How Digital Signage Works

How Digital Signage Works

How Digital Signage Works

  • On October 19, 2021
  • 0 Comments

If you step out to go to a store or restaurant today, chances are you’ll see a digital sign somewhere. We’ve become accustomed to this because digital signage is a force multiplier to businesses and organizations spanning multiple industries. But for many, there’s still an element of mystery surrounding how digital signage works. 

New tech can be a lot to understand for those who don’t have first-hand experience with it, and that’s okay. As digital signage populates more businesses, business owners everywhere want to know more before making investments. That’s why in this blog, our goal is to shed light on digital signage solutions and how they work.

how-digital-signage-works-diagram

How Does Digital Signage Work? 

Essentially, a digital signage network needs four core things to function:

  1. Content.  This is the messaging you share with your audience.  Content can be in the form of words, graphics, images, videos, menus, directions, maps, and so much more. 
  2. Organization. You need a way to organize your messaging and prepare it for display.  In most setups, this is a Content Management Solution (CMS), a lean software application that helps plan content for scheduling.  Some CMS software can even help you create the content as well.
  3. Integration.  There are several different ways to push those organized messages to the display. The complexity of your integration will be dependent on how complex your display, CMS and media player setups are.  With cloud-based technology, you can even push new content to the digital signage player via the phone in your pocket! 
  4. Displays.  This is the hardware or screen that displays your messages.  From outdoor drive-thrus to onboarding touchscreen kiosks to live video walls, the size and usage of screen displays can vary greatly.  

Now that we see the big picture of how everything is connected, let’s dig deeper into the essential elements of digital signage and its necessary services.

Digital Signage Basics

Now that we see the big picture of how everything is connected, let’s dig deeper into the essential elements of digital signage.

Display Screens & Usages 

Digital signage typically has either LED or LCD screens and can have a range of advanced features and capabilities. If you decide to invest in digital signage, the first screen decision you’ll make is whether to get a commercial or consumer display screen.  (Note: we recommend commercial screens for a variety of reasons.) 

After that, it’s up to you to choose how that screen will be applied in its new setting.  Here are a few examples:

  • Digital Menu Boards – Menu boards are a valuable addition to any restaurant, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor sign. With the convenience of an easy-to-use CMS, you can update menu items in an instant. Menu boards also allow you to daypart the menu board, so if your restaurant serves different menu items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your digital sign can rotate those items throughout the day.
  • Kiosks – Self-service kiosks are different than traditional digital signage screens in several ways, but are growing more necessary in a world where automation and contact-free services are in higher demand. Kiosks work well in fast-food restaurants, airports, train stations, stadiums, etc.
  • Wayfinding Signage – For many businesses with a lot of ground to cover (such as, malls, stadiums, hospitals, college campuses, etc.) wayfinding signage is an essential part of improving your guests’ experience. With interactive wayfinding signage, your location is instantly easier and more convenient to navigate.
  • Video Walls  – Have your messaging needs ever called for that wow-factor? LCD video walls create an impressive display of your content that demands the attention of audiences and showcases your products and services in a way they won’t soon forget. Video walls are perfect for eye-catching lobby displays or broadcasting live TV.
  • Outdoor Signage – Outdoor digital signage has a wide range of screen options and applications, depending on your organization and signage needs. This can include stadium scoreboards and billboards, outdoor menu boards, highway update signage, reader boards, and more. 
  • In-window Displays – If you’re a retail store or a restaurant, window signage is the perfect type of screen to catch the attention of your target audience and give them a reason to step into your business. Because the content can be updated on the fly, they are perfect for situations where you need to get rid of inventory quickly and boost immediate sales to avoid financial losses. 
  • Reader Boards – Digital reader boards are the perfect digital signage displays for when you need a large, high-definition outdoor display. Available in 75″- 98″ screen sizes, reader boards are even more equipped for catching the attention of your target audience than window displays. These screens work well in stadiums, municipal centers, college campuses, and more.

digital-wayfinding-kiosk

Digital Signage Software 

At the center of a digital signage solution is software technology that makes it all come together.

  • Content Management System (CMS)  – A CMS organizes and delivers your messages to media players or playback devices. 

The idea is for everything to be managed on one central platform where content creation and updates can take place. This powerful software can be housed on a native content server on-site or be a cloud-based platform that you can access from a desktop computer, mobile device, or phone. When utilizing cloud storage, CMS software allows you to manage your signage content from anywhere, as long as you have internet access. 

A CMS also offers templates to build content from, the option to create playlists for when content will be displayed, and also allows you to access reports of valuable marketing data. Through the process of using digital signage software, business owners get a true understanding of how digital signage works because everything you need is at your fingertips through this platform.

