Articles and Whitepapers

DSF Members are invited to submit articles and whitepapers to be posted in this section. Submit your article here.


Video About Digital Signage in Retail Created by Signagelive

Retailers need to be ahead of the game as they are currently facing many challenges from online and discount retailers. DSF Member, Signagelive, has created a video showing how retail digital signage has a major role to play to increase commercial results.

Digital signage can help to provide an effective digital retail strategy. Retailers are investing in omnichannel initiatives to increase sales, improve their market share and improve customer loyalty…. Learn More



Digital Signage Integrates Community at First-Ever Microsoft Flagship Store

CNARIO SUITE BRINGS THE BUSTLING COMMUNITY TOGETHER THROUGH AN INTERACTIVE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.

“Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Microsoft’s mission statement demonstrates their desire to bring people together and help them to do more. A global leader in technology, Microsoft prides themselves on offering best-in-class performance and platforms. With a product lineup that focuses on engaging users and immersing them in the Microsoft cloud-first world, customer interaction is a top priority. When opening their first-ever flagship store on bustling 5th Avenue in New York City, Microsoft needed a way to attract busy shoppers and entice them to join the experience. YCD was able to offer the perfect solution for their hectic Manhattan location.

YCD Multimedia, working with their content partner Synect Media, provided a digital signage solution that managed to make a major impact in one of the most-visited cities in the world. Located just blocks from Apple’s famous “cube” store, Microsoft opened their largest facility yet featuring five floors, a glass facade and over 22,000 square feet. YCD Multimedia previously delivered digital signage solutions for Microsoft retail stores. When opening the flagship store, Microsoft trusted YCD to enhance the immersive experience even further and attract customers to get involved with the products. Using Cnario Digital Signage Suite, YCD presented media solutions that were successfully able to integrate the community and engage them in the Microsoft brand better than ever before. Microsoft’s goal was to engage shoppers so that rather than just strolling through the store, they would spend time with the hardware and have a hands-on experience. Immersive video walls and an over-sized “culture” wall were installed throughout the sprawling location. Cnario Digital Signage Suite was used to seamlessly stream content on several high-definition video walls. These walls featured videos, images and information and gave shoppers the ability to play Xbox and be surrounded by directional sound – totally immersed in the game. The 3rd floor theater used its own large plasma touch screen video wall, which runs Windows for training sessions.

In addition to the video walls, a massive two-story “culture” wall was constructed. The focal point of the store was designed to capture the attention of shoppers with digital imagery. Not only did it captivate visitors, it gave Microsoft a reputation as an integral member of the New York City community. The “culture” wall never displays advertisements, instead it fills with digital art and other non-commercial content which complements the architectural facade. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, David Porter, praised the video wall saying, “As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience, this is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.” Cnario Digital Signage Suite enabled Microsoft to integrate the community and immerse its visitors in a unique, hands-on experience like no other.

Link to Case Study


DIGITAL SIGNAGE STRENGTHEN BRAND AWARENESS AND INNOVATION IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

The Ultimate Personal Customer Experience

Technological innovation does not stop at the manufacturing plant; it has also moved into sales and marketing. And Volvo, as always, is taking it some steps further. Volvo has teamed up with YCD Multimedia in order to provide the ultimate personal customer experience.  The purpose of this project, the Volvo Retail Experience (VRE), is to create an integrative environment that will include both physical and digital presentation throughout all the service areas. In this way, Volvo plans to emphasize branding and innovation in the showrooms, where customers meet the company.

BENEFITS:

  • A scalable digital signage solution that can expand in accordance with changing needs;
  • A central content management hub for real-time content creation, approval and dissemination;
  • Optimization of advertising space; not only it is possible to control either a single screen or design a multi-screen wall layouts, but you can personalize each screen for specific customers, regions, seasons, (even local weather) etc. using various variables.
  • Uniquely immersive video walls for providing informational, promotional and interactive content in a way designed to turn any chance encounter into a returning customer.

