Top 5 digital signage technology 'must haves' for 2017
By Chris Day, managing director of Moving Tactics
As important as the placement of screens and creation of dynamic content are in the effectiveness and success of in-store digital signage, technology is still the main driver in this industry. South Africa's leading digital signage solutions company, retailers and marketing professionals need to ensure that they're as clued up on the practical new technologies on offer as they are on the creative content aspects of employing an effective digital signage system. "We often see that retailers and Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) chains are very much focused on the end result of what the screens in their stores will look like and what they'll be broadcasting to their clients," Chris Day, managing director of Moving Tactics, said in an interview with Moving Tactics. "But initially, the best strategy is to make sure that you have the key building blocks in place so that the system can deliver operationally on your KPIs.
"Will the system you're installing be of the right quality and include the latest technologies to deliver you a long-term, consistent service across your networks? And once installed, will your digital signage system not only be able to deliver topical and easily updateable content, but also provide you with big data on how effective your content is, how it engages your customer and in what way? These are the questions retailers and marketers need to be asking."
Day highlights five technology must-haves to keep in mind when discussing the creation of and operational efficiency of a digital signage system.
1. System-on-Chip (SOC) technology
2016 has really been the year when System-on-Chip (SOC) technology has stepped forward and replaced the need for external media players, and I believe that retailers, and especially QSR chains, should insist on having their systems switched over to this new technology; or if they're installing from scratch, this is a must.
This massive trend in digital signage technology does away with using multiple pieces of equipment, and instead, runs the software via the screen only, resulting in a much more streamlined solution, whilst providing diagnostics and health readings. Brands such as LG and Samsung offer this technology and it is much more reliable to have one failure point via one supplier, specifically in the QSR market.
2. Commercial grade screens
Something as simple and straightforward as installing quality commercial grade screens can still be a contentious issue when negotiating the deal between installers and retailers. The initial cost of installing cheap screens versus quality commercial grade screens will always be higher in the long-term. Our experience has shown that it ends up costing brands more than double what it would have cost them to initially install quality screens; and not to mention the nuisance of having unreliable equipment in-store.
Commercial grade screens also offer clients much more advanced features such as the OLED screen from LG that can achieve higher contrast and offers true pixel colors that are correct and unshifted, even as the viewing angle changes, making images appear more true to life. New screens also offer Ultra Slimline options and curved technology, which is really effective when creating a big wall of flowing wave-like screen displays. We are also able to create unique designs and innovative extended stretch screens through the use of partitioning. It all comes down to the quality of screens used.
3. LED display technology
Despite the relative expense of LED display technology, use is growing all the time and when used for large format work, they become cost effective, making them ideal for installations on a grand scale. Their brightness allows them to work well for indoor and window displays and they're not limited by any specific aspect ratio. These LED displays can change shape to fit almost any specific space as they are multi-purpose and highly customized, and they show up better in ambient light conditions, compared to other technologies.
4. HD projections
Projector and projection substrate technology continues to develop at a rapid pace. By combining high definition (HD) projectors with specialist projection films, retailers are able to turn their standard see-through window displays into large format digital screens that can display dynamic video or stills visuals. Polymer-based rear projection film contain properties that allow the film to be clear and see through or instantly changing it into a substrate that can display HD projected content. This gives retailers the unique opportunity to use their shop front displays for dual functions and serves as a highly effective tool to make their brand stand out from the rest.
5. In-store music
In-store music might not seem like a trend but this technology is gaining traction among retailers and QSRs who realize the impact that great musical playlists can have on the customers' shopping and dining experiences. Well selected music can bring customers back time and time again, and with new technologies that allow music playlists to be played centrally and updated at the push of a button, this trend is catching on.
The ability to develop and implement an all-round high quality installation is crucial to ensure that retail brands and QSR chains get the most out of their digital signage systems by using new and innovative ways to capture the customer's attention. "Offering a turnkey solution is absolutely essential; but in this industry, technology is the main driver and it is our responsibility to educate retailers and marketers on what the best options are when it comes to technology and quality," Day said.
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