What Every Integrator Needs to Know About Digital Signage Solutions

Published: 2016-03-25

Roughly a decade old, the digital signage category has grown exponentially over the past few years, even spawning dedicated industry trade events to help integrators maximize its revenue potential. Dealers who are interested in but have not yet made the foray into digital signage should be able to transition seamlessly based on their AV knowledge, but there are some points to consider before making that leap.

Market Continues to Shine

The International Sign Association (ISA) says that depending on whose numbers a dealer looks at, the digital signage market’s growth varies from single digits all the way up to 40 percent. Citing research released in 2013 from InfoTrends, the category is expected to reach more than $17 billion in sales globally by 2017, with the U.S. sales accounting for about a third of that figure. A key aspect, ISA adds, is that this estimation accounts for hardware and software sales (referred to as dynamic digital signage), but not the content creation element.

The ISA divides the digital signage category into essentially two applications: advertising-based solutions (for clients such as bars, restaurants and retail establishments); and information-based systems (for clients in verticals such as corporate, medical and education). The ISA’s analysis suggests digital signage dealers are particularly well positioned to serve small- and medium-size businesses.

The group points to a Nielsen study that tracked 120 grocery stores over a period of time and found that four out of five brands experienced sales increases as high as 33 percent when deploying digital signage as part of their marketing compared with brands that only used printed signage.

Tying a System Together

For those not familiar with assembling digital signage solutions, they require a few basic components. “The signal source is the beginning of the chain. The display to show the content, and of course the content,” explains Steven Barlow, president, DVIGear. “The standard way of working is to manage the content at the source level. The signal generator is a signage specific processor [The Intel Next Unit of Computing, for example].

RELATED: 7 Innovative Products Doing Digital Signage Differently at DSE

“These NUCs [Next Unit of Computing] mount via VESA specifications to the back of a monitor, and the idea is the NUC or server is going to get content uploaded from a network or wherever,” he continues. “With an HDMI output or some other output and via USB we can control and communicate with the box to send content, to wake up the monitor, and to perform other functions. The advertiser creates the messages and the boxes run for a predetermined amount of time.”

Barlow notes that in addition to these systems that locate a source device near the displays, some systems employ sources elsewhere. They utilize networks to transmit data to feed displays content using products such as his company’s DisplayNet. Barlow explains that DisplayNet takes HDMI signals, control, and other important elements, packetizes them and routes over 10-bit Ethernet or fiber.

“The idea in this scenario is that the content is more dynamic, and it can change on the fly,” he says. “Using cameras and other technologies, it will send data to the main office, the main office will then serve up ads, and it estimates what is appropriate.”

What kind of content will serve customers best? Barlow says to inquire about using NUC types of products, and solutions from manufacturers such as BrightSign or Videotel to point the conversation toward the topic of dynamic or static content.

Decisions on Moving Pictures

On the display side of the equation, common considerations include resolution (HD vs. 4K/Ultra HD) and type (monitor vs. projection system). Again, customer needs will help dictate answers.

“Watching these displays at a distance, 1080p would be fine. There isn’t as much as a need for high resolution,” Barlow says. “Talking about 4K, we are able to get closer to the screen and appreciate the resolution. A great example is a one-on-one application where the viewing distance is going to be less than 2 or 3 feet. A mall locator kiosk with touch capabilities, video, for example, that is the idea of 4K … I get a much bigger, better viewer angle, and I am pulling the user into [the customer’s] environment. This is powerful for the marketing world.”

While flat-panel monitors are the more traditional option for digital signage displays, projectors can also fulfill a variety of needs, says Felix Pimentel, senior product marketing manager for BenQ (which manufacturers both types).

Posted in: News

Tagged with: 3D, 4K, DVIGear

B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East