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Digital Signage | the Why, the When and the How for Choosing the Right Solution

Digital Signage is All Around Us

Are you struggling to gain customer attention and loyalty through your media investments and digital signage solutions? Every day, digital signage is a part of our lives. Whether you are viewing a menu board at your favorite restaurant, checking your flight status at an international airport, or even using social media, digital signage is all around us. So, how do we help our customers take logical steps to keep their business expanding?

Signage Options are Growing

More and more businesses are using digital signage for interactive solutions, forms of communication, wayfinding, and more. The possibilities are endless. When you are helping your customers choose a solution for their business, it is important to understand the many digital signage capability options, and what the industry has to offer.

Considerations for Helping Customers Choose the Right Solution

So, how do we help our customers understand solution options while advising them on a solution that will serve their long-term goals in a constantly changing industry? And even before we start a “technical” conversation, what questions do we ask to help guide our customers into a digital signage mindset?

Georgia museum LG case study

The Visuals

Think about the advantages of being able to show pictures, being dynamic, getting the customer, employee, student, or retailer interested through graphics – it just makes sense.

Branding & Advertising

Not only does digital signage provide a solution for visually enhanced communication, but it can also bring in advertising revenue “It is not just a sign.” The signage becomes a strong advertising vehicle that can be updated with new content over time as messaging needs to change.

Target Markets

As technology has developed and display solutions evolve within the Pro AV market, there are multiple markets demanding it, such as schools, churches, retail stores, community banks, medical campuses, and more. Almost any target market can utilize signage. As Pro AV trusted advisors, it is our job to help qualify the customer and guide them to think outside of the box.

Environment | Interaction

  • What type of premises?
  • Are there waiting areas?
  • Do you know the regulations for outward-facing displays?
  • How far away will the audience or end customer be?
  • Should the signage only display content?
  • Do we want the customer to interact with the equipment?

The Technical Aspects

  • Are the premises equipped with a wireless network?
  • What type of equipment will be the most adapted to the needs? (Transactional terminal, kiosk, tablet, etc.)
  • Nature of the premises? (Leisure, HOW, EDU, health, shopping, business, work, etc.)
Georgia museum LG case study
Georgia museum LG case study
man listening video call

Content | Content Management

  • Do your clients have the resources to take care of content creation?
  • Can and will they manage their own content?
  • What resources are available?
  • Should or can the end customer interact with the content?

Exertis Almo is Here to Help You Help Your Customers

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will be able to offer your clients suitable solutions among the possible devices. Exertis Almo is the nation’s largest professional audiovisual distributor with forward-thinking product integration, training, managed services, and technical support providing customers the full distribution experience on a local and personal level. We have Business Development Managers to help you with digital signage solutions such as outdoor, dvLED, custom OLED, Conference Room Solutions, Commercial TVs, services, and more. We will help you open doors to new opportunities for your customers, with full solution sales, at a competitive price, with hands on assistance.

Contact Exertis Almo for product info, inventory availability, or to start a quote.
Corinne O'Rawe

About the Author

Corinne Furmanek-O’Rawe | DSCE

Business Development Manager

 
Supported Manufacturers: LG Business Solutions (NE, SE, MW)

Back to Work in 2021

Going back to work is a perfect time for organizations to embrace technologies and solutions like digital signage to improve communication and employee engagement. They may have no idea how, but do know that they need to improve how their employees interact with the business in an ever changing environment.  Others may know exactly what they want to do, but they need some guidance as to how to bring their vision to fruition. In both scenarios, it is important that we take everything into consideration.

“Digital signage has come into its own, as lock down has begun to ease in some areas, but the next challenge is how to extend the use of these solutions as the masses return to work”, says Shaun Oxenham, CEO at MediaStar Systems.  Digital signage can be found in numerous public spaces.  And the businesses that house these spaces are prone to “head back to work” at some point in time.   Public spaces, highway signage, offices, museums, stadiums, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions are all familiar with the benefits of signage.  Using digital signage is a great way to attract customers and gain the attention of the masses.  People are more likely to pay attention if you are displaying promotions, sharing business information or instructions.  Digital signage is not only meant to digitally promote sales, or share social media.   Digital Signage is meant to create an experience and should be entertaining.

