Digital Signage - an Overview
What Is Digital Signage?
Digital signage refers to centrally-managed displays that are used for broadcasting audiovisual programs that include news, wayfinding information, alerts, emergency messages or commercial content.
Being an effective medium for communication, digital signage is seen everywhere in various forms, serving to inform and educate on a whole lot of things.
Digital signage utilizes technologies such as LCD, LED, OLED or projected images to display content, and can be found in both outdoor and indoor venues.
Digital signage offers a broad spectrum of features and endless presentation opportunities that include video, audio, still images, HTML and Flash animation.
One of the main advantages of digital signage is that it is possible to display the same content on multiple screens or distribute unique content to each screen separately. It's also possible to schedule content to change at regular intervals or times, based on distinct messaging or changing audiences.
Some of the main applications of digital signage are public information, internal communication, digital menu boards, advertising, brand building, customer influencing and enhancing the customer experience and the interior environment of a business.
Types of Components
Typically, digital signage is comprised of the following components:
- One or more content players or other sources like a PC or DVD player
- A content management system (CMS) that can be web-, software- or hardware-based
- A signage distribution network, such as a dedicated Ethernet network, AV cables, a common IP network or even the internet
- AV distribution hardware (such as AV extenders and switches) or software (e.g., system on chip)
- Screens and in some cases a video wall processor to combine multiple screens
Types of Applications
Some of the major applications of digital signage include:
- Public Information - News, weather, traffic and local (location specific) information, such as building directory with map, fire exits, etc.
- Internal Communication - Corporate messages, and health and safety news.
- Digital Menu Boards - Pricing, photos, ingredients, and other information about the food being offered.
- Advertising - Promoting a brand/business/company with graphical displays.
- Brand Building - In-store digital sign to promote the brand and to build a brand identity.
- Influencing Customer Behavior - Directing customers to different areas, increasing the "dwell time" on the store premises.
- Enhancing Customer Experience – Reducing the perceived wait, demonstrations, promotions, offers and much more.
- Enhancing the Environment - Interactive screens and wayfinding signs
Types of Digital Signage
Based on these many different applications, digital signage is divided into 6 main categories and each one serves a specific demand of the user.
The 1st category is the digital out-of-home (DOOH) which refers to a sort of dynamic media distributed across place-based networks in venues like shops, health clubs, educational institutions, airports, bus stations, etc.
Digital out-of-home networks typically feature independently addressable screens, kiosks, jukeboxes or large video walls. DOOH media benefits location owners and advertisers alike in being able to engage audiences and extend the reach and effectiveness of marketing messages.
The Digital out-of-home category is comprised of 5 sub-categories, including digital billboards, place-based DOOH, elevator-based DOOH, DOOH on public transport and Point of Purchase (POS) DOOH.
- Digital Billboards
Digital billboards are computer-controlled LED displays or electronic controlled off-premise signs capable of displaying ads, words, symbols, figures, or images that can be digitally or electronically changed by remote or automatic means. Typically, large-format billboards appear outdoors alongside roadways, while smaller billboards appear indoors, in places like entertainment venues or retail stores.
- Place-based DOOH
Place-based DOOH advertising is defined by contextually relevant environments, designed to reach consumers where they spend much of their time outside of their homes. It includes the types of digital displays that are installed in locations like malls, retail stores, pharmacies, parking spaces, etc.
- Elevator-based DOOH
If your audience lives in a high-rise apartment building or condominium, you can engage them with elevator-based DOOH.
This type of digital signage helps combine the reach of traditional Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising with digital advertising, letting brands reach audiences in a unique space that sees a lot of traffic.
- DOOH on Public Transport
Transport media has embraced digital out-of-home (DOOH) with some of the largest and highest-impact digital screens available at train stations, airports, and inside the buses and trains. In these environments, advertisers can engage with captive audiences who often have more time to interact with the DOOH displays.
- Point of Purchase (POP) DOOH
In retail environments, visual displays with engaging content in the proximity to the Point of Purchase has the power to inform and influence the purchasing behavior of customers. Studies suggest that digital display screen advertising at the POP can also considerably increase brand awareness.
Incorporating in-store and retail DOOH advertising as a component of an omnichannel marketing mix provides an important touchpoint for the consumer, connecting with them throughout their entire shopping journey, resulting in a more cohesive and consistent experience.
