Digital Signage and Power Over Ethernet Have A “Bright” FutureRita Mailheau
Imagine signs at the DMV that look like large screen TVs. The programs aired are aimed solely at helping you (and every other unfortunate stuck in the waiting room) to pass the time.
The screen not only shows who’s number will be called next, but it’s also giving you updates on the local sports news, and maybe a video tutorial on how to tune up your vehicle before the weather changes.
Or imagine a riveting video wall presentation for your next corporate meeting. It’s full of great animation, graphics, and sound that has the audience dancing in their chairs. Feedback from attendees is that you and the folks in the C-Suite look like tech wizards. Sound enticing?
All of this, and a whole lot more, is possible with the marrying of digital signage and Power over Ethernet.
The technology has recently hit the mainstream, and we’re getting a lot of requests and purchase orders.
So, what is it exactly that makes this new technology so appealing? Ease of use and fast setup!
Let’s take a look at the technology involved, the types of content available, and some of the different display types you can use.
What’s in a Digital Signage System
A digital signage system has 3 basic components:
- Content manager
Your content manager is the hardware unit that holds your software. It’s worth noting that you can also purchase software-only or cloud-based solutions. In these instances, the majority of the system is integrated with the software so you can plug and play. The PC is where you’ll manage and control the system.
Most of these systems, regardless of their hardware (or lackthereof) will enable some fairly granular controls. These include the ability to grant varying permissions to different people in your organization, and delegate system control to their personal computers directly.
What Content Does the Software Support?
First of all, any content you can format on slides will also work on digital signage software.
That means you can use it for presentations in any of your meeting rooms without the clunkiness of a projector. All you need is a display screen with an ethernet connection. That way you can connect it to your content management system or the cloud.
A few ideas of things you can use digital signage presentations to enchance
- Schedules for all day meetings
- News and weather in waiting rooms
- Surveys and other interactive content at event kiosks
- Relevant social media feeds
As you can see, the possibilities are almost endless. In fact, any form of useful content you can present on a computer screen, can also be shown on a digital sign. Better yet, you can have that content popup at specific times and dates using more advanced scheduling features.
What Types of Displays Support the Software?
Pretty much any modern display will support the software!
You could install a single television in a waiting room. You could also opt for groups of monitors placed strategically around a large event venue. Video walls and even tablets and smartphones can be used if the circumstances are appropriate.
This leaves it almost entirely up to your imagination.
First, establish the needs of the people to whom you want to show the content. Then start planning about what display hardware would be best to serve it up.
Convenience and Ease of Use
Digital signage combined with ethernet provides a pretty powerful package. One of the highest impact benefits is the logistical convenience.
Installers can string Ethernet cable to literally every corner of a building. As long as there’s an Ethernet switch and a power injector for cable lengths over 300 feet, an outlet won’t even be required!
You know what that means? No electrician required. That can save installers and the client a big chunk of change.
You’ll only need an installer and an IT administrator or facilities professional to handle the display setup.
How Digital Signs Make Marketing Easier
As early as 2010, retailers like Macy’s began devising interactive ways to engage customers. In turn, they knew the data they gathered would help them better understand how shoppers best enjoyed their stores.
One of these innovations, involved an interactive way for shoppers to see themselves in certain apparel items without actually needing to try on the clothes in a fitting room.
Using a 72-inch display with interactive capabilities, shoppers immediately had a convenient way to see their virtual selves in the clothing they were considering buying.
Restaurants can also make exciting use of interactive screens. From promoting seasonal menu items to reception desk message boards, the possibilities run the gamut.
Airports and car rental agencies can use PoE digital signage to display flight information and updates, daily deals, weather advisories, and traffic conditions.
The best part is… all of this can be automated from the desk of any approved content creator within your organization.
Digital signage can be a good fit for pretty much any type of industry or business model. It can work in both public and private settings.
- Schools & universities
- Gas stations at the pumps
The only limitations are how imaginative your content providers are.
Most of the software packages come with pre-made templates, and it’s easy to plug your brand creatives and messaging into the ready-made presentations.
One software developer estimates a total of 2 hours labor time. That’s from when you first download software to the point of use. If you have particularly intuitive end users, it will probably take even less time.
Here at Versatek, we offer a complete package of Ethernet technologies to support your move to digital signage. Check our Power over Ethernet page for a complete list. We’ve linked a few below for your convenience:
As always, feel free to reach out to our analysts if you have any questions on how we may assist you with setting up your digital signage infrastructure.