2020 has been a year of challenges, yet we have and need the ability to adapt.   Employers have had to make endless changes.   As we move into 2021, employers from all verticals are beginning to contemplate a back to work plan. Not only will that transition plan need to keep their employees and customers safe, they need to entice customers to return to face to face engagement.   In addition, businesses need to be able to effectively communicate between remote employees and employees who are able safely engage on site.

LG Technologies offers numerous solutions for endless digital signage needs.   Take a look at the UH5F Series by LG.  The LG UHD Signage offers sizes ranging from 55” to 98” in size.  It has cutting edge technology and its brightness captures an audience.  This solution has versatility and can be used as a meeting room solution or in a retail environment.  It boasts Ultra HD resolution and wide angle viewing with IPS technology.

Many new products have been developed during the course of the recent pandemic.  But what cannot be forgotten is communication with employees and customers.   I would not call it a silver lining but an opportunity instead, in that the pandemic has elevated the digital workplace from a “nice to have” to a “must have” status.   Reach out to your sales rep at ALMO PRO AV so they can work with you and ensure that you have the right technologies to help you deliver the right products to fulfil the needs of your customers.

Corinne Furmanek – O’Rawe, DSCE 
Business Development Manager

[email protected]
888.420.2566 x6220

Best Practices for Menu Board System Design

Alan Brawn, an AV industry veteran with experience spanning over 3 decades including management of a Pro AV systems integration company for 7 years, and one of the founding members of Hughes-JVC back in the early 1990s knows something about QSRs and Menu Boards. He is a recognized author for leading AV industry magazines such as Systems Contractor News, AV Technology, Digital Signage Magazine, and Rental & Staging, and we’re excited to share his take on the current state of the industry.  Read on to see his latest contribution to Commercial Integrator Magazine, where he did a deep dive with Almo’s own Jim Nista on content creation and what works and what doesn’t.

Integrators should recognize the significant demand for digital menu boards – and then acknowledge there’s a lot to learn to deliver them effectively.

by Alan Brawn

IN THE EVER-EXPANDING REACH of digital signage, retail- and food-related enterprises dominate in market share. Both retail and food services take special advantage of the major benefits of digital signage. They use variations of digital signage communication to enhance the viewing experience, modify viewer behavior, and promote their proprietary calls to action.

The intended consequence of this is to promote customer loyalty and repeat business and show differentiation in a concerted effort to stem the flow of commoditization and the appearance of sameness. Nowhere is this more evident than in quick serve restaurants (QSR) and convenience stores. One of the most popular “go-to” solutions in those niches is the incorporation of digital menu boards.

As with most digital signage, menu boards appear quite simple on the surface. It seems that all you need to do is put up a display and a list of menu items and call that job complete. Well, not so fast. There is much more involved in the area of menu boards than first meets the eye. With the expanding competition in the food industry and especially in quick serve restaurants, this whole menu board “thing” can be an existential issue.

A report by the prepared food industry shows that 60% of restaurants do not make it past the first year and 80% go under in five years. Did you know that the average person makes more than 200 decisions about food every day, many for them unconsciously? Research shows that 74% of customers say an easy to read menu is a top priority and 30% of customers say digital signage influenced an unplanned purchase. Statistics also show viewers spend 30% more time looking at digital signage compared to static signs.