People-Centered Values & Cutting-Edge Technologies
The Volvo Retail Experience will display the company’s “people-centered” values in conjunction with its cutting edge technologies, by using YCD Multimedia’s state-of-the-art digital signage management platform, Cnario Software.

Volvo chose YCD’s Cnario not only because it is innovative, but also because it is a future-proof product; therefore, it integrates seamlessly with Volvo’s future-facing philosophy.

Link to Case Study



Content Creators-Time to Grab the Brass Ring

 

Alan Brawn

By Alan C. Brawn, CTS, DSCE, DCME, ISF-C

If we look at digital signage writ large, it is safe to say that other than business considerations, content is the topic that initiates the most discussions and brings out the most passion. The topic is almost without boundaries.  With no disrespect to displays and mounts, media players, content management software, and connectivity, it is content that is the driving factor in a network’s failure or success. No pressure here on content creators, right? Not so fast, let’s take a brief look at content, the concept of creativity, and how the DSE 2019 brings forth a unique opportunity to wrap your arms around the totality of the concept.

By definition, digital signage content is the antithesis of one size fits all. For example, content on an advertising-based network is vastly different from an employee facing system or an information-based network. Before you get too comfortable with your own personal digital signage niche (aka vertical), we need to throw in the “magical” element of creativity. Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. One expert opines that “Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.” Digital signage is all about impact and getting noticed. To be sure, creative content gets noticed. Lacking creativity, the subject matter languishes, and the network fails to meet its objectives.

Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. This begs the question can creativity be learned? The short answer is yes. A study by George Land famed author of Grow or Die: The Unifying Principle of Transformation reveals “that we are naturally creative and as we grow-up we learn to be un-creative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed. Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking.” This challenges all of us to learn as much as we can, but this is most important for those involved in content and content creation. It behooves us not only to learn but to understand the rules of the road and focus on new ways of thinking relative to an application in a vertical. This is where the DSE 2019 provides the unique opportunity I spoke about earlier.

We normally think of the tradeshow exhibits as being the big draw for attendees and the DSE 2019 will be no exception. The sheer glitz and glamor will overwhelm all but the most jaded among us. My advice? Relax into it and enjoy the exhibit experience but for those who are involved in content creation, content buying, and digital signage strategy, there are bookend opportunities both before the show starts and after the exhibits close that must be seriously considered.

It begins on Tuesday March 26 before the exhibits open. The Digital Signage Experts Group (DSEG) in association with the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) and the DSE offers the Digital Content and Media Expert (DCME) certification. The DCME discusses the philosophies at the core of visual communication and how content can be used as a tool to create impact and engage the viewer. It shows how properly designed content can enhance the viewer experience and promote a response to the call to action. The DCME discusses how to develop a content strategy and introduces the rules for creating effective content. It demonstrates the physical elements and software tools for content creation and finally how the business aspects and analytics complete the picture of ROI for the end user. This begins the educational journey.

To complete the educational experience, on Friday, March 29, the DSE has designed an in-depth, full-day workshop on digital signage and video wall content creation with a focus on real-world scenarios. Industry experts will share proven tips and critical guidelines throughout the digital content lifecycle from creation and design to piloting, deployment, management and maintenance.  Between facilitated discussions, presentations and small group exercises, you will learn the essential importance of storytelling, strategy and the elusive art of content management.

Keep in mind that digital signage (of all types) is an attention grabber, experience enhancer, and a behavior modification tool. Content is the catalyst that motivates a response to a call to action. It makes it happen. By starting with the DCME certification covering the philosophy, methodology, and rules of content  and content creation and then attending a full day immersion in real world practical experiences, you will be armed with the knowledge at the root of creativity. Can you do it? Yes, you can. Should you do it? Most certainly!

 

Alan Brawn is a former Chairman of the DSF and Principal of Brawn Consulting.


