Digital signage - May/June 2018

Digital Signage – Today’s market and trends

the front of shop called cruise1st sign on top of a car that says waive car

BrightSign is renowned globally for its reliable and affordable digital signage solutions. State-of-the-art technology and robust purpose-built operating systems can be as simple or as intricate and/or powerful as applications demand.

Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, spoke to us about current trends and considerations for purchasing digital signage in today’s market.

The industry is being driven today by people’s expectations around interactivity and experiential marketing. People are used to interacting in a very relevant and rewarding way with their phones, tablets and computers. They’re coming to expect the same out of digital signage. BrightSign is a leading driver of this trend with its extended input/output (I/O) interactive devices that offer touch screen interactivity, pinch/zoom/swipe, serial commands, general-purpose input/output (GPIO) and USB button controls, InfraRed (IR) remote control, HDMI In for Live TV playback, and advanced HTML5 rendering that can display live streaming social media feeds.

For many, the content displayed on the screen and seen by customers is the primary concern when choosing a digital signage solution, and of course the end result has to be perfect. However, there are a vast number of player hardware factors to consider when deciding which media players go behind the screen.

Digital Signage Players clearly need onboard storage to host a buffer of content – even the best streaming service isn’t reliable or fast enough to keep a player continuously supplied. Some players have built-in flash memory, others have replaceable SD cards. One issue is the frequency of reads and writes. Flash memory wears out over time. In fairness, SD cards suffer similarly after extended reading/writing, but SD cards are inexpensive and easy to swap out for new. WaiveCar, an innovative Los Angeles car sharing start-up, has a fleet of electric cars fitted with double-sided LCD screens that serve as roving billboards. WaiveCars are free to drivers for the first two hours SD cards are perfect for installations that rely on content loaded locally or when stable Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t available.

Many people think of fans as essential components for cooling heat-generating digital signage media players. However, fans are loud and make devices bigger than they need to be, but they’re a necessary evil, right? Wrong! As far as media players are concerned, they are actually completely unnecessary and a telltale sign of inefficient design.

A further benefit of efficient player design can be seen in players offering power over Ethernet (PoE). The concept is pretty simple, yet the convenience of PoE is significant. The ability to run a single cable that serves the dual purpose of powering a device while also sending content to that device is a great advantage.

When considering digital signage players it’s essential to consider all of the factors that will ensure success and provide the best user experience. With many options in the market, think about longevity of players in terms of content storage, temperature management and power surges. The best media player will be simple to install, robust and power efficient.

Digital forecourt signage

A gasstation sign called On the run

Our LED signs can display price, time or temperature and a range of sizes are available

man working on a digital sign in his workshop

Linnos is an LED technology company which manufactures quality digital multi-segment LED displays. Based in Ireland, Linnos creates visually unique, high impact solutions for the energy, retail, industrial and sports industries. David O’Sheehan, managing director, discussed digital forecourt signage with us – more specifically, LED petrol price displays. Here’s what he had to say…

Choosing the right digital signage for a forecourt can be challenging. Not only do forecourt operators have to act as filling stations, they also have the added complexity of being a convenience store – and often a restaurant too. Installing the right digital signage can help a business stand out against their competitors and demonstrates a dedication to the customer experience from the outset.

Linnos supply high impact, vivid and visually unique LED digital price signs for forecourts. The displays are low voltage and energy efficient. The LED is bright enough for clear visibility in direct sunlight. Equipped with light sensors, the LED brightness will automatically adapt to sunlight and weather conditions, avoiding issues such as glare, which of course, can be extremely hazardous when driving. The sensors can also be used to control the illumination of your entire totem.

All our digital LED price display products are manufactured in Ireland to the highest possible standards and are designed in a robust aluminium casing for ultimate durability. Long-lasting solid state optoelectronics guarantee low maintenance and low, uniform degradation of the visual effect.

These forecourt signs can be fitted to new or existed totems, poles or gantries. The price can then be changed whenever needed using a remote controller. With three unique options, our LED signs can display price, time or temperature and a range of sizes are available.

Large format responsive touch screens

2 young boys standing infront of a board that is filming the 2 boys A streetview in a city at night with a smart kiosk outdoor kiosk in the middle of the pavement

The Zytronic range of touch solutions are known for being remarkably durable and particularly responsive. Trusted by global organisations around the world, the company’s reliable products perform ‘24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year – year after year.’

