessible in two ways: cloud-based and premise-based.
Cloud-based digital signage solutions are accessible via the internet and the content exists on a server hosted in the cloud. The benefit of a cloud-based solution is that content can be uploaded and edited anytime and anywhere.
Premise-based digital signage solutions, on the other hand, are hosted locally. The content and software are contained in a server hosted by the company. This allows for total system control but requires more manual labor on premises when editing or changing the ad content.
Content Management Software
The key element to any digital signage solution is finding a content management system (CMS) that is easily operable and that provides powerful information in real-time. A CMS usually operates with a user interface in place, which allows for marketing agencies to upload and arrange content, assemble the content into a playback library (similar to a music playlist) and construct rules and regulations around the content playback. These functions give the advertiser complete control over the content, designed in a way that it can be used without any need for specialized technical knowledge.
Digital Signage Media Player
A digital signage media player is an important part of the process when creating a functioning digital signage solution as it provides the computing power for your digital display. It is the component that allows your monitor to display media and usually runs connected to the internet. However, there are some non-pc solutions emerging that require no external player at all, which are called Systems on Chip. Android and Linux are two non-pc solutions which are being used more frequently, which allow for media to be displayed even if there is no internet. In this case, all the data is retained on internal storage for playback without an internet connection.
The decision as to which style of digital signage media player is right for you and your advertising campaign depends on the scale of what you are trying to achieve and your budget.
In order to achieve the most reliable results in digital signage, the use of device management platforms are essential. Having solid management devices in place ensures that digital signage devices are analyzed, monitored, and failures are prevented. They can carry out necessary checks and provide reports on details such as media player health status, updating of the components on the system, taking action against the devices such as carrying out updates, reboots, and general maintenance.
Why use Digital Signage
For businesses and marketers looking to effectively reach target audiences, digital signage brings forth a world of opportunity. What makes it unique and valuable is the following:
Place is known:
Since the location, where the digital screen is placed, is known, this information can be used to make the displayed content more fitting to the environment. For example, if a display is near a particular product, the content could promote the following:
> the product and its benefits
> create an appropriate mind set (ambiance, reminder)
> promote a complimentary product or service
Time is known:
Content displayed on a digital signage network is controlled by a content management system. Therefore, the content is “served” as a function of time of day. At an airport for example, content aimed at business travelers could be shown on Monday mornings and family-aimed content could be shown on Friday afternoons.
Events are known:
As time and place are known, information related to these two factors can be displayed on the screens. Examples of this information include: current weather conditions, traffic flow or flight delay information, etc.
Audience is known:
As the time and place are known, audience demographic and viewing behaviour can be specified and measured. This allows for highly relevant “narrowcasting” applications that speak directly to the audience at that moment.
Content is dynamic:
Dynamic digital content has numerous advantages over other forms of advertising. Compared to print, the content creation/distribution process is more rapid and less costly. Also, the content can be customized and tailored “on the fly” to each display device separately. Finally, the medium allows for animation, and in the case of kiosks even interactive opportunities.
Digital Signage deployment categories
- Single Screen – Used in smaller settings, for example, a reception lobby of small businesses to display company information and travel information.
- Single Site – Multiple screens can be set up around a site to convey impactful messages and media. Digital Screens in shopping centers are a great example of how signage can provide product advertising, way-finding services, and shop opening hours.
- Multiple Site- This deployment is mainly used by corporations and franchises. Multiple digital signage displays can be set up in various locations and countries. Video walls, public-facing boards, and smaller screens can all be combined and connected to transmit the franchise image or brand globally.