Digital signage

A guide to displaying information in public areas

What is digital signage

Repeat Signage at Howard Park School

Digital signage software provides key communication in school reception area.

Digital signage is displaying still and multimedia (digital) content for information or advertising on small and large display screens in public areas. Content can be scheduled to change at varying times of the day or week.

A classic example would be a screen in a school reception area. This can be used to display information on school events such as sports day, drama productions, student artwork and after school clubs, etc. Lunchtime menus can be viewed, and RSS news feeds (scrolling messages) welcome visitors and provide parents collecting children after school, with information about parents evenings and school events.

Digital signage replaces paper notice boards

Repeat Signage school digital signage software

"During marketing and corporate events, we do live streaming via YouTube from the event and display that to staff on all the floors and some boardrooms."

There are hundreds of notice boards in offices, community centres, cinemas, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, schools, and other places, on a whole host of topics, covering Health & Safety, menus, opening times, events, special offers and other information.

There is a growing trend to move away from paper notices to digital media along with a growth in display screens in public areas.

Digital signage is ideal for key communication

Repeat Signage software for clinics

Pictures within the digital signage presentation are courtesy of NEC Display Solutions; software Repeat Signage.

In a hospital waiting area, for example, digital signage software can display the date and time, a playlist of pictures, a video and RSS news feed messages (like the ticker tape messages you see on TV for the sports results or breaking news), and a spreadsheet displaying clinical information.

In the accident and emergency areas of clinics, current waiting times can be displayed and easily changed by the receptionist to keep patients and visitors updated. Healthcare information can be displayed, images of hospital services and even a video to entertain children.

Repeat Signage for hospital A & E.

Waiting times can quickly be updated on a computer. Images courtesy of NEC Display Solutions; software Repeat Signage.

Why use digital signage

Repeat Signage for restaurants

Sample presentation includes a spreadsheet of menu items and playlist of images.

Digital signage is used to:

Provide information - travel information, menus, weather, national news, college courses, sales graphs, product brochures, etc.

Entertain - play a video or playlist of pictures

Advertise - products, services, offers and events

What is digital media

Repeat Signage for hotels and hospitality

Sample presentation comprises logo, playlist of images, static images, text and an RSS newsfeed.

Digital media, also called multimedia or dynamic content, includes still and moving pictures, animated gifs, text, text over pictures, videos, audio, RSS news feeds, web pages, weather data, real-time clocks and date, webcams, streaming video, documents, spreadsheets and PDFs, etc.

Where is digital signage used

Almost anywhere indoors where you wish to display information, entertain or advertise your services.

Outdoor screens in town centres and theme parks display tourist information; drive through fast food restaurants displaying menu choices; whilst bus and train stations display passenger information.

Repeat Signage for opticians, dentists and doctors surgeries

Patients in waiting rooms can view healthcare information and read clinical or local news feeds.

Digital signage presentations, played on small or large screens, can be scheduled to display information at various times of the day or week. For example, in a business reception area, products and services can be advertised, and when important visitors arrive they can be greeted by a welcome message scrolling along the bottom of the display screen.

In doctors surgeries, dental practices, opticians, hospital clinics and veterinary surgeries, digital signage can provide important health information and alert patients when it's their turn to be seen.

Create, connect and control - what equipment do I need

Repeat Signage software for retail and restaurants

Sample presentation created with Repeat Signage digital signage software. Display screen - NEC Display Solutions.

Software - to create and display your digital presentations. The current trend for digital signage software is cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS), which allows you to build your content online on the software providers' website. To power your digital signage presentation you normally need a computer or media player which then connects to your display screen or video wall. The licence fee for SaaS is usually either a monthly or annual subscription and based on the number of players or number of screens on which you will be using the software. For example, to display software content onto a 4-screen video wall normally incurs the cost of 4 display screens, 4 media players and 4 software licences, for which the latter incurs a subscription.

Downloadable digital signage software, which you create on your computer, such as Windows based Repeat Signage, is cost effective as the licence fee is per Windows computer (Windows player, Slot-in PC or USB computer stick) playing presentations onto a display screen or video wall, and is a one-time licence fee. For example, to display software content onto a 4-screen video wall normally incurs the cost of 4 display screens, 1 media player and 1 Repeat Signage Media Wall software licence, with no on-going costs.

Dedicated media player - to play your message. Media players are small-form devices, available for Android or Windows operating systems, and are often installed on the display screen bracketry out of sight. Display screens with OPS Slots that allow a Slot-in PC help deter tampering and theft and also popular are the USB computer sticks that slot into the USB port of display screens.

Display screen - on which your message can be viewed (LCD / LED monitor or projector plus projector screen). You will need a commercial display screen or multiple display screens to create a video wall and suitable bracketry. Commercial display screens are designed to work 12/7, 16/7 or 24/7. Options include sunlight readable, high brightness, high contrast and touchscreens. Some display screen manufacturers provide basic integrated digital signage software.

Presentation sample

Repeat Signage for restaurant menus

Repeat Signage presentation showing use of desserts menu spreadsheet, icons and playlist of images designed to tempt taste buds.

