Introduction to Digital Signage Systems


OK, so maybe you’re doing your job a little too well.

After years of elevating customers’ multi-channel experience with digital technology andonline techniques, marketers may have inadvertently raised something else in the process: shoppers’
in-store expectations.

We’re talking about a fast-growing segment of digitally savvy patrons who expect to be engaged, entertained, educated and enticed when visiting (even smallish) brick-and-mortar establishments.

To meet such expectations, many businesses are considering adding digital signage to complement existing posters, banners, and other traditional retail signage. We describe the benefits of digital signage in a previous post, and even show how it might be deployed in a quick-serve restaurant (QSR) setting.

Here, we get a little more ‘hands-on’ by introducing you to key components of a digital signage system, summarized from an informative article penned by veteran AV-industry exec, consultant and author, Alan Brawn.

Begin at the Beginning

Brawn asserts that fully leveraging the impact and investment in digital signage first requires an understanding of its major system components, some of which include:

  • Hardware–physical nuts-and-bolts components, such as displays, mounts, cables and connectors
  • Software–the brains of the system, which may come bundled with the display or be purchased as an SaaS (software-as-a-service) subscription; can also include discrete modules for content creation, distribution, scheduling and other tasks.
  • Content–this refers to the “creation of the media to be displayed on the screen and may also include advertising and marketing components…it is an art form specific to digital signage, and usually involves more than reformatting media [previously] purposed for broadcast or print,” says Brawn.
  • Connectivity–choices are cloud-based or internet, and wired or wireless. Wired connections are extremely reliable but present cabling and other cost considerations. Wireless connectivity is more flexible but susceptible to signal reception and bandwidth issues.

Other components covered in Brawn’s article include: sign operation (which encompasses sign/network maintenance, service and support); content design and creation; and business considerations, such as ROI, revenue generation and analytics.

Adoption is Coming…Quickly

Research company Frost & Sullivan forecasts strong growth for digital signage.
“Brands, marketers and retailers are actively exploring synergies between digital signage and cross-platform tools, such as mobile phones, tablets, kiosks and touchscreen displays, in order to rebrand stores and influence customer decisions,” explains one analyst.

To learn more about this fascinating and fast-growing tactic, contact your current signage provider or other reputable supplier of innovative in-store signage. You can also pick up insightful tips and best practices in our popular archive of sign-related posts.

Better hurry, though. Customers are waiting.

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