What Is Digital Signage and How Is It Used?

digital signage

Signage is just about as old as humans. Where people have existed, they’ve always needed some way of pointing out places of interest and other informative tidbits. But, considering we’re not cavemen anymore, we also shouldn’t limit ourselves to physical signage either.

The latest trend has been to segway into digital signage. What is digital signage you may ask? Well, luckily, we’ve got this handy dandy post to explain just what it is and how you can put it to good use. Let’s first get started with what exactly digital signage is and then progress from there.

What is digital signage?

When people use the terms “digital signage” or “electronic signage,” they’re talking about digital displays that are used to either inform or advertise. These systems are showing up all over the world.

Both retailers and transit systems are increasingly using this cool new way of displaying information, and this is now spreading to corporations, campuses, and government institutions in order to use new technology to take on an age-old task.

What are some of the benefits of digital signage?

In order to communicate with people today, you need to target ways of receiving information. Since those ways are increasingly going digital with computers and smartphones proliferating, it only makes sense that the next focus in signage would also be to go digital. This way, you can reach a larger audience and convert leads more effectively.

Digital signage isn’t just cool, it’s also more efficient that printed posters, bulletin boards, and email because you can display breaking news right in real-time, you can have multiple things on-screen at one time, screens are bright and naturally show motion, it’s cheaper to print for large audiences, it’s the greener option, and you can change what’s on-screen throughout the day.

Why should I go with digital signage?

There is a number of reasons why you should go with digital signage. Digital signage doesn’t just engage and inform more people in a reliable way, it’s also a modern approach to communication that will draw viewers in with its screened, bright, and interactive experience.

This will also, for instance, allow you to send emergency weather alerts that can save lives in seconds instead of having to rely on other slow methods. It can be as simple as sending a text message to all phones in an affected area in order to make sure that as many people are as informed as possible.

What kind of content can be shown in digital signage?

The good news about this aspect of digital signage is that the options are virtually limitless. You can use old school text and graphics, flash with audio and video, event schedules, PowerPoint presentations, news, weather, and stock updates, interactive directories and wayfinding, alert notifications, websites, surveys, polls, and contests, social media and RSS feeds, cable streaming and feeds, and much more.

The really cool thing about digital signage is just how versatile it is. If it can be seen and/or heard, chances are it can appear on digital signage. This is a level of functionality that you’re not going to come close to with traditional signage.

Can digital signage be used for alert notifications?

As we briefly touched on earlier, digital signage can, in fact, be used for alert notifications. This can be totally automated, or you can also choose to make these manual notifications. These can be pushed to an email service or sent via text message. In effect, this gives residents the first notification of an emergency before it even happens, ensuring a high level of safety in the community.

Are we limited by number of displays?

Simply put, no you are not limited by the number of displays. The number of displays that you can use is only limited by the software that you purchase and the number of media players that you use.

The output of a media player is capable of being distributed to basically any number of displays by use of routers, switchers, receivers, transmitters, cable systems, or signal distribution amplifiers. From there, you can push content to RSS readers and desktops so that there are endpoints without any sort of player hardware.

How long does it take to learn?

This is a very astute question. The good news is that you can be up to date with all aspects of the system within two hours of online training. Further training can be accomplished in about the same amount of time, so you can practically be out of there and ready to implement digital signage within a day.

How much does it cost?

The cost of this sort of signage will vary depending on your particular needs. There is a range of price options that’s affected by the number of licenses that you need or whether you take advantage of affordable options and services.

How often do I have to update?

This will depend entirely on your particular needs and wants when it comes to digital signage. The target for updates will tend to be three to four of them a year, and the best way to keep up to date and expand functionality is to stick with updating to these new updates as soon as they become available.

One thing you can do to extend the life of digital signage is to consider using an LCD enclosure. Doing so will protect your signage from the elements.

