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Communication is the core of any human interaction. It is absolutely crucial for businesses and organizations. We sell through interaction, we organize employer-employee relationships through interaction, and we gain trust through interaction too.
What if there is a tool that takes engagement to a whole different level? That doesn’t only make it easier to play the game but changes the game entirely. That, ladies and gentlemen, is digital signage. An ultimate solution for improving the way you communicate.
Its capabilities are truly limitless, the creative freedom of content production it gives is infinite, and the versatility is unparalleled among other marketing tools. Would you want this kind of solution working on your behalf?
A. Brief overview of digital signage
Let’s circle out the main advantages of digital signage. This way you will be able to have a better understanding of the concept. So, these are the main uses of digital signage technology nowadays:
– boosting sales and increasing income
– improving the retention of the attention of customers and clients
– ameliorating the overall engagement levels
– facilitating immersive experiences
– enabling new technologies such as AR, VR, and AI
– bringing slicker, more future-oriented design
– giving businesses and organization freedom of content creation
We will cover it all in more detail in this article. Just keep on reading.
B. The importance of digital signage in today’s business landscape
The world’s economy is shaking. Recent years have brought lots of hardships for every single industry out there. The pandemic catalyzed the digital revolution and came with a looming shadow of uncertainty. And while there is no “jack of all trades” kind of marketing solution, digital signage is the closest thing you can get in that regard.
How come? It’s easy. The new, post-pandemic world favors those who can adapt easily. With its versatility, digital signage allows its adopters to be well-prepared for any tribulations and always have a firm marketing response. Screens give full content freedom. They are superbly visual, easily adjustable, and amazingly attention-grabbing. You simply can’t get it better in the modern landscape.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the competitive advantage. Digital signage technology is that advantage. Its flexibility is perfect to craft very individualized, tailored visual campaigns that are able to make your business stand out.
But it’s not only about the commercial side of things. It’s also about communication. Screens are actively used in all spheres of life. Schools use them, airports use them, smart cities use them, and workplaces use them. You should start using them too.
II. Understanding Digital Signage
A. Definition of digital signage
Everything should have a simple definition. So here it is.
Of course, as with every technological tool, it’s an oversimplified definition. Digital signage is a multifaceted, sophisticated, versatile solution. It can take many various forms and be equally good for small businesses and big corporations. That is its primary advantage, being universal.
No matter how you look at digital signage, there will always be four integral parts of it. We’re talking about:
– digital signage software
– digital signage enabling device
– digital signage screen
– digital signage content
These four things are generally found in any signage network. For example, if you use Kitcast, this chain will look like this:
– Kitcast software will be the “brain”, or an operational center of your digital signage network. You will use the capabilities of the application to design content, launch and end campaigns, control the screens, etc.
– Apple TV will be the enabling device. You will connect it to the screen and install the Kitcast app for the system to start running.
– Choose a special screen suitable for your digital signage goals. It will be your main communication channel to connect with the target audience
– Finally, digital signage content will be shown on the screen using the Kitcast app.
This is whole the system will work in practice. You will need less than 10 minutes to keep it up and running. Everything is stored in the cloud so you won’t have to worry about maintaining the expensive servers.
B. Common forms of digital signage
The beauty of screen technology is that it can exist in many different forms. It is an ultimate creativity tool that uses the unlimited possibilities of the digital world to help businesses and organizations to craft unforgettable customer experiences.
Another great advantage of this solution is that its development goes simultaneously with the advancement of technology. That means that if you deploy digital signage for your business, you can stay always up-to-date with the latest changes. The software is continuously updated, the screens can be upgraded, and the content delivery is very adaptable.
Here are the most common forms of digital signage to give you an idea of what it is capable of.
1. Video walls
It’s hard not to like video walls. They are eye-catching and stunning. When done right they can enhance the engagement and serve as a definite attention-grabbing solution.
And when we say a setup of multiple screens, it can mean 4 and it can mean 40 too. That’s the thing here. Current digital signage technologies allow for a truly bombastic application of video walls and the sky is the limit when it comes to the number of displays you are planning to include in yours.
This technology is actively deployed in retail, smart cities, airports, and restaurants. It is a popular solution when you want to make a statement when you want to catch the eye of your audience. It works perfectly in situations where there’s not much time to interact with the audience.
Read more about the video walls here.
2. Digital menu boards
At first glance, it may seem like quite a tiny part of the digital signage universe. But digital menus are a game-changer for the restaurant industry.
It is exactly how it sounds. You use the capabilities of the screens to present your menu. In practice, it transforms your restaurant adding an improved sale potential, changing the way you interact with the customers, and giving it a slicker, more stylish look.
Again, creativity is very important here. Digital menus can come in all shapes and sizes. You can present the menu statically or you can employ the videos to tell the stories about the meals. AR and VR can also be used.
Learn more about the digital menu boards here.
3. Interactive kiosks
Kiosks are a more sophisticated version of digital signage. They require a more tailored approach and more individualized design. Basically, today interactive kiosks are driving the innovation of signage technology.