  • Media Player – A digital signage media player is a computer attached to or embedded within a display (think Roku).  Media player software handles the visual rendering of the content and distributes it to one or more screens. Displaying different types of content including high-quality images, videos, animation, social media feeds, and even TV in real-time, the playback software is the proverbial ‘workhorse’ of your digital signage network.

Innovative Features to Consider 

The digital signage industry has seen a number of technical advancements as digital screens evolve. The range of features and capabilities has exponentially increased, providing more options for how businesses create signage content and provide services. Some of those innovative features include:

  • Touch Screen – Interactive signage is in high demand since businesses that have strategically implemented touch screens have seen significant benefits. Locations such as malls, airports, restaurants, and train stations lend themselves well to touch screen integration.  Touch screen capability can be added to nearly any display type. 
  • Self Service – Whether it’s a self-service kiosk in a check-out line, or interactive wayfinding signage in shopping malls, self-service features are becoming more prominent and relevant. Self-service features tend to enhance customer experience, decrease human error, and increase sales rates. Between these benefits and the necessity of minimal contact services during the pandemic, it’s no wonder this type of signage is bigger than ever.
  • Outdoor Features – Digital signage for the outdoors is built for longevity, functionality, and durability. High brightness screens maintain visibility in the sunlight and are built to withstand all weather conditions.

mall-kiosks

Critical Services to Consider 

Purchasing a digital sign is not the end of the road. In fact, it’s only the beginning when implementing digital signage technology into your business’ messaging plan. While some digital signage companies offer these critical services, many do not, so make sure to do your research. The services that Keyser offers include: 

  • Installation – Installing signage properly is one of the most crucial steps of this process, and we have years of experience with different types of installation sites and client needs. Tasks like permit acquisition, managing logistics, scheduling, site preparation, and more are included in installation services.
  • Design – An experienced design team can help you determine innovative solutions and layouts, whether they are standard or completely customized to your brand.  If you don’t have a graphic designer or engineer on staff, Keyser’s design and engineering teams specialize in custom signage layouts to give each individual brand its necessary identity.
  • Content Management – Beyond finding the best content management solution to fit your business needs some companies, including Keyser, will also help you design, update and manage the content on your CMS. 
  • Maintenance – After everything is said and done, a good digital signage company does not just leave you to go it alone. Keyser has maintenance services that are always available to you for any support issue that arises.

Digital Signage Purchase Process

Before diving in, the important thing to keep in mind about how digital signage works is that everything is scalable, so not every process will look the same. A large nationwide company integrating new digital signage across multiple sites will look drastically different from a small business investing in a single digital menu board. With that said, the basic framework of the integration process remains consistent, no matter the scale of the project.

Here’s how the process works at Keyser:

  • Concept – The first step is to contact an experienced digital signage company. At Keyser, when you set up a consultation, we help you determine what type of signage package works best for your company. Whether you have a vague idea of what your signage needs are or none at all, this process will allow your vision of the digital signage system you need to fully develop.
  • Integrate – Proper planning and coordination are necessary in order to manage a smooth digital signage integration. Keyser helps with scheduling site evaluations and installations, prepping the site for installation, permit acquisition, taking care of all other logistics, securing the stable internet connection required for digital signage, and making sure everything is correct on install day.
  • Deploy – Installation includes efficient on-site project management so that your flow of business is interrupted for the least amount of time possible. Tens of thousands of experienced installations under our belts allow us to get your digital signage installed and operational without you having to struggle with logistics.
  • Maintain – After deployment, Keyser is available 24/7/365 for any of your digital signage maintenance or support needs.

mdonalds-digital-menu

How To Get The Most Out Of Digital Signage

You now know that Keyser can remain a presence in your digital signage process post-installation through maintenance, but there’s more to fully utilizing the tools of digital signage technology than making sure it works correctly. After installation is when the real magic starts to happen and you get to fully experience the benefits of how digital signage works.

Creating digital signage content isn’t a one-time process, so it’s necessary to periodically refresh your content to align with any new marketing campaigns and products or services you release.

It’s also important not to stagnate, and to instead keep making adjustments based on the performance of your signage content. The key to continually and effectively improving your messaging techniques is data. Leverage the advanced digital signage software analytics to evaluate the success of your digital content and how well your displays were able to do things like up-sell customers, increase sales metrics, etc. Like any business process, you’ll learn and improve as time goes on, but Keyser will make sure you have all the necessary tools to start your digital signage journey on the right foot.

Next Steps 

Still holding on to traditional signage and want to finally make the switch? Or, if you are interested in bringing your existing digital signage solution to the next level, let Keyser’s years of trusted experience do the work for you. Contact us today and we’ll take care of your digital signage needs.

 

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