How Does Digital Signage Work?

Kiril Havezov

Basics

Businesses use digital signage to display advertising messages electronically. Operating from a computer terminal, the display can change daily, weekly or hourly. Digital signage can be very attractive and draw customers with cutting edge designs, colors and graphics.

Digital signage displays provide the advertiser with complete control over the message at all times. More attention is garnered by alternating an ad with news and entertaining video clips. Digital signage is being used to impart information at airports and shopping malls that is both informative and promotional. Changing sales can be advertised as they happen.

Split screens allow advertisers to transmit weather reports beside coming attractions. Large complexes such as hospitals and train stations can signal hall closings and train arrivals on digital signs. Commercial buildings can welcome and direct visitors. Digital signs work efficiently in hotels to announce meetings and conferences and to deliver emergency instructions in any setting.

Software

There are a number of different software programs that allow digital signage to be incorporated in a variety of ways. Business owners with waiting rooms can plug a digital signage program into their existing television sets and run ads, let customers know when their car is ready--or when it's their turn to see the dentist. The program displays directly on the TV screen while the shows are running. Other software for digital signage programs allows the users to create customized content that includes video and audio through a computer program.

Desktop management of the signage is easy with an integrated software system. Program the changes on the signs and upgrade the message at any time. A digital signage platform usually includes the tools to design the signs, schedule and deploy the messages, and monitor the system.

Hardware

A digital player holds and plays the advertising message, and it is connected to the screen. Screens can range from small foot-long hanging signs to billboards, poster-size or freestanding marquees. Plasma, LCD and projector monitors can provide the format for digital signage. Speakers inside the monitor or attached to the player can add music to the display or talking ads that promote the advertisers.

Cameras can display live video feeds on digital signs at sporting events and concerts. Interactive kiosks and signs allow customers to touch the screen and receive directions or additional information. Wireless signage provides a medium for sending signals to any number of signs that do not need to be attached to the player.