Creating your content

Your content could be:

A simple playlist of pictures

A corporate or entertainment video

A Microsoft PowerPoint presentation

Professional digital signage software.

Professional digital signage software allows the display of dynamic digital content, which can be controlled from a central location, ideal for high street chain stores and restaurants or hotel groups wanting to centralise information, with presentations scheduled for display at various times of the day or week.

As an example, an entertainments manager of a leisure complex is responsible for advertising forthcoming events. He uses software to create a presentation, promoting that days' activities and forthcoming events. It’s his day off on Tuesdays and he needs to advertise the day’s programme of events from 9am in the morning, which changes hourly. On Tuesdays he either has to delegate the task or come into the office on his day off (not a popular option). Professional digital signage software that allows a variety of digital media to be scheduled and displayed at pre-determined times during the day and week, lets the software work for him and not the other way round. As more people work from home, content can be updated remotely over the Internet at any time of day or night. Even on an exotic island beach if you suddenly remember you need to change some content!

Advantages of using digital signage software

Repeat Signage for London's Velo Restaurant

Repeat Signage Media Wall software at London’s Velo Restaurant, in daily use for over 6 years, promoting healthy Vietnamese food.

Dynamic content - You can include a variety of digital content to create your digital signage presentation.

Rather than a slideshow or a video, digital elements are included on a 'one page' presentation, for example, your logo, text, static images, playlist of images, animated graphics, video, audio, RSS news feeds (or scrolling text), etc.

Depending on the digital signage software you use, you can insert PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets of menu items or financial data, page-turning PDFs, documents, webcam, website pages and even display text and image content from a database.

Create impact - Digital signage presentations can be displayed on a single display screen or onto a video wall, either portrait or landscape. For example, four display screens in landscape (horizontal) mode, are ideal for digital menu boards in fast food restaurants, whilst large display screens in portrait (vertical) mode are used for digital fashion shows or displaying life size characters in museums. A single image can be spread across all screens or separate content on each screen.

Increases in-store brand awareness - Advertising brands and promotions increases impulse purchases and promotes online shopping when stores are closed. Income can be generated by advertising non-competing local businesses.

Save printing costs - Digital signage saves on costs of paper and printing of traditional flyers and posters and messages and information can be updated almost immediately.

Scheduling - Different presentations can be scheduled to play at various times of the day or week, especially useful for restaurants for displaying breakfast, lunch and evening meal menus and special offers.

Encourage customer interaction - Interactive presentations to be displayed on interactive (touchscreen) monitors and kiosks. These are ideal for way finding in shopping malls and airports, or for turning the pages of brochures or catalogues in shops.

Control your content - Depending on the software, you can create your own digital signage presentations, updating content manually, via local network or remotely over the Internet from an online server or your own website.

Disadvantages of digital signage

Repeat Signage for retail

Presentations can be created in minutes with Repeat Signage software.

Time - Time incurred to create your own digital signage presentations. However, whenever new software is used, there is always a learning curve. Many digital signage software providers will ensure they offer a user-friendly interface, and some offer free templates and training videos. An alternative is to employ the services of a graphic design company to create digital presentations for you (which could be off-set against previous printing costs).

Cost - Calculating costs. Software licences may have a one-time payment. However, the majority of digital signage software packages incur monthly subscriptions which has to be budgeted for and can prove very expensive when you have multiple screens and use the software for many years.

Software as a Service or one-time payment licences

Repeat Signage for London's Velo Restaurant

Repeat Signage is ideal for individual shops who want a simple digital signage solution that can be quickly created.

Most digital signage software packages on the market are offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), where content is created on a third party website.

However, some organisations are not able to access the Internet and Repeat Software Ltd, developers of Windows-based, Repeat Signage software, supply a Standalone edition in their portfolio that allows content to be updated manually. Ideal for local network meetings, primary schools, care homes, military outdoor events and exhibitions.

Repeat Signage digital signage software

Repeat Signage software supports touchscreens and includes Unicode support for the display of country characters.

Digital signage presentations created with Repeat Signage Standard, Corporate or Media Wall editions, can be updated via local network or remotely over the Internet from anywhere in the world (with Internet connection). For security conscious organisations who prefer not to host content on third party websites, Repeat Signage presentations can be played onto display screens accessing content from your own website (the player computer connected to the display screen collects the content from your website.)

The other advantage of Repeat Signage software is that licences are a one-time payment for each Windows player computer displaying presentations onto one display screen (4-screens for the Media Wall edition). Repeat Signage comparisons.

Repeat Signage brochure (PDF) showcases ideas for using digital signage across multiple vertical markets and countries.

Trial download of Repeat Signage software is available without leaving your details.

Free RSS feed creator - set up a free account and easily create your own RSS news feeds to include in Repeat Signage or upload to your website as part of your social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) RSS Feed Expert.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this guide is to give a general overview and acts as a guideline only. Information, to the best of our knowledge, is correct at the time of writing. We accept no liability, therefore, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided here.   Repeat Software Ltd., UK developers of Repeat Signage digital signage software.

Repeat Signage software products