The reason for that is the fact that these structures add an interactivity edge to the solution, they bring an ameliorated experience.
For example, wayfinding kiosks combine the visual power of the screen with touch-based interaction. There are novel try-on kiosks in fashion retail that blend AR with display technology and come equipped with cameras.
4. Electronic billboards
Electronic billboards are the basis of digital signage, it’s where everything started. Before going digital, the signage was static. Billboards were used to communicate, they were the ground zero of customer engagement.
When screens evolved this relationship changed forever. While there are still many static billboards across the world, the dynamic ones are rapidly taking over.
To understand the concept of electronic billboards as a part of digital signage think about Times Square. This is the most vivid example of how they are used in our day and age. You’ve got multiple screens, some bigger, some smaller, showing a certain kind of content using digital signage technology. What you see in Times Square is the outdoor digital signage, also called DOOH (that stands for Digital out-of-home).
DOOH is a present-day golden standard of advertising.
However, the billboards are not only outdoor, the indoor screens are also technically electronic billboards. They fulfill the same goals and can be used for the same interaction with the target audience.
C. Technologies behind digital signage
Digital signage doesn’t exist in an isolated ecosystem. It is enabled by a series of components. There are two parts to its functioning – the hardware and the software.
It is necessary to mention here that based on the technology behind its functioning there are generally two types of digital signage:
– on-site digital signage
It came first and is enabled by in-house hardware. To run the on-site digital signage you would need to operate a server yourself and store all your data there. It is considered to be a more burdensome, costlier, and complicated version of the technology.
It pays off to opt for on-site digital signage for more sophisticated types of signage technology like running interactive kiosks.
– cloud-based digital signage
The newer, more cutting-edge approach to digital signage is when you use special software that provides storage, a content management system (CMS), and support. Kitcast is one of the best digital signage software solutions for Apple TV on the market right now.
Deploying the technology is much easier and time-saving here. Also, you won’t need an IT team to run the network, the software is user-friendly and intuitive.
Here’s what you will need to run the cloud-based digital signage network using Kitcast.
1. Hardware components
The two pieces of hardware you need for deploying digital signage are:
– the screen
– the Apple TV
It’s as simple as that. Connect the Apple TV to the screen to create a network. The software will be used to control each of the screens that are connected this way.
2. Software solutions
When you use a streaming device such as Apple TV as your enabler, the special digital signage software (like Kitcast) works as the main center of operations to oversee the whole network and run the content using the connected screens.
With cloud-based solutions, you will get the Dashboard in-app that will allow you to do all the actions regarding the screens and effectively manage your digital signage network.
There are many software solutions on the market and you should do your research before opting for one. It is essential as choosing good software is one of the keys to leading successful digital signage.
III. Benefits of Digital Signage for Businesses
As you can see from the structure of this section, there are quite a few benefits of digital signage for businesses. In fact, it’s unlike any marketing tool you can adapt. It preaches a whole new philosophy of customer interaction. It changes the game.
While these are the big words, it’s not us who decided that the signage technology is amazing. It’s thousands of businesses and organizations worldwide that have deployed it successfully. If you’re still hesitating, just take a walk through the high street in your city or visit a shopping mall. The screens are there and they are doing their engagement job perfectly.
From wayfinding to better advertising, from increased sales to improved social media integration, from enhancing employee communication to ameliorating the slick-looking lobby experience, here are some of the top benefits of digital signage for businesses.
A. Enhanced customer engagement
Ensuring effective customer engagement is not an easy task. Moreover, it’s one of the original pains of conducting any business. That’s because in order to reach a high level of interaction, it is important not only to know your audience very well, but you should also to have tools that allow you to reach the customer in the most efficient manner possible.
Digital signage has the power to do that. Screens are very good at communication and your business should use it to a full force. But displays without content are basically useless. So when you think about customer engagement, it’s essential to look at it through the great content delivery lens.
The formula is simple: with great content comes great customer engagement.
1. Dynamic and attention-grabbing content
Attention is the most valued currency in today’s economy. And it’s a pretty hard one to get too. Because, at the end of the day it’s either you have it or you don’t.
High-quality content is the sure way to win over your customers and win the competition. And the screens enable you to do it in the physical world. No matter the industry, you can be in the retail or restaurant industry. The principles of marketing are the same. You’ve got your target audience and you want them to interact with your business.
Let’s take a video wall application in retail space as an example. Imagine there are two sneaker stores standing side to side in a mall. One has a simple static billboard with a brand motto on it. Another one chose to deploy an 8-screen gigantic video wall as a window display. The video wall is running various dynamic brand-related videos and encourages passers-by to come inside the store to browse the new collection of sneakers.
Obviously, the second case simply stands out in its attention-grabbing potential. People stop to interact with the video, everyone stares at the quality of the screen picture, and many come inside to witness even more digital signage in-store. And that’s how you win the competition.
