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Making Opportunity Knock


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This article was written for the International Sign Association Report that appeared in the September 2010 issue of Sign of the Times Magazine. The article focuses on how digital signage technology can help companies, especially those in the sign industry, grow their business.

Digital sign technology is becoming increasingly popular and the industry continues above average growth year after year, even in the current economy. Anywhere you go today you cannot avoid seeing an electronic display with information, advertising or promotional material. More and more companies in the sign industry, both large and small are learning how to offer digital signage solutions and services. Consequently, those companies are growing their businesses, adding more value, and making more money for their clients and themselves. Are you?

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Making Opportunity Knock

  1. 1. Dynamic Digital Signage: Making Opportunity Knock ••• By Bruce Goldstein Dynamic Digital Signage is well suited was a giant step forward. It was embraced to grow your sign business. not only by the computer industry, but the Digital sign technology is becoming in- sign industry as well. Desktop publishing creasingly popular and the industry continues improved such things as efficiency, quality, above average growth year after year, even in creativity, and time to market. As a result, the current economy. Anywhere you go today setting type, T-squares, stat cameras, burnishers you cannot avoid seeing an electronic display and wax machines all became things of the skills. They are able to understand your client’s with information, advertising or promotional past. Sign companies of all kinds welcomed objectives, what their end-users are looking material. More and more companies, both the new technology as a natural progression for, and translate that into compelling visual large and small are learning how to offer digital of their business. messages. These skills are fundamental to the signage solutions and services. Consequently, Fast forward 25 years to today and dynamic successful development of any dynamic digital those companies are growing their businesses, digital signage is the new revolution. Signs no sign. Importantly, while IT firms are installing adding more value, and making more money longer are fixed. They can include moving most digital signage systems, they typically for their clients and themselves. Are you? images and can change their message multi- lack the necessary visual communication skills. As a society, we have not yet stopped ple times throughout the day. Digital signs As a result, the experience you already have purchasing printed material. However, whether also use an electronic display instead of printed in the design, production and sales of visual it is a Kindle or an iPad, electronic books of all or dimensional material. Print is fixed and communications products will enable you to kinds are becoming more and more popular. updating a printed or dimensional sign is time easily transition into selling dynamic digital signs. Printed magazine and newspaper subscription consuming, labor intensive and costly to in- Moreover, sign companies already have a levels continue to decline and the last time stall. A digital sign connected to a media sales force and in-house designers in place you opened the Yellow Pages to search for player can display motion and video and that can become digital sign communication something was when? So it stands to reason change based on a schedule. It can be up- experts. Finally, most businesses only require that the same dynamic is in play with printed dated instantly and produce immediate re- a simple digital signage system. Therefore, an signs as well. More information, efficiency, sults. While the transition to digital signage advanced understanding of information convenience and ease-of-use rules the day. may take longer to dominate the landscape technology is not always necessary. Recent digital sign technology advancements then desktop publishing did in the 80’s, the Once a digital sign has been sold, the need have made digital sign solutions easier to use, advantages are just as beneficial to the sign to keep the content or the message displayed on more reliable and more affordable than ever industry. If you have not taken advantage of the screen fresh and effective will be paramount. before. In addition, the technology has made it yet, you still can. However, the train is Doing so will help your client to achieve a quick it easier to improve same store sales and cus- leaving the station. return on their investment and provide you with tomer experience. continuous revenue updating their content. Turn the clock back 25 years to the desk- So what do you need to board the train? Since most of your customers will only top publishing revolution. WYSIWYG (what Your business already possesses strengths need a simple off-the-shelf digital signage you see is what you get) page layouts and that will enable it to offer digital signage and system, selecting a simple solution to sell and graphic designs displayed on screen with a be successful. At the outset, you already have promote is a good way to start. It will not require computer and printed out in high resolution employees with strong visual communication a major reorganization or investment in a significant amount of new technology and will Digital signs can be used in a variety of environments, some of which are pictured here appeal to both existing and new customers. (Photograph ©2010 NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.). It will also allow you to become familiar with the technology and grow your business without getting in over your head. It requires a basic understanding of how the dynamic digital sign technology works, its capabilities and benefits and how to incorporate it into your product and service presentation to your clients. A simple dynamic digital sign solution is like a digital photoframe. It consists of the same main components: a media player and a flat panel display or LCD. The difference, however is that the components of the digital sign solu- tion can be all-in-one or separate, but more importantly they are built for extended use and offer a lot more features and capabilities. Continued on page 86The 2010 LED marketplace, driven by televisions and general lighting appliances was expected to exceed the 2009 size of $6.5 billion. (IMS Research) • 85