The 7 Key Elements of Digital Signage and How They Have Evolved with the Industry

 

By Alan C. Brawn, CTS, DSCE, ISF-C

February 11, 2019

Depending on who you ask (factor in how long they have been around), digital signage as we know it came on the scene just after the turn of the century. For some of us, that seems like last week… but I digress. It began as an advertising medium, and this focus is easily demonstrated by the first iteration of the digital signage trade show, the Digital Retail Expo. A new vision of advertising opportunities was coincident with the development of flat panel displays and compact video projection. From the beginning, it just made sense to change out the time-honored static signs with something more dynamic and more noticeable, that would draw attention from the shoppers passing by. One of my favorite phrases is appropriate in this situation… “when applications, technology, and prices converge, an opportunity is created”. And so, it has been from the beginning with digital signage.

As it has evolved, digital signage has broken free of the limitations of being used primarily as a vehicle for advertising.   As early adopters experienced the proverbial “arrows in their backs,” it has now become mainstream, and a central focus of the converged commercial AV, IT, and content creator communities. It crosses over the boundaries of retail, food service, corporate communication, education, healthcare, entertainment and transportation to name just a few areas of concentration. It has become a very effective and pervasive multi-purpose communication methodology.

Alan Brawn

Digital signage continues to be one of the most exciting and fastest-growing industries with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) tripling that of the U.S. economy. It has far-reaching implications and opens expansive new opportunities and markets for consultants, systems designers, resellers/integrators, content creators, and end users alike. From the obvious “explosion” of the retail signage market, to the unique applications for venues such as corporate communication and wayfinding, to education and transportation and healthcare, digital signage cannot be ignored. In short, the opportunities within digital signage are very significant and simply waiting for further discoveries and developments.

The problem we have faced from the very beginning is that, on the surface, digital signage appears quite simple… but therein lays the set of challenges. As our Brawn Consulting Director of Business Development Dave Haar opines, “Unlike any other application of technology, the answer to any question in digital signage that you or your customers may ask is that ‘it depends.’” He goes on to explain that it depends on where you’re placing the screens, where the players are located, how many screens you will have, what the content is on the screens, what you want your messaging to do, how big the screens need to be, how often they need to be updated and who is doing the updating, how many content streams you have, how long the loops need to be, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

He rightfully points out (to all willing to listen) that having a fundamental knowledge of what is involved in creating a digital signage network is imperative to intelligently and accurately ask and respond to these questions.  This applies whether you are putting one screen in a lobby or 10,000 screens enterprise wide into a QSR chain, nationwide financial institution, or large corporation. Of course, this begs the question of what to do and how to gain the knowledge necessary to answer and expand on that simple statement of “it all depends.”

Many companies understand certain parts of the equation from a technology perspective, be it displays, networks, or content. But even today, few understand the totality of what digital signage encompasses. To truly participate and succeed in the vision of this space, a company must understand all the disparate parts that make up the scale and scope of a digital signage network, from hardware and software to content and analytics. They must also understand how to properly convey the value (ROI and ROO) in those networks to the constituency of the industry, and most of all, to end users.

Everyone needs to begin with the fundamentals. This prevents overlooking any of the critical elements along the way that are common to every digital signage project. The obvious is just that, obvious… but this single word becomes a limitation and an enabler of the misconception that digital signage is simple. It will come as no surprise that I am not a believer in the plug and play, digital signage-in-a-box dream. What comes to mind is a product that is supposed to be a universal fit that, in use, never seems to fit what you need it to fit. Consider that a Swiss Army Knife may contain many tools, but are they the best version of that tool? It is always much more complex than this, and without a fundamental knowledge and understanding of how it all works together, the dream can become a nightmare.

To address the growing need in the industry for knowledge that would encompass the fundamentals in an impartial, agnostic, and vendor-neutral manner, the Digital Signage Experts Group (DSEG) was formed almost 10 years ago. The goal was (and still is) to provide industry-recognized education and certifications, ultimately establishing professional credentials for the constituencies who ply the craft.  The search for, and attainment of, knowledge had to begin with proven and agreed-upon elements that affect all that we do, and hopefully provide those in an ordered manner.

