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Digital Signage Goes Outdoors

Author: IV DIckson, Director, Digital Signage /Tuesday, May 01, 2018/Categories: Professional Services for your Network

Digital signage has become increasingly common as organizations employ the technology to deliver dynamic and highly targeted messaging to a variety of audiences. Analysts say rising demand for these compelling solutions will make digital signage a $33 billion market by 2023.

Technological advances in outdoor digital signage will contribute to a good portion of that growth.

Until recently, digital signage initiatives have been almost exclusively focused on reaching indoor audiences. There were simply too many challenges involved with supporting outdoor displays — bright sunlight can make them practically unreadable, extreme weather conditions can disable them, and there is always the threat of vandalism.

Engineering advances have neutralized many of these challenges. So-called “high-bright” displays that generate more than 2,500 nits (a unit of visible-light intensity) deliver the color contrast and brightness to make signage readable even in direct sunlight. Powder-coated aluminum housings resist moisture, humidity, dust, extreme temperatures and even insects. For additional peace of mind, extremely durable signage enclosures protect against theft or tampering.

Retail, financial services and public transportation are seen as very strong vertical markets for outdoor digital signage. However, analysts are nearly unanimous in identifying quick service restaurants (QSRs) as the sector with the most obvious use case for high-bright outdoor signage.

Consider first that the vast majority of QSR customers don’t come inside the building. Various market studies find that up to 70 percent of QSR sales come at the drive-thru window — and that figure is likely to increase as time-pressed customers place a premium on speed and convenience. Whether picking up dinner for the whole family or simply grabbing a late-night snack after the dining room is closed, customers value the ability to be served without leaving the car.

Outdoor digital menu boards aren’t entirely for the customer’s convenience, either. The restaurants benefit from eliminating the cost and resources involved with posting and updating traditional printed menu signs in the drive-thru. They have the flexibility to change menu items, prices and promotions based on sales, customer and contextual data. For example, digital signage makes it simple to implement on-the-spot discounts on slow-moving items, as well as remove information or promotions on items that are out of stock.

According to a Forrester Research study, outdoor digital menus allow QSRs to reduce their operating costs, increase sales, streamline operations and deliver a better customer experience through more relevant and targeted digital content. Based on in-depth interviews with customers and a survey of 150 QSR operators, the study concluded that a 10-store QSR organization would achieve a 196 percent return on investment, with payback in 11 months.

While the benefits are well-established, this is not a do-it-yourself technology. Expert installation and maintenance are critical to ensure high levels of performance and reliability in harsh outdoor environments. These systems also have significant network bandwidth requirements and can disrupt or slow the performance of other business applications if your network isn’t up to the task. In addition, you’ll need a content management system to create and customize messaging in a thoughtful and professional way.

SageNet understands that QSRs may not have the time, expertise or internal resources to design, implement and manage outdoor digital signage. We can help. With our end-to-end approach, we can design, deploy, monitor and support multisite digital signage solutions. We can work with you to identify objectives and your usage requirements, and develop a solution that meets those targets.

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