Why is Digital Signage Important Today?

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When someone mentions “digital signage” to you, what comes to mind? 

  • An airport or train station arrival/departure sign? 
  • A roadside LED billboard? 
  • A flat panel display inside or outside a retail store? 

Surprisingly, digital signage is far more common than most people think. This is partially due to the ever-increasing sales of commercial flat panel displays and LED signs, but there are other factors. Take, for example, businesses and government agencies who are always on the lookout for more effective ways to communicate with their respective audiences. Many organizations have realized that digital signage has the power to instantly connect with viewers, wherever they are.

Digital signage benefits

Many businesses can justify their digital signage investments solely based on advertising revenue. However, there are many additional benefits, such as the ability to broadcast urgent notifications, instant messages and emergency alerts on any display. Digital signage lets organizations reach audiences regardless of their location or activity. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic firmly entrenched, we now see digital signage screens paired with cameras and computer vision technology to help manage physical access and enforce sanitary rules.

Digital signage has traditionally been used to reach people who may not be carrying a smartphone or tablet and since there is no need to install apps on a phone, messages and ads can be seen by larger audiences. It’s the perfect solution for public areas or any locations where people can encounter a screen. Messages and alerts are delivered on-demand and anyone within sight of a display will be informed instantly. 

Digital signage best practices

Stick with these best practices for a successful digital signage project. 

  • Install your displays in the right location. Look for locations where people naturally congregate and spend time, such as waiting rooms or near elevators. Busy hallways are also great locations, but be sure to design your content accordingly (shorter content, less text). Remember that people passing by won’t absorb as much information as captive audiences since they are only within visual range of the display for a very brief time. A good analytics solution can help you gather more data about your viewers.
  • Make sure there are good sightlines with no obstructions. Don’t install your displays too high or too far away, as this will make them difficult to read. Here again, you can rely on marketing analytics software to establish the best location for your screens. 
  • When creating your digital signage content, stick to proven design rules. Use contrasting colours for foreground text and backgrounds. Select a clean and simple font, and make your text big enough that it can be read from a distance. Don’t use too many words or overly fancy fonts because this will impact readability. 
  • When planning to use digital signage screens with an access control solution, select a product that can monitor multiple entrances and exits. Use high-quality cameras and software that can track who is wearing a face mask, for example, so you comply with local rules and regulations. 

Why you need to consider digital signage software

If you don’t already use digital signage software, or if you are comparing products, look for a solution that supports automated alerts. These are professional-grade software products that can interrupt scheduled content to display your messages. (When the emergency or situation has passed, normal programming is restored.) 

This is commonly referred to as triggered content, and it can be extremely useful. You should always consider digital signage software that supports automated and manual triggers.

Here are some examples: 

  • An automated fire alarm triggers evacuation messages on digital displays throughout a building 
  • An Amber Alert is flashed across many LED billboards in a city, interrupting all advertising content
  • An evacuation alert is shown across a shopping mall’s digital signage network, informing shoppers about which exit to use
  • A screen at a store entrance detects if someone is wearing a face mask and reminds the unmasked to mask up

Promote products with digital signage

These are just a few of the possibilities, so think outside the box and be creative! 

  • Instantly advertise an overstock product to reduce your inventory 
  • Promote an item based on environmental factors (cold beer during a heat spell, or umbrellas when it’s raining)
  • Stores that use RFID tags attached to products can display ads based on the items in a shopper’s basket, i.e. an ad for socks when someone walks by with a new pair of shoes, or a promotion for paintbrushes for someone who picked up a gallon of paint 
  • Display ads or other multimedia content to shoppers based on their demographic profile

How to integrate smartphones and digital signage

You can also use smartphones to change what’s shown on screen. This is perfect for changing items, product descriptions or prices instantly.

Smartphone apps can trigger useful content on demand.  Imagine a store assistant who can call up product information videos and website content to answer a shopper’s questions.  This can be especially valuable for people selling high-end appliances, automobiles and luxury goods. 

Other uses for digital signage

Wayfinding 

Digital signage helps people navigate buildings so they can get to their destination as quickly as possible. This can be an entirely passive process, or it can require user intervention. In the passive scenario, maps are shown as part of other content and looped for a given time. This is the playlist method commonly used in most digital signage software.

The interactive scenario requires action from the audience. In this case, a touch screen would be installed so visitors can bring up a map. Finding a location can be assisted by a text search capability or by manually scrolling and zooming on a map. 

