THE FIRETIDE BLOG

Top Benefits of Communicating to the Public Through Digital Signage

Aug 14, 2016

Digital Sign.jpgIf you have been to a quick service restaurant, shopping mall or sports stadium in the last few years, or have driven on a major highway system or taken mass transit in a city such as Chicago, you have probably encountered digital signage. A digital sign is simply an electronic display that can provide real-time information about the setting. For example, it might have details about today's menu items, a rotating set of maps and venue-related announcements or updates about current traffic conditions.

The proven effectiveness of digital signs has helped spur demand for related video solutions. According to MarketsandMarkets, digital signage could be a $27.34 billion worldwide market by 2022. Kiosks, which have many possible applications, were expected to be the most popular of such implementations until that time. Software for digital signs was also seen a key growth area due to its role in increasing the value of infrastructures such as media players, mounts and display boards.

Digital signage is an excellent way to relay timely, relevant information to the public. Here are three reasons it is a superior alternative to old-fashioned static signs and notices:

1) Digital signs are connected to the internet

A digital sign can be thought of as a terminal for the information flowing in from an IP network. As such, it might display:

  • Breaking news
  • Emergency alerts
  • Financial reports and stock tickers
  • Weather updates
  • RSS and Twitter feeds
  • Up-to-the-minute promos and offers

Such connectivity ensures that digital signage provides fresh information, which is essential in settings ranging from a doctor's office to an airport. In the former, they could be used to cycle through health information cards, perhaps with daily wellness tips; for the latter, they can display expected departure times and current standby/upgrade lists, which can be volatile as passengers get moved between flights and check in at the last minute. 

Because of its network connectivity, digital signage can also be a powerful solution for public safety. For example, a scrolling LCD screen in a classroom or office building could provide critical updates about incidents around the campus and direct people to designated safe locations.

2) They are easy to update throughout the day

Some restaurants and coffee shops still paste physical "sold out" signs over the prices for unavailable items on the menu boards, or still display outdated information like old (lower) prices. This inelegant workaround may confuse consumers and ultimately reduce their likelihood of coming back.

In contrast, digital signage is uniquely suited to delivering up-to-date, time-sensitive info. Is something sold out, or did it have its price changed? It can be quickly adjusted using the programmatic interfaces of the digital signage solution. Calorie information disclosure, which must be included on menus in some jurisdictions, is a complex task made simple by digital signs.

On highways and mass transit systems, digital signage is an increasingly popular solution for letting travelers know about current conditions and safety incidents, thanks to this same sort of flexibility. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Transportation announced it was adding five digital signs to its existing collection of 68 overhead mounted signs and 52 shoulder signs. These signs get automatically updated throughout the day with details about detours, emergencies, Amber Alerts, road conditions and traffic snarls.

3) Digital signage is eye-catching and attention-grabbing

Digital signs have multiple ways to capture the public's attention, which makes them more versatile than traditional printed signs. HD displays can show off crisp video and graphics, sound systems can play music and alerts, and real-time data streams can offer the latest updates.

This combination of video, voice and data is the foundation of the usefulness of digital signage in so many different contexts. Signs can capture the attention of disparate audiences and focus them on breaking news or important emergency information that can be updated from any location with a working internet connection.

In an article for Campus Safety, Robin Hattersley Gray cited this distinctive immediacy of digital signage, as well as its ability to deliver audio alerts in some instances, as a decisive differentiator in safety-related use cases. Video solutions for digital signage are in this way much more effective than alternatives such as SMS texts and emails, which may not always reach their intended audiences or be opened in time. Digital signs ensure that relevant info is disseminated as efficiently as possible.

Laying the infrastructure for effective digital signage

To make digital signage a worthwhile investment, organizations must ensure that they have sufficient network infrastructure in place. Solutions such as the Firetide Mobility Controller provide this reliability across devices such as Wi-Fi access points and moving vehicles, which are often important supporting parts of a digital signage project.

Firetide's ability to work over any type of infrastructure to support video, voice and data makes it an ideal foundation for digital signage. Moreover, the utility of Firetide solutions even in fast-moving mobile environments makes them suitable for specific signage implementations such as trucks with dynamic displays.

In the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, Firetide technology has already ensured high-quality video streaming to and from trains moving 50 mph, even in the challenging radio frequency environment of a subway system. This success can be replicated in digital signage, thanks to the high performance of appliances like the FMC 2000.

"We have recognized for some time that there is a great opportunity for wireless infrastructure mesh networks that are capable of providing real-time communications for mobile applications in transportation to improve public safety and deliver innovating services to passengers," said Firetide executive Bo Larsson in 2011. "As a result, we uniquely developed the technology and the support organization that can deliver the performance required for such challenging applications and their environments. In the future, we expect an even bigger focus on mobile voice, video and data applications."

To find out more about digital signage from Firetide, visit our main solutions page at Firetide.com. Also feel free to contact us directly with any questions.



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