The top 3 environmental threats to digital signage

| by Jeff Hastings
The top 3 environmental threats to digital signage

The inevitable byproduct of digital signage ubiquity is that equipment is finding its way into some very unconventional settings. Breakthroughs in display design and content delivery enable signage to be placed virtually anywhere. And while this is great for the industry, integrators must now manage a host of environmental challenges that conspire to cripple these creative new installations.

An aquarium, for example, can present a wide range of challenges for digital signage, such as humidity, water and salt build up. "In any aquarium setting, splashes and leaks occur quite frequently. For that reason, we designed our IT infrastructure be extraordinarily durable," said Ryan Palley, senior manager of AV at Georgia Aquarium.

In particular, here are three of the most daunting environmental conditions that can threaten the integrity of even the most substantial digital signage installation:

Water and moisture present a significant challenge. With signage installed in aquariums, water parks and other outdoor venues, displays are often getting wet, thus the hardware and cabling must either be water resistant or somehow insulated from the moisture. Humidity is another water-related factor that in some ways is even more difficult to manage. When you think of a hot greasy kitchen or a subway station in the middle of summer, humidity is an ever-present element that signage hardware needs to withstand.

Heat can be one of harshest environmental conditions to manage. This holds particularly true with the media players that feed content to the displays. Players are often tucked away in confined spaces, and it's not uncommon for these areas to greatly exceed the temperature of the space where the displays are mounted. For this reason, you should thermal-test your media players. Your players should be able to generate little heat, even without fans.

Accidental damage and vandalism are growing concerns as digital signage makes its way into a larger number of high-traffic public spaces. This is primarily a concern for display manufacturers, and these companies continue to make screens more durable to withstand the rigor of everyday public use. In fact there are a host of screen films and display enclosures designed to withstand abuse of all sorts – even explosive blasts.

As our industry continues to innovate and move into new applications, the need to withstand harsh environmental conditions will only become more acute.  Hardware manufacturers will need to design future products with an emphasis on durability. This will ensure that tomorrow's digital signage installations will endure even the most challenging environmental conditions.

Topics: Entertainment Venues, Hardware, Trends / Statistics

Jeff Hastings
BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings joined BrightSign in August 2009 while it was still a division of Roku Inc. In late 2010 with digital signage activities growing so rapidly, BrightSign became a separate firm. The holder of eight U.S. patents, he also has a history of tech industry leadership, including as president of mp3 pioneer Rio. www

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