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Mercedes-Benz Stadium Will House Largest LED Video Display In Sports

The largest LED video display in all of sports will be housed at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium..

Home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is partnering with Daktronics on the first-of-its-kind 360-degree halo display, which will be manufactured and installed above the field as part of the stadium’s retractable roof. It will be nearly three times larger than the next largest video display in the NFL.

Additionally, a mega column LED display will stretch 101 feet from the first concourse level to the roof, adding to the 82,500 square feet of video displays throughout the entire stadium.

The halo display, which stands at 58 feet high by 1,075 in circumference, is large enough for a helicopter to fly through and 27 times larger than the current Georgia Dome video display. The 6,700 square foot four-sided display column will have more square footage than the main video display boards at 19 NFL venues and 24 MLB venues. Along with the halo and mega columns displays will be 12 other LED displays throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Mark J Burns, SportTechie

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Is outdoor digital signage eco-friendly?

Is your business eco-conscious? Are you unsure if outdoor digital signage is eco-friendly? Perhaps this will solve your dilemma.

You're considering upgrading from print-based advertising to digital advertising. You've already made the transition to online, but the problem is you're not reaching the customer on the ground -- those customers who enjoy a visit to Main Street or the shopping malls.

The only way you know how to reach them is by using posters or billboards, which require huge amounts of paper and create even more waste, which is a black mark against your business in these eco-friendly times.

You've looked at outdoor digital signage as a solution and perhaps created an "objection list." Perhaps that list looks something like this:

  • digital signage costs too much;
  • it's too much effort to maintain; and
  • my business is too small to go digital.

You're asking the wrong question about outdoor digital signage

Now, something else is bothering you about opting for digital signage. It's probably further down your objection list, but it's there nonetheless. You're questioning the environmental credentials of outdoor digital signage, asking yourself: Is digital signage eco-friendly?

This is the wrong question to ask. Compared to print-based advertising, outdoor digital signage is much more green.

A better question to ask is: Would outdoor digital signage improve upon my current environmental footprint compared to my print advertising methods?

The answer should be "yes." Anything that reduces your environmental footprint is a huge plus, digital signage included. 

Outdoor digital signage vs. print advertising: The eco-friendly war

Imagine, if you will, that you've had 1,000 posters printed for a new promotional campaign, for which you've waited a couple of weeks. You set down the boxes, open the first one and — catastrophe — you immediately spot a glaring error. The posters end up in a landfill, and you have to request another print run. That's one serious waste of paper.

With errors on digital signage content, there's no such drama. Content can be quickly edited without further damage to the environment.

Question: What do you do with your posters after your campaign has finished? Do you recycle them? Kudos if you do. However, chances are they're probably disposed of with general waste and now occupy a landfill site.

Think of a quick service restaurant with 100 outlets worldwide. Each outlet is still using posters to display their menus. A call comes in from head office, saying "We're adding new items to the menu and our posters need changing." That's a lot of paper to dispose of and a whole lot more being used to replace them.

Consider your favorite quick service restaurant. Imagine them in this scenario and then think about how often it adds a new menu item. It could be every week, every month or every time it runs a promotional offer.

Regardless the frequency at which these menus are changed, can you envision the huge amount of paper used in a year simply by replacing menu posters on a weekly or monthly basis? 

Based on this example alone, digital signage holds the upper hand in the eco-friendly stakes, instantly eliminating paper wastage.

But paper can be recycled, and that's good for the environment

Yes, paper can be recycled. However, there's still an environmental impact for recycling. You dispose of your posters on a weekly or monthly basis, responsibly. That's great. Now, consider how your waste makes its way to the recycling plant. No doubt it's picked up by a fuel-guzzling truck that's pumping out fumes all the way to the recycling center.

If you're disposing of such waste on a weekly or monthly basis, the environmental implications are more harmful than transporting a digital signage network just once to your location. Additionally, the machinery required to sort recycling and process it into something else uses a lot of energy.

We're not saying outdoor digital signage is 100 percent eco-friendly

Nothing is 100 percent eco-friendly. To suggest that outdoor digital signage is would be absurd. However, it's a marked improvement on print-based advertising methods. Yes, LCD screens do require a considerable amount of energy to be powered. However, technological advancements continue to make LCD screens more efficient.

In fact, LED screens offer an eco-friendly alternative to LCD screens. They use less electricity and tend to have a longer lifespan, meaning they avoid the landfill for considerably longer.

Yet, the longevity of LCD screens can be extended by introducing a digital signage enclosure. Enclosures work to keep screens cooler through the use of fans and other cooling devices, preventing malfunction and stopping them from ending up in landfill ahead of their time. Again, this reduces your environmental impact long-term.

In the future, digital signage will be your ally

Compared to churning out endless reams of printed posters, outdoor digital signage is a massive step forward in terms of reducing your company's environmental impact. A day is coming when businesses will be severely reprimanded for failing to adhere to environmental guidelines and that includes the overuse of paper.

The impact of humanity on the environment has become a big issue among world leaders in recent years. While you may feel they're being "preachy," they have the power to bring your business into line with environmental guidelines.

If ever you needed an incentive to upgrade from print-based advertising to digital, consider the future demands that will be placed on your business to conform to these environmental guidelines.

Outdoor digital signage will become your eco-friendly ally, and investment in it will cost less than any levy or fine likely to hit businesses in the future as world governments look to clampdown on environmental concerns.