- Digital Billboards
A video wall is a multi-monitor system that includes multiple computer monitors, video projectors and digital displays tiled together to form one large screen.
For video walls, screens are exclusively designed with narrow bezels for minimizing the gap between active display areas and are built with long-term serviceability in mind.
Common application areas of video walls include outdoor large screens, monitoring command centers, conference rooms, libraries, etc. According to different functions, video walls comprise a variety of display technologies.
Mainly, there are 4 types of video walls based on these technologies, such as LCD video walls, LED video walls, blended projection systems and rear projection video walls.
- LCD Video Walls
One of the most popular video wall types on the market today, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) video walls are flat panel display systems that are composed of a layer of liquid crystal between two pieces of polarized glass.
A tiled array of displays are mounted together to form an LCD video wall. There is a wide range of mounting options available such as freestanding, wall-mounted, curved, or even portable video walls.
When an electric current is applied, the liquid crystals shift and allow light to pass through to create an image. Liquid crystals don’t produce their own light, however. Behind the glass, there are backlights arranged to illuminate the display. The most common type of backlight used in modern LCDs are light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Common applications include control rooms, education and research facilities, conference rooms, and other presentation spaces.
- LED Video Walls
Direct view LED is commonly called 'LED' for short, which is one of the most desired display options for video wall solutions. An LED display is comprised of hundreds of tiny light-emitting diodes mounted directly on a flat panel. Each LED is a miniature lightbulb that emits colored light when a particular voltage is applied to it.
Clusters of red, green, and blue diodes are grouped to create the full-color pixels required to produce an image. Since the LEDs themselves produce the pixels, the size of the LEDs and the distance between them (known as pixel pitch) determines the resolution of the display.
Common applications include large scale digital signs, control rooms, network operations centers and visualization labs.
- Blended Projection Systems
Blended projection systems combine the output of multiple projectors to produce an image that is larger and/or displayed at a higher resolution than could be generated by a single projector. These systems can display content on a seamless surface of virtually any size and shape.
Instead of tiling together multiple displays like an LCD or LED video wall, a blended projection system blends the output of multiple projectors to create a large display surface.
Blended projection works by overlapping two or more projected images and gradually cross-fading their edges to produce a single, seamless image. A blended projection system can be designed with rear or front projection.
Common applications include simulation, education and research, and architecture and engineering.
- Rear Projection Video Walls/Cubes
Like LCDs, rear projection displays, or "cubes," are an enduringly popular display option. It consists of a projection system and mirror encased in a sealed cube. The cube enclosure is used to limit the effects of ambient light and improve the brightness and contrast levels of the displays. Inside the cube, the projector shines light onto a mirror, which then reflects it onto the display screen to produce an image.
A rear-projection video wall is built by stacking multiple cubes on top of each other in a tiled array. Cubes can be arranged in flat, curved, and even non-rectangular arrays. While they are generally too heavy to be wall-mounted, they can be built into a recessed space so that the display surface is flush with the surrounding wall.
Common applications include control rooms, operations centers, simulations and educational and research facilities.
- LCD Video Walls
Interactive Digital Signage
Keeping your customers engaged with your business can be a challenge. This is where interactive displays come in handy.
As the name suggests, interactive digital signage is a type of signage that you can interact with. Those who interact with these types of displays can access the specific information that’s most relevant to their needs without having to sit through ads and information that doesn’t matter to them.
Interactive displays are one of the best ways to keep your customers engaged with your products and service offerings.
Interactive digital signage is all about:
- Touch, swipe, and interact with the screen
- Click the QR code to download it to your mobile
- Interact with Facebook and Twitter
- Geolocation and RFID activated
- Simple, fast and inexpensive Digital Signage deployment, using stock IR Touch Screen and micro PC/Player combinations
Mainly, there are 3 types of interactive displays that include digital wayfinding and directional signs, product catelogues, and self-service kiosks.
- Digital Wayfinding and Directional Signs
Digital wayfinding and directional signs help your visitors get where they’re going with engaging touchscreen maps and directories. These types of signs can improve visitor satisfaction, eliminates confusion and eases stress to make a great first impression.
- Map to events, personnel, room and department directories
- Show full-screen or integrate with traditional digital signage
- Connect to mobile devices with QR codes and SMS
- Use databases to feed directories for easy updates you can do yourself
Directional signs are used to guide people to the nearest restrooms, help them find parking, or simply point them to the main office in addition to a myriad of other uses.
