You might be thinking about using digital signage in the future and yet there are so many options and types that the decision over what to buy can be baffling! Well, in this post I hope to try and answer some of the most common questions and to provide you with a better understanding of the options.
Static versus Digital Signage – Which should I use
If you are in charge of a location for which you are in the process of deciding how to implement a digital signage solution, it is not an easy decision regards whether or not to use static signage of digital signage.
What is Static signage? By this, I mean traditional signage that you see i.e. signs that have no digital display. Take a look at this sign for example of street signage from the article on what is signage.
In the sign above we have static signs that are not able to update in real-time as information changes!
Static signage can be very reliable in that the information on the signs is not dependent on WiFi connections working or on any other form of digital connection. For this reason, a combination of static signage and digital signage can be the best choice!
Suggestion: Use static signage for information that will normally always be the same (such as for wayfinding directions) and then use digital signage more for information that is more changeable. Flight information, car parking spot availability and so on can make good use of digital signage.
Likewise, digital signage can be excellent for advertising signage.
So what are the Benefits of Digital Signage
So what are the tangible and real benefits of using digital signage?
Let me explain 5 key Benefits of Digital signage
1. Up-to-Date Information
The ability, as touched on above, to provide real-time information that provides better solutions than static signage could. Certainly, some signage such as Flight Information Displays (FIDs) by their nature requires updated information in order to provide passengers with the latest boarding gates and flight information.
Digital FID signage in an airport in the UK.
2. Specifically, target users
The ability to produce targeted information (or what can be termed branded experiences) is a significant benefit of digital signage and including in wayfinding and navigation. Imagine, for example, being able to provide information in Chinese specifically for passengers arriving on a flight from China. Providing a welcome notice digitally in Chinese to greet the passengers (to improve the user experience) and to direct the passengers in their own language in a specific direction is an invaluable tool.
This type of bespoke and targeted signage is a powerful benefit of digital signage!
Signage, in other words, can be used to interact with customers.
Furthermore, the signage can be used as interactive tools for users including as interactive You Are here maps. One particularly great use of this occurs in several airports in Thailand where you only need to scan your boarding card on the machine, for the digital display to then show a map onscreen of the route you individually need to take to get to your departure gate.
3. Commercial Opportunities
In addition, to use as a navigational tool, digital signage also provides a way of building an experience for users along a given route, and through this experience, to push advertising to the potential consumer. Indeed, whilst there can sometimes be a significant outlay initially for buying digital signage, the long-term opportunities can be commercially invaluable and are certainly a consideration when investing in the future of a location for wayfinding.
4. Being able to Change the Signage from anywhere in the world
Imagine being sat in New York City and needing to change the message on a sign in a coach station in London, for a client or for your own location. Cloud-based CMS solutions make this possible!
This is a feature of most digital signs in that they can be operated via Content Management System (CMS) that is cloud-based and hence managed from anywhere. By cloud-based, this means that the system and data is available independent of geographical boundaries, i.e. can be accessed from anywhere, if you have the right login information.
5. Time, Speed and Cost
Time and Speed: Being instantly change signage by simply logging onto a CMS and sending the new images and text to the digital sign through the aforementioned cloud-based system, certainly is much faster than outsourcing and planning for new static signage to be produced. Digital signage is hard to beat in this respect.
Using a cloud based system you can also set signage to be time sensitive! In a shopping mall, for example,
Cost: Once the initial capital outlay has been spent, a lot of money can be saved long-term in terms of saved printing costs. Digital signage though itself does tend to be need to be updated and upgraded from time-to-time so this will need to be factored into any strategy you have for implementing digital signage.
- Targeted information
- Time-sensitive signage
- Can be costly
- Can overly on the power supply and digital signals i.e. by WiFi
What Types of Digital Signage are there
Single large format display screens
An LFD (Large Format Display) is something you will likely have seen in many locations such as a doctors surgery, bus station, in a school, or office reception area. In effect, this is a large screen (often using a large flat screen monitor) that can be wall mounted and that might be anywhere in size from 32 inches through to around 100 inches in size.
These types of screens as signage can be particularly useful for providing information as users enter a building, such as to guide users to a specific training room or to provide them the specific information you wish to impart to them as they enter.
Multi-screen video walls
For a much greater dynamic effect, multiple screened signage in the form of a number of video screens that show one unified advert or display, or a range of dismays on the one video wall. Multi-screens video walls can be expensive in terms of a capital outlay but can involve a very powerful impact. This type of signage is particularly useful in very large locations such as a major airport in a very large open space (good for advertising and generating income) and for large venues such major cities and stadia.
You may have seen free-standing kiosks in locations such as shopping malls. The benefit of these is that they can be interactive forms of signage and useful such as for helping to provide users with navigational information.
What are the Latest Trends and Future of Digital Signage for Navigation
Smart Digital Signage
With eye tracking and similar smart technologies, we are seeing the development of signage that can also collate data and help us to make better-informed decisions on our movements and to be guided in a more dynamic way. Auto sensors that detect the number of people moving and the directions will mean that technology in the future will be smarter and automatically adjust according to dynamic situations.
Digital signage, in other words, will be such that the system will itself change the information and arrows for the directions that need to be taken if routes change in real-time. Signage will be smart enough to redirect users, for example, if crowds are forming in one part of a stadium.