Daniel Waldron

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Digital signage comes alive with social media content

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It's unlikely that you'll make it through the day without seeing at least one digital sign. Digital signage is becoming a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. On the way to work, on the subway, at shops, and even at your doctor's office, digital screens are everywhere.

While I know I'd be preaching to the converted if I just evangelized the benefits of digital signage in general, what you may find more of a revelation is just how powerful the combination of digital signage and social media is for building brand awareness and influencing customer behavior to benefit the bottom line.

Before I get to the social media bit — and I know I said we wouldn't evangelize — let's revisit a few of the highlights. For starters, digital signs are far more engaging than their static counterparts:

  • 63 percent of us see digital signage every day, and
  • digital signs capture 400 percent more views than static signs.

With stats like that it's no wonder that while print advertising revenue is projected to decrease by 23.8 percent over the next four or five years, digital advertising revenue is set to grow by 11 percent in the same period.

So, considering that the consumer seems to prefer impactful, eye-catching digital signs, brand awareness and sales should both see big benefits. Research provides evidence that this is indeed the case:

  • a 48 percent increase in brand awareness among consumers, and
  • a 33 percent increase in sales.

The benefits don't stop there. Exposure to digital signage has been shown to increase:

  • the average purchase amount of consumers by as much as 29.5 percent, and
  • repeat customers by as much as 32.8 percent.

Upping your customer retention by a third is a powerful step in increasing brand advocacy.  And there's more: 29 percent of consumers, when asked, said that seeing an in-store video urged them to make a purchase they otherwise wouldn't have.

Appealing to our emotions, compelling consumer behavior and encouraging advocacy is at the heart of digital signage. While conventional content achieves this to an extent, there is one medium that makes use of consumer behavior and emotion more than any other: Social media.

Social media dominates so many aspects of modern life, and the business world is no exception. Eighty-eight percent of B2B marketers and 76 percent of B2C marketers are making active use of content marketing to build their brand online and generate stronger digital performance. However set this against the reality that the majority of shopping still happens offline, face-to-face and with a physical presence of both parties. Using retail as an example, 92 percent of sales in the U.S. were offline. This goes to show how important social media and content marketing is both offline and online, and how powerful combining social media with offline sales can potentially be.

Owned and earned content

Brand-owned and earned content such as user generated content are, in combination, responsible for a 28 percent rise in brand engagement. Not only that, but more specifically for UGC:

  • 84 percent of those who trust social media are much more likely to trust content created by their peers than by a brand, and 
  • 68 percent trust consumer reviews versus the 64 percent who trust professional reviews.

Most importantly, UGC increases sale conversions by 7 percent when featured at the point of sale. Further rises in sales, by 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively, can occur due to either presenting the number of "likes" in posts or by showcasing reviews, which are both inextricably connected with UGC.

With all of that in mind, it comes as no surprise that digital screens containing an integrated mosaic of social media posts are to be found at events, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, streets and just about everywhere. We know that digital signage increases sales and that consumers trust each other the most, so combining these two winning formulas is where the sweet-spot is. Combining digital signage and UGC across social media provokes substantial sales increases. It is the exact point where we as marketers want to be: Closely associated with two marketing mega stars that happen to be even better when they duet!

How do we make the most of social and UGC content?

We are at a crossroads in terms of modern marketing, an era in which the borders between all of the different marketing disciplines have become increasingly blurred with each passing day. Social media marketing is powerful, especially if integrated and combined with digital signage. What separates the good marketing campaigns and activities with the great ones is vital.

Being able to tailor your message to a specific audience by targeting defined groups is what will make the difference. The extent to which companies will adapt and learn to adjust their message through social media — depending on factors such as location, culture, demographics and time zone — is the ultimate challenge. Programmatic and content marketing are no longer buzzwords but realities that need to be faced head on.

By Konstantinos Vgenopoulos, Digital Marketing Executive, Miappi Ltd.

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8 near-future trends set to change out-of-home advertising

The out-of-home industry is set to evolve more rapidly over the next 18 months. The oldest advertising format has seen significant changes; mobile convergence, developments in digital platforms and data sources are changing industry perception.

The number of digital screens will increase significantly due to several factors, including changing city government legislations and the significantly lower cost to produce LED screens. Outfront and Intersection are two major OOH vendors who have announced plans to steadily roll out digital screens across major cities. Intersection's Link project will transform the visual identity of New York City neighborhoods; widespread implementation of Wi-Fi hotspots are replacing phone booths on street corners, all supported by advertising revenue via large digital screens.

There will be new developments in hyper-targeting. OOH planning systems are integrating with data sources including mobile carrier data, online browsing behavior and shopper purchase records. Marketers will be able utilize OOH to target micro-specific segments on the move. In an election year, presidential campaigns will tap into first-party polling and CRM location data to target constituents in real-time.

Real-Time OOH trading will steadily increase, as more OOH vendors integrate inventory into demand-side-platforms. The format's ability to target consumers in real-time based on previous location histories has led to automotive, travel and retail advertisers dipping their toes in the water. Expect more marketers to expand their real-time initiatives in 2016 to include OOH.

OOH will become more intelligent as forward-thinking brands take advantage of developments in Internet-connected screens, facial/object recognition and external data feeds. A convergence of art and science will lead to OOH creative that self-optimizes based on how people react. Dynamic content triggered by data feeds already allows advertisers to change creative in real-time based on external conditions including CRM data, weather, sports scores, traffic and social media sentiment. General Motors regularly incorporates dynamic creative into OOH based on numerous data feeds; for instance, heated steering wheel creative is displayed when the temperature drops below 42°F.

