As interactive technologies continue to take hold in the digital signage industry, value-added resellers (VARs) are rushing to get up to speed on the back end of these complex digital systems. Those who have previous IT experience are seeing interactive as an opportunity to leverage their expertise in new and profitable ways. With interactive signage growing at a rapid pace, you have an exciting new venue in which to grow your business—but only if you put your knowledge of IT cabling to good use.
In many cases, cabling may be a bit of an afterthought in digital signage systems. However, interactive requires a bit more planning, since cabling can truly make or break your system.
Here, we take a look at a few cabling considerations for interactive digital signage:
1. Choice of components.
Today’s advanced cabling technology enables reliable data transmission for any type of display, even those with highly specific interactive requirements. For most interactive systems, you’ll likely be using digital formats of DVI and HDMI and, in some cases, fiber optic.
Of course, the customer’s budget and the installation environment will have a huge impact on your choice of components. You may have to contend with various challenges, such as long cable runs (see below); physical obstacles; or difficult construction materials, such as concrete or metal. Keep these in mind when designing each system.
2. Quality of cabling.
Just like any other piece of an interactive digital signage solution, the quality of the cabling that you select does make a difference. Once you are familiar with the types of components that are needed for an interactive system, it’s important to put some time into researching what is considered most reliable. That way, you can rest assured that you’re working with the highest-quality cabling available from leading providers such as C2G (Cables To Go), Belkin, and V7.
If you’re not already familiar with some of the best-in-class cabling providers, you might consider partnering with a technology distributor to help get started. A leading distributor can help give you quick and reliable access to the industry’s best cabling vendors, as well as offer support when you have design or troubleshooting questions.
3. Length of cable runs.
If an installation requires HD content to be transmitted more than 45 feet, you might experience some quality degradation—and that goes for your interactive features as well. In this case, extenders and amplifiers will be a big part of the solution.
Today, there is a wide range of options available to extend interactive video and other content. You’ll likely start with high-quality DVI or HDMI cable and then turn to signal boosters, sender/receiver extension systems, and wireless extenders for longer-range transmission (up to 300 feet or more). Many of these are available with wireless capabilities, which offers an extra level of flexibility during both the installation and while servicing the system.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve encountered while working with interactive digital signage technologies? How has your knowledge of IT systems helped you overcome these obstacles?