By using a Software Maintenance Agreement, you can ensure that you always have the latest version of the software installed without having to manually update each time a new update becomes available. This requires a small fee, but the the rewards of having this activated make it worth it.

Signage is just about as old as humans. Where people have existed, they’ve always needed some way of pointing out places of interest and other informative tidbits. But, considering we’re not cavemen anymore, we also shouldn’t limit ourselves to physical signage either.

Digital signage is a new wave of technology that will revolutionize the way that we display new information.

All About Home Automation Systems

Remote home control

What used to be the stuff of science fiction has finally come to pass: We now live in a world where home automation is a real thing. This takes the ordinary, mundane aspects of managing your home and gives them over to a computer to take care of.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at a brief history of the home automation system, an explanation of some of the common features, and some future trends that might be on the horizon going into the future. Let’s get started with a brief tour.

A Brief Tour

Just about any aspect and part of your home can be automated. Anything from your lights to the temperature in your home can all be adjusted.

Lights can be adjusted from anywhere with an internet connection, and that includes the color and hue of the light as well. You can even turn the porch lights on in order to save yourself from fumbling around in the dark.

Thermostats in an automated home can be adjusted half a world away if you so choose. What’s more is that eventually the smart thermostat will understand your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly.

You can automate just about anything that moves. In particular, you can automate it so that you can shut your shades, blinds, or curtains without even getting up. It might freak you out the first couple of times you see your curtain moving on its own, but you should get used to it quickly.

Carbon monoxide detectors can also be automated to detect when carbon monoxide levels have gotten too high and can set off an alarm should those levels rise too high. This is better than a standalone carbon monoxide detector, as it will never die due to a dead battery or falter in detecting carbon monoxide.

Instead of having to deal with a bunch of clunky remotes, when you automate your home, you can use a single remote control. This will usually be your smartphone, which will make things that much more convenient for you.

With piggy bank monitoring, you can monitor just how much savings you have. You can also monitor when someone has attempted to shake it and get a couple coins out.

A Brief History of Home Automation

The idea of managing all of your home functions from a single location dates back to at least the 20th century. The first instance of automated homes were shown in the World’s Fairs of Chicago and New York in the 1930s. Those homes, however, were never intended to be used by the public.

In fact, it wasn’t until the invention of the microcontroller in the 70s that it became conceivable for commercial application. Then with the growth of computer technology in recent years, the home automation industry has completely exploded.

Home automation will allow you to control your locks remotely and adjust your security controls. You can also change them if necessary. Most systems will allow for the remote viewing of home security systems too.

You can even adjust your appliances via home automation. For instance, you can be in the living room watching a movie and adjust the oven temperature without getting off the couch.

You can even integrate your entertainment into your home automation system. You can set your TV’s recording schedule, manage all of your saved shows, and decide where to watch them, all from your phone or other similar mobile device.

How to Get Started

Unfortunately, setting up your home automation system isn’t as simple as just downloading an app and calling it a day. It takes a bit more than that to get started.

You do need a controller. Most systems will integrate your phone or smart device, but there still has to be some kind of physical control device somewhere in your home.

You will also need access to a connection that you can use to send messages between yourself and the system that you’re trying to control. Bluetooth would be fine for anything that you’re doing around the house, but for those things that you want to control from work or somewhere else, you’ll need a viable Wi-Fi connection.

As we’ve seen, for most applications of home automation it’s as simple as getting a connection and a controller. For some things, however, it’s a little trickier. For instance, you’ll need smart bulbs if you’re looking to adjust your lights and a smart outlet if you want to adjust the oven or some similar device.

This all might seem like it’s a lot of work, but it really isn’t. If you have Wi-Fi in your home and a smartphone in your hands, you’re already most of the way there.

The Future of Home Automation

It’s impossible to discuss the potential future of home automation without mentioning the Internet of Things. This is a term for the trend of devices being outfitted with sensors and other various devices all with the intention of controlling them remotely.