Beacon adoption will grow, focused on analytics. Smart marketers will utilize Bluetooth Low Energy Devices (beacons) for data collection to gain a better understanding of their customers' instore behavior. Large retailers including Macy's already have rolled out beacons across their network of stores; this provides a wealth of valuable data such as popular products and aisles, with the ability to track store promotions right to the register.

OOH will be a core part of social and mobile strategies, and we will see more campaigns with OOH as a centerpiece. Coca-Cola launched an integrated digital campaign in Times Square as an extension of its hugely successful "Share a Coke" campaign, incorporating large digital billboards, Google search data, mobile and a socially activated call to action.

OOH will start being recognized as a direct response medium. As cardless payments including Tweet to pay and mobile payments gain traction with merchants, consumer usage will increase beyond early adopters. This boom in contactless "card-free" mobile payments is forecast to more than double this year, and over the next five years, U.S. mobile payments alone are forecasted to grow from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 2019 (Forrester). OOH will increase its relevance along the consumer journey; a format perceived primarily as a brand-awareness driver can now become an instrument in driving real-time purchase.

The ad industry will face pressure to demonstrate accountability as marketers become increasingly sensitive to digital ad-viewability and ad-blocking. OAAA's recent "#FeelTheReal" campaign showcased the effectiveness of OOH as a 100 percent viewable medium. Expect increased scrutiny of all media channels, and an increase in startups specializing in media measurement.

The above OOH predictions are based on advances in technology that will continually shape the industry. Expect more intelligent, highly-targeted and measurable campaigns as the OOH medium evolves.

By Jeff Tan, VP of Strategy, Posterscope USA

Posterscope is a global out-of-home communications agency and location expert. It knows more about what people think, feel and do out of home, and translates this understanding into compelling, creative and quantifiable out-of-home solutions through its investment in data, technology and people, which make a meaningful difference to clients' businesses.

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Three BIG ideas from the Digital Signage Expo

1.  Solutions, solutions, solutions – Everyone is talking solutions, from startup newcomers like FriendMedia to the big kids like LG, Samsung and NEC Display. Display providers highlighted their own tech, but also showing off the work they do with partners to craft solutions from bespoke curved OLED video walls to ruggedized outdoor displays for train and bus stations. And they're trying to cover all their format bases too, whether it's LEDs, projectors, LCDs, 4K or OLEDs, to accomplish the customer's goals.

2.  OLED, OLED, OLED - Speaking of OLEDs, whether it's curved, wallpaper, transparent or something else, the display manufacturers are looking to the future or in some cases preparing for the present with a variety of OLED display solutions either ready to go or very close to it. (And this item could just as easily be LED, LED, LED. There were LED manufacturers dotting the floor, but the display manufacturers also are getting into the LED game as a bezel-free alternative to LCD video walls for extra-large-format displays.)

3.  Experience, experience, experience – How do brands, agencies, retailers, restaurants, you name it, capture customers' attention and either lead them down the path to purchase or develop relationships with customers to keep them from heading to Amazon.com to get what they want? You give them an experience, and digital signage providers are answering the bell to help provide that experience. On the show floor there were solutions that allowed customers to virtually try on clothes without changing a stitch in the real world, or use a mirror display to both look at themselves in their new clothes and view promotional content or call a salesperson to bring a different size. As Infusion Digital and Technology Advisor Brandon Elliott said in a session called "Beyond Digital Signage: Creating "Intelligent Spaces": "Your retail space needs to be half theme park, half retail. That's what people are going to come to. That's the answer to Amazon."

Christopher Hall, MD, Interactive Customer Experience Association

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3 reasons retailers should make the switch from print to digital signage

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3 reasons retailers should make the switch from print to digital signage

The way retailers communicate is changing. Print ads are no longer the flashy, new guy in town. In fact, making the switch from print to digital signage is increasing everyday as more and more companies realize the power and impact HD digital signage has on their branding message.

With the ability to change content on the fly, schedule and arrange advertising and messages based upon the time of day or by client facial recognition, savvy organizations are starting to make the switch from print ads to digital signage. And for good reason. HD digital signage provides brilliant bright colors and rich, deep blacks of LCD and LED technology and combines the ability to play videos, animations and custom, interactive messages. Digital signage opens up a whole new world of instant, meaningful, custom communication.

Where once we had fixed billboards with custom built extensions coming off of the tops or sides, we now have digital billboards with geo-fencing, LED pixel pitch technology and the ability to change content and schedule content on the fly. And at a fraction of the cost of traditional, printed billboards.

And it's not just the Out-of-Home industry that has been affected. The switch from print to digital displays can be seen in retail markets with digital, interactive point-of-purchase displays, higher education facilities in the form of video walls and corporations where digital signage plays an important role in branding and messaging.

Digital signage does one thing very well, and that is it engages your audience. And ultimately, in advertising and marketing, a solid branding message is what everyone is after. Planning, executing and measuring engagement is more powerful and much easier on an interactive display as opposed to a traditional print ad. Making digital signage the no-brainer for organizations worldwide.

So what are the three reasons retailers should switch from print to digital?

1. Increased Savings

The cost of digital signage is a bit different from print costs. With digital signage, you have a higher cost up front, but a better ROI in the long run. Really the only costs with digital signage is the one-off installation costs, some minor support and maintenance costs, and the cost for having an in-house designer who can push and schedule content, which you probably already have if you are designing print ads.