In concert with the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) and the Digital Signage Federation (DSF), DSEG introduced the 7 Key Elements of Digital Signage as a set of fundamental truths. To explain the concept and objectives, compare it to the laws of physics in science. These fundamental laws permeate scientific thinking as a point of reference and are used as a stepping stone for further advances and developments. The 7 Key Elements is an easy-to-use reference tool intended as an umbrella of categories and concepts that are necessary to consider in every digital signage project, whether it is a single display application in a local school or a multi-thousand screen rollout for a major fast food chain.

This begs the question as to the status of the 7 Key Elements, since the industry has evolved and expanded over the years since inception. Does it follow the correlation to the scientific laws of physics concept? The answer is yes, but….

It did not take long to understand that the original order of the 7 Key Elements was, shall we say, out of order. We originally began with hardware, then software, etc. Refer to the earlier comment on the pitfalls of simplicity and stating the obvious. Credit here goes to the DSF and the past Chairman Phil Cohen. In his iconic, gravelly voice, he pointed out that the original model was wrong… it all starts and ends with business. He would warn us that “If we don’t have a good business model, then we have nothing … and will not survive”. He spoke with a lot of credibility as the CEO of what was then the largest healthcare digital signage network.


 

About the Author:

Alan Brawn is a former Chairman of the DSF and is currently Principal of Brawn Consulting and a director of the Digital Signage Experts Group.


signageOS to Introduce signageOS Open

signageOS to Introduce signageOS Open

signageOS Open provides CMS companies with the ability to integrate any smart display or media player type at no cost.

San Francisco, CA – signageOS Inc. introduces signageOS Open, an integral part of the signageOS technology that consists of a single JavaScript API that allows for communication, control and playback of content on any digital signage SoC display or media player. This is achieved through the use of signageOS’ native core applications crafted and maintained for each device which are a part of the signageOS Open offering. This technology package allows for instant SoC adoption and deployment of hardware agnostic networks.

signageOS Open will be offered for free and separately from the signageOS Platform. CMS companies can now utilize this single API as the base for device integrations and build on top of this using their unique CMS features. signageOS offers this foundation to CMS companies for free in order to remove hardware and software compatibility issues that plague the digital signage industry.

“After years of development, testing, and maintenance for each platform, signageOS has mastered the standardization of digital signage smart display and media player integrations. This extensive knowledge base and technology is the foundation of signageOS Open.” says Michael Zabka, CTO, signageOS.

“So far the only gateway to signageOS technology was through the signageOS Cloud Platform and the REST API for device management, which we felt like was limiting the outreach and potential positive impact signageOS can have on the industry. With signageOS Open and the newly introduced JS API for device management, anyone can now use a part of the signageOS technology for free to start building great digital signage projects with SoC displays or players quickly and at a fraction of the cost compared to doing everything from scratch on their own.” says Stan Richter, CEO, signageOS.

For more information, visit signageOS at ISE in Amsterdam booth #8-N410 or at www.signageos.io.

CONTACT
Luke Gibbs
Marketing Director
luke.gibbs@signageos.io

signageOS Open will serve as the entry point for content management system companies to see into what signageOS has to offer. Using signageOS Open is free if a connection is maintained to the licensing server. Also, if desired by the CMS company the connection can be removed for a one time fee per device or the services can be upgraded to utilize the full feature set of the signageOS Platform.

signageOS Open’s benefits include:

  • One standardized JS API for management of the various device types
  • (see complete list here: https://www.signageos.io/supported-devices/)
  • Access to signageOS Documentation and extensive knowledge base
  • Standalone solution – No cloud dependency
  • Simple and immediate access to every SoC platform
  • Supports on-premise and offline deployments
  • Possibility to leverage single code base across different HW
  • Optional paid support
  • Optional paid device recovery
  • Optional customizations

 

signageOS will continue to develop and offer its cloud-based services as an add-on, on top of signageOS Open to provide highly relevant services and features. Those include services like out-of-box cloud-solution tailored for digital signage, customizations, support, maintenance and features like automated scaling, synchronized video wall, monitoring, reporting, alerting etc.

