In our last post, we discussed the top five benefits of a digital signage solution. Digital signage can reduce the costs associated with printing and updating traditional signs while enabling you to deliver highly relevant messaging to your target audience. You can also integrate digital signage with other technologies to track engagement and better understand customer behavior.

As we noted in our last post, digital signage is more than a large flat-screen display installed in a commercial environment. Now we’ll take a closer look at some of the components of a digital signage solution.

A centralized content management system (CMS) provides the tools needed to create, manage, schedule and distribute the messaging to be displayed. It also allows the content to be updated as frequently as needed and customized according to location, time of day and other criteria. Content and program scheduling information are sent via the network to media players attached to the digital signs.

Media players form the core of the technology — they determine the type and quality of content that can be displayed. They range from multi-output and performance players, which provide server-grade processing power, to ARM-based players and Apple TVs that have processing power comparable to a smartphone. At the midrange is the so-called “standard player,” which is comparable to a desktop PC. There are also embedded chip players that are built into the display.

Players can be mounted behind each display or aggregated in an A/V rack in the back of the house with wiring run to the displays. A site server can be beneficial in large deployments with dozens of displays. Content is downloaded once to the server, which delivers the content to each player. This saves bandwidth and lowers costs by reducing the processing power requirements of each player.

As with most technologies, price goes up with processing power and functionality. The choice of media player depends upon the size and screen resolution of the displays, whether animation, video or multi-zone applications are employed, the file types to be used, and other criteria. If the media player is not up to the task, customers will experience poor image quality and disrupted video playback. However, standard players will provide high-quality animation and video up to 1080 pixels — suitable for most applications.

Media players must be carefully selected and deployed in order to maximize the value of the solution. Factors such as network connectivity, cabling and deployment options, environmental conditions, software, and peripherals must also be considered. As a result, digital signage projects often include telecommunications, networking, data cabling and electrical tasks.

Ongoing maintenance should also be planned with any digital signage rollout. Equipment failure and communication problems will occur, and system updates must be applied from time to time. Because digital signage is a customer-facing technology, any display errors or breaks in service should be addressed and resolved quickly.

The expertise of A/V specialists can be invaluable with any digital signage deployment. The right technology partner can assist in hardware selection and coordinate the myriad vendors and activities involved. The solution provider can also offer sound advice and ongoing maintenance and support.

Rahi’s A/V team has years of experience in the design, implementation and support of digital signage. Let us help you develop a solution that meets your needs and budget and delivers maximum ROI.

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