This article originally appeared on the Var Insights website.
By: Tyler Wells, North American Sales Manager at MicroTouch
VARs are seeing increasing demand for digital signage solutions across private and commercial sectors, including retail, restaurant, hospitality, and government. With a global market projected to reach $44.84 billion by 2030, if digital signage isn’t currently on your line card moving into 2023, it’s likely an opportunity missed.
These systems for displaying dynamic advertisements and information, including video streaming, are not only cost-effective and versatile, but their diversity of installation has propelled the solutions forward into retail stores, public centers, college campuses, restaurants, airports, and other locations.
When considering digital signage solutions for your client use cases, it’s important to understand not only the key components of a total solution but also challenges and how to overcome them.
Digital Signage Software
Digital signage solutions are much more than the display screen advertising of six years ago. Most notably, the software has evolved beyond one-way information dissemination to be an interactive and immersive tool that engages an audience.
Take, for example, the World War II museum in New Orleans that tailors displays through the use of RFID to allow visitors to choose a person in history’s story and follow it throughout the entire museum. In this way, digital signage solutions become a tool for guiding visitors through the remarkable lives of heroes in a way that is interactive and gives the visitor control of the experience.
For retailers, two-way interaction of digital signage solutions can allow a display to respond with information, promotions, or a scannable QR code when triggered by a shopper, for example, who picks up an item on a nearby display.
The ability to enhance the shopping experience is just one reason why 60% of enterprises without digital signage plan to invest in the solutions within the next two years. Others include the opportunity for digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising to keep brands and promotions in front of consumers who aren’t consuming broadcast TV as they did in the past.
The key to making digital signage solutions a two-way, interactive, and immersive tool is via digital signage content management software. This cloud software is accessible anywhere, anytime, and facilitates content creation, management, and storage, as well as monitoring the up-time and health of the system.
Hardware to Support the Software
The best digital signage software needs tried and true hardware to run it. A critical phase in building your total solution is to test the hardware with your selected software. VARs need to ensure that the hardware and software can work seamlessly to create the best experience for both client and consumer.
Things to watch out for include:
- Latencies: If hardware devices lack enough RAM, there will be an evident lag in the display of the content.
- Connectivity: Some hardware has connectivity limitations that lead to poor experiences or unnecessary downtime.
- Inexperience: Check on the track records of your vendors to understand if they have had proven success in your clients’ markets.
What’s In Demand Right Now?
While savvy VARs can’t go wrong pitching total digital signage solutions to your clients no matter the industry, a few stand out for being particularly in demand.
Education facilities from kindergarten to college can utilize digital signage solutions to display events and information to their populations instead of relying on paper fliers and bulletin boards. Additionally, content can be changed quickly and easily–or in the case of emergency alerts–added with a few button pushes from anywhere at any time. Educational campuses can also find digital signage for:
- Wayfinding and Maps: Digital wayfinding is a feature that helps improve visitor and resident experiences, helping those unfamiliar with expansive campuses quickly navigate to where they need to be. Additionally, as the footprint of a campus evolves, signs can efficiently and cost-effectively be changed without having to order and pay for new inserts to be produced.
- Find Available Meeting Space: Campuses have dozens of clubs, board meetings, student meetings, lectures, and study groups happening simultaneously, and finding available space across all activities can be challenging. With a smart scheduling app integrated into a digital signage solution, students and staff can find and book meeting rooms with the touch of a button.
Digital signage has a range of patient-centric applications in healthcare, from providing self-service options for patient registration to providing information and entertainment instead of watching the clock in the waiting room. However, digital signage also benefits healthcare organizations’ internal operations. Interactive touchscreens are effective tools in training new hires and enabling continuing certifications without reducing demand on human resources. Additionally, display screens can quickly disseminate information–particularly in the event of an emergency–across an entire property through one centralized platform.
A physician’s practice can also leverage digital signage solutions to highlight initiatives, increase brand awareness, and promote services and treatments while decreasing the cost of marketing materials. Additionally, a practice can tailor content, including paid advertising, instead of relying on network television streams where competitors are running ads.
Keep Your Focus on Value
Digital signage solutions provide a great opportunity for VARs to help their clients integrate a manageable total solution with a solid user experience that can scale as the business grows or tech advances.
However, it is necessary to educate your team, build skills, and form smart partnerships that will allow you to deliver a solution that addresses use cases in your market and overcome challenges that arise. VARs that reach that level of competency will be well-positioned for success.