Ian Crosby, Zytronic’s sales & marketing director had this to say on the current market…

Popular trends in large format touch screens used in digital signage often follow innovations in the smart phone market. Zytronic strives to quickly bring such useful innovations to self-service and public facing touch screen applications, such as street kiosks and digital totems. One example of this is force sensing, alternatively known as 3D touch. The approach used in phones and tablets can’t be deployed in thick, vandal resistant projected capacitive touch screens, so Zytronic created its’ own solution within the firmware of its proprietary p-cap touch controllers. This has many potential benefits including helping partially sighted users, as the kiosk can be set up to announce a selection on a light touch, which is confirmed by increasing pressure. Further possibilities include viewing wayfinding maps that zoom in as increased pressure is applied.

Digital signage is progressively becoming more interactive to tailor and target content to specific users and at Zytronic, we continually work to improve the user experience by adding new functionalities that enhance the performance of our p-cap touch sensors. Our new multitouch controllers enable touch screens to be designed with practically no borders, enhancing appearance and enabling the screens to be tiled to create video walls. A further feature of these new controllers is a higher noise immunity that allows technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC) and Qi wireless battery charging to be integrated immediately adjacent to them without impairing the normal performance of the touch screen. These technologies emit signals which can interfere with the operation of conventional projected capacitive touch screens.

Such advances are central to the roll out of Smart Cities that connect people and their cities by making information and civic services accessible in public spaces on a 24/7 basis. In each case, to ensure a userfriendly experience, it is vital that the interface used to connect with the user provides a reliable all-weather, responsive and durable interface.

Zytronic is supplying large format, uniquely designed touch sensors to system integrators for smart city installations across Europe, North America and Australasia. The all-weather reliability (unaffected by rain, dirt and ice on the screen), vandal resistance (touch detection through 10mm or more of toughened safety glass) and scalability (supporting up to ~95-inch displays) of its patented touch technology make it ideal for such applications.


Traffic management signage

a digital slow down sign with the number 15 on it Portrait of Neil Young

Having seen significant growth in the LED traffic signs sector, Redhill-based Messagemaker Displays, part of The Stocksigns Group, has added to their experienced team with the appointment of Neal Young.

Messagemaker Displays is a member of the Stocksigns Group and, as such, offers the additional resources and peace of mind that comes from being part of a company with a turnover of £4 million plus, with a staff of over 40 people. Add to this, the fact that they have over 20 years of experience in developing, manufacturing, installing and supporting digital LED displays, and it’s clear to see why their views on digital signage are so valued.

We spoke with Neal Young; who is Messagemaker Display’s newly appointed business development manager, overseeing the sale of the company’s comprehensive range of speed indication devices, mobile LED variable message signs, LED displays, scrolling LED signs and high quality large format LED screens.

With over two decades’ experience in sales, specifically selling traffic and parking related technology, Neal recognises the importance LED signage now plays in many companies’ traffic management plans.


This is what Neal had to say…

LED technology has a higher visual impact than traditional street/road signs in giving the driver clearer and more concise information, this increases the speed in which the message is delivered, ultimately increasing driver safety.

I am extremely excited about developing this area further and feel my experience within the traffic market will drive profitable sales for the company and group over the coming years.

Messagemaker Displays has been pivotal in providing traffic solutions to a variety of customers across the UK for over 20 years; I am looking forward to seeing continued growth in the use of digital signage across a range of applications.

With manufacturing resources in both the UK and China, we are able to provide the flexibility and lead times that come from local supply, while offering quality manufacture at a competitive price.

cars driving past a slow down sign

One Digital Signage – A story of growth

a one digital signage curved kiosk with the word homeless on it one digital signage exhibition

One Digital Signage has been working in the digital signage industry for more than 17 years. In that time, they have established themselves in the marketplace, renowned for their ultimate professionalism, with an abundance of knowledge and the ability to tailor solutions to customers’ needs. We spoke with Richard Westhead, CEO and he discussed his company’s digital signage journey…

One Digital Signage has grown from strength to strength. Back in 2001, we were selling advertising on large screens, developing products for reception areas and then installing them.

Working with Scala, one of the first – and rather prominent – digital signage software solutions, we progressed quickly and soon had a 200 screen network. This led to us becoming engineers; we inserted pcs behind plasma screens and then set up networking to the cloud – before it was known as ‘the cloud’.