- Product Catalogues
Interactive product catalogues make it easy for your customers to browse products, compare them and make positive buying decisions. These applications provide your customers with fun and transform the buying experience.
Interactive product catalogues enable retailers to maximize their floor space by using the power of the endless aisle. With interactive catalogues, customers are offered a broader assortment of products in even the smallest store environments.
- Self-Service Kiosks
From self-service check-in to queue management, interactive kiosks put your visitors in control the moment they enter your premises, allowing you to coordinate and reallocate resources more efficiently and effectively.
These types of kiosks normally feature a wide range of compatible peripherals such as card readers, camera kits, barcode scanners and more. This allows you to create an all-in-one solution to match your unique business needs.
Digital Standees are electronic LED boards that use digital images, videos, streaming media and other graphic content. They are broadly used for branding and education purposes, making the information for the potential users easy and less time-consuming.
These types of displays are attractive, portable and can be easily installed in a variety of venues like transportation systems, museums, stadiums, retail stores, etc. One of the best things with digital standees is that they are accessible with just a plugged-in source of electricity.
Digital Menu Boards
A digital menu board is a display system that integrates a plasma display screen with a digital signage media player and software to display menus. They are easier to read and see, and they can be updated in minutes with new menu items and prices. You can even schedule content ahead of time for daily or seasonal changes.
Customers prefer digital menus because it helps them make the ordering decisions more quickly, providing them with the best customer experience possible.
Immersive & Simulation Displays
Immersive displays are visual displays that provide a higher level of human engagement with computer-generated real-time interactive content. They are often related to a form of 'Virtual Reality (VR) without headsets and/or without any additional devices like mobile and tablets.
Immersive displays can tremendously transform the user experience. Traditionally used for simulation and training, they are also ideal for transforming corporate, educational, research, leisure, digital art, and retail experiences.
As a versatile tool, digital signage is getting integrated into the very fabric of the modern world. Undoubtedly, both outdoor and indoor digital signage solutions are unique and have specific expectations and challenges.
If you have a business, you should have your outdoor digital signage content strategy aiming to draw the attention of your target audience. Then, let the indoor digital signage work its charm and engage your target customers on a more personal level.
What Blue Rhine offers?
Being the leading distributor of premium brands like Philips, Absen, DOIT VISION and Peerless-AV in the GCC region, we provide a broad spectrum of digital signage solutions to our clients that span all the major cities in the region.
The 1st one in this category is Philips MediaSuite.
MediaSuite is a true game-changer for hotel TVs and one of the most advanced and disruptive products seen in the hospitality market for many years. Loaded with a range of functionalities and designed for today’s fast-paced world, Philips MediaSuite is ideal for use in a variety of applications in the hospitality environment, providing a wow factor for guests.
Then comes the multi-touch series, which is enabled with automatic touch recognition. It is ideal for multi-finger, multi-user applications-from wayfinding to presentations.
Then there are Philips video walls that are operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With superior picture quality, adaptability, interactivity, immersive visual experience, minimal maintenance, and low power consumption, the Philips video wall series is a perfect choice for many applications in places like libraries, large vehicle showrooms, retail stores, etc.
Philips also has a range of C, B, Q and U line displays that are also perfect for a variety of applications in hotel suites, lobbies, conference rooms, classrooms, etc.
Absen offers a broad spectrum of commercial display solutions.
Absen’s flagship product is the Absenicon 3.0 series. It is specially designed for meetings and presentations in venues like high-end meeting rooms, lecture halls, and auditoriums in corporate, government, education and other indoor environments.
Then comes the KL series, which is a fixed indoor LED display. The Absen KL series is well suited for retail, hotels, corporate, transport and more indoor applications.
DOIT VISION is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of indoor and outdoor LED screens and LED walls. Their LED screens are ideal for events, conferences, exhibitions, outdoor advertising and billboards.
Peerless-AV is keen on adding new products to keep pace with the constant changes in AV technology. Their digital signage products range from full-service video walls to interactive kiosks to outdoor displays.
Peerless' flagship product - Xtreme High Bright Display - is fully sealed and protected against water, dust, moisture, and even insects, making them ideal for outdoor applications in extreme environments.
No matter the size of your project, small or large, we have the right resources and expertise to provide value-added products and services to you. Just consult with our signage experts to get insights for making your projects efficient and exceptional.
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