Feb. 2, 2017
By Avtar Singh, managing director, Digital Media Systems
Implementing your outdoor digital signage correctly is critical to its success. There are hundreds of examples where hardware has been implemented poorly or is not right for the job. Overlooking the smallest detail can have a devastating impact on your investment, especially when it is being exposed to winter weather. There are a number of considerations to make that will allow your outdoor kiosk or display to survive.
Choose hardware that's fit for purpose
This is a no-brainer, but yet it’s surprising how often we see this. Mother Nature is a powerful force that provides many challenges to the digital signage industry. That’s why it is important to choose hardware that is fit for purpose. Choosing a full outdoor kiosk will help you to minimize the risks of display failure during those winter months.
An outdoor-rated kiosk will be able to handle, direct sun exposure, extreme heat, cold, temperature fluctuations, dust, humidity and condensation, among other things. LED backlit LCD displays are the fairly common these days, which means it will operate in colder weather conditions and through a wider temperature range.
Control the climate
Controlling the climate within the kiosk will ensure that it continues to operate in the harshest of environments. It isn’t just cold outdoor temperatures that your kiosk needs to be protected from, but also the internal temperature. The internal components of kiosks and outdoor displays work within a specified temperature range. LCD displays and electronics need an environment that delivers:
The warranted temperature environment (at least);
Stable temperatures within the enclosure; and
An operational temperature between 25 C and -15 C
Displays are expected to run 24 hours a day, seven days per week so your display cannot afford to overheat. Permanent yellow marks can appear on the display due to high heat levels. Heat cannot only cause visibility issues but it can also make the components within the enclosure degrade faster.
Using a good Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) will ensure reliability in extreme conditions. Such a system keeps the hermetically sealed upper enclosure, which houses all the critical control systems, at a perfect inner temperature.
Build a custom enclosure
Your outdoor digital signage will be exposed to the elements, especially through the winter months. It’s essential that your enclosure is custom to your requirements. It should be built with the toughest materials that won’t degrade and rust overnight. It should be completely sealed to prevent precipitation from getting into the unit, and have cabling routed in such a way that it does not allow moisture in.
Building a custom enclosure will also help to regulate the internal temperature. Media players and displays will heat up as they work and these components are tucked away, causing them to overheat at a faster rate. Your custom enclosure can make sure that this issue is resolved by allowing air to reach them and heat to be transferred much more effectively.
Use a closed loop system
It’s not only the water outside the display that can damage it. Moisture inside the unit can be even more devastating. Using a closed loop air circulation system will fully isolate the display unit, helping to prevent moisture and particles from entering the unit and causing damage to working parts. The upper and lower compartments of our totems are physically separated. The closed system ensures that the hermetically sealed upper unit, which houses the display, media players, sensors and control systems, has no moisture or dust ingress. The sensors are constantly monitored and the environment adjusted to reflect what is required.
Monitor your systems
Having invested in your outdoor kiosk or signage, you wouldn’t leave it to fend for itself against the elements. The ability to remotely supervise your signage and be alerted whenever there are any faults is crucial to being able to react to situations and keeping your system running. The smallest fault could have a significant impact on the integrated components and their lifespan, especially at an unpredictable time of year. Make sure that your system gives you the ability to monitor your installation.
As technology evolves and digital signage is being placed in more and more unforgiving environments, it is essential that you choose the right hardware and components that keep your display working, whatever the season.
Avtar Singh has over 20 years technical experience, firstly as an Electric Control and Automation expert, then as an IT Network manager. Avtar takes responsibility of the technical specification and installation on projects across the UK.