Image by LG via LG Website

Gauntlet Is Thrown: Maximize Digital Menu Board Experience

We have all seen digital menu boards but what stands out is their varying degree of success. A group of subject matter experts out of the QSR industry estimates that more than 60% of today’s digital menu boards are done wrong. Here are some of the most common mistakes:

  • Poor design, use of space, and too much information on screen
  • Poor legibility
  • Using a monotonous static image
  • Excessive animation where items disappear before viewer can decide › Text-only menus that are easy to ignore
  • Looking continuously the same with little attempt at a refresh
  • Poor salesmanship on best sellers

All this being said, I want to share more about digital menu boards beyond statistics and bullet points. I wanted to explore best practices, so I went to Jim Nista, the senior director of content services for Almo. He is recognized as one of the best of the best in this area and teaches extensively on the topic. Since Nista co-teaches the Digital Content and Media Expert (DCME) certification for the industry it came as no surprise that he said, “It all starts with a content creation strategy.” Of course, if we fail to plan then we plan to fail… but Nista pointed out a key question that sets the tone for what is to come. How often will the content need to be updated? The answer will impact the design, how the content will be created, by whom and in what format, and ultimately the budget.

Depending upon the frequency of updating, Nista suggests, “If there are frequent changes you may want to use an HTML platform like Google Sheets. This is fast and inexpensive but can be limiting in design choices. The other choice is referred to as free form. This utilizes a graphic designer and offers true design flexibility but is more costly. Think of this as a template versus custom graphics consideration.”

Nista notes that where budgets permit, the trend is for free form where menu real estate is not constrained by a grid or a template.

This can provide a unique approach and stand out with consumers, and be more interesting and engaging. Both approaches, templated or free form, can be done in-house or outsourced.

Most often the size of the company, how often the content needs to be updated, and budget will dictate what path to take.

Understanding Digital Menu Board Objectives

The digital menu board should be designed to enhance the viewing experience as well as modify viewer behavior as they respond to a call to action but there are two other objectives that relate directly to QSRs and food services. The content needs to help the viewer decide and make a choice and do so in a more expeditious manner. If done properly this improves customer flow. In sit-down restaurants they call this “turning over the tables more quickly.”

Nista provided his short list of design elements to keep in mind:

  • Know the viewer and design for them.
  • Keep it simple; too many items and options end up being confusing.
  • Legibility is key. Font choice and size determine readability.
  • Beware of distractions. Focus on what you want the viewer to decide upon.
  • Too many zones can distract, but doing “specials” can be helpful to the company and the viewer.
  • If it is a fixed menu don’t scroll or animate. People take time to decide and if the menu scrolls too quickly, then they don’t have that time.
  • Video if done right can lead the viewer’s eye. It can give subtle clues and help make decisions fast. But if not done right it can be a distraction.
  • Locate menu boards carefully and be easily visible but avoid impeding traffic flow.

We all know that the retail and restaurant industry is highly competitive, and unless you have a unique selling proposition, chances are you will have trouble standing out from the crowd. The current state of the industry is driving restaurant owners to look for ways to set themselves apart from the fierce competition. Many are implementing digital menu boards, which is a step in the right direction,but as one expert told me, “some of these menu boards suck!”

What we know is that simply upgrading from static menu boards to digital menu boards is not enough on its own. More effort needs to be put into the content strategy and design of these menu boards in order to drive sales, engage with customers, and enhance their in-venue experience. If properly planned, designed, and implemented, digital menu boards can tip the scale in a restaurant’s favor.

ALAN C. BRAWN CTS, ISF, ISF-C, DSCE, DSDE. DCME, is the principal of Brawn Consulting.

To work with Jim’s team on creating content for your QSR and menu board projects reach out to our Content Services Business Development Manager Todd Heberlein today.

LG Brings the “WOW” Factor at IC19

Just about halfway through another year and one more InfoComm is in the books.  Since my start in the industry in 2003, I’ve approached the InfoComm show with various emotions – excitement, trepidation, anticipation, and some years even some dread.  Each year, I’ve come out the other side finding something at the show that I’ve enjoyed, and have even been impressed at the creativity of various manufacturers.   However, it has been quite a while since I’ve walked away from a manufacturer’s booth saying “Wow, that was truly awesome.”  No matter how big a display gets, it’s still just a display – and no matter how much you want it in your front room, it’s not going to keep you engaged on a trade show floor.

