Choosing to use outdoor digital signs should be one of the easiest decisions a business owner ever makes. There are few downsides to the technology, and a whole lot of upsides. Unsurprisingly, outdoor digital signage is one of the most common A/V solutions that integrators handle. Restaurants, shops, bars, hotels, banks, museums, stadiums and arenas, airports and just about anywhere else can attract additional foot traffic with the use of high quality digital displays. And more foot traffic means more sales and higher profits.
Is digital signage really built for the outdoors?
It’s a well-accepted truism – electronics and the elements generally don’t mix well. This may lead to some skepticism regarding whether or not digital signage can handle the weather. Fortunately, there is no need to fear, as modern digital displays are built to last. Specifically, here are some of the engineering features that ensure outdoor digital signs provides years of reliable performance:
- Durable tempered glass – Standard glass (also known as annealed glass) is relatively fragile and should not be used in applications where it is going to receive a lot of wear. But outdoor digital signs are not made with annealed glass. They are made with tempered glass, which is close to four times stronger than annealed glass. Tempered glass goes through an extensive heat treatment process that sees the glass heated up to more than 600 degrees Celsius. Following heat treatment, the glass is rapidly cooled during a process known as “quenching.” Quickly heating and cooling the glass creates pockets of compression at the edges. Compressed glass is resistant to shattering and can withstand much more pressure. In fact, it’s common for tempered glass to handle pressures in excess of 20,000 psi, which is far greater than the display is likely to ever see.
- IP rated enclosures – IP ratings detail how well an electronic product is able to ward off water and small particulates like dust. IP ratings are perhaps the easiest shorthand to determine what kind of environment an electronic product can handle. The ratings are represented by a two digit number, the first details the display’s resistance to solid intrusion and the second refers to the display’s resistance to water intrusion. Outdoor digital signage is usually made with IP 65 standards at least, and this means the display is completely sealed from dust and can withstand splashing water without damage. This is the minimum rating, and it’s also common to see displays that can withstand powerful water jets or even temporary immersion. Needless to say, this is far more protection than outdoor digital signs typically require.
- Durable LED components – Modern displays are made with LED technology, which is lauded for its ability to shrug off the occasional jostling. Most lights are a liability when they are moved around, like when they are exposed to high winds. LED lighting, though, is built on solid state electronics instead of flaky materials like filaments or pressurized gas chambers. As a result, they are unaffected by many environmental hazards, like high winds or cold temperatures. There are many reasons why display manufactures now emphasize LED technology in their products, but superior durability is one of the most important.
In short, there is little to fear when placing outdoor digital signs. They are built to handle the elements and the kind of day to day wear that comes with being exposed to the public.
But why even consider outdoor digital signs in the first place?
It’s no secret that more and more businesses are relying on digital displays for advertising purposes. There’s just no reason not to. The only legitimate concern against digital advertising is that it costs a bit more upfront, but even this cost is made up for over the display’s lifetime. And the possibilities that come with digital advertising are incredibly enticing. Think about everything that the technology offers:
- Unparalleled creativity – Digital signage comes in a huge variety of form factors. It can be scaled up or down to any degree, even filling up an entire wall with vivid imagery. Standalone displays are popular for boardwalk and plaza areas, where they are prized for advertising and informational applications. In larger venues, microtiles can be arranged in any shape or size, producing striking image patterns that people can’t help but pay attention to.This creativity extends mere form factor as well. Digital signage allows graphic designers and layout artists to take full advantage of their abilities, opening up the toolbox for companies looking for attractive advertising. Colors are more vivid and brighter. Layouts are more dynamic, and the addition of media or animation can put a sign over the top. None of this is possible with standard print advertising.
- Excellent controllability – Outdoor digital signs are accessible remotely and designed to be easy to manage on the backend. This allows business owners to change the complexion of their advertising at a moment’s notice. For example, prior to a busy summer season, a business owner can have their designer put together ads for hot days, rainy days and holidays. When the weather turns or a big event is coming up, it only takes a couple buttons presses to change an ad’s target. With outdoor digital signage, business owners never have to waste an opportunity.
- Efficient and green – Print advertising is hard on the environment. They have to be switched out so often that waste is inevitable, including financial waste. Outdoor digital signage is the answer to this, as it runs on extremely efficient LED technology to function. LED displays, obviously, don’t require print materials, so business owners don’t have to churn though piles of paper and ink to keep their advertising relevant. And LEDs function with sophisticated semiconductor components, which produce almost no energy waste. This is why LEDs radiate little heat, as that energy is instead being spent on light.This added efficiency keeps operating costs to a minimum and reduces a business’s environmental impact. It’s a win for the owner and a win for the planet.
- Interactive capabilities – Some outdoor digital signs take things a step forward by coming complete with interactivity. Interactive displays offer superior engagement and allow customers to explore a restaurant’s menu or a shop’s specials at their leisure, with no pressure. The sheer novelty of interactive displays is enough to attract people who otherwise would have no interest in a business’s offerings. Interactive displays are also associated with high end shops and restaurants as well, so companies that opt for them will get a commensurate boost in image.Interactive digital signage is particularly well-suited for informational applications. It can be tied to maps or event schedules to give pedestrians a sense of where to go, and help people find their way around arenas and stadiums.
- Long-term support – Outdoor digital sign solutions are executed by A/V integrators, and a reputable integrator brings a lot to the table, other than providing equipment. A/V integrators have a lot of brainpower on their teams, brainpower that can be used to spot technical issues, improve system efficiency, and offer insight into how to upgrade or replace system components when they reach end of life. A/V integrators are not confined to digital signage either, and can help businesses with their communications across the board.
It’s inevitable – eventually most businesses will find that a shift to outdoor digital signs makes plain sense. It will soon be one of the bedrock A/V solutions that business owners can’t do without, and this feeling will only grow stronger as digital signage is improved upon into the future.