“Offering signageOS Open to anyone at no cost is an expression of our confidence in this technology. This is unlike anything on the market. Every level within the digital signage industry including end-users, display manufacturers, and CMS companies will greatly benefit from this service as the SoC displays and external media players will become so much easier to work with and deploy. On top of that, it will remove the continuing concern of being married to a single solution for good” adds Stan Richter.

“To date, the feedback from our partners, including CMS companies, integrators and recognized display manufacturers on the news of releasing signageOS Open was so great, that we truly believe that signageOS Open will revolutionize the process of integrating digital signage displays and media players to become an industry standard for digital signage hardware/software communication as it removes so much of the burden at every level.” further comments Stan Richter.

signageOS Open is currently available for selected partner CMS providers and will begin accepting next batch of early adopter sign-ups at the floor of ISE 2019 at the signageOS booth #8-N410.

For more information, visit signageOS at ISE in Amsterdam booth #8-N410 or at www.signageos.io

 

 


Getting the Right Support for Your Digital Signage Installation

For most digital signage buyers, keeping costs down is a top priority. Arguably, getting the right support for a digital signage installation, is a higher priority. With jobs, yours included, potentially riding on the success of your digital signage installation, here’s why the right support matters more than you think…

When you invest in digital signage, you’re not only investing in screens, media players and software, you’re investing in the expertise and support of your digital signage vendor.

High-spec technologies and increasing demand for digital signage installations in evermore challenging locations, mean that getting a digital signage network up and running is seldom a do-it-yourself project…

What does the right support look like?

…With that in mind, there’s an increasing expectation among digital signage buyers that vendors will not only identify the right solution for their needs, but they will provide an installation and long-term support service.

To ensure that you’re getting the right support for your digital signage installation, use this checklist for guidance on what to look for from an ideal vendor:

  • The vendor has been in business for a good number of years… A key indicator that a digital signage vendor can provide the support you need, is the length of time they’ve been in the digital signage industry. If the vendor has staying power in a hugely competitive market, it’s a sign that they provide solid customer support.
  • The vendor has an extensive customer list and case studies… A vendor with a good mix of customers (big brand names and smaller enterprises), is an indicator that they can provide support for any project, showing their versatility. Meanwhile, case studies showcase their work and evidence of the support they provide.
  • The vendor finds a solution to fit customer needs, rather than a solution that generates more revenue for them… A vendor that has a track record of successful installations, shows that they support customers by delivering a solution that fits the project rather than their profits.
  • The vendor advises on user-friendly hardware… Installing a digital signage network you don’t know how to operate leaves you at a loose end. Vendors who advise user-friendly screens, media players and software, indicates that they have long-term usability in mind.
  • The vendor offers an installation service… For a professional fit and finish, a digital signage vendor that offers an installation service saves you time and money, reducing the risk of accidental damage or a poor installation that affects usability and functionality.

    A digital signage vendor that offers an installation service is ideal.

  • The vendor meets deadlines… A digital signage vendor that meets deadlines consistently, shows that they’re committed to helping customers deliver projects on time, and working with them to create a realistic timeline.
  • The vendor provides training… Once installed, the digital signage vendor provides full training on how to configure and operate the hardware and software installed. This is a sign that the vendor is committed to supporting customers with using technology they’re unfamiliar with.
  • The vendor provides guarantees and warranties… A vendor that offers long-term warranties and guarantees, shows that they are committed to supporting customers if something goes wrong.
  • The vendor provides ongoing, after-sales support… A vendor that provides ongoing, after-sales support, highlights that they’re committed to supporting customers long-term. The hallmark of a reliable digital signage vendor is the number of loyal customers they have, which highlights that they have a strong support service

Digital signage vendors who meet these criteria are setting the benchmark for customer support and service. Vendors of this calibre tend to make digital signage installations, seamless, offering a consultative service that keeps you in the loop and ensuring that you get the help you need before, during and after installation.

Article provided by Daniel Waldron for Armagard.

