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Technologies for Digital Signage

Written by Al Mahmud Al Mamun

Realistic Representation with Digital Signage

Digital signage technologies are providing a social view of digitalization. Embedded hardware and software make it easy to develop better digital signage solutions that can deliver a more effective and realistic commercial and non-commercial representation of digital content.

  • What is digital signage?

  • How are digital signage technologies evolving?

  • What are the modern digital signage systems?

  • Why are digital signages important in embedded systems?

  • How embedded technologies play an important role in digital signages?

  • What is a variable message sign?

  • What is a video wall?

  • What is a digital poster?

  • What is a digital board?

  • What is a digital calendar?

  • What is a digital photo frame?

  • What is a digital menu?

  • What is a smart rearview mirror?

  • What is a content management system?

  • Variable Message Sign

  • Planar Venue Pro Series VPI-1.9

  • Android freestanding digital poster

  • 86TR3BF-B UHD Digital board

  • Skylight Calendar

  • Touchscreen smart photo frame

  • Digital Menu Board

  • WOLFBOX G840H

  • Clevertouch live local CMS

Digital signage creates new opportunities to catch customers’ attention with realistic representation in commercial environments. Embedded and other interactive technologies help digital signage systems reach another level of consumer experiences, through realistic content from small screens to giant video walls. Modern digital signage solutions offer consumers an easy way to research products, view multiple products, and even virtually “try-on” products.

Initially, digital signage was popular in commercial environments for advertising and marketing, but with modern innovation and technologies, digital signage has found uses from homes to everywhere else (Figure 1). Modern digital signage technologies are used in homes in several ways—to display family photos, calendar events, to-do lists, and grocery lists.The global market size of digital signage technology is increasing rapidly. The estimated global market size of digital signage was $23.12 billion in 2021, and it is expected that the market size will be $45.33 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030.

Figure 1 Digital signage is everywhere - airports, trade shows, retail stores, banks, sports stadiums, medical clinics, hotels, fuel stations, and other public locations.
Figure 1
Digital signage is everywhere – airports, trade shows, retail stores, banks, sports stadiums, medical clinics, hotels, fuel stations, and other public locations.
A BRIEF REVIEW OF DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Digital signage is a part of electronic signage, which refers to display technologies such as LED, LCD, and projection. Digital signage technologies are widely used to display content such as video, digital images, streaming media, marketing messages, and information. It is typically used to inform or advertise, and is commonly found in transportation systems, stadiums, museums, restaurants, corporate buildings, and other public spaces.

The journey of digital signage began in the 1970s; with linked-up televisions and VCRs, electronics stores started to playback recorded commercial messages or advertisements. The term “digital signage” was coined in 1992 at UK shopping centers, in reference to a network of video walls. In the early 2000s, digital signage became popular through affordable flat-panel displays.

Today, digital signage is everywhere—airports, trade shows, retail stores, banks, sports stadiums, medical clinics, hotels, fuel stations, and other public locations. Modern digital signage allows users to interact with the advertisements, share their information online, scroll through the product menus, and connect to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Digital signage is becoming even more interactive, through affordability and new technology features such as touchscreen, 3D technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

MODERN DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Modern digital signage systems are accessible on the cloud or on-premise. On-cloud digital signage systems are accessible in favor of the Internet. In cloud-based digital signage, the content exists and is controlled from a server hosted in the cloud, so it can be implemented and managed from anywhere at any time. With on-premise digital signage, the content exists in and is controlled in a local or on-premise data center hosted by the organization.

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Content management systems (CMS) ensure digital signage systems are easily operable and provide real-time information. CMS helps organizations or marketing agencies to upload, arrange, and manage signage content, and assemble the content into a playback library with rules and regulations that a user can control without specialized technical knowledge. Device management solutions carry out the necessary checks and provide reports, and ensure the devices are analyzed and failures are prevented.

The digital signage media player is an embedded or computer-attached system within the display that is responsible for playing interactive signage content onto the screen. The component allows users to monitor display media, and can be run over the Internet. There are many different digital signage media players with different styles. Companies can choose any advertising campaign depending on the scale of what they want to achieve. Some non-PC digital signage solutions, called Systems on Chip (SoC), do not require an external player at all.