The other benefit to digital signage costs is getting rid of the recurring printing fees you see in normal print ad production. From magazines to newsletters to posters and murals. The cost of printing these ads, installing them or distributing them, removing them and redoing it all over again can be daunting from a print perspective. Digital signage removes these recurring costs as it is now basically free to put any image, advertisement or interactive display up once you get over the initial installation cost.

2. Real-Time Updates

Imagine a world of print ads where you had to schedule having posters shipped all over the country to your retail locations for your campaigns. Not anymore! With the click of one button you can now send digital content to displays all across the country or the world that reside on your network. Or you can send specific information to specific displays based upon the time of day, the demographic standing in front of the display or branded to a specific group. Or all three within a matter of hours.

This instant way of advertising with digital displays is very cost effective because you aren't printing and shipping printed ads. Not only that but you have much more control over your content then you did with print. See a typo? No biggie, just make the change and push the refreshed content back out. Bam, instant cost savings with real-time updates, does it get any better? Oh yes, yes it does.

3. Truly Engaging Content

When was the last time you physically engaged with a print ad? Yeah, we thought so. And that is why digital signage is becoming so popular. Look around you, everyone is already using digital displays of some sort, whether it's their TVs, computers or smart phones, people are touching and engaging with digital screens every day.

So it's no wonder that digital signage is becoming so popular. Universities are using interactive displays to show students and potential students what is going on in and around campus as well as how to find their classrooms or other facilities. Students can stop and use wayfinding on interactive maps to get a good idea of where to go. And they do all of this by touching the screen, just like they do on their smart phones. The transition of our culture from print to digital ads is almost seamlessly built in.

Interactive, engaging content is also hugely popular in retail locations where brands can literally interact with their consumers. Want to try on a new pair of clothes but don't want to step into a changing facility? No problem, have the display take a picture of you (via it's built in camera or one that has been mounted under or over the screen) and voila, you are now wearing the outfit you wanted to try on, virtually, onscreen. Smart digital signage systems can also utilize facial recognition to determine the demographic of the customers currently standing in your retail store, bar or outlet and will push media content to that demographic. It will be able to determine the age, sex, height, weight, and hair color of the clientele and will use that information to determine what digital media content gets played on the screens.

This kind of "out-of-the-box" thinking regarding the way companies interact with their consumers is the reason engaging content is getting so popular in digital signage. The possibilities are almost endless and you are no longer pigeon-holed into a piece of paper that never changes its shape, size or motion.

Kris Jonson, marketing manager, Level 3 Audiovisual

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Bright Future for Belfast City LED Billboard

Local business Blazin Digital unveiled Times Square, New York technology in Belfast City Centre, completing a two-year project and expecting to reach tens of thousands of people a day. The huge LED billboard is the only roadside digital display of its kind in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and marks an exciting development in the local out of home media landscape.

Andrew Fairfowl, Director of Blazin Digital launches huge LED billboard in Belfast City

Andrew Fairfowl, Director of Blazin Digital launches huge LED billboard in Belfast City

The exciting addition to Belfast City Centre, measuring almost 30 square metres, is situated on Shaftesbury Square in the heart of the City.  The vibrant display delivers over 75,000 impressions daily, targeting several lanes of traffic travelling across the City via the major junction.

The state-of-the-art digital billboard features more than 774,000 LED pixels capable of displaying 4.4 trillion colours, the company said.

Speaking of the launch of the digital billboard, Andrew Fairfowl, Director of Blazin Digital said, “This is a really exciting time for Blazin Digital and we are proud to be leading the way in providing an amazing platform for digital out of home in Ireland.  We would like to thank Belfast City Council and the Planning Department for their help and support in making the project a success. The strong growth in Digital Out Of Home across the globe continues and we are proud to be at the leading edge here in Northern Ireland, and expect to see a rise in global brands investing in digital advertising in the province. We are delighted with the amount of interest shown in the digital billboard. We have received many enquiries and messages of support, and are pleased to offer a new and exciting canvas for local advertising and design companies to exploit the many advantages of DOOH.” 

Danske Bank is the first advertiser to feature on the media platform with a dominating campaign promoting its digital banking solutions and customer satisfaction.

Speaking of the launch of the Danske Bank digital campaign, Nicola McCleery, Head of Marketing of Danske Bank said, “We are really excited to be the pioneering partner for Ireland’s first roadside digital screen. It’s a fantastic and fitting media first for Danske, promoting our own digital offering and our strong customer satisfaction levels.  It’s a great platform for Danske to get noticed in the heart of the city and create awareness for our wide range of digital banking channels and of course, wish everyone a Happy New Year!

More than 27,000,000 impressions are expected from the billboard each year.

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10 Reasons SMBs need Digital Signage

Small and medium-sized businesses struggle to compete with corporate giants. Digital signage provides a helping hand in that struggle, by offering a platform to grab the attention of potential customers, help drive customer traffic and boost sales.

There are many stunning examples of digital signage that attract and interact with customers in ways that can skyrocket business in record time. Here are the top 10 reasons your SMB should be following suit:

1. Digital signage is spreading like wildfire

The reason it's so effective for business is due to its appeal. Papers and banners have a certain appeal, but digital signage can be versatile in ways they can't — mainly due to their ability to display various content, and also to their capability for interactivity, which they can use to pull the user in.

Meanwhile, the average customer was exposed to 14 minutes weekly of digital signage in 2013, which is expected to rise to 56 minutes by 2017. These are only some of the surprising statistics out there regarding digital signage, but despite that trend it's still not fully predictable where the future moves toward.