About Armagard
Armagard is a market leader in the design and manufacture of innovative environmental enclosures for outdoor digital signage hardware. With more than 25 years of experience, we work with some of the largest manufacturers and retailers in the world.

Armagard’s experienced team of design engineers and product specialists deliver stand out service, helping you to find a digital signage solution that is right for your application – giving you peace of mind before you purchase.

 


Digital Signage Pulse listings discounted for DSF Members

DSF has a long standing partner relationship with DigitalSignagePulse.com – the DOOH industry’s global news monitor.

As part of the benefits of this partnership, DSF has negotiated a “buy one get 2 free” deal for its members who wish to place their classified ads (listings) of products and services on DOOH Marketplace section of Digital Signage Pulse: https://digitalsignagepulse.com/marketplace/ .

Members may use this incentive to place up to three listings for the price of one.  These listings may be used in each or any category (Company, Products, Services, Events, Jobs, etc.). Once your have placed one paid and 2 free listings, you can repeat the deal as many times as you need.

If you’d like to take advantage of this benefit, please contact classifieds@digitalsignagepulse.com with the subject line:  “DOOH Marketplace listing for DSF Member YOUR COMPANY NAME.”  Your membership will be verified upon your request.  Once approved you will receive instructions on how to place your listings with the “buy 1 get 2 free” deal.”


Selling into Government Projects is No Easy Task

Selling into Government Projects is No Easy Task

Jeff Hastings, CEO, BrightSign

Security is a growing concern for any customer considering a digital signage roll-out. This holds especially true in government projects, where security regulations are much more stringent than in the private sector. Selling into government accounts is a rigorous process, especially when you consider the large number of government agencies and the often-complicated process of being cleared to sell into those agencies.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) plays an important role in IT security across all government organizations. DISA-certified products undergo a rigorous testing & evaluation process and are pre-approved for sale into many government agencies.

Above all else, the government expects hardware security to be infallible. For example, when any piece of hardware is added to a government network, it is critical that the hardware itself is 100% locked down until prompted by a systems administrator. BrightSign players are among a minority of players that can be configured to await instructions on how, when and IF the player connects to the internet. This is a critical aspect of security within government applications.

Another important consideration when scoping out hardware for government projects is the likelihood of a particular piece of hardware being hacked and used to distribute nefarious content or, even worse, used to invade privacy, cripple businesses or endanger lives. Any device connected over a network is at risk of being breached or corrupted, therefore it’s important to specify a player running a commercial grade, purpose-built operating system. Signage networks running consumer operating systems such as Windows and Android are constantly being attacked by hackers and incapable of being “locked down” the same way a network of BrightSign players running the BrightSign OS can.

The TAA (the Trade Agreements Act of Congress) imposes additional requirements for federal government purchases. BrightSign is proud to offer both DISA and TAA compliant products.

Selling into government agencies is difficult, and very few digital signage solutions – especially PC-based and Android solutions – meet the standards set by DISA and other regulatory bodies. And while the scenarios described above pertain to government projects, similar network vulnerabilities exist in virtually any internet-connected signage network – worthwhile information to consider when scoping out your next digital signage installation.


Almo Professional AV leverages hospitality industry for growth

Almo Professional AV, a commercial audio/visual distributor, recently expanded its headquarters to support its growth. Much of that growth has come from the  hospitality segment.

In fact, hospitality has consistently been one of Almo’s fastest-growing verticals, catalyzed by its acquisition of IAVI in 2016.  

The acquisition essentially doubled our hospitality business and it was the perfect opportunity to combine our strengths in specialized sales, business development and leadership with the goal of expanding the opportunity beyond the guest room TV. We’ve expanded our offerings from primarily in-room entertainment to include guest comfort and conveniences; banquet and meeting spaces; guest experience and revenue drivers; and indoor/outdoor furniture and recreation,” said Apryl Lamberti, Almo’s director of Business Development.  

Almo Corporation is the largest independently-owned appliance distributor in the country and has extensive relationships with appliance manufacturers. She said the hospitality division is “breaking the mold” between Almo’s traditional appliance dealers and professional AV dealers and integrators by “cross-pollinating its offerings and infusing hospitality-focused lines.”