With the Internet of Things, for example, your dryer can let you know when your laundry is ready to be taken out of the machine. The number of connected devices to the Internet of Things is already in the billions, and it only shows signs of increasing in quantity over the years. This is truly a trend worth watching and participating in.

What used to be the stuff of science fiction has finally come to pass: We now live in a world where home automation is a real thing. This takes the ordinary, mundane aspects of managing your home and gives them over to a computer to take care of.

With anything from turning your lights down or setting your temperature from work, there are so many applications of home automation, and so many advances that have yet to be made. With the Internet of Things and home automation, we’re only seeing innovation that continues to grow and take us into strange (and wonderful) places.

Home Theater Design Trends for 2017

Home Theatre Room

When it comes to trends, you will always find something hot brewing for home theaters. The period and the technology call the shots in this case. To prevent your home theater system from becoming obsolete, you need to keep up with the new trends. Today’s hot trends are taking home theater design by storm. However, you should be ready for 2017 because things will be hotter. Here are top trends to watch out for in 2017.

Multitasking Rooms

Home theater designers have decided to give convenience a deeper thought. After months of fact-finding and testing, they finally came up with designs that allow users to watch movies whenever they are. 2017 will see people move from the conventional ways where one has to go to the sitting room to a more convenient system where you can watch a movie from the bedroom, gym, bathroom or kitchen. Through smart home automation, you can transform any room into a home theater platform by the push of a button. You can typically block the light from the windows, lower a screen from the ceiling, and bring in carefully placed speakers to watch a movie in a particular room. Once you are through, you can take the system back with the push of a button again.

Multiple Screens

The year 2017 will see most people resort to multiple screens for their home theater needs. Expect to see mind-blowing screens together with carefully placed speakers that have amazing acoustic properties. The screens can be split at the same time to cover the different events at the push of a button. The inspiration behind this trend is that people are increasingly developing vast video choices. Therefore, they do not want to be restricted to just one option in the entire room. Multiple screens will give a viable option for customizing the space on the screen for different occasions.

Blu-Ray and TVs with 3D

Over a half of home theater systems will have an internet-enabled Blu-Ray and TV with a 3D functionality in 2017. The internet will inspire several home theater designs. The 3D technology in home theaters will also have its special entry. This technology is currently the most preferred audio and visual option in most systems. Home theater companies have lined up various cutting-edge technology to ensure they bring 3D experience to a whole new level in 2017. If you did not give 3D any thought in 2016, you surely don’t want to miss out on the fun in the coming year.

Internet Streaming

Internet streaming will be a major thing for those who can’t keep off Netflix and other movie sites. You will no longer be confined to your DVD players in order to watch your favorite movie. The internet-enabled devices will include Blu-ray disc players, gaming consoles, Xbox 360, and PS4. Home theater designers are currently hatching marketing deals in readiness for the coming year. They are also organizing with the content dealers so that internet features can be available on their brands.

Sound Decisions

Sound reproduction will continue to benefit from innovations come 2017. This trend will be towards more compact and wireless systems that are affordable for an average home theater enthusiast. Sound bars featuring five to seven 40-inch speakers will be more common. Digital sound projectors will be made to provide ultra-realistic sound reproduction. Wireless sub-woofers will also make the cut for 2017.

Best Home Sound System Options

Businessman in front of a home cinema system

Introduction

Buying the best home sound system for your needs can be a daunting task – but the proper amount of research can help to provide some informative and educational material to help bring you to the right decision.

While it’s true the some sound systems can cost literally thousands more than others – it is absolutely possible to build a system on a budget. We’ll look at some of the more expensive and least expensive options available.

There are many ‘additional’ options available for AV receivers that we haven’t gone into detail on here – like wi-fi, USB, Bluetooth and Airplay connectors. While you’re able t send audio streams to your AV receiver using any of these methods, they each have their potential pros and cons for your needs – so it’s best to consult your professional about what options may work best for you, or which might just be extra money spent for no reason. When in doubt, reach out and ask someone who knows their stuff!