In other news, digital signage is so popular, store makeovers already have begun to happen. Back in 2014, Samsung selected five winners out of 500 small businesses that entered their Small Business ReDESIGN contest. It goes to show that digital signage truly is a blank piece of paper begging to be filled.

2. How does it benefit your business?

The main thing you require from an average customer (aside from their money) is their trust. Without the second the first will only come once. Certain businesses may benefit from digital signage more than others. As long as you have a place where customers visit or wait, it can be applied.

Dentists and doctors are perfect candidates for digital signage, to name an example. While patients don't wait too long for admission, those few minutes shouldn't be wasted in boredom. For example, I was accompanying a friend to the dentist's office and 30 minutes of my waiting time passed quickly because of a big display screen showing a random show. Imagine if the screen were showing content targeted specifically to the audience typically found waiting in a dentist's office.

3. Not only customers benefit

Digital signage is always effective and provides more benefits to you than you usually take into account.

A digital screen means the most flexible banner in the world.

You don't need to reprint every time you want to make a change. In business, changes happen and the costs add up, but most importantly it's less of a hassle! You preserve time by simply pushing a few buttons, meanwhile with paper it takes longer and you might find yourself Googling "Why won't my printer connect" for the 36th time.

4. Should traditional physical signage be ignored?

The choice between a screen and a static piece of paper is an easy one, but if that's the case why hasn't physical signage evaporated yet? One might say digital signage is cheating because with physical you only have one chance to make a clear and appealing message. You cannot take back the stroke of a brush — unless you have CTRL+Z.

According to one San Diego business owner, physical signage was more effective than word of mouth or other advertisements. His signage brought in 10 new customers within one week, six of which resulted in sales.

Physical signage can also be a unique concept, which should be taken into account alongside digital signage, and it truly means taking the time to develop something that represents you.

5. Digital signage is like taxes

Small businesses struggle to compete with larger companies and corporations, meanwhile digital signage provides an essential factor which can level the playing field. It's kind of like taxes — it scales and adapts to the amount of money in your pocket.

Small businesses have more flexibility than larger ones, allowing changes to occur rapidly. Digital signage is a great asset to use in such a setting. It can lead to one of many inspiring successful stories for any business owner.

6. Is your business fitting for digital signage?

You probably noticed that most examples of small businesses always include coffee shops, food services or others of the same kind. This doesn't mean digital signage is limited to a certain type of business. These examples are often most interesting to showcase, nevertheless it's important to remember that literally any business can benefit from it. In car services for example, you can bring your car to be serviced by simply referring to the data on the screen in front of you. In many cases digital signage is used purely for information purposes which can cut costs and make management easier.

Digital signage can also be used to purely boost internal performance. You can update schedules for workers, display information vital for production or work, and also utilize displays for business conferences, classrooms or any other applicable location.

On a more general note, digital signage has applications beyond the walls of your business. Depending on the state of your business you can find many more creative uses for digital signage that simply focus on attracting the attention of, and creating comfort for, the viewer.

7. Get to know the market

Twenty-three million small businesses present in the U.S. account for 54 percent of all sales in the country, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration stats in 2014. With such a large number, the potential for digital signage is massive. Getting started is always a challenge, and this one may prove easier to handle if you have the knowledge that can guide you to start off strong.

As mentioned it's growing and there's no sign of stopping. Unlike corporations and large businesses, small and medium ones don't have so much sway room and have certain demands when it comes to digital signage. Granted it's a smart investment, but it's hardly one size that fits all and it's important to select the appropriate digital signage for your business.

In other news, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 75 percent of all digital signage projects in 2014 were installations of small and medium businesses with up to 50 displays each. The SMB sector and retail drive digital signage revenues. Lower prices for hardware resulted in a high demand for easy-to-use digital signage solutions in the small and medium business sector.

8. To DIY or not to DIY?

Doing things yourself entices with possible cost savings. It does require time and skill though. While there are several reasons why you should avoid DIY digital signage, with a little learning anyone should be good to run their own signage.

Decisions to be made range from choosing a platform, installing equipment, creating and updating your content, and operating the screens once you have set up your campaign. You may opt for going DIY all the way or just parts of it. Be sure to evaluate beforehand what you can and cannot do in terms of availability, expertise and even interest. The good news is that not only is digital signage more affordable today, it is easier, too.

This will sound overwhelming at first for a small business owner, and you might not know where to start, or you are already running out to the store because you cannot wait to get started. Don't get stuck with incompatibility of your hard- and software. Choosing a digital signage SaaS solution first will give you flexibility and avoid crazy license fees. Then it's just getting a suitable player which integrates well with your selected platform. Place your screen in the wall and start pushing content to it.

A tip for newcomers: Select a platform which is simple and straightforward, so you don't have to spend numerous hours to learn how to work it. If you have a developed IT structure in your business, you can cut expenses in your IT department by establishing an effective infrastructure and finding solutions and tools for it.

9. The customer experience

The most entertaining and appealing aspect of every business is the customer experience. Digital signage can transform in-store and storefront experiences. If the customer feels comfortable and relaxed, they are most likely to return and spread news about your business. While the main factors remain high quality at low prices, comfort has taken an increased value in the passing years.

Easier access to information, interactivity or plain old entertainment is just like that complementary piece of candy or drink you provide to leave an impression and motivate the customer to return.

10. Why shouldn't you use digital signage?

A few years ago digital signage was really expensive and complicated. The situation is very different today. If you aren't using digital signage, you're lagging behind and letting potential customers walk past you.