The company saw an opportunity in hospitality because of wireless charging and travelers’ reliance on mobile devices and keeping them charged. Almo just entered an exclusive distribution partnership with Nonstop, a new-to-market brand that uses the Qi-Wireless charging platform for its modern, designer-like alarm clocks/charge pads, for example.  

“Also, outdoor hotel areas are big.  More attention is being spent on designing these areas to be an extension of the hotel and resort’s common spaces, which results in creating memorable guest experiences that help drive loyalty rates,” Lamberti said. 

Interestingly, outdoor living has been one of the biggest areas of growth for Almo. The company is also getting ready to launch a commercial contract line of outdoor furniture that will be exclusively distributed by Almo Hospitality. 
 
“For example, last year I stayed at a Renaissance property in Austin. This property was surrounded by plush and rolling landscape and its outdoor area was aptly named ‘The Treehouse’ as it was positioned right among a massive oak tree canopy. This balcony had plenty of outdoor seating: sofas, high-top dining tables, plus an oversized built-in fire pit. Two nights in a row after dinner I checked out The Treehouse and was pleasantly surprised by no less than 10 to 12 hotel guests, none of whom knew each other but who had guitars. I watched complete strangers join together singing folk songs, in The Live Music Capitol of the World.  It has been more than a year since I stayed at this property but when I make it back to Austin, you can bet this is where I will book,” Lamberti said.  

This example, she adds, underscores why properties that create environments utilizing their actual environments are successful.

“Environments that utilize the surrounding landscape or ways to feature some outdoor fire tables, fountains, lighting, audio, etc. to create spaces unique to that property  with a local flair  to make a memory sticks with the guest long after they’ve left the property.  They are also more likely to write a positive guest review or share their experience on social media, which is a win for the hotel,” she said. 

Looking ahead, Jim Nista, senior director of Content Creation Services, said wayfinding, event listings and “go boards” are the biggest opportunities for digital signage in the hospitality segment.  

We frequently get requests for dynamic event screens showing a facility map so guests can find their way to meeting and event spaces,” he said. “For go boards, we do still get requests for local amenities content – although this is decreasing more and more as local businesses change and guests are used to using apps on their phone for recommendations.

In the hospitality space, the king of content is premise event listings with dynamic maps showing each available room, Nista said.  

Almo is currently working on a few case studies with its reseller partners to highlight some of the trends the company is seeing for in-room entertainment and digital signage. 

Looking ahead, Nista predicts automation to emerge as a bigger theme in digital signage.

“Automated or easy to update hyper local content is what we get frequent requests for. Guests require relevant local content on information screens – this needs to be easy to update or automatically feed in from data services,” he said.  

Lamberti adds that the opportunities are strong for the company and the industry in general.  

“In the past 15 or so years, hotels have typically trailed behind the changing consumer market when it comes to technology updates,” she said. “It’s always surprising to me when I hear how many properties are still  piping in standard definition content for free-to-guest channels in the guest rooms. From what we’ve seen in the market, the time is ripe for professional AV companies and hospitality-specialized resellers to invest in supporting the specific needs of hoteliers and understanding what their motivations are compared to a typical retailer.” 

The time for trailing behind, however, has to come to an end, she adds. AVIXA recently predicted that $3.1 billion will be spent in digital signage in 2019 and consumers interacting with screens is a regularity now.

“The reality has hit and for the last decade, hotels have relied on interior designers to create environments that captivate guests using color, décor, lighting, textures and other elements of design. However, with the speed at which technology changes, and with how advanced consumers have become, it’s no longer an option for hotels to count on traditional methods of interior design to give guests the feeling of technology incorporated into their world,” Lamberti said.  ”If they don’t start deploying digital signage technology and using content to engage guests, guests are going to follow the newer brands and boutique brands that have migrated to incorporating digital screens into their properties and the traditional hotels will start to slip in occupancy rates as millennials quickly approach nearly 50 percent of the workforce.”