In its simplest form, digital signage is a visual message presented on a screen. The message is relayed digitally onto an LCD or LED screen, usually in a public setting. Advanced digital signage networks can connect many screens in many places. However, digital signage content can be displayed via a setup as simple as a few visual slides uploaded from a flash drive to a flatscreen TV.
Today, digital signage displays appear as video walls, restaurant menu boards, interactive touchscreens, or static directories or maps. Depending on the medium, the display may feature a scrolling message, important product information, or elaborate advertisements. Digital signage has evolved from the flashy neon signs of the past, which used colored tubes to form shapes and letters, to content that can be customized in an infinite number of ways.
Components of a Digital Signage System
Here is a general overview of how digital signage works, starting with its basic functions:
- A Message: Displaying content is the primary purpose of digital signage. Messages, screen layouts, and graphic designs can be created with tools as simple as PowerPoint or as complex as today’s high-end media software applications. The display can also be linked to data feeds that draw information from a network or internet connection.
- Content Management System (CMS): Just about every form of digital signage is driven by a CMS, or a type of cloud- or server-based management software. A single server can control multiple media players, and each media player can be connected to a number of screens. There are also all-in-one digital devices that can manage all of these functions (controlled via a standard operating system) and incorporate a robust digital signage software
- Digital Media Player: This is a computer or another electronic system that delivers the content to the physical display. Messages are visually rendered by software, which also distributes them to the intended screens. The application may work off a playlist to distribute specific types of content at the desired locations, at predetermined times.
- Display Screen: A common type of display is an LED. These digital signage screens may look like standard flatscreen televisions or take the form of interactive touchscreens. From small kiosks to video walls containing a large number of networked screens, the type of digital display varies depending on the intended application and target audience.
- Supporting Equipment: The infrastructure that supports your digital signage can comprise various types of cabling, power hookups, cooling equipment, network connections, equipment mountings, internet servers, and much more. Connectivity tools can deliver online content such as social media feeds, real-time data, and web pages to digital signs.
For a complete digital signage system, you often must work with more than one vendor. Software companies often assist with CMS integration, message creation, and electronic media player setup. Equipment integrators and IT companies often help with procuring and setting up the display screens and supporting infrastructure. They can assist with selecting/installing the most suitable software application.
However, some digital signage companies specialize in all of these and provide the support you need as well. Depending on the provider, it may offer design services, support content feeds, and provide training and consulting services. At Total Concept Integration, we are the vendor, and are here to help you with all these services so you don’t have to deal with multiple vendors.
The Technological Backbone of a Digital Signage Network
Simply stated, a digital signage network requires a system to make messages, organize and schedule them, and move them to displays, as well as hardware needed for the target audience to see your message. Technology has advanced to integrate a wider range of functions than ever before. So, today’s digital signage can rely on:
- Interactivity: These are the underlying components that let people interact with the content you create and display. These can be touchscreens, communication technologies such as SMS to post messages on displays from cell phones, or Bluetooth that lets users interact with onscreen content. Even body sensors that allow the display system to respond to end users’ reactions can be included. Interactive signage can also use QR codes to allow screen-smartphone interaction.
Depending on the system, users can play games, share their opinions on a poll, share social media content, and interact with the display using their smartphone.
- Context Awareness: Sensors and network connectivity, as well as integrated cameras, RFID components, beacons, and software built into the display or digital signage system allow it to react to its environment. Therefore, it can process information. The environmental cues received by various components can trigger the system to deliver specific messages. In retail environments, this allows shopper profiles to be created and for the system to analyze data in real time.
How Digital Signage Delivers the Information You Need
The information delivered by digital signage is constantly changing. This provides a much greater degree of flexibility compared to static signs. Your message can change in response to touch or other environmental cues, increasing product, service, and brand visibility.
The colors, layout, and light patterns used in a message can allure viewers, making your message all that much more effective. The ability to keep messages up to date is another advantage. Timeliness and reliability will make your business more relevant to the consumer, while personalized messages can target viewers’ individual needs and concerns (i.e., sales; discounts for veterans/teachers, etc.; or news and updates that reflect a specific person’s interests).
Digital signage is used to relay product information, advertising, promotions, corporate messages, or insights that can influence customer behavior. It is effective for brand building and product/brand decision making.
An interactive board can also help visitors find their way around an office building, shopping mall, hospital, or university campus. By providing useful information and an enhanced experience in retail stores, restaurants, banks, and so on, it can reduce perceived wait time as well. Digital signage works in many different ways regarding its impact on end users.
Contact Total Concept Integration
Our team possesses complete knowledge of how digital signage works. We provide technological solutions that include LED screens and tickers, servers, content, and programming. From interactive development to custom design, to rigging services, Total Concept Integration can create a completely unique digital experience with high-end installations and short turnaround times.
To discuss your vision and get started in letting us create a custom digital signage solution for your retail, commercial, or other business, call 855-950-0824 or visit www.tci4d.com today!