There are several myths regarding digital signage ranging from its cost to its complexity that oddly enough continue even in today's time. Its cost is often debated, alongside the design and its complexity. The most debated factor is its effectiveness. Think of it as a magnifying glass for your business. If your business is not appealing, digital signage will only reflect that. Creative uses have always yielded great results. Take digital signage and gamification for example.

So what are you waiting for?

If you haven't yet, now is the time to apply digital signage to your business. Even in the smallest form, the business can afford it. Your setup can always be developed and will provide you with a starting point for growth and development.

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Maximise your digital signage this Christmas

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated yet equally stressful times of the year. And this year it will also be the most connected holiday shopping season ever.

As we know, consumers are more connected than ever before and their expectations are constantly rising. They most likely know more about your product than you do. However, it has been proven that consumers are no longer seeking the lowest price in-store. Instead, they expect an engaging experience that empowers them, allowing them to drive their own in-store experience.

Retailers, you have the opportunity to provide just that, plus stand out in the busy Christmas crowd, with digital signage. In fact, according to Edison Research, digital signage will be a strong influencer on consumer purchases this year: "When respondents were asked about place-based ads, approximately 9 out of 10 people said that they notice the illuminated and digital signage throughout the mall during the holiday season. These consumers are 40 percent more likely than the average holiday shopper to be influenced by the ads they see."

Below are three ways you can accomplish this, no matter what level of technology you currently have in-store:

  • 1. For those who have basic digital signage — good content is key.

The old adage is still true, content is king. If you have poor content on your digital signage (e.g., wrong orientation, stretched, static, etc.) then you might as well have posters.

Good content means:

Moving images and/or video - A vital aspect to good digital signage content, movement catches people's attention, enhances excitement and can drive urgency to buy your products. Having digital signage with static content is like owning a Ferrari and only driving it down to the local shops. There's no point in even having it if you're not going to use it properly.

Relevant content - Consumers don't want to see the same content on your digital signage that has been there all year, let alone a repeat of what you featured around Christmas 2014. Updating your content and keeping it relevant to the 2015 Christmas holiday season promises to enhance engagement with your brand. This doesn't mean you should have Christmas-themed content on your displays, just because. The content still needs to align with your brand and the look and feel of your décor. The great thing about digital signage is that it can take your static or physical displays and bring them to life via animated content.

Seamless presentation - If you have more than one screen, whether that be in the form of a video wall, collage wall or single screens throughout your store — each display should be talking to one another. Don't just stretch your image across the four displays that make up your video wall. Don't just play the same content on each individual screen throughout your store. Instead, work in some Christmas-themed content that can jump from one screen to another. For example, imagine Santa's sleigh flying from screen to screen, or Christmas elves taking consumers on a journey throughout your store.

  • 2. For those who have interactive digital solutions — focus on the interactivity.

With more than 31 million connected mobile devices in Australia, the habit to touch and swipe comes intuitively to most. Interactivity is key to engaging consumers, while making their experience as seamless as possible, and there are many ways you can do so.

Interactive Christmas cards are a great way to engage consumers with your brand in-store. Using your touchscreen display, consumers can create their own Christmas card with a personalized message via augmented reality technology. This is a great way to engage consumers of all ages, while driving foot traffic in-store.

Alternatively, your touchscreen display can provide consumers with the inspiration they desire, by allowing them to search for Christmas gifts via age, gender or even hobbies of the person they are buying for. While browsing, product suggestions can pop up to provide further inspiration for consumers and more opportunities for you to upsell.

  • 3. If you have digital signage with add-ons (e.g., a camera, Kinect, etc.) — take advantage of video analytics.

Video analytics are advanced analytics on consumer demographics and movement, allowing you to display targeted messages on your in-store displays.

Using specialized cameras and software, you can obtain valuable information to better target consumers, improve product placement and display, forecast your merchandising and control your inventory. This advanced technology includes solutions for people counting, audience profiling, crowd density and heat mapping, human traffic flow, audience attention, intrusion detection, perimeter defense and loitering detection.

In layman's terms: You can display targeted messages personalized to whoever is standing in front of your digital display at one time. Imagine the possibilities for upselling with this advanced technology.

If you have digital signage in-store, be sure you're using it to your advantage over the upcoming holiday season. With good content, interactivity and targeted messaging, you'll be sure to engage consumers, stand out from the crowd and drive sales.

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5 reasons why holographic marketing is taking over the world!

Over the past few years, there has been a massive increase in the demand for holographic content displays. Some of the biggest brands in the world have seen the impact of this marketing technique; they know that if they want to see an increase in sales and reach, this is the way to go.

Below is a list of the top 5 reasons why holographic marketing is taking over the world:

#1 Lasting Impressions

We’ve all heard the expression “First impressions last” and this statement is true in every sense. The first impression in terms of marketing needs to be impacting, positive and has to linger in the mind of the consumer all the way to the checkout counter.

With holographic marketing, the novelty of 3D elements interacting with real objects is something that inspires ‘awe’ within most consumers.

If this is the first time that prospect looks at your product, rest assured that there will only be positive thoughts concerning the product.

#2 Positive Association

Watching Holographic content is a pleasure to most onlookers; it is something new, refreshing and intriguing – it commands attention. The content tricks the brain to think ‘what it is seeing’ is real, especially when integrating the graphics with a physical object. This positive experience in turn creates a deeper bond between the consumer and the product on display.

Call it ‘eye candy’ if you will.

