By retail, we mean any type of brick-and-mortar shop that displays and sells goods and services, either to consumers or other businesses. This industry makes up the vast majority of Digital Signage deployments out there.
The most common requirements for Digital Signage in retail include:
- Centralized management – really important for companies with multiple locations
- Easy and fast content updates – there is a big turnover of products, so you want the content to be updated constantly and efficiently and in real time
- Launch content for “specials” – content that is valid for a specific timeframe and specific locations
Any corporate environment can also benefit from Digital Signage solutions. From small businesses and mid-sized companies to large organizations and industries. Communication overhead is reduced, productivity and collaboration between team members is increased and transparency of business procedures is also ensured. These are only some of the benefits that Digital Signage brings to corporations simply by making information available to everyone and in the most convenient way (content on screens!)
The requirements depend on the extent to which Digital Signage is applied. A company that uses Digital Signage solutions in every possible way definitely needs to select one that fulfills all of them. Below we list some of the basic ones:
- a centrally managed system: whether’s it’s a company with a handful of departments or one with subsidiaries located all over the world, all businesses need the security and confidence that come with knowing everything is handled and controlled in one place
- an easy to use platform: especially by people with non-technical backgrounds such as human resources or any other non-techie staff
- compatibility with other business’ systems: in order to avoid counter-productive pitfalls:
- for example screen-source absolute intercommunication will save you time, avoiding repeated tasks such as updating content changes in both screen and sources. As in most cases content flows onto screen from various sources.
- multiple access rights: depending on the size of the group of people that are involved in content management (different reasons/needs). The Digital Signage platform should provide management with priorities and generally complete control over multiple users access rights
- video wall support: in cases where an extra wide screen is needed- a structure of combined screens supported by the platform you choose to show preferred layout
- stability: important for decision making that affects business’s production
- add-on features(widgets) such as calendars, schedules, scrolling texts, banners and any other additional components to serve any content need – customizable ones would be even better
- other special functionalities: for example getting alerts triggered by specific important events such as workload status for call centers or any other crucial circumstances that affect a company’s regular routine
- low energy consumption: especially for a large number of screens spread all over the company’s premises
This is a distinct category concerning Digital Signage due to the nature of the data. Dashboards are suitable for any occasion where representation of measurable data is essential. The most common case is airports for departure information, also organizations that need to visualize mostly performance data and even bus stops for traffic related metrics.
There are different types of dashboards in the market such as standalone software applications, desktop applications (widgets) or web applications. You may even use an online service or create your custom dashboards to represent your data on a web browser, a PC, a TV monitor or any screen.
- a system that accurately and quickly displays all data in real time
- reliability: it must be able to handle large amounts of information that is constantly being updated from many different sources
- flexibility: the nature of the data displayed could change and the system must be able to accommodate current and future customization requirements
The food industry is directly connected with Digital Signage solutions. Menuboards or any other screen displays are extremely essential for food chains, restaurants, take-away outlets or any other food service establishment. They might be placed outdoors welcoming potential customers and also providing display menus to passengers (providing a high impact content) or within the stores displaying menus, offers, dishes, prices for customers in order to “see and choose”. But also in dining areas of restaurants as interactive screens for customers to place their orders directly without help from the staff.
So for this kind of businesses, the main requirements concerning Digital Signage are:
- centralized management: all content must be managed centrally and disseminated throughout the chain
- flexibility in changing content: it is all about continuously changing content: menus, dishes, prices
- easy to use: the personnel responsible for this task is usually non-techie staff
- interactive support: especially for screens available for orders
This category is based on an ad model where big advertising companies are looking for ad-spaces in any retail market and beyond (stadiums, streets or any other place) and both the provider and the supplier must profit them from this deal.
Advertisements might be related to local market “brands” for example hotels that show ads of adjacent restaurants or display ads for global brands and markets, like cosmetics or apparel, within a relevant store.
So whether you are a retailer currently looking for new ways to increase your earnings (by selling ad time/space) or a media director trying to expand your sales policies by leveraging the latest advertising trends, be sure to take Digital Signage solutions into consideration.
The requirements of the platform you need to take into account whether you require or offer “advertisement space” are basically:
- statistics: it must be able to provide data as proof of play
- scheduling: there must be a feature that allows ads to be programmed and shown at specific times/dates
Such events might include meetups, conferences, exhibitions, fairs and any other public gatherings that take place in specific public or private spaces. Showing content on any kind of screen is a basic requirement for this particular category and that’s where Digital Signage fits in. As it provides solutions concerning planning, promotion and execution of these events.
