Technology has changed the way people receive information, and for businesses, modern tech has introduced innovative ways to reach out to audiences. Marketing and media have come a long way from the time of paper signs, and now that digital signage is being mentioned in business circles more often, retailers and managers have questions like, “what is digital signage?”
Let’s cover the basics of digital signage and how it works for businesses in various industries.
What Is Digital Signage?
Digital signage, also called electronic signage, is a digital display panel that presents bright, digitally-connected content to audiences as they pass by.
These signs may take the form of LED screens, projections, or LCD monitors that showcase videos, directions, webpages, menus, promotional material, images, and any other piece of media the advertiser wants to publish.
Digital signs are versatile in that they can be posted in an array of settings, and they don’t always need to be used for ad displays. Digital signage can be placed in schools, universities, stores, corporate offices, museums, stadiums, and practically any other location that frequently hosts visitors or passersby.
Digital signs can share messages, give directions, market products, advertise stores, display educational information, entertain guests waiting in line, boost morale, warn viewers of road cautions, and announce the start time of various events.
Examples/Functions of Digital Signage
Digital signs have become quite popular in an array of public spaces in the past few years. Guests at a given location interact with these signs regularly and they help to enhance the experience the viewer has when they’re at a certain location. Some common functions of digital signs include:
- Healthcare Reminders: Interactive screens play through various health-related pieces of information to inform patients about health concerns, medications, and new testing availabilities while they wait to see their provider.
- Airport Directories: Digital listings display flight times at airports, update travelers about delays or cancellations, and direct people toward the gate they need to reach.
- News Segments: Waiting rooms and retail stores alike will often play news segments on digital screens to inform the public about current events.
- Drive-thru Menus: Many drive-thru restaurants are using digital signs to update menu options and promote sales, or let customers know whether a particular item is out of stock.
- Corporate Presentations: Some offices use digital signs to display figures, charts, bullet points, and other crucial pieces of information to make the most out of workplace meetings.
- Weather Warnings: Areas with frequent inclement weather events often display weather warnings in retail stores, on the outside of buildings, and in other locations where passersby can see the updates.
- Sales Information: Smaller stores that do not have the room to plaster ads all over their spaces will often utilize single digital signs to shuffle through various pieces of promotional materials or let customers know about current deals.
How Do Digital Signs Work?
Digital signage works about as simple as a computer. A system of chips and circuits feed information into a screen or monitor as a binary code, which is then translated into images, videos, or text.
To explain digital signage more thoroughly, let’s cover some of the components involved.
A CMS, or content management system, is the computing element of a digital sign. This is where the images, text, or videos for a digital sign are uploaded and housed until they’re ready for display.
A media player is connected to the CMS, which allows digital sign content to be sent from the CMS to the screen that will display the information presented to it. They’re either connected via a computer or wireless network.
Finally, a digital screen receives the digital content from the CMS and media player, then displays it to an audience. Some digital sign systems have one screen to display content through, while other systems use several screens at a time.
Benefits of Digital Signage Displays
There are a few benefits to using digital signage that either enhance or surpass the way traditional signs and billboards work.
- Increased Recall and Retention Rate: Digital displays capture 400% more views than static displays and billboards.
- Low-Cost: Compared to some other content displaying options, digital signage displays are typically more affordable long-term, though they are a more costly investment upfront in many situations. They can also simplify switching between different pieces of content as needed.
- Easily Deployable: Digital sign systems come with a variety of features, so no matter where they’re needed, they are relatively easy to deploy. They have several sizes to choose from, and protective components that help keep signs operational even when exposed to challenging elements.
- Digital Connectivity: Digital signage displays are connected to a CMS, which not only provides a dependable way to keep signs up and running but also allows for neat, wireless mounting options.
Challenges of Digital Signage
As with many pieces of technology, there is often a learning curve involved with implementing digital signage. Fortunately, many of the challenges retailers and other businesses face when adopting digital sign usage can be solved through the use of professional services. For example:
- Installation and new usage may be complicated for individuals who are not tech-savvy. However, many digital sign vendors will install the equipment and provide tutorials for using the software.
- Screens need to be kept in great condition to properly display pieces of content. Should the screen become cracked or otherwise damaged, costly repairs or replacements may be needed.
- Digital signs work best when there’s a need to display information that changes frequently. Static signs can be displayed via digital signs as well, but they should ideally be a part of a series that scrolls through each ad. Learning how to operate the scrolling applications may take time.
- In the case of a power outage, digital signs are not going to work.
Digital signage provides businesses and the public alike with simple ways to communicate essential pieces of information. As such, this technology is continuing to advance advertising, hospitality, and public service efforts for thousands of businesses both new and established.