#3 You Can’t Miss it

The Dreamoc, by Realfiction, is designed in such a manner that the focal point of the display is fixated on your product. Our sight is instantly drawn to rapid movements or dynamic elements. Since the content is created around the product, everything from the case to the images inside elevate your product to a new level of ‘attention grabbing’.

Patterns are pleasing to the human eye, but what is more pleasing is something that breaks that pattern. Within isles of static product promotions, a dynamic display that breaches the expectation of the viewer is the break within the pattern that most brands desire.

#4 Shock and Awe

If you have never seen a holographic display in full HD, you won’t understand how it takes a minute for your mind to put things into order. Frequently you’ll see people examining the display cases trying to figure out how they managed to graphic elements with a real physical object.

Even when you know the science behind it the Dreamoc, you’ll still find yourself gazing at the pretty lights that seem to defy the laws of reality.

#5 Lingering memories

Finally, one of the goals of a successful marketing campaign is to have your brand linger in the mind of the consumer. With Holographic content marketing, you make a firm impression within their subconscious. You added value to their shopping experience by bringing them a fresh new platform of advertisement.

Conclusion

Rest assured that in all likeliness the consumer will rave about the innovative new presentation of your product within their own social circles.

Holographic content marketing provides unique opportunities for brands to reach deeper within the minds and experiences of their consumers ultimately turning them into loyal customers.

For more information on our Dreamoc products check out www.blazindigital.com/holographic

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IFEX 2016

Exciting news dropped into our inbox this morning...

Northern Ireland’s largest food, drink and hospitality expo - IFEX will take place at the new Titanic Exhibition Centre next March. The Blazin Digital team had a fantastic response from the 2014 expo and we'll back next year to share our expertise and show what LED technology can do for your business!

This biennial event, that’s amongst the longest running trade events in Europe, will move its three-day expo to newly-unveiled Titanic Exhibition Centre, at Queen’s Road, from the 8 – 10 March 2016.

As one of the key events for the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors, IFEX has traditionally attracted more than 5,000 visitors and over 100 exhibitors to the event, including the biggest names in foodservice and food manufacturing, such as Stephen’s Catering, Henderson’s Foodservice and Lynas Foods.  

Under a new roof, IFEX will house all of the ingredients that have made the show a success for many years. Confirmed show attractions include the Salon Culinaire, organised by the team at Fresh Montgomery and Salon Director, Sean Owens  – which includes the ChefSkills’ Theatre, La Parade des Chefs and a display of Edible Art.  

Featuring hundreds of young culinarians who will be competing over the three days, ChefSkills is where many of Northern Ireland’s celebrated chefs were first recognised and La Parade des Chefs will see rival teams from Northern Ireland catering colleges go head-to-head.

We'd love to see you there - visit www.ifexexhibition.co.uk for more info. 

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InfoComm15, Orlando, Florida

The Blazin Digital team is excited to be heading to InfoComm15 later this week!  

InfoComm 2015 is the largest event for professional AV in the world, with over 980 exhibitors and more than 38,000 attendees from 110+ countries. This is a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology and to be 'wowed' by the coolest technology out there. As always we're looking forward to networking and growing our professional network. 

Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for updates and a glimpse of what the future could hold for your business!

InfoComm14, Las Vegas, Nevada

InfoComm14, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Developer plans twisting, 633-foot LED billboard tower in Miami

A Miami Beach developer has struck a multi-million-dollar deal with a Miami redevelopment agency to build a skyscraper equipped with enormous, Las Vegas-style LED billboards.

Michael Simkins wants to build a 633-foot, three-sided tower that twists upward from a pedestal to heights taller than the Space Needle. Each wall will bear a sign as large as 30,000 square feet that flashes static and animated advertisements at up to one per every six seconds, shining 24-7 over I-95, I-395 and the Dolphin Expressway.

Miami Innovation Tower, SHoP Architects.

Miami Innovation Tower, SHoP Architects.

Combined, the five billboards included in the project — including two on the pedestal over a pedestrian promenade — stretch about two acres. They can be seen from north, south, east and west.

“The iconic tower will elevate the city’s brand on a global level, enhance the city skyline, and complement and enhance the surrounding community,” Simkins wrote in a statement.

Dubbed the Miami Innovation Tower, the building at 1031 NW First Ave. is part of a larger plan. It is proposed as beacon of capitalism in the heart of a four-block, nine-tower “Miami Innovation District” on the edge of downtown and Overtown, one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods. Simkins’ architect, SHoP Architects, submitted plans to the city Monday for the district, comprised mostly of land owned by companies registered to the developer.

Miami Innovation Tower, Miami Innovation District, SHoP Architects.

Miami Innovation Tower, Miami Innovation District, SHoP Architects.

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well played Barn United!!

Barn United Football Club, proudly sponsored by Blazin Digital, rounded off an amazing season unbeaten by lifting the league trophy and winning their final match 9-0!

Congratulations to everyone involved on your well deserved success - from the team at Blazin Digital.

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Zoos putting digital signage on display

Conservation-minded organisations in general, zoos have been embracing digital signage as a more eco-friendly signage medium than printed posters, as well as a better way to actively engage visitors and drive revenues.  From the "best" zoo in the world to one of its oldest, digital signage has a history of enhancing the visitor experience at zoological gardens around the world.  The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium — rated by TripAdvisor last year as the top zoo in the world — in Omaha, Nebraska, has deployed digital signage in several areas of the zoo, most notably a huge LED sign welcoming visitors to the zoo at the entrance. And the Bristol Zoo Gardens in Bristol, U.K. — founded in 1836 and among the oldest zoos in the world — deployed digital signage to engage visitors and deliver dynamic messages about wildlife and conservation.  And those are just two of many examples.  The Toronto Zoo and the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium recently joined their ranks in making the switch from static to digital or upgrading the digital already in place.

