Digital Signage for the Modern Age | Quality Hardware and Software
What was once a simple piece of wood with a few words scrawled on it—tacked up outside the door of someone offering their services—has moved into what was once would have been considered Science-Fiction. Despite advertising in the newspaper, magazines, television or the Internet—a good old-fashioned sign, displayed in a high-traffic area, is still one of the most effective ways to both inform the public about your business, and to direct them to its location. However, the phrase good old-fashioned sign, should refer only to the tradition, not the sign itself. Staggering advances in both the design and manufacturing of signs, has taken us from the age of the old-fashioned shingle on the door—to the age of The Jetsons.
Before the lighted marquees of the 60’s and 70’s—which only managed to improve the chances of the sign’s information being seen—the only advances in signage for hundreds of years were related to the materials and craftsmanship that went into the signs themselves. Brighter paint colors, more original carving techniques, and possibly the addition of some witty slogans, seemed to exhaust the possibilities of improving what were basically two-dimensional representations. The addition of lights, sometimes colored or blinking, drew a bit more attention and or course the novel, but basically ineffective, three-dimensional displays—like the painted tractor outside the farm supply store—faded and fell apart with age. Plus, of course, they didn’t actually do anything. No matter how big, bright, or initially attractive the signs used to be, they were still just that. . .signs. Once read, or their directional arrows followed, they became useless—that is until the digital age changed everything.
Suddenly digital signs could not only increase the amount of information supplied to the public, but could also provide major improvements on the way that information was presented. Whereas advances in computer technology, digital video, and networking have made home computing and the Internet a major part of most people’s lives, similar advances in technology have also provided businesses with a larger variety of affordable site-to-site advertising, as well as increasing the safety and security of travelling consumers. From strolling down city walkways or streets, to weaving your way through the closest airport, one immediately sees the advances in the way signs and billboards are displaying their information.
The term digital signage can encompass a wide variety of technologies. A sign composed of hundreds of LED’s that flash in time, produce animation, or even emulate 3-Dimensional video is considered digital, but is still very low-tech compared to what we can offer businesses now. Imagine an array of vivid, flat-screen video monitors—similar or better in quality to the High-Definition televisions that grace your living room wall—configured in large information-rich walls of video. Or they could be placed strategically throughout you highest areas of traffic. Now, the term signage itself means so much more than it used to, but getting there also requires a bit more than a piece of wood and a can of paint.
Similar to the detailed presentations that can be created on a personal computer, modern digital-type video displays make use of hardware and software. In this case, though, because the sole purpose of the system is to display custom video, the hardware and software are dedicated and specific. In the simplest of terms, a digital-sign system consists of one or more video Display Monitors placed in any of a number of custom configurations, networkable Video Playback Controllers, Network Sign Control and Video Software, and Video Presentation Authoring Software. Each component whether hardware or software plays an integral part in your business’ final presentation product. For that reason, care must be taken to choose a versatile, dependable, and scalable set of products and still remain affordable. We have been able to meet all these requirements with the current line of hardware products from BrightSign, and media applications and services from Omnivex.
BrightSign leads the industry in High-Definition (HD) video signage systems. Their small solid-state players are easy to configure, fully networkable, and provide a completely reliable service at an affordable price. Without requiring a PC, your business can still get exceptional HD video for your displays, upscaling 1080p to 4k resolutions. BrightSign makes it possible for us to deliver to our customers a number of different players scalable to any size business making them a perfect choice for us. Their systems will power video walls as easily as single monitors. Video presentations can be triggered to start by any number of means including motion sensors. Signage can even be set to interact with mobile devices, or play live camera feeds. On top of all this, not only are each of their units affordable—the most basic running around $250 to $450—but their use of innovative green technology keeps the utility costs for our customers down.
Programming and operating the systems also requires very little learning. Content can be developed to run on their XD systems using HTML5, making Web Developers instant digital signage designers. BrightSign also offers its own signage authoring software as a free download to make presentation design easier. All-in-all, the BrightSign XD product line is our choice far above any other for digital signage video hardware.
Even though BrightSign does supply its own minimal software so that its systems can be used directly out-of-the-box—for the constantly developing needs of today’s modern businesses, a more feature-driven and complete set of software is needed. After much investigation we have found that the innovative solutions supplied by Omnivex supply all the control and creativity necessary to help any company stand out in a tech-saturated world.
Omnivex solutions supply what can only be called intelligent power to sign systems. It makes it possible to do things like specifically target certain audiences with exact information, putting specific messages in front of specific groups. We have found Omnivex systems to be readily adaptable for integration into most customers’ existing data systems. And not to forget the most important feature in today’s rapidly changing consumer environment—their systems are fully scalable so customers won’t out-grow their signage needs.
Omnivex systems are currently being used for selective target advertising, emergency notification systems, interactive customer kiosks, and restaurant menu-boards. Their software solutions are even dependable enough to trust with sensitive and constantly updatable information like schedule time-tables at transportation hubs. Even specifically designed way-finding and directional signage can be designed with their easy to use solutions.
We have taken close looks at various different Omnivex software products. Moxie is their complete software solution for managing digital signage networks, and functions well right out of the box. What we found was so unique about Moxie, though, was its ability to react to ever changing data, keeping business continuously up-to-date. Their Display 3 software provides tools to centrally manage a company’s signage content, and their DataPipe technology helps handle all the data storage and delivery necessary for even the most involved systems. One of the things we found most comforting is that all their software solutions run with standard Windows architecture and protocols, so a whole lot of extras aren’t necessary.
Beyond its highly desirable software solutions we also chose Omnivex for its excellent Media, Technical, and Training services. They provide assistance for just about any company’s needs when it comes to their digital signage systems.
Their Media services are available to supply information to beef-up presentations as a subscribers network. They will also either assist in the design of presentations, or do them entirely as each company may need. Omnivex Media also has Remote Management services that can provide reliable monitoring and administration of system hardware and software. This is incredibly beneficial for companies with minimal man power, or a tight budget.
Omnivex also provides reliable technical assistance, through remote or on-site diagnostics, and installation/maintenance services. Also impressive are their consulting services and software customizations. We have found their technicians to be well trained, friendly and efficient. Their Application Maintenance and Support program (AMS) allows our customers that use Omnivex products access to a support team, web-forums and free software updates; 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
The final feature that sold us on Omnivex is their Training Services. They offer courses designed to take their customers ideas and existing business model, plus Omnivex technologies, and combine them in the best most productive manner. Training is available for Omnivex Display 3 and Moxie software solutions. The training courses teach you the most efficient ways to use the software and creative design techniques to increase artistic quality. Instructors provide examples from real-world solutions, best exposing the company’s representative to what they need to move forward with their system.
Providing our customers with the very best support and solutions for their digital signage needs is something we take seriously. Digital signage is about so much more than advertising now, and it is important to us to be able to keep up with the increased demands for this type of technology. BrightSign and Omnivex provide the very best products and services, in our opinion, for any company wanting to move into this area. Increased sales, happy consumers, and less stress all around, is reason enough to make a move into digital signage with our help and that of these two companies. It is, of course, hard to discuss them objectively, without sounding like a commercial—but their experience, performance and reputation do make the move into this constantly-changing way of supplying information to the consumer, an exciting one.