VARIABLE MESSAGE SIGN

A variable message sign (VMS) is a digital traffic sign used on roadways to provide useful information. The VMS can show parking details, alternate routes, speed limits, traffic conditions, and general public safety messages. VMS with LED display delivers a more effective communication tool for roadside signs, and modern digital signage technologies allow more flexible messaging and well-designed content.

SWARCO’s Variable Message Signs offer a flexible and dynamic traffic signalization that is commonly used for highways but is also used in urban environments and parking management. SWARCO PREMILUM Customized LED Variable Message Signs (Figure 2) offer customized solutions, flexible design, high readability, and ensure excellent visibility even in adverse conditions, particularly when the sun is near the horizon. It also has low energy consumption.

Figure 2 A SWARCO PREMILUM Customized LED Variable Message Sign can be adapted to any traffic situation. Its embedded controller, various applications, and full color (freely programmable) displays ensure high-quality digital representations and effective traffic situations.
Figure 2
A SWARCO PREMILUM Customized LED Variable Message Sign can be adapted to any traffic situation. Its embedded controller, various applications, and full color (freely programmable) displays ensure high-quality digital representations and effective traffic situations.

SWARCO VMS uses the best optical capability and innovative LED lens system. The VMS supports various applications, full color (freely programmable) displays, LED current reduced by up to 95%, and minimized total cost of ownership (TCO). The VMS has an embedded controller designed for a -40°C to +85°C temperature range, integrated solid-state data (SSD) memory, dual-port RAM, and FPGA technology. The pixel pitch is freely programmable from 12mm to 30mm, and monochrome white or yellow, 16 million colors (24-bit RGB). The interfaces include RS485/RS422, Profibus, Profinet, Ethernet IP, WLAN, TCP/IP connection via RJ45, digital inputs, digital and analog sensors, and others. The operational power supply is 80VAC to 265VAC and 12VDC to 48VDC.

VIDEO WALL

A video wall or display wall is a multi-monitor setup for a large visualization surface. Video walls built with multiple televisions, computer monitors, or projectors are established together to form a single large display surface. We can see them in several locations, such as movie theaters, airports, and shopping malls.

Planar Venue Pro Series VPI-1.9 (Figure 3) is an LED video wall display designed for indoor temporary event applications, large venues, and fixed installations. It offers a constant current drive LED Drive method with a 1.95mm pixel pitch. Its cabinet size is 500mm × 500mm × 7mm, with 262,144/m2 pixel density. VPI-1.9 power consumption maximum is 160W, and line voltage 100VAC~240VAC, 50Hz/60Hz. Its operating and storage temperatures are from -20°C to 40°C and -40°C to 60°C, respectively. Planar VPI-1.9 supports 50Hz/60Hz frame rate and color temperature (K) 3,000 to 10,000 (adjustable) with a contrast ratio of 6,000:1. The viewing angle for 50% brightness is more than 150 degrees horizontally and more than 130 degrees vertically.

Figure 3  Planar Venue Pro Series VPI-1.9 is an LED video wall display that offers a 27.83" cabinet diagonally. It is designed for indoor temporary event applications, large venues, and fixed installations.
Figure 3
Planar Venue Pro Series VPI-1.9 is an LED video wall display that offers a 27.83″ cabinet diagonally. It is designed for indoor temporary event applications, large venues, and fixed installations.

Venue Pro Series offers full front or rear service access to electronics for deployment versatility. A single person can handle it through magnetically attachable cabinets with a quick-lock system.

DIGITAL POSTER

A digital poster is a digital approach to professional presentations or promotions displayed on a screen that can present a static image, animated image, or video content. It is effectively useful for various places such as museums, offices, banks, hospitals, and community centers. The digital posters provide a smart and flexible way to reach audiences with the intended information, such as advertising products, public services, and upcoming events announcements.

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Allsee’s new Android freestanding digital poster (Figure 4) is designed for continuous use in public spaces. The digital poster has a built-in Android media player that allows users to run and update content through their websites or online CMS platforms. It is designed with a captivating tablet-like aesthetic and protected from potential damage.