Before the event takes place, Digital Signage screens can be used in order to advertise upcoming events, provide basic information and also a preview of what the actual event is all about -just to give a taste to the public audience in order to encourage participation.
During the actual event, Digital Signage solutions are mainly used to provide attendees arriving at the venue with all necessary information, such as directions to specific conference rooms, displaying the event’s agenda or program of events and other useful information. Finally, video wall screens are used in order to enhance the participants’ whole experience.
So the main requirements are:
- stability and reliance: obviously the main criterion as all of these occasions are mostly live events and no one wants to be in the awkward situation where the attendees are staring at an inactive, black screen
- easy to use: schedules and event programs change, announcements need to be made, and information has to be updated quickly and easily, and as most of the staff won’t be techies, a user-friendly platform is a must.
- video wall support: video walls are inherently more complex, and technical support is imperative
The education sector includes private and public schools, colleges, universities or any other educational institution. And different Digital Signage hardware solutions could be applied, such as screens or video-walls located in different places within the educational organization.
For example screens might be placed in reception areas to welcome anyone entering the building such as visitors, prospective students, staff or students. Also they could be placed in halls, to spread useful information such as announcements, news, schedules, events taking place within the educational organization, safety alerts in case of fire, earthquake or any other emergency. Content might also be promotional concerning educational programs. Or simply informative, like upcoming application or registration deadlines, exam periods and more.
In addition, Digital Signage screens might be used for educational purposes during courses where the teaching staff might show stimulating educational content instead of falling back on obsolete teaching methods. Finally, the content might also be created by students as an assignment or even a project. Public service announcements and community-building initiatives could also be displayed on screens.
Requirements for schools and other educational institutions include:
- User friendly system: first and foremost, both the software and hardware must be easy to use and intuitive as it will need to cater to the needs of students, faculty and staff who aren’t tech-savvy.
- Easily accessible: many different users will need to use different screens, which means screen independence and ease of use are paramount.
- Affordable: most educational institutions have budgeting restrictions, and the system needs to provide maximum flexibility and content creativity at an affordable price.
Digital kiosks are usually placed in different locations, from out-store and outdoor public places offering informational content to visitors to interactive in-store systems for retail verticals. The main purpose is to provide informational content such as maps, way-finding, promotional material or even ads. An example also worth mentioning would be interactive digital kiosks that are used as dispensers of products.
So the main requirements are basically:
- change content remotely / central management: With screens located both indoors and outside, all content creation and updating must be carried out both remotely and centrally and applied to all screens no matter where they are situated. Any other solution would be ineffective in terms of both cost and time.
Franchise companies have third-party retail outlets usually spread all over the world and they provide licensed privileges, general guidance while at the same time ensuring branding protection with a unified brand experience offered to the customers. And Digital Signage is a perfect fit for this business model.
So the basic requirements of Digital Signage solutions application concerning franchising companies are:
- content based on standards: headquarters need to disseminate content throughout the franchise, and it often needs to be updated based on new campaigns or products offered. As a result, the ideal Digital Signage application must allow for centrally controlled content creation and dissemination.
- centrally controlled user authorization: the ability to set specific user roles and access-based permission is imperative for streamlined branding and optimized organization.
This category includes companies that have headquarters and offices or stores located in different countries. A representative example for this category worth mentioning would be multinational banks with branches spread all over the world. Application of Digital Signage solutions is vital because it helps ensure standardization. One reason multinational companies use Digital Signage is to manage digital channels centrally, which empowers and supports the company’s brand and image.
So the fundamental requirements for this section are mostly the following:
- content based on standards: headquarters define and update branding which must then seamlessly flow to all branches and, by extension, all screens.
- central and local management: content is created at both a central/HQ and local level, and the digital signage application must accommodate for this kind of flexibility
- centrally-controlled user access and authorization: users need different levels and kinds of authorization, and an ideal Digital Signage system offers both excellent control and flexibility.
Parking companies can also integrate Digital Signage solutions. They are especially useful for underground, big sized dimly lit parking areas. The screens may show useful information to the users when they enter the parking area, during their search for parking spots and until they leave the building. The screens may show information such as opening/closing hours, number of available parking spots, directions, emergency signals (in case of a fire, speed limits) or might also be used to show different prices on peak hours or personalized information based on a customer’s usage history. solutions provide in this way a total control of the building/parking areas with frequently updated information.
- flexibility and speed in changing content: parking spot availability, customized content, and announcements change in real time, and as a result any Digital Signage solution for this industry needs to be flexible and happen in real time
- ease of use: not all employees are tech whizzes, so a user-friendly interface is imperative