As digital signage becomes more prevalent as an attention-getting tool to attract buyers or convey announcements and other relevant information to the public, more and more installations are showing up outdoors to capture the attention of commuters, shoppers and other passersby.
Related: 5 Keys to Outdoor Digital Signage Success
Outdoor advertising is projected to be worth almost $51 billion by 2020, driven largely by the growth of outdoor digital signage platforms.
As with their indoor kin, good placement and quality content for outdoor advertising are essential to success; however, the effects of extreme temperature, unstable power sources and airflow contamination are perhaps the most important considerations when implementing a digital signage system outdoors.
Standard electronic components are just not well-suited to operate in hostile weather conditions unless they are designed from the onset to do so. For example, typical digital displays, media players and servers operate best between 32°F and 102°F.
Consider that an average January day in International Falls, Minnesota, gets no higher than 15°F or that the average high in Phoenix, Arizona, can reach 106°F in July. It’s clear that any outdoor digital signage deployment must be rugged enough to operate in those extreme climates.
Knowing how to overcome extreme weather for outdoor digital signage will enable value-added resellers (VARs) and customers to maximize the potential for positive outcomes.
Here are four tips:
1. Plan for Inclement Weather, Really
Planning for bad weather may seem like a no-brainer, but surprisingly many outdoor digital signage solutions aren’t suitably matched for the typical environment they operate in. Yet VARs and systems integrators that haven’t checked the specifications may unknowingly recommend them anyway.
Specifications on outdoor displays vary with the manufacturer. Some work better in certain environments than others. So it’s best to pair outdoor displays with the most likely expected weather patterns.
Power grids in some areas are more reliable than others, so it’s best to check with the local utility company to know what to expect. If local power is unstable or unreliable, it may be worth it to invest in specialized power-surge hardware or a backup generator.
2. Go Rugged
Ruggedized displays and computers have long been used for military applications and have only recently been making their way to the pro AV space as systems designers increasingly take digital signage solutions outdoors.
Ruggedized displays and media players are specifically designed to be resistant to water and particulate (sand, dust) ingress. The level of ingress protection (IP#) should be indicated somewhere in the specification sheet. The higher the number, the more protection against water and dust intrusion.
Ruggedized outdoor displays, media players and servers operate at a much broader temperature range than standard devices?between -40°F and 140°F or even higher.
Likewise, ruggedized enclosures are often manufactured with heat-dissipating “fins” designed into the chassis and special cooling technologies for CPU-intensive software applications. Displays are often encased and insulated and/or feature impact-resistant glass for all climate scenarios.
3. Shine Bright
LCD digital displays are between 300 and 400 nits in brightness, which is nowhere near what’s needed for outdoor digital signage. Using Phoenix again as an example, with an average of 299 sunny days per year, one can surmise that 300 nits falls far short in brightness.
Outdoor signage should be capable of at least 2,000 nits, with 5,000 nits not unheard of in very sunny locations. Another key feature for outdoor signage is that high-brightness displays should also have a dimmer feature that adjusts at night to avoid blinding drivers and passersby.
4. Cover Up
The simplest and most cost-effective way to protect displays from extreme weather is to provide basic shelter in the form of an awning, canopy or similar structure. Interactive touchscreen displays, especially, are vulnerable to direct sunlight, rain and glare. Installing displays using these protective measures may save on expensive repairs down the road.
What tips do you have for overcoming extreme weather when deploying digital signage outdoors?