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Getting Started with Digital Signage
No matter where you live in the United States, you’re likely running across digital signage in your daily life. From the local fast food restaurant or movie theater menus hanging above the counter, to the wayfinding kiosks at the mall or university, to the outdoor digital billboards - digital signage has permeated our society.
What is digital signage?
Digital signage is a display (usually LCD) that is used to showcase promotional advertisements and messages, or can be interactive - as is the case with wayfinding displays. Digital signage products can be split into two categories - commercial displays and consumer displays, with the main differences being build quality, durability and along with that, price.
Commercial display vs consumer display
At its core, a commercial digital display is similar to a flat panel tv, but is typically much heavier as it is built for heavy use, high heat (for restaurants) and corrosion resistance (for example, subway kiosks). They are also built for network connectivity and remote troubleshooting, which a less expensive consumer display would not have. The important takeaway is that using a consumer grade display in a commercial setting voids the warranty. Consumer displays just aren’t built for the type of grueling daily punishment that commercial displays can handle.
Check out our selection of Digital Signage and Large Screen Displays.
Common use cases for digital signage
|Shopping malls - wayfinding, advertising, video surveillance||Churches / Houses of Worship - visual paging, closed captioning, notifications|
|Retail stores - point-of-sale advertising, promotion callouts, product demos||Hospitals - wayfinding, emergency alerts, video surveillance|
|Restaurants - menu boards, special offers, seating notifications||Banks & Credit Unions - low interest rates, news, weather|
There are two main components to digital signage - the hardware and the content. Figuring out WHERE the display is going to go helps determine what kind of display you’ll need. What to actually show on that display is the exciting part.
Depending on your display or setup (if you’re managing multiple displays), your hardware may come with built-in content templates or the ability to create layouts using HTML5 web design techniques. If you’re using advanced functionality like wayfinding or emergency messaging, you may be using third-party software. For brevity of this article, we won’t dive too deep into any of those options right now. That said, LG offers built-in content management with many of their digital signage products. View the video for more info.
You don’t need a designer, but it might help
Some commercial signage displays, like LG's Super Signage, have built-in templating features that make designing slides for your display pretty simple. There are a lot of resources on the internet about how to design and develop content for your users, and it will likely vary by use case, but there are some general best practice guidelines you should follow -
- Keep the type size large for easy readability - remember your audience may be far away from the screen. Keep your main message short and simple.
- Make sure there is plenty of contrast from the background to the foreground - light text on dark background or vice-versa. Busy image backgrounds can detract from your promotion.
- Size helps prioritize what is important to your audience. Put your most important messages where they’ll get noticed
- Test your message in the actual setting before going live. Stand back 5-8 feet and see where your eye is drawn or if you need to change anything
Top Digital Signage Manufacturers
If you’ve followed the AV industry for the last few years, you will have certainly noticed the growth of digital signage products year-over-year. Manufacturers are creating standard wall-mount 40 to 90 inch large screen displays to 4K portrait signage used in retail to full-scale video walls. Since our parent company, AVI-SPL, is the largest AV integrator in the United States, we have great insight into the top (and best) manufacturers of digital signage today.
- LG Electronics - digital signage made simple for single use applications to multi-display locations
- NEC - commercial displays for business, retail, restaurants
- Panasonic - HD and 4K professional displays
- Peerless - leading the way in outdoor, weatherproof display technology
- Sharp - #1 selling brand of large format commercial displays over 55” w/ touch technology
- Sony - easy integration with existing Sony gear (perfect for churches, schools, etc)
Hot trends in digital signage
If you weren’t excited about digital signage before now, hopefully this information is helping to inspire you to take action. So where is digital signage headed, and what can we expect to see in the coming months and years?
These are some of the trends we’re seeing gaining popularity right now:
- Virtual tours in real estate model home showrooms
- Three-dimensional product demos - car showrooms, unassembled products
- Retail signage displays at shopping malls and banks
- Interactive sales presentations
- Web based interactivity - ship to home, find in other store, directions to campus sites
- Synchronized display arrays for impressive video wall presentations
Ready to setup your own digital signage display?
Check our top recommended picks for digital signage displays here. Need additional assistance? Our experts are available to answer any questions you might have and help you find the perfect digital signage solution for you. Give us a call at 1-888-248-0675 or chat with us online today!