Options

We’ll start from the most expensive and work our way down.

1- Multi-room wireless sound systems

While we may all dream about having our sounds or tunes blasting – and blasting loud – in each of the rooms of our house, it’s easy to understand how having dozens upon dozens of high-quality speakers will easily put you over-budget.

We’ve all seen these systems on TV or in movies, and they are definitely at the top of the totem pole when it comes to sheerly enjoying music – no matter where you are in the home. The true beauty is that with wirelessly connected speakers, you can have speakers hidden in nooks and crannies that would otherwise be unused and nobody will be able to tell there’s a mess of wires – because there is none!

This option may represent the highest amount of class and altogether ease of use and comfort with a sound system, it may also not be quite what works for your ‘average joe’ – given that most people are looking for a sound system that connects to their large TV and provides surround sound or stereo experience for their movie or TV-show viewing pleasure.

2- AV system + surround sound speakers

If you’re looking for the ultimate gaming experience – or even to improve the quality with which you enjoy your favorite movies or TV shows – then an AV system with a receiver and speakers / subs that you either build yourself or buy pre-packaged may be the most economical and the choice that yields the ‘biggest bang for your buck.’

While there is now the choice between 5.1 surround sound and 7.1 surround sound, I’d caution against 7.1 as the amount of increased enjoyment that you get from moving to stereo to 5.1 is immense compared to the improvement from 5.1 to 7.1.

Any AV system you build yourself can be incredibly easy and enjoyable to upgrade – which is important for some ‘do-it-yourself’ers to consider.

3- AV system + stereo speakers

If you’re looking to save money and don’t really game or take special interest in having surround sound in your home sound system – then an AV system with a receiver, sub and two speaker towers may be the ideal fit. You can still get a ton of volume from a stereo system, and they can be truly enjoyable should you want to enjoy music or a stereo TV experience.

While some would say that stereo systems have gone the ‘way of the dinosaur,’ people still swear by them in order to save significantly on their home audio system needs while also delivering an exceptional sound and music qualify experience – while also being multi-functional enough to work with your average blu-ray or DVD player – or smart TV, or any other combination of tech you can think of.

Stereo systems have been tried, tested and true and are one of the most common options for a home audio system – and one of the best things about them is the ease of setup and upgrading.

4- Sound Bars

Sound bars have been an incredibly popular choice of late – as they’re incredibly cheap. Some do an okay job of ‘virtual surround,’ which is where sound bars claim they’re able to project the sound throughout the room and create a surround sound experience. However, finding a sound bar that does an exemplary job of this is a tough calling and might run you up – again – into the thousands of dollars range.

Sound bars may also interfere with your regular use of a remote with whatever model TV you have – so keep that in mind while you’re shopping for your perfect sound bar for your home audio system.

Sound bars, however, may simply represent the most economical choice for those looking to improve the volume and depth of sound with their home audio system needs.

Conclusion

Whether or not you’re looking to spend a monstrous amount of money on acquiring the perfect sound for your home, it’s important to consider the various options to find out what exactly will work for you.

The single most important and defining feature of a home sound system you build yourself is the quality of speakers with which you build your system. Take extra care and spend an extra dollar or two if it nets you the end result of more pristine – and longer lasting – speakers.

Again, if any of this is a challenge or raises more questions than it answers then it’d be best for you to look into a professional salesperson or tech guru for further guidance – as it’s their job to know what options would suit you best, and more often than not a helping hand can tip the balance and leave you with the ultimate home audio system that does exactly what you need it to – when you need it to – each time! When in doubt, ask someone who knows their stuff or makes their living by making the most beneficial recommendation for your specific needs.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and learning a bit more about the options available to you for your home audio system needs. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on some of the more common (and lesser common) options.