SO EXPLAIN THIS TO ME: What’s so special about digital signage?

For some reason, the concept of digital signage is hard to understand. I’ve written several articles about it, and yet there are still people who don’t “get it.” So, it seems like the best thing to do is write down some of the explanations I’ve used that actually have made sense to people. If you’re curious or if you have never really understood what digital signage could do for your life, settle in and enjoy. For the rest of you, I promise there are literally thousands of other articles on this blog that could interest you. Heck, there’s a whole internet out there full of interesting stuff.

You know how, when you go to order at the counter, there’s a big menu behind the person? Imagine if that menu were made out of TVs and not 30-year-old plastic.

Digital signage for walk-up restaurants is a hot market segment. Not only do those TVs up behind the counter look cool, they actually make it easy for the restaurant manager to change products and prices quickly. I mean, if it were easy to change those old plastic menu boards, do you think people would use paper and magic markers to do it?

With digital signage, the manager just has to change the presentation and it will go into effect immediately. This makes it easy to quietly change prices, too. Good thing digital signage ends up being cheaper in the long run than those old menu boards.

You know how, when you walk through a modern downtown hotel, there are big TVs, usually set sideways, that tell you about the meetings there? If you haven’t been there in a while, you might remember typewritten sheets that tell you where the meetings are.

Hotels have been real early adopters of digital signage. In the days before digital signage, schedules were printed out and people had to run to every corner of the hotel to change them. Little cards put next to the doorways had to be changed in a hurry if those schedules were changed at the last minute, and that meant a lot of labor. It also sometimes meant a person literally standing at the door telling people of the change.

With digital signage, daily schedules can be changed instantly and even those cards next to the doors are being replaced with little displays. Changes to the schedule can be made instantly and it’s a huge labor savings. Guests like it too because with more accurate information, they waste less time.

Digital signage isn’t those electronic billboards or those signs on the road that tells you Interstate 96 is slow because of snow. It’s also not the jumbotron at your favorite sporting event.

Well, technically those things are digital signage, because they’re signage and they’re digital, but it’s not what we’re talking about here. Super-large signs like that are usually custom made and not something you can put together yourself. Digital signage tends to be thought of as an indoor thing, because it usually combines some sort of compact player with a TV.

Yeah, a computer running powerpoint or a screen saver is technically digital signage, but that’s a pretty poor way of doing it.

It’s a waste of a computer, even an older one, setting it up with a powerpoint or screen saver. Oh, if you have an old computer laying around that’s fine, but you know at some point it’s going to crash and you’ll have all your customers coming up to you and telling you there’s some sort of error on the screen. It’s annoying and unprofessional. You don’t want to be featured on a blog like thisDigital signage systems start just over $100 and they’re much more reliable than old computers.

So, does that explain things any better? If not, let me know

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.