Signs of the Times - February 2013 - (Page 30)

LED UPDATE As president of LED Lighting Technologies, Dr. Nisa Khan educates the lighting industry and consumers about LED lighting. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering. Email her at By Dr. M. Nisa Khan Electronic Signs’ Values and Attractions Unrivaled use in outdoor applications of electronic-digital signage As revealedST, DecemberLighting in ST’s 2012 Survey (see 2012, p.58)), LED-lamped signs longpredicted ascendancy over neonand fluorescent-lamped signs has finally surfaced. Expectedly, such trends will become stronger as more signshops change to LED illumination for signs, especially as the technology advances. Certainly, the survey considered fixed electric signs where comparisons of various illumination choices have relevance. But, LED lamps’ most unique (and unrivaled) signage use lies in outdoor applications of electronic-message centers (EMCs) and electronic-digital signage (EDS), aka, dynamic digital signs (DDS). LCD, plasma, projection and similar screen systems can also produce DDS, but, other than OLEDs, these do not use self-emissive light sources, and their outdoor usage is limited. To date, only LED-lamped DDS and EMC systems are easy to read in direct sunlight. Further, because fast-switching, arrayed, LED lamps are naturally compatible with electronics, they offer the outdoor-advertising industry sign arrangements with numerous features and qualities. Alternative technologies LCD and plasma DDS-type screens are better suited for smaller or reticulated-component, indoor-signage applications because practical viewing distances typically commence a few feet from the viewer. Such proximities demand screen resolutions and pixel pitches similar to those of TVs and desktop monitors. LED lamps (and the related pixel pitch) continue to diminish in size, but, to date, LED-based systems can’t achieve the necessary, indoor-view pixel pitch at reasonable costs. OLED-system screens may eventually compete in flat-screen quarters, Generally expensed through co-op advertising ventures, storefront message boards easily present alternating messages. Walgreens’ omnipresent boards download simple text – product names and the sale price – from a centralized source. but the systems presently face thermal and efficiency challenges. The power Dynamic, digital-type signs and displays – DDS systems – that routinely update graphic visuals, offer a powerful and easily implemented advertising process. Further, on-premise, EMC – message only – systems provide effective and unprompted, business-to-customer messages. Both can inspire subsequent and positive actions. Prior to the widespread acceptance of EMCs, some businesses used message boards where only letters – words – appeared; these were manually revised and lacked intensity. Oppositely, LED-lamped EMCs’ dynamic messages’ crisp text can draw customers off the streets and into the stores. Chain-store marketers can simultaneously distribute either type of message in numerous geographical locations from a central source. Further, ad designers can customize and, when necessary, change indi- 30 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / FEBRUARY 2013 / vidual or regional messages almost instantly via the comfort of a personal computer that comprises software that will add, modify or delete their announcements. Evocative applications DDS systems are most appropriate for businesses and establishments that wish to convey relevant graphic information to a targeted audience in a timely manner. In theory, the location and density of dynamic signs are chosen so that they are easily viewed, legible and not overly distracting; but, these criteria vary by location. For example, visual chaos would result if every store in a typical strip mall installed an EMC that displayed its own ad message. Instead of useful information, passersby would be visually overwhelmed and unable to extract useful information concerning any store. Better, and certainly practiced, plazas and malls install one (or sometimes several) LED-based EMCs and, by contract, rotate their various advertising messages.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - February 2013

Signs of the Times - February 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review
Technology Review
Sign Museum News
New Products
Dressed to Impress
Uniqlo’s In-store Digital Signage
Pursuing a Different Rout
Word on the Street Signs
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - February 2013