Signs of the Times - January 2014 - (Page 60)

Dynamic Digital Signage Made Simple Even small steps can lead to big changes. B y D e a c o n Wa rd l o w T he days of Philip K. Dicks' Minority Report aren't upon us yet, but DS (dynamic digital signage) is definitely growing and showing up in unexpected markets. Beyond doctors-office infomercials, or the multi-screen sensational at your local sports bar, businesses are beginning to see DS solutions as integral to building and maintaining their brand. Convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants, hospitality venues, banks, retail stores, and even charity and community organizations are seeking information, proposals and solutions from their most trusted signage source - your sign business. I've seen everything from a $50 digital-photo screen that runs advertisements on a café bar, to a multilocation, $200,000 installation with integrated live video and touch-screen interactivity, set to run based on condition sets (i.e., temperature outside, weather, sports scores, etc.). The staggering range of DS applications is limited only by your client's imagination and budget. DS can be confusing and daunting on the first, second, or even third look. It's easy to feel a bit lost with all the tech terms and geek-speak flying about. This fastgrowing market will be expanding long after the companies that have chosen to "sit back and see" have moved on. With the confusing lingo, and all the technical "know how" seemingly required, where does one start? The first step Any DS investigation unearths an alphabet soup of acronyms. The DSF (Digital Signage Federation, and DSA (Digital Screenmedia Assn., are two of the bigger organizations you'll undoubtedly discover. You'll find supportive and helpful groups on social-media sites like Create an account or login, go to Search, enter "digital signage," select groups, and you'll find several professional groups willing to help guide you in the right direction. Google+ also has groups that are more actively supporting both new and experienced DS integrators. There's a push to develop more professional stan60 SIGNS OF THE TIMES January 2014 dards and credentials within the industry, and many sites offer online courses and resources to help you begin. Don't be daunted by the terminology; overcome your acronymaphobia, and you'll understand the myriad options for getting comfortable with DS. Where to turn You'll find countless companies that span the gamut from content creation, management, third-party "wholesalers," distributors, software/hardware (sometimes both), and A/V "specialty" organizations that offer solutions from touch-screen to multiplex projection systems. For example, an NYC sign company had an opportunity with a small supermarket chain that was looking to incorporate DS into its seafood, deli, bakery and health sections. The first DS provider offered the sign company a $36,000 (cost) solution for displays, control systems, initial licensing, and a laundry list of technical requirements. The provider also quoted a persite fee of $6,000 for the displays and control software. The client would be expected to pay a monthly fee for "maintenance and support," and renew the license every four years. The general "rules" of vetting a vendor/partner remain. The second company they turned to quoted them $2,000 per location, using a combination of MS Office Suite tools and a "simple" solution. The swing was extreme, and other companies' quotes were either extremely high or low. Few (if any) really took time to discuss the project's full scope or the customer's ultimate needs. The sign company walked away from the opportunity; they would help with the static signage, but they just weren't informed enough to help with the interior DS systems. They lost the opportunity and potential additional business because they were flooded with options, but little education as to their situation's best solution. Shortlisting companies I highly recommend to familiarize yourself with the DS industry and its various elements.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2014

Signs of the Times - January 2014
ST Update
Technology Update
Large-Format Design Strategies
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review - Agfa’s Jeti Titan X
Technology Review - Polytype’s NQ32 UV hybrid printer
Design Matters
New Products
Industry News
GableSigns’ Casino Signs
Dynamic Digital Signage Made Simple
Building Street Cred
Modern Sign Engineering
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2014