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Digital Signage E-Mailer July 2013

Why Digital Signage?

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Few other snippets in this issue:

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Planning an Outdoor Digital Sign or Interactive Kiosk?

As the digital signage market continues to grow, there is considerable interest and value in being able to engage with your clients indoors and outdoors. Outdoor digital signs or kiosks require carefull project planning to be successful. Since we have just finished installation of 2 outdoor, interactive kiosks at Uptown Shopping Center in Victoria, BC, we like to share a few pointers which would be helpful for anyone planning similar project.

Proper Hardware, Weather Protection, Suitable Location, Customization & Branding, Site Preparation & Coordination are key to success.

Hardware for Outdoor Use

Hardware is a crucial piece of installations in the outdoor environment as the displays and computers will be subject to heat, cold, water, dust and vandalism. In the indoor environment, depending on the project, it may be acceptable to use consumer grade TVs or media player but the outdoor environment requires hardware purpose built for harsh environment. Commercial grade digital screens utilize fans or thermal cooling to avoid screen burn, chipsets can generally handle hotter temperature and hardware can operate over longer periods of time without being turned off.

Digital display brightness level will be key element and unless, correct one is choosen, project is doomed. You do not want your client to walk up during the day and not be able to see their message. Outdoor high brightness screens come in 1500-5000 nit of brightness and for a fairly sunlit area, consider unit around 3000 nits. Digital screens running at very high brightness, then to heat up, so consider the cooling specifications of the screen and enclsoure carefully. Digital screens using thermal cooling are a great option which minimize risk of fan failure.

Weather & Vandalism Protection - Heat, Cold, Water, Dust

Over period of time, weather will become the biggest risk factor to the outdoor digital sign or kiosk. Dust, heat, water, cold temperature are contstant threats to the electronics part of the digital sign. Outdoor enclosure come in varying level of protection: vandalism only, heat, heat& cold. The type that you would select will depend on the temperature range of the location. In terms of temperature, rugged steel built, sealed enclosures, with internal heating & cooling, can offer protection from -30C to +34C. As a rating for weather protection, typical enclosure offering protection will be rated at NEMA4 and IP65.

Another important aspect to consider is the enclosure window which can be glass, toughened glass, reflective glass or polycarbonate. Polycarbonate offers great protection against areas prone to vandalism. Standard glass is not recommended as the extra cost of reflective, toughened glass will provide clearer picture and better vandalism protection. Strong locking mechanism will provide theft protection and interior mounting brackets will ensure ease of installation.

Suitable Location

As in real estate, location of digital sign or kiosk must be carefully considered, taking into account sunlight, customer walking patterns, space around the display for proper interaction, obstacles and future use of nearby space. It is easy to overlook this planning excercise at very early stage of the project which can cause deployment issues later or force an orientation which does not maximize the display exposure to perspective users.

Customization & Branding

Digital sign enclosures are generally metal frames which come in one or two colors, so depending on the location and intended audience, it may be preferrable to add an outer shell to provide desired customization or add branding details to the outer enclosure. The outer shell design mush make sure that it does not create any ventilation issues, so multiple fans may be required in the shell to move suffient amount of air.

The outer shell can be made from metal or certain types of wood. Metal would need proper powder coating for durability. Wooden shells offer beautiful look but higher maintenance with risk of damage over time. Discuss project requirements with your local lumber suppliers and they may suggest options for suitable material based on local weather. Wood needs to be sealed properly at start plus require re-sealing at certain intervals. So again, if it is desired to add an outer shell to the digital sign or kiosk, this decision should be made early on in the project.

Site Preparation & Co-ordination

Outdoor digital sign or kiosk will generally need to be closer to the ground level on some type of pad or mounted from support. Due to weight of the screens and enclosure, size of the outer shell or enclsoure footings, mounting support or pad must be properly prepared. Safety of the users, maintenance access to enclosure and hardware, power, internet connection are need to be planned in advance. It is suggested to use wired internet connectivity for better reliability. If the mounting is on ground level, a strong, concrete pad with sufficient anchoring is suggested. The mounting or pad generally would require engineering design and approval, which should be planned and taken into account for lead times on delivery of project.

Outdoor digital sign project has number of pieces, multiple hardware, software and operational requirements, so proper project planning and co-ordination among all the parties is key to making sure the project is on-time, on-budget and meets customer expecations. [TOP]

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What type of Digital Sign to use for Retail Store Front Window, Outdoors, Brightly list Business Lobbies or Showroom with lot of lighting?

Generally 2 common options of LED Sign or Standard LCD Display come up but both options have major drawbacks:

  • LED Signs - Low resolution is not suitable for dynamic, up close messages.
  • Standard brightness displays - Can not be seen for most of the day or no one can read the message.
Solution: Ultra Bright displays from 1500 to 5000 cd/m2. Our lineup of LED backlit, LCD displays offer high contrast ratio, full HD resolution and thermal cooling to avoid fan failure. These units can be arranged in single or video wall applications to meet any deployment requirements. [TOP]

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Which 2 items generally get lower priority or get ignored in a digital sign project?

Content and Operation


It is easy to get all caught up in the hardware, software, media players, networking, mounting kits and end up ignoring 2 key aspects on digital sign life.

What content is going to be on displays, who is responsible to manage and authorize the content, who is going to update the digital sign, maintenance and training.

We have put together Digital Signage Project Checklist to serve as high level reference on Digital Sign Project Stages of Planning, Funding, Deployment, Content and Operation. This checklist also covers Digital Sign Components like Digital Screens, Software, Media Players, Mounting, Installation and IT. [TOP]

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Why so much interest in Interactive Digital Kiosks?

If there is one area in Digital Signage which has been gaining interest lately, it has to be Customized Touch Screen, Interactive Kiosks. This strong interest is coming from tourist destinations like museums for more informative user experience, shopping malls for wayfinding with enhanced store listings, real estate companies for interactive home plans and lot layouts.

Key factors that are contributing to this growing trend:

  • Fast, responsive touch displays paired with high performance CPU deliver good user experience.
  • Infrared and capacitve touch allows for indoor and outdoor use kiosks.
  • Touch screen availability in large size range; 32 - 70 Inch.
  • Flexible Installation Options: Wall Mount, Floor Standing or Customized Cabinets.
  • Reasonable Project Cost for a functional, attractive kiosk compared to very high pricing earlier for slower, un-usable kiosks.
  • Cost saving with self serve model of touch kiosk versus staffed information booths.
Contact our sales team and discuss how you can realize the benefits of interactive kiosks. [TOP]

 
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      * Uptown Interactive Kiosk
      * Subway Edmonton
      * Health Fare
      * Top Of Vancouver
      * Rocky Mountaineer
      * Sechelt First Nation
      * Kalen Capital Building
      * World Duty Free YVR
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