Figure 4  Allsee's new Android freestanding digital poster is a digital poster designed with a captivating tablet-like aesthetic for continuous use in public spaces.
Figure 4
Allsee’s new Android freestanding digital poster is a digital poster designed with a captivating tablet-like aesthetic for continuous use in public spaces.

The posters are available in 50” L50HD9 and 55” L55HD9. The panel delivers high-quality realistic content through 1080×1920 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 178-degree viewing angle, 16.7M color, and 450cd/m² brightness. Its AV Inputs/Audio include HDMI, VGA, a 3.5mm audio socket (for input and output), and a 10W, 4Ω (x2) speaker. The computing system includes Quad-Core ARM Cortex A17, 1.6GHz CPU, Quad-Core ARM Mali-T764 GPU, DDR3 2GB RAM, 8GB eMMC Internal Storage, 1 x USB (OTG/HOST), 1 x USB (HOST), 100M/1,000M Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, 4.2 Bluetooth, Android 7.1 OS, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenCL 1.1, Renderscript, and Direct3D 11.1. Its operating and storage temperatures are from 0°C to 40°C and -10°C to 55°C, respectively.

DIGITAL BOARD

A digital board is an alternative to a black and whiteboard that can be used in video conferencing, collaborative meetings, and education. The digital display systems have an advanced touchscreen interface that helps users to display live-handwriting or other content, and can be linked to other devices for interactive displays across different locations. Digital boards have become popular in universities that allow teachers to present lecture content such as images, notes, and PowerPoint slides.

LG’s 86TR3BF-B 86’’ 330nits UHD Interactive digital board (Figure 5) allows multi-touch and live writing, and easily erases texts and pictures using hands. TR3BF Series allows viewing details using UHD resolution, and it integrates Android and Note Apps to provide high-performance SoC without a PC.

Figure 5 LG's 86TR3BF-B digital board allows multi-touch and live writing, and is easily erased using hands. It supports air classes and interactive meetings and allows sharing of screens with other devices.
Figure 5
LG’s 86TR3BF-B digital board allows multi-touch and live writing, and is easily erased using hands. It supports air classes and interactive meetings and allows sharing of screens with other devices.

To make classes or meetings more effective and efficient, the TR3BF Series supports air classes and interactive meetings, and allows for sharing screens and content with mobile, laptops, and other devices. The 86TR3BF-B screen size is 86” with 3,840×2,160 (UHD) native resolution and 178×178 viewing angle (H×V). Its aspect ratio and contrast ratio are 16:9 and 1,100:1, respectively. The TR3BF-B uses IR-type touch that allows multi TouchPoint with a maximum of 20 points, and a maximum of 10 points for writing.

The interfaces include HDMI , speaker built-in 24W (12W + 12W),RS232C In, RJ45,USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Touch Out (USB2.0,B Type), HDMI, and Optical Output / Audio Out. The built-in power supply varies from 100V to 240V, 50Hz/60Hz, and power consumption from 365W to 419W. Its operating temperature and humidity are from 0°C to 40°C and 10% to 80%, respectively.

DIGITAL CALENDAR

A digital calendar is similar to a paper calendar but uses a digital screen to display events and updates without manual intervention. It provides an easy way to track appointments, work meetings, family activities, work-life balance, meal plans, and to-do lists. Web-based digital calendars give access from a mobile device, computer, or other devices, and some of them work in conjunction with email programs.

Skylight Calendar (Figure 6) is a simple touchscreen device that can display all events on one device. Skylight Calendar displays provide seamless auto-syncs with Google, Outlook, Apple, Cozi, and Yahoo. Its touchscreen display allows users to interact with the events, and also color-code each event. Users can view and manage the calendars using the sync icon in the Skylight mobile app or the “Synced Calendars” section in the Skylight Cloud online. The Skylight mobile app is available for Apple and Android products. Skylight Calendar needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet and a Wi-Fi connection at all times to operate.