The LG booth at InfoComm 2019 was a refreshing change. Sure, they still had the obligatory large display, but even that threw me a curve.  Not only did they have an 88” OLED display with 8K resolution, but the panel was being used as the actual speaker.  Not a rear firing speaker like we’ve all come to expect, but the glass on the display vibrated with sound.   Not something I’d want to test the audio limits on.

The 8K display was almost lost in the other innovative and engaging attractions.  The biggest of which was the incredible curved video wall that created a cove like effect.  The content that LG used, consisting of various outdoor scenes, made you feel engulfed in the experience.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to the ISE show in Amsterdam, but I understand that the LG curved wall at the show was even more impressive there than at InfoComm.  I would have a difficult time believing it, if it weren’t for the video proof.

After I pulled myself away from the curved video wall, I could see other locations they’ve used the curved OLED displays in real world applications, such as inset curved corners on walls, providing the end user and integrator with some great inspiration for future projects.

The second attraction that caught my attention was the portrait, 2×2 video wall made from transparent OLED displays.  The content would appear and flow, allowing you glimpses of the retail product behind the displays, keeping you transfixed on seeing more, and providing an excellent way to engage the retail customer.

Overall, LGs continued innovation of new and exciting products has made their InfoComm booth as much of an attraction as it is a business destination.

Todd Heberlein
888-420-2566 x6205  |  [email protected]

Getting “Schooled” on Outdoor Digital Signage with LG

We all want our kids to “survive and thrive.” And like most parents, we all want to be involved in our children’s lives.  When is the last time you got “schooled” on LG Outdoor Displays?

LG Outdoor displays provide outstanding visibility with high a great brightness of 2,500 cd.m2.  The LG XS Series clearly delivers content and attracts public attention.  Isn’t that the ultimate reason for outdoor display visibility?

How many times has this happened to you?   You are sitting in your living room and your child exclaims” “Hey guys, I have a band concert tomorrow night” or “Are you coming to my football game Saturday morning”  Or my personal favorite “ I need a dress for the school dance in three days.”

More and more schools are turning to outdoor displays to communicate school news and activities.  No longer do notifications show up via snail mail.  Outdoor signage is not only a more viable solution for them, but for you as well.

The exchange of information is available in high bright technology every time you drive past the school.  Now the tables can turn…. “Hey, I saw on the school digital signage you have a football game Friday night.”

What a great selling point to pitch to your resellers.  The education season is upon us so what better time to get “schooled” on outdoor signage by LG.

Wherever digital signage is used the goal is the same – to attract attention, engage the audience and get them to take action. Here are a half of dozen guidelines that should have you well on your way to a successful digital signage deployment:

1) Make it Accessible – Place your digital signage at eye level and viewable from different angles so people can get close enough to scan QR codes and read the message comfortably.

2) Enhance Your Appearance – Your signage content is your brand’s face to the world. Make it visually appealing with a simple message, and use moving images and graphics to make it interesting.

3) Keep it Legible – Use an easy-to-read typeface. Bold-face sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica or Verdana will read easily at a glance if the font is large enough. Test your font size at the distance your signage is most likely to be read. A general rule is one inch of text height for every 10 feet.

4) Cut the Copy – Keep your message as concise as possible. The 3×5 Rule can be effective: limit the amount of text on your display to three lines, each with five words or less, or five lines of three words or less.

5) Keep it Fresh – No matter how eye-catching your content looks, it will eventually go unnoticed out of familiarity. Consider the demographics and the time of day and change content accordingly.

6) Call Viewers to Action – If you want your viewers to do something, make sure your call to action is short and specific. Leave the CTA on the screen the whole time, or show it several times as the content rotates.

One of LG’s most popular series in the XS2E Series – available in various sizes through ALMO.

55XS2D 55” FHD Outdoor Signage

Key Features include:

  • High Brightness
  • Visible with Polarized Sunglasses
  • Fan-less Design
  • High Performance with WEBOS
  • Smart Brightness Control

We are your destination for professional display solutions.

Corinne O’Rawe
888-420-2566 x6220  |  [email protected]

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