Thorough research is always required to find the right solution to meet an organisation’s communication goals. That’s why it is important to choose the right combination of features for a digital signage solution.
What Is A Digital Signage Solution?
Digital signage is a digital display solution or technology that is used to communicate a message in the form of audio-video visuals to a group of people. These people could be employees of an office, students at a school, or potential customers for a brand.
Digital Signage is becoming increasingly popular and is being used by more industries and businesses. Increased digital signage adoption is the result of large digital displays and multi-displays becoming significantly more affordable, as they concurrently became lighter in weight and therefore easier to work with.
Ideal Features In A Digital Signage
There are key components and practises for an effective digital signage solution. Whether the goal is to educate, inform, entertain, or promote a brand, adopting these must-have features will maximise the productivity of digital signage. A digital signage solution must have some essential features powered by a good combination of capable hardware and efficient software. If digital signage lacks these features, it might be useless.
Must-have features for digital signage solutions:
A Commercial-Grade Display
Although they look the same, there is a significant difference between commercial-grade displays and consumer televisions. The differences are driven by expected use; a domestic television will be used an average of 4 hours daily, requires a tuner to connect with FTA broadcasts, needs built-in speakers, probably has Smart TV capability, and has ports suitable for home life. A commercial display will have none of those features – that will not make it less expensive, however! A similarly sized commercial display will be 50% – 100% more expensive than it’s domestic television counterpart.
Commercial displays are designed for 24/7 use, so the components used in their construction are of substantially greater quality. The screen will likely incorporate anti-burn features to address the likely issues of looping a short video or even a static image.
Commercial-grade displays are a necessity in digital display solutions.
A Digital Signage Media Player
The digital signage media player is crucial and is considered second to the display. Digital signage media players are computers attached or embedded in digital signage displays. The player feeds images, video, or interactive content. The media player’s software handles scheduling, playback, content delivery, and more. It is the brain that brings technology to life! When evaluating digital media players, be mindful of whether the provider is proactive in releasing software and firmware updates. This is important as digital media and requirements evolve quickly, and you don’t want to need to replace the hardware within 12 months just because the media player software hasn’t kept pace.
Multiscreen digital signage is common in retail and out-of-home promotional formats. It includes managing multiple displays mounted in different locations (usually within the same facility), as well as the management of multiple displays mounted together to form a single unified digital display. Wayfinder displays mounted in airports or shopping centres, for example, will be in different locations and display the same information. A common example of mounting displays together as a large unified display is quick service restaurant menu boards (aka, fast food). In both examples, it is clear that centralised management is critical for efficiency and effective information delivery.
Where multiple displays will be deployed, it is vital that the display software allows centralised management and handle spreading visuals across multiple screens. This is central to specifying the digital signage hardware and software.
Software And Remote Access
Sophisticated digital signage software connects displays and media players for centralised management. Digital signage software solutions range in size and complexity, however, so the solution should be congruent with the relative complexity of your plans.
Key considerations at a display level include:
- File types supported for still imagery, videos, and presentations
- Integrations with cloud servers including OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive
- Advanced scheduling of content
- Display orientation (some don’t manage portrait orientation well – beware!)
- Offline operation in case of network disruption
- Automatic power off and restart
This software is also central to managing networks of displays. Digital signage software enables administrators to manage screens and content remotely from a central dashboard. This allows administrators to monitor the status of the digital displays and make changes rapidly, including the correction of errors in real-time. Good software for a more extensive network will include network monitoring and deliver prioritised notifications when disruptions occur.
Easily Mountable In Any Place
Digital signage is a modern and eye-catching way to grab attention from people in a creative manner – and one of the elements that makes or breaks that is hidden behind. The display mountings!
Digital signage mounts must fit the immediate requirements, but there are other considerations that can futureproof the installation. Ensure the mounting enables access to the rear of the displays and digital signage media players for maintenance and repairs. It is recommended that modular mountings be selected so that the configuration can be changed as the digital signage requirements change.
Finally, and most importantly, safety. Incidents, where digital displays or media players have become detached and fallen, are easily found online – innocent passers-by have suffered significant injuries from such incidents, and there are even reports of deaths. To mitigate this, quality digital display mountings from reputable vendors are highly recommended. Ensure the display mountings are compliant with relevant safety standards in your location and ask for advice from consultants or your network to find digital display mounting manufacturers with a solid reputation – this is not the place to try and save a few cents! Whether it is damaged displays and media players or horrendous legal bills, it’ll end up costing you big!
Dynamic Content Integration
Digital display solutions can integrate dynamic content to deliver relevant and engaging content in a timely, engaging, and easily duplicable manner. Integrations enable operators to make changes to the content on-screen in real-time without having to involve users. In a retail environment, it is important to update the content with coupons and discounts.
Network Monitoring And Reporting
It is crucial to monitor the health of the digital signage network to assess how content management systems and media players are performing. This allows end-users to see which content is performing well at what times. This information is important for optimising messaging and refining content schedules, as well as gauging the performance of network components.
These factors will help individuals choose the best digital display solution for their businesses. To determine which digital display solution is best for the business, clients will need to understand the purpose of digital display and what their specific needs are.
Businesses should explore all possibilities with the system they are going to purchase. It will help them use the system more efficiently and effectively without breaking the bank.