An introduction to Digital Signage
Digital signage is made up from different parts working together.
While hard to define, there are some indispensable components present across the board, such as hardware, software, connectivity and content. By Hardware we mean the physical components necessary (which change depending on the ultimate function of the product) — screens, printers, keyboards, media players, network components, etc; Software is a general term for the various programs used to operate the device, and it includes the content and device management system(s); Connectivity, which is how digital signs connect back to the source, can use Wi-Fi, hard line or mobile technologies and finally Content actually involves the highest ongoing cost with this kind of product, since there is a continuous need to create fresh and relevant content.
And so, these components work together in order to get the message across. Whether it be advertising, emphasising a specific product or promotion, wayfinding… the list is endless, due to digital signage’s vast scope of applicability.
BUT WHAT IS DIGITAL SIGNAGE?
Digital signage is commonly perceived as electronic signage or information presented dynamically.
While there is some discussion regarding its definition due to its broad applicability, there is no question that now it can be found anywhere. Restaurants, retail stores, airports, museums, stadiums and hotels (to name but a few) have adopted digital signage as an effective way to communicate with their customers directly and dynamically, since managing content has immediate results.
However, being ubiquitous, this term serves as signifier for different technologies used with various purposes. Digital signage can be described as a sub-segment of signage, where the message (digital content) is conveyed using a digital interface (such as LCD, LED or Projection). As was mentioned before, they can be found anywhere from transportation systems to public spaces and even corporate buildings, assisting with wayfinding, exhibitions, marketing or advertising.
In short, digital signage means that a screen (of any size) is displaying content (of any kind) for a particular purpose.
Adding to this, it also provides dayparting, which means that one display can have content changing throughout the day, to target different needs (for instance, a coffee ad in the morning and a small movie trailer at night).
Until recently, the only available interface was static and unresponsive, which meant that it was expensive to change, hard to adapt in a timely manner, and had a significant environmental impact.
While the initial cost for digital displays is reasonably higher, its versatility, adaptability and displays both impactful and eye-catching have a proven Return on Investment.