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska

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McDonald's use digital LED Billboard marketing to Save the Sundae Cone!

A new digital billboard was installed in the busy intersection in the heart of Bukit Bintang, a popular shopping district in Kuala Lumpur, where temperatures can rise to above 100°F. The area has a high level of foot traffic, but is saturated with competing display advertising. However, the billboard is the first in the area that offers always-on Internet connection to advertisers, which presented an opportunity for Arc Worldwide, a digital agency for McDonald’s, to experiment with a connected and interactive experience.

McDonald’s Save the Sundae Cone campaign had a McDonald’s Sundae Cone on the digital billboard, which was slowly melting in the heat of the city. To “save” the sundae cone, the audience needed to spin a giant fan that would ‘cool’ the sundae cone and ‘un-melt’ it. They did this by spinning a mini-fan, which was accessed through their mobile device’s web browser. At the end, participants were given a voucher on their smartphone to be redeemed at a McDonald’s across the street for a free sundae cone.

 

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DIGITAL SIGNAGE DRIVES SALES, ENGAGES CUSTOMERS

Dynamic digital signage is not just transforming the sign and visual communications industry. Its impact is being felt among end users as well.

As end users adopt this type of signage—or see their competitors do so—they are bringing questions to their sign and visual communications company partners. At ISA International Sign Expo 2014, 53 percent of attendees surveyed said their customers are asking about digital signage.

Here’s a look at three sectors embracing digital signage and deploying it in rather interesting ways :

* Retail shops. Retailers and digital signage solution providers are learning to integrate and target individual customers, sometimes in collaboration with their smartphones. For instance, a shopper can browse recipes at a digital signage kiosk, build a shopping list and then text, email or print the recipe, shopping list, coupons and a store map.

Even when not integrated with a smartphone, digital signage at the point of purchase has been proven to increase sales. It’s no wonder, then, that 29 percent of retailers surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they planned to increase their budgets for digital signage.

* Hotels. In hotel lobbies, guests can interact with touchscreen digital signage to learn more about the surrounding area, find maps of the hotel and view menus of hotel restaurants. Digital signage also can signify events in ballroom and meeting rooms—often integrating with room scheduling software to eliminate manpower needed to manually change these signs each day. Some hotels even integrate with local weather or the nearby airport’s airline schedule. Imagine knowing about a flight delay before you catch a cab to the airport.

* Quick serve restaurants. Wetzel’s Pretzels uses its digital menu board to tell the story of its products through animation. One of the early adopters of digital menu boards five years ago, the one-minute animation is designed to market the products. The results have been multi-faceted: a reduction in perceived wait time, an increase in impulse buys and the chance for the snack to stand out in crowded food courts.

Burger King has rolled out “suggestive selling” at its drive-thrus. The displays flash on and off to get the customer’s attention, then offer a product or discount. McDonald’s has begun introducing the digital menu boards in its company-owned restaurants as well.

There is little wonder that digital signage will become even more commonplace at fast food and quick-serve restaurants. Taco John’s installed digital menu boards at a few locations as a test. It found a 12 percent increase in combo meal sales in the test markets.

Source: International Sign Association (signs.org)

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US Federal Highway Association Report upholds digital billboard safety

The original report, actually divided into two studies, is officially titled "Driver Visual Behavior In The Presence of Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs."

For the purposes of the studies, the Federal Highway Association (US Dept. of Transportation) refers to digital billboards as Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS). The studies sought to address three specific questions:

  • 1. Do CEVMS attract drivers’ attention away from the forward roadway and other driving-relevant stimuli?
  • 2. Do glances to CEVMS occur that would suggest a decrease in safety?
  • 3. Do drivers look at CEVMS more than at standard billboards?

To conduct the study, the FHA tracked participant’s eye movements with an eye-tracking camera device mounted in the vehicle. This device was able to track the driver’s eyeball movement and determine if the driver was looking ahead at the roadway or off to the side of the roadway at a static billboard or CEVMS.

Drivers in Richmond, Va., and Reading, Pa., participated in the study, and the research concluded that drivers do indeed look at digital billboards longer than they do at static billboards. Glance duration toward digital billboards averaged 0.379 seconds, while glances at static billboards were at 0.335 seconds at both test sites. Both of these measurements fall far below the two-second benchmark, which would constitute a hazard, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In conclusion, the study states, “The results did not provide evidence indicating that CEVMS, as deployed and tested in the two selected cities, were associated with unacceptably long glances away from the road. When dwell times longer than the currently accepted threshold of 2,000 ms [milliseconds] occurred, the road ahead was still in the driver’s field of view. This was the case for both CEVMS and standard billboards.”

This peer-reviewed study should help put to rest concerns that digital billboards, and other outdoor digital signs, pose a hazard to passing motorists. The study will also help pave the way for communities to bring this powerful outdoor advertising medium to their communities, benefiting not just local operators and advertisers but the entire local economy as well.

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Jacksonville Jaguars unveil largest led scoreboard in the world

The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped $63 million this offseason on the world’s largest HD LED video boards, and the screen made its debut July 2014 after a friendly soccer game between D.C. United and English club Fulham. The screens are 62 feet high by 362 feet wide and loom over each endzone, allowing fans to watch 20,000 square feet of Jaguars highlights!

 

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