  2. 2. ...Making Opportunity Knock [cont]Continued from page 85 POPULAR MARKETS Simple digital signage media players can be purchased for well below $1,000. They play For Digital Signage:media files like jpeg images and mpeg videos and can be programmed to play the files in anyorder based on any schedule. They can be updated using a removable memory device or connected CORPORATEto a network. They can also be programmed to divide the display screen into separate areas Display of corporate, employeecalled zones with different media files playing in each zone. and local news and information LCDs are available in many sizes and can be used in any orientation. For example a countertopdigital sign can use a 19-inch display (which is available for less than $250) in portrait (vertical) HOTELorientation, and take up minimal counter space. A digital menu board can use a 40-inch or Wayfinding, local news andlarger display (starting at around $1,000) mounted to a wall in landscape (horizontal) mode, information and hotel eventswhich can replace several printed menu boards. The countertop digital sign and the digitalmenu board could use the same kind of media player. The key difference between the two is PUBLIC SPACEthe content or messaging displayed on the LCD. News & travel information, advertisingContent: the key to success and making you and your clients more money No matter how big or small or how sophisticated or simple, the key to the success of any RESTAURANTdynamic digital sign is having a content strategy and plan, along with a professional designer Menu boards, customer facingto create the message displayed on the digital sign. Like printed signs and displays, a message promotional informationon a digital sign needs to be eye-catching, compelling, include a call to action and leave a lastingimpression. With the ability to add full-motion graphics and daily scheduling, the content RETAIL BANKINGstrategy should make sure the content is always kept up-to-date and achieves your clients’ objectives. Display of local news, informationWith a skilled in-house designer who can design for print and motion, you will be able to and bank promotionsoffer content subscription packages for each digital sign you sell. You will then be on your wayto increasing sales revenue and growing your business in dynamic digital signage. RETAIL SALES Wayfinding, product andBruce Goldstein is a professional designer and digital signage certified expert. His consultant firm, promotional informationDesignage, offers expert advice to companies interested in selling digital signage systems and services andto end-users interested in installing a digital signage solution for their business. He can be reachedat: website: blog: Digital signs can be updated easily to change such things as: design theme, layout, promotions, items, prices, etc. (PhotographDynamic Digital Signage Basic GLOSSARY ©2010 Pei Wei Asian Diner, Inc.). Dwell Time: The approximate time the audi-Connected: A digital sign media player that ence spends in proximity to a digital sign.receives content and program information Landscape Orientation: An LCD in typicalfrom a network connection. horizontal orientation.Content: The information displayed on a LCD: Acronym for liquid crystal display, ascreen often consisting of text, images, motion thin, flat-panel display technology commonlygraphics, and video, usually created by a pro- used for displaying digital signage content,fessional designer. preferably designed for commercial gradeCMS: Acronym for content management extended that includes capabilities such as; Loop: Content or a playlist that repeats itselfimporting, organizing, scheduling and distrib- for continuous play.uting content, creating content playlists and Media Player: Typically a single use PC ordisplay layouts, managing connected media solid state device that outputs content to anplayers and LCDs, and reporting the overall LCD, preferably designed for commercialstatus of a connected digital signage network. grade extended use.Day Parting: Scheduling content and playlists Playlist: A list defining the order and durationfor playback at specific times of the day. of content to be displayed.Dynamic Digital Signage: An electronic sign Portrait Orientation: An LCD rotated 90that can change quickly and easily, deliver degrees to display content in vertical orientation.targeted messages to an audience based on Standalone: A digital sign media player thattime of day, day of week, etc., without having receives content and program informationto physically change the sign itself. from a removable memory device.DOOH: Acronym for Digital Out-of-Home Zone: An area of a display designated for aand refers to digital signage that is displayed particular use based on audience considerationsin public spaces, social places, and retail. and messaging objectives. |statistical facts •••Digital out-of-home media (DOOH) increases sales in grocery stores. Four out of five product brands tested showed increases of up86 ISA Report • • • May 2010