The scope of this chapter is to outline the primary guidelines, best practices, and considerations to take into account when planning, designing, and deploying a digital signage system.
A digital signage system consists of three key components:
- Management involves the user interface for administrators and content managers. It includes the business processes, software and hardware to monitor, manage and publish content to digital signage endpoints
- Content involves the storage and servers that handle the scheduling, playlist, and content playback
- Hardware includes the physical displays, signage media players, and mounting hardware for the digital signage endpoints. It includes flat panel displays, projectors, kiosks, LED video walls, and projectors along with all associated signage media players, cables, and accessories
Digital signage systems are composed of AV equipment and many of the standards and best practices for professional AV installations apply equally to a professional digital signage installation.
Digital signage endpoints are commonly deployed in areas accessible to the general public and sometimes in areas exposed to all weather environments. Due diligence is recommended when designing a digital signage system to ensure accessibility, robustness, weather-proofing, and security requirements are met.
Below is a list of stakeholders commonly involved in the planning, deployment, and maintenance of a digital signage system:
- communications and marketing managers – content and branding
- faculty members – communications and messaging
- architects – design of built environment
- AV/IT managers – design of integrated technology and maintenance
- facilities management – physical integration considerations
- fire contractor or consultant – integration with building alarm system
- advertisers and sponsors – return on investment, audience, content, and impact
- broadcast messages and improve engagement with staff & faculty
- raise brand awareness
- provide information on upcoming events
- space management through room booking and scheduling
- provide interactive or static wayfinding
- boost sales and revenue through advertising
A digital signage system may also be utilised for advanced interactivity and personalisation:
- personalised wayfinding (e.g. find colleague, find a hotdesk)
- integration with user’s mobile device (e.g. QR code, mobile apps)
- anonymous biometrics and analytics (e.g. age, gender, level of attention)
Digital Signage Compared to IPTV
A digital signage system typically suits requirements where each individual display can present content independently to other displays in the system; whereas an IPTV system typically suits requirements where identical content is broadcast to groups of displays.
Digital Signage as a Service
A digital signage system can be entirely outsourced to an external provider. This is a service often offered by media or advertising companies. Whilst the AETM would generally recommended against this, there may be situations where it is a viable option. An example would be where there is a substantial budget available for purchasing and maintaining the system, but inadequate staff to support it.
Commonly a supplier will provide a full managed system (including all the hardware, software and networking arrangements) at a discount for allowing third-party advertising. This is a dangerous path to go down, as although it often looks like a good deal, you are relinquishing full control of your content.
If no third-party advertising is acceptable (a standpoint which the AETM would strongly recommend) then the cost will significantly increase, often well beyond the cost of having a system designed, installed and maintained by an AV integrator or internal staff.