Figure 6 Skylight Calendar can display all events on one device, and provides seamless auto-syncs with Google, Outlook, Apple, Cozi, and Yahoo.
Figure 6
Skylight Calendar can display all events on one device, and provides seamless auto-syncs with Google, Outlook, Apple, Cozi, and Yahoo.
DIGITAL PHOTO FRAME

The digital photo frame is the perfect gadget for displaying photos or videos. A digital photo frame is an alternative to the traditional photo frame; it displays photos on a digital screen without the help of a computer or printer. Most digital photo frames give access from mobile devices, computers, or other devices.

The Nixplay 10.1” touchscreen smart photo frame (Figure 7) plays photos in JPG (.jpg – .jpeg) and PNG (.png) formats, and 15-second video clips via mobile app (60-seconds available) in MP4, MOV, and MPEG formats. It uses an LCD IPS touchscreen display with 1280×800 (HD) resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, 400cd/m2 brightness, and 500:1 contrast. The photo frames have several useful sensor packages, including auto-rotate (portrait and landscape), microphone activity sensor (non-recording), and auto on/off.

Figure 7  The Nixplay 10.1-inch touchscreen smart photo frame is an alternative to the traditional photo frame. It can play photos and videos on the LCD IPS touchscreen display.
Figure 7
The Nixplay 10.1-inch touchscreen smart photo frame is an alternative to the traditional photo frame. It can play photos and videos on the LCD IPS touchscreen display.

The frame uses two 2W speakers, 100V to 240V with 0.3A AC input, and 5V with 2.0A DC output. The Nixplay smart frame can interact with email, Google Photos, Instagram, and Facebook via the Web app. The Nixplay mobile app is available for Apple and Android products. The Nixplay 10.1-inch touchscreen smart photo frames are available in black, wood, and white finishes.

DIGITAL MENU

A digital menu board displays electronic menus on digital screens in restaurants, cafes, bars, health clubs, fast food venues, and offices. Digital menus provide an easy and more effective way to show customers their options through slideshows, scrolling text, images, item descriptions, and videos. It is cost-effective and easy to update and add or delete items on the menu boards.

The Digital Menu Board from Impact Digital Signage (Figure 8) can display both images and videos, and it is suitable for use with wall, floor stands, or ceiling mounts. The Menu Board allows scheduling of startup and shutdown times each day, and automatically schedules breakfast, lunch, and evening menus. It can be ideal for offices, cafes, bars, health clubs, and fast food venues. The digital menu board plays images (in JPG, GIF, BMP, PNG formats), videos (in MPG, AVI, MP4, RM, RMVB, TS formats) with 1920×1080 resolution, and audios (in MP3, WMA formats).

Figure 8  Digital Menu Board from Impact Digital Signage shows both images and videos, and it is suitable for use with wall, floor stands, or ceiling mounts.
Figure 8
Digital Menu Board from Impact Digital Signage shows both images and videos, and it is suitable for use with wall, floor stands, or ceiling mounts.

The digital menu board uses a 450cd/m2 IPS Panel, and it is available from 32” up to 55”. The computing systems include internal memory 6GB, CPU Quad-Core Cortex-A17@1.61GHz, GPU Mali-T760 MP4 @600MHz, RAM 2GB DDR3, ROM 8GB NAND, OS Android 5.1.1, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenCL 1.1, Renderscript, Direct3D 11.1, 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, USB2.0 HOST (x2), and 10/100M Ethernet. The operating and storage temperatures are, respectively, 0°C to 50°C and -30°C to 60°C. The input voltage is 110VAC~240VAC (50Hz~60Hz), and power consumption varies based on the display sizes.

SMART REARVIEW MIRROR

The smart rearview mirror is a replacement for the traditional rearview mirror in motor vehicles. It uses an HD digital camera placed at the back of the car, and a wide-angle digital display to stream live video. A traditional rearview mirror simply reflects a limited view, whereas a digital rearview mirror significantly reduces the number of blind spots and improves safety and vision while driving. The smart rearview mirror is a necessary part of self-driving vehicle technologies.

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WOLFBOX G840H is a 12“ 2.5K full HD resolution smart rearview mirror (Figure 9) with a full touchscreen, rearview mirror camera, dual driving recorder, 32GB SD Card, and GPS. Its ultra-large HD display with ultra-high transmittance optical glass mirror and capacitive multi-touch provide a super clear front and rearview. The G840H digital mirror uses powerful QVBR encoding technology and a Real Sony Stavis sensor with the IP68 waterproof level. The IMX415 Sony sensor with excellent low-light performance allows capturing crisp clear video footage at night.

