At first glance, it may seem easy to think of digital signage solutions to be cut and dried regardless of whether the application is for indoor or outdoor use.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, digital signage deployments for outdoor applications are very different from indoor deployments and require special attention to placement, environmental operating conditions and display selection, to name a few considerations.
Outdoor advertising revenue in the U.S. rose 4.6 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, generating $7.3 billion, according to a recent report. In addition, the global market for outdoor advertising is projected to reach $50.7 billion by 2020, with much of this growth being driven by increased reliance on digital billboards and kiosks augmented by mobile and social media campaigns.
The challenge for solution providers is to leverage this growth trend in ways that spell increased sales and successful outdoor digital signage deployments for your customers. Here are a few tips to consider when recommending outdoor signage solutions for your customers:
1. Insist on Ruggedized Displays
Rugged LED displays are designed specifically to operate under harsh environmental conditions. Originally, they were designed for military applications where resistance to heat, humidity and extreme vibration are mandatory.
Rugged LED displays are designed with a protective impact-resistant glass able to operate effectively under extreme outdoor conditions. Look for displays with an ingress protection (IP) rating of at least IP65. This will ensure the display is resistant to dust and water ingress.
2. Don’t Skimp on Brightness
Commercial-grade outdoor displays not only have to be rugged, but they have to be extremely bright—as in able to compete with direct sunlight.
While your typical indoor digital display may come in around 500 nits of brightness, outdoor LED displays often put out 2,000 to 5,000 nits of brightness or more, with contrast ratios around 1,500:1 to 3,000:1.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but outdoor signage installers will often set up displays based on available real estate and without regard to the amount of light hitting the screens during peak viewing times.
While it may be unrealistic to set up a time-lapse camera to study brightness at various times of the day, an awning installed above the LED display could provide just enough shade to keep your message from getting washed out by too much sunlight.
4. Temperature Range
A ruggedized LED outdoor display should be able to operate within a wide temperature range in order to withstand the challenges presented by outdoor environments. That means the display should typically be able to operate at a range of -40°C to 85°C or as close as possible. This is the temperature range specified for military-grade displays, which typically operate in the harshest of environments.
Currently, one leading manufacturer makes a 40-inch display capable of operating between -20°C and 50°C, and LG makes a 72-inch ruggedized display with an operational temperature range of -30°C to 50°C. Unless your digital signage is deployed in places like Antarctica or Death Valley, California, you should be okay within these operating ranges.
5. Power, Connectivity and Serviceability
Power and network connectivity to the displays is another concern. Solution providers can coordinate these needs with a signage partner that assists in providing full digital solutions. A third-party vendor can even provide the necessary power and network requirements, and your customer can then use its own vendor or internal resource for content.
Another important reason to partner with a third-party vendor is that it can provide software solutions that can be managed virtually and scheduled in advance, which means your customers can focus on analyzing results and ROI rather than worrying about uploading content, etc.
Since outdoor signage is required to run 24/7/365, even high-quality systems will require maintenance from time to time. Make sure that whatever third-party vendor you choose to partner with is also certified and/or qualified to work on outdoor digital installments.
Follow the tips above to ensure the likelihood of outdoor digital signage success for your customers.