In 2008, we stopped selling advertising due to the recession and we began designing and manufacturing screens and inserting them into frames.

By 2012, we were manufacturing a range of freestanding screens, kiosks and so on in China and we did that for the next four years.

More recently, the economy, Brexit and client requirements led to our decision to bring our manufacturing back to the UK.

All products we supply are made in the UK; assembled in the Midlands.

Today, our outdoor advertising totems, advertising display kiosks and curved retail kiosks can be found anywhere in the world.

We focus on making our products easy to maintain. Inserting components inside a modular open frame system means they can be easily accessed and serviced or replaced. Of course, replacing individual components is a cost-effective and efficient way to keep products operating at their best.

Having earned a reputation for products of only the highest quality and finish, we work hard to uphold our exacting standards and, where possible, use our penchant for innovation to keep moving us forward. Keeping aware of digital signage news and upcoming products helps; we were pleased to attend the recent Retail Digital Signage Expo (RDSE) exhibition for this very reason.

We are currently working with major screen brands who are showing an interest in putting their screens inside our kiosks.

So far, digital signage has taken us on a fascinating and exciting journey; we are keen to continue this level of progression and can’t wait to find out where it will take us next!

Driving in-store conversions with digital signage

The symbol of the company RDSE

A women infront of a screen with watches on it 

The beginning of May saw the third Retail Digital Signage Expo (RDSE) take place at Olympia, London, which was co-located with Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) and Retail Design Expo (RDE). Sarah Adams, show director, Retail Digital Signage Expo gave a comprehensive insight into the digital signage industry…

Knowing the buying signs: harnessing digital display to drive in-store conversions

The global digital signage market is expected to balloon in size over the next few years, with recent Grand View Research report suggesting it could be worth $31.7 billion by 2025 off the back of an increase in demand from many industries – none more so than retail.

In the report, the technology’s expected growth trajectory is attributed to its power as an effective promotional platform and its ability to help organisations reach a wider audience, which is clearly a benefit to retailers looking to stand out from the competition. But that’s not all.

The return on investment (ROI) potential of digital signage should not be forgotten. Digital signage done well in retail can boost sales conversions, as well as the instore experience and a company’s marketing prowess.

Sports brands with a winning formula

Some years back, Adidas claimed that digital signage displays in some of its stores boosted sales by up to 40%.

This was during an in-store project it embarked upon with Intel, which saw the companies create an interactive video wall showcasing a range of the brand’s latest footwear.

It just goes to show the impact that touchscreen, interactive, visually compelling screens in-store can have in encouraging people to transact with a brand. Other High Street sports retailers have been quick to follow suit, with the likes of JD Sports adopting digital signage strategies to serve up connected and more personal in-store experiences.

Another sports retailer using digital signage to great effect is Pro:Direct. Originally an online-only retailer, the football equipment specialist opened a shop in London’s Carnaby Street and filled it with screens, digital touchpoints and full-size digital mannequins – even if the constant stream of engaging content doesn’t make you want to buy something straight away, it certainly leaves a lasting impression, which is great for brand reputation and future engagement.

Shopping centre investment

Shopping centres around the world from the small, privately-owned malls to the global property powerhouses are increasingly deploying digital signage across their sites.

As shopping centres continue their evolution from retail hubs to entertainment destinations with cinemas, gyms, restaurants and other services all under the same roof, there’s been a concerted move to brighten up the walkways with eye-catching signage..

Westfield rolled out new digital signage across 17 of its US malls late last year, and embedded in the technology was audience monitoring software to provide the shopping centre owner with insights about dwell time and customer journeys. Executive vice president Charley Delana emphasised the multiple commercial benefits at the time, saying the screens provided brands with “an opportunity for limitless creativity while offering live data and high levels of consumer engagement”.

The connected store

Analysts predict that as stores and shopping destinations, such as malls, get increasingly connected, there will be even greater value in placing digital signage at the heart of them.

There’s an argument that consumers will come to expect this type of technology as part of their increasingly digitally-influenced shopping experiences.

It is certainly prudent for retailers to consider digital signage as part of their wider in-store technology investments, as they continue to roll out their plans to create shops that inspire, inform and engage, as much as they offer a place to buy products.

Retail is driving the overall growth in the digital signage market, according to the GVR research, and with so many great examples to talk about it is not difficult to see why. The technology is not just for show any more, it’s driving real business benefits and, ultimately, helping retailers drive in-store sales.

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