Figure 9 WOLFBOX G840H 12" 2.5K smart rearview mirror shows perfect rear view, assists parking to park safely, and supports 24-hour parking monitor.
Figure 9
WOLFBOX G840H 12″ 2.5K smart rearview mirror shows perfect rear view, assists parking to park safely, and supports 24-hour parking monitor.

To safely park, the rearview mirror screen displays the rearview with parking guidelines to put the car into reverse and also supports 24 hours parking monitoring. The smart rearview mirror supports a manual trigger or automatic emergency recording with a built-in G-Sensor, and allows the user to record and lock the video urgently by double-clicking the screen.

CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

A content management system (CMS) provides several tools and capabilities to develop, manage, monitor, schedule, and distribute digital signage content quickly and easily. Digital signage CMS platforms enable businesses full control, proper planning, and management system of their content. There are many CMS platforms available, many of which are cloud-based and allow multiple end-users to access and share a set of servers or databases and subscribe to a service. Some of them are free or open-source, and some CMS software is paid on an enterprise basis. Developers choose CMS for their digital signage systems based on content types, budget, operating style, and security.

Clevertouch Live Local CMS (Figure 10) offers a complete all-in-one solution. It is centrally managed through a secure network, its features include sub-editor permissions, multiple media format capabilities, and email technical support. Clevertouch Live Local CMS allows users to manage entire digital signage communications and comprises a server to connect the user network and the media players. It is developed for environments where security restricts the deployment of a cloud solution and a dedicated on-premise digital signage solution.

Figure 10 Clevertouch Live Local CMS offers a complete, all-in-one solution, and allows users to manage entire digital signage communications.
Figure 10
Clevertouch Live Local CMS offers a complete, all-in-one solution, and allows users to manage entire digital signage communications.

Clevertouch Live Local CMS offers control with a dedicated remote log-in through any Internet-connected device, and it has a user-friendly contemporary interface with free templates. The CMS can connect with and control multiple screens across multiple sites, and it is affordable. Clevertouch Live Local CMS supports animated text, flash animations, clocks, PDF, websites, HTML5, touch compatible, PowerPoint, photos and slideshow, newsfeeds, live TV, and movies.

FUTURE POTENTIAL

As new technologies are introduced and improved upon we are likely to see more interactive and efficient signage that goes beyond the basics of proximity sensors and facial recognition (Figure 11). Incorporating height, age, and even mood into the resulting display. Providing analytics leads to even more refined results.

Figure 11 Intelli-Signage Age and Gender Recognition System displays the relevant products/merchandise based on the viewer profile – gender and age group.
Figure 11
Intelli-Signage Age and Gender Recognition System displays the relevant products/merchandise based on the viewer profile – gender and age group.

Leading to more uses for digital signage and its benefits. Technology revolution trends set to formating of digital signage, such as automation, touch screen innovation, cloud-based deployment, augmented reality, interactive media, social media interaction, and personalization. Digital signage with embedded technologies moving to deliver multi-role services to all aspects of our lives. The trends are pushing the development of higher-quality displays, lighter/thinner options, and an ever-expanding range of options—at even lower costs. 

RESOURCES
Allsee Technologies | www.allsee-tech.com
Clevertouch | www.clevertouch.com
Impact Digital Signage | www.impactdigitalsignage.co.uk
Intelli-Signage | www.intelli-signage.com
LG | www.lg.com
Nixplay | www.nixplay.com
Planar | www.planar.com
Skylight Frame | www.skylightframe.com
SWARCO | www.swarco.com
WolfBox | https://wolfbox.com

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • JUNE 2022 #383 – Get a PDF of the issue

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Editor-in-Chief (Former) at | + posts

Al Mahmud Al Mamun Former (March 2022-July 2022) Editor-in-Chief — Editor-in-Chief Circuit Cellar magazine. With a background in engineering, research, and publishing and a master’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering. His passions include Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart technologies.

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Technologies for Digital Signage

by Al Mahmud Al Mamun time to read: 13 min