Maintaining a digital signage network for restaurants and retail establishments means enabling an efficiently-designed system to do its job. With the recent developments in systems intelligence, such as monitoring software within displays, integrators have the opportunity to expand their relationship with clients into maintenance of digital signage solutions.
"The trend in the business now is to spend more money building intelligence into the network in order to make it easier to monitor," said Brad Gleeson, president of ActiveLight. "That means the ability to communicate, right down to the display level, about the specific health and well-being of the network."
Also providing opportunity for growth within this market is the increasing number of smaller businesses taking advantage of digital signage technology. "More integrators are looking at their existing customer base and determining that there are opportunities for networked digital signage there," Gleeson said. "It can be networking the displays and a projector in a house of worship or plasma displays in office lobbies. A lot of things they are doing now they may not think is digital signage but in reality, if you've got a central server sending content to a variety of displays that is somehow managed and monitored, that's digital signage."
To the benefit of smaller businesses, obtaining these types of solutions is easier than ever as the systems become simpler and more standardized. "Every day the technology is coming down in cost and it's becoming more cost-effective for a smaller business to invest into this market," observed Joe Lapchick, sales executive for Lighthouse JumboVision. "Every year since 1998 -- when the blue LED came out and they were able to make the full-color video screens -- the prices have gone down and the screens are built better."
As far as integration goes, the equipment and components required to display digital signage or narrow-casting systems are fairly standard in the industry at the moment. "The technology aspect comes in where we have a new platform to communicate information beyond just music or static images," said Adam Dole, engineering manager for DMX Music. "What's attractive with digital signage is the capability for users to address their entire marketing network in real time."
Combining existing video systems with digital signage has opened more doors for manufacturers such as Chyron, with its ChyTV graphics on video messaging system.
"We feel there is a big gap when it comes to strictly television or video-centric types of applications for digital signage," said Chyron's Tedd Jacoby. "The ChyTV approach is for an existing television system that needs to add graphics and messages at a localized capability." Where there are existing television systems in place with a captive audience-a waiting room, corporate lobby or cafeteria-independent messages and graphic content can be displayed with ChyTV.
Back on the subject of hardware, advancements have been made by many manufacturers to overcome issues related to digital signage displays. First, to eliminate glare, the Vikuiti rear-projection screen consists of three layers: a layer of optical microspheres, a light-absorbing layer and an acrylic layer with a non-glare surface.