2. Interactive capabilities
With the advent of VR and AR as well as a confident rise of touch and voice-based digital signage capabilities, interactivity exists in multiple versions. No longer “to engage” means simply showing a text and an image as it used to be with the classic static billboards. Today the experience rules and customers expect to be entertained and amazed.
Screens have superb interactive capabilities that any business can turn into its own advantage. Create new experiences, engage better, and win over the minds and hearts of your customers with technology.
B. Improved communication
Communication loves speed and efficiency of delivery. Digital signage guarantees that. Screens are ideal for messaging, alerting, and informing.
The communication capabilities of screens are actively used in various industries. Airports deploy displays to provide all the flight-related information, and corporations use digital signage to boost productivity, drop the printed materials, and save money in the process.
1. Real-time information updates
The way you do updates is crucial. When it’s real-time you need rapid delivery and clear visual component. Digital signage technology is made for these things. Once you have the screens and the software, you’re also getting an amazing tool to show real-life information updates.
Here are some examples of real-life information delivery with digital signage:
– news broadcast
– weather updates
– stock exchange updates
– social media feed in real time
– traffic updates
– live streaming
2. Streamlined internal communication
Without a proper strategy in place, internal communication can be quite a hassle to organize. It requires a plan and it requires adequate technological tools. With displays, you’re implementing a whole different approach to doing internal communication.
The digital signage network will make sure that all the messages are read. Also, you can create a special meeting room booking system using the screens, show company updates, motivate employees, level up branding, and save money on expensive printed materials.
C. Increased sales and revenue
All roads in Europe lead to Rome. All roads in business lead to a sale. Sometimes these roads are quite hard and full of obstacles.
Digital signage is there to boost your sales and increase revenue. It’s a next-gen marketing tool that has all the capabilities to make sales happen. As we mentioned earlier, it’s a whole new marketing philosophy and you really want it to be on your side.
1. Promotion of products and services
Whether it’s a product or a service, good promotion matters. Also, it can do magic if performed right. Content is at the core of effective promotion techniques. The better your content is, the more likely you will influence a customer’s decision to buy something.
The visual capabilities of the screen technology are ideal for any creative promotion. With digital signage, you can realize even the most original campaigns, experiment constantly with the content you’re putting out there, interact directly with your target audience, and adapt according to the changes in the market.
Also, don’t forget about the social media promotion. Digital signage is great at that too. When you have screens, you can easily grow your channels by showing call-to-action content, organizing contests, and driving user-generated pictures and videos.
2. Influence on customer behavior
The experience economy has changed the expectations of customers regarding what brands should do to stay relevant. Being well-connected digitally is one of the most important features nowadays. Whether it’s about bridging the offline and online or providing an unforgettable in-store time, without digital signage technology you’re lagging behind the competition.
Screens help to shape how the consumer interacts with your brand. By engaging with your audience through content you’re able to more effectively impact the decisions, emphasize features that need an emphasis, and simply deliver a great service.
D. Cost-effective advertising
Advertising has been around for centuries. In the 21st century, it’s still kicking. However, today advertisers have much bigger technological freedom that helps them to realize even the most unbelievable campaigns.
In recent years, we’ve seen gigantic video walls, 3D billboards, VR kiosks, and many AR elements. The progress doesn’t stop and digital signage is serving brands well by enabling their advertising endeavors.
All of the aforementioned while cutting costs. How exactly? Read further.
1. Reduced printing and labor costs
If you do static signage you know the drill. Every advertising campaign comes with a costly price tag on printing and labor costs. And there are two questions that immediately arise.
– why would you limit yourself to static when there’s digital with unlimited creative possibilities?
– why would you pay for printing and labor costs that come with static signage when you can save money?
Digital signage is the answer in both cases. You will forget about the woes of having to spend a budget on printing and unnecessary labor.
2. Flexible and scalable solutions
There is no limit to the screens you can deploy. The quantity depends on your marketing strategy and vision. This fact makes digital signage a very flexible and scalable solution. It’s easy to grow the network and improve it.
Flexibility also is among the top features of digital signage content. When you’re running static signage, you can only show 1 type of content. For example, for a billboard, it will only be an image with accompanying text.
Now, when you use an electronic billboard, there’s a whole universe of content you can broadcast. Show videos, images, alerts, news, weather, company logos, your social media accounts, digital menus, important company updates, etc.
And the awesome thing here is that all the aforementioned content types can be shown one after another, the network is adapted according to time and day, and you can run special audience-tailored campaigns.
IV. The wrap-up
We’ve covered the basics of digital signage to show you how your business can benefit from its implementation. As you could see, this solution is extremely powerful and can bring the much-needed digital transformation almost immediately.
With signage technology, you’re walking confidently into the future of content delivery. It gives you the necessary powers to realize even the most complex marketing goals and increase sales.
And you won’t have to worry about the sophistication of it all as a user, the cloud-based solutions like Kitcast are there to simplify the deployment process without compromising on quality.