Text searches work great in retail applications (i.e. show me all the shoe stores in the mall), but you can also select a store name from a list. Once the visitor has stopped using the touch screen, the scheduled content takes over until someone touches the screen again. This is called wayfinding, and it’s the evolution of printed maps and signs. 

Relying on digital signage technologies for wayfinding is a major step forward.

Here’s why… 

  • The content (maps, lists, etc.) can be updated continuously to reflect the current state of a physical location or venue. 
  • Previously, maps and signs would be printed and shipped out periodically. They would quickly become obsolete, as they were only accurate for short periods of time. 
  • Wayfinding maps have entered the 3D age. They can be manipulated by the audience in real time to present the most useful viewing angle. This makes it easier to find what you are looking for. 
  • Maps can feature information about any destination. They can also include business logos, videos and instant messages about promotions, hours of operation and other useful information. 

General business/call centre/ factory signage 

These applications can benefit from many digital signage features. With the proper content, digital signage can engage and empower your staff. This goes further than the obvious motivational content. Digital signage displays can pull data from business databases in real time, and deliver this information in an easily understandable way. This is commonly referred to as “business intelligence” or BI. 

Today, BI is used in the C-Suite and on the factory floor. Data is crunched and shown in colourful graphs that are always up to date. Properly designed BI dashboards can instantly alert key stakeholders about any measurement or statistic: 

  • Key performance indicators (KPI) 
  • Statistical goals (calls received/answered, after call wrap-up time, number of outbound dials, talk time, etc.) 
  • Production benchmarks (overall equipment/labour effectiveness, scrap/yield rates, failure rates, on-time in full, complaint rates, etc.) 

This type of information is extremely important to both management and staff. It’s why digital signage displays are being deployed in more and more businesses worldwide. With digital signage, information flows through the enterprise so everyone knows how they’re performing. 

Companies who rely on digital signage for their BI needs perform better. Employees are more engaged, and there is less turnover. 

Queue management 

Digital signage has been extremely popular in places where there may be long wait times. Think of your local Service Canada office, medical clinic waiting room or busy large-format retail store.

These digital signage displays perform multiple functions: 

  • They play general information/weather/news/sports 
  • They handle queue management and alert visitors when a representative or cashier is available

Queue management can positively impact a visitor’s experience by reducing perceived dwell times. After all, time goes by a lot faster when you have something interesting to watch. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to provide useful information and promote your services or products. A good mix of advertising, local news and weather has been proven to improve customer’s perception about a company or organization. 

Using computer vision for queue optimization 

Computer vision technology can deliver useful statistics and live metrics to store managers.  They will have up-to-the-minute information so they can make better decisions. By monitoring customer queues and staff response times, computer vision can help you stay on top of changing situations and enhance the customer experience.  

  • Calculate customer response times and generate statistics
  • Calculate customer browsing time
  • Determine which areas in your store have the least amount of traffic (a.k.a. “dead zones”)
  • Move high-margin/high-volume items near checkouts to increase profits

Create engaging viewing experiences with Direct View LED (DVLED) signage

LG Business Solutions has introduced a new, simplified approach to DVLED deployment that makes it easy for businesses to access their desired DVLED, incorporate DVLED displays and enjoy the advantages LG brings to the table. LG’s pre-engineered DVLED solutions include indoor fine-pitch displays in a variety of screen sizes and resolutions (2K, 4K, 8K), IP65-rated outdoor displays and custom-configured displays for scoreboard use, both indoor and outdoor.

LG DVLED kits come with total service and support at no extra charge, including in-field training, three years of LG TotalCare coverage, three years LG ConnectedCare, three years software licensing and five years LG ExtendedCare limited warranty. The mounting and trim pieces are available from third-party solution providers, which are available through CDW and Synnex. Learn more about LG pre-engineered Direct View LED Display Kit offerings and Synnex digital signage services when you call your CDW Account Manager.

A mount is a mount is a mount, right? Not at all…

Chief offers a variety of mounting solutions that range in price and features to meet the needs of the system. The most economical, feature-limited option is the Fit™ series. You get a hinged design that reduces packaging material, a wide-open wall plate for cable routing and connection, and brackets that secure the display to the wall without tools and include a kickstand for easy cable connection.

Fusion™ mounts have post-installation height and leveling adjustments, generous lateral shift for perfect positioning, security features, cable management, fast installation design and improved packaging that helps you keep track of hardware. For a low-profile aesthetic, the Thinstall™ series is your best option. The sleek design folds in to 46 mm and extends up to 635 mm for maximum viewing potential.

To learn more about the latest digital signage solutions from CDW and our partners, please visit CDW.ca/DigitalSignage