Digital signage – a dynamic, cost-effective way of reaching audiences

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Digital signage is a dynamic medium, which means content of any type can be delivered to multiple end points efficiently and effectively.

Digital signage plays a critical role for businesses today as an incredibly versatile communication tool, writes Michael Shaw, national business development, Commercial Display, Amber Technology.

No matter how large or small, companies of all sizes need to achieve cut-through with target audiences, and digital signage can go a long way in delivering this. Digital signage is a dynamic medium, which means content

of any type can be delivered to multiple end points efficiently and effectively. As an additional interactive layer, content can be easily refreshed and even connected to the web or social media feeds such as Twitter.

Captivating displays attract the attention of target demographics, can multiply foot traffic, encourage a call-to- action and even influence buying decisions.

As a centralised form of communication, it allows organisations to control hundreds or thousands of displays around the world from one central location, ensuring quality and consistent messaging without inflating resources or operational costs.

Digital signage is a logical consideration for businesses that want an engaging, flexible and cost-effective way of reaching audiences and, ultimately, increasing their bottom line.

How does it work?

There are several display options available on the market; however, finding a solution that works best for the organisation’s needs is paramount. Two key elements are critical to the success of digital signage: compelling content and the delivery method.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital signage. Solutions are very specific and tailored to each environment. For organisations wanting to implement a new solution –

or upgrade an existing display – the process usually begins by consulting with a distributor to assess requirements, timings, costs and processes before narrowing down the most suitable products and system integrators.

A system integrator will then step in to install the content delivery solution, brief you on how to use it and address common issues. It’s worth checking if the distributor or system integrator (or both) can offer ongoing support as this can be particularly useful if critical issues arise.

It is said that ‘content is king’ and this theory certainly applies in the digital signage world. When making this investment it’s vital to also have great hardware and software placed to maximise the delivery of appealing content.

It’s fundamental that relevant messages are in appropriate display formats and locations for the best conversion rates. For example, placing an interactive bus stop ad for a new take- away food beside a cross-fit gym will not be very effective.

Cost, accessibility and suitability

Technologies and hardware have become more accessible, resulting in the growth of digital signage as an efficient and engaging way of communicating. While every business has unique needs, there is a solution for all budget and space requirements.

It’s important to research comprehensively for a known and trusted brand with a strong history in the digital connectivity space. It’s a huge advantage if a distributor or system integrator can provide a suite of products, from content creation to content delivery that can cater to any scenario.

For example, brands like Gefen offer a ‘one stop shop’ approach where a customer can source a digital signage creator to develop the content, a media player for content delivery as well as a 4×4 switcher to split content across four screens. This approach simplifies the layers of contact when it comes to ongoing maintenance and support, dramatically saving on downtime and budget.

The popularity of digital signage across a broad range
of industries, from medical and healthcare centres to retail and hospitality environments, has resulted in lots of brands entering the market with similar offerings.

Features, warranty and quality service are the differentiating points for customers considering a new digital signage fitout to consider. Beyond this, a critical point of difference is how user friendly the solution is.

PC-based solutions vs appliance solutions

For facility managers, building owners and managers whose strengths aren’t in the IT space, there are display solutions that are easy to use and maintain.

Until recently, older PC-based media players had been the main source of feeding content.

PC-based media players use proprietary digital signage software, which come at an added cost and run on unreliable operating systems. They also consume high volumes of power and have a heavy heat load.

This puts a strain on the company’s energy bills as well as other overhead costs, regularly replacing moving parts, such as fans and drives, to keep hardware from overheating and breaking down.

Improvements in technology have seen the introduction of appliance solutions capable of delivering remarkable displays at a small cost, from a spectacular floor-to-ceiling LED screen advertising a new art exhibition to a message from a company’s global CEO delivered to staff in other regions in real time.

An appliance solution is hardware with embedded software, which addresses these issues in almost every application imaginable. The operating system and dedicated processor that comes with appliance solutions are reliable and don’t require software installation. It’s as simple as ‘plug-and-play’.

Appliance solutions are compact and exceptionally easy
to maintain, as they don’t use moving parts and, as a result, use a fraction of energy when compared with PC-based products. An appliance solution can cost a lean $99 to operate throughout the year, while a traditional media player can add as much as $6240 to energy bills.

Other things to consider

As a dynamic medium, digital signage can be as simple as projecting updates in multiple control rooms, as an interactive augmented reality screen at bus stops or as 4K format in a broadcast scenario. The possibilities are endless and don’t need to put pressure on budgets.

It’s important to evaluate the needs of the business and research comprehensively to ensure the solution is the best fit for achieving cut-through with target demographics. Remember that having an entire solution and support from one brand is a huge advantage. Be realistic with budget, objectives and share the responsibility.

While products are designed to be easy to use with minimal intervention, maintenance, problems can arise. It’s advisable to have a staff member who can dedicate time to liaising with suppliers for assistance. If there’s an issue at the backend, it’s good to know there is someone available to resolve the issue quickly.

For further information, contact distributor Amber Technology: 1800 251 367, www.ambertech.com.au.

Digital signage tips

  • assess the infrastructure
  • be realistic with budget – will it meet the expected outcomes?
  • research distributors and system integrators thoroughly – a superior company will be able to provide multilayered support from pre-sales to execution and post-sales support
  • understand that having a solution and support from one system integrator is advantageous
  • content is king – use relevant messages in the right format and location
  • system integrators and customers must commit to sharing the ownership
  • ensure there is a dedicated staff member assigned to manage the backend elements
  • a system integrator with a local presence is preferable to resolve issues in real time.

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