Digital Signage Menu

I began my day as I do most days, rise and shine at 6:00am then on to the office.

My usual stop at the local coffee shop often included coffee (a Venti Black Eye) and a bagel. However, on this day I was wowed by the huge digital signage display above the order counter. Every possible breakfast item and coffee variety was brightly, boldly and beautifully shown in high definition, enticing me to order not just the coffee and bagel, but a new breakfast sandwich as well that had posted to the display just seconds before. I scanned in that breakfast combination to my iPhone using the QR code provided next to each item so that next time I could have my special breakfast order ready when I got there with a simple touch on my phone.

In line at the checkout, I encountered another digital signage display showing traffic and weather for the nearby community. My local coffee shop had jumped, no leaped, into the digital signage decade.

Back in my car and up onto the turnpike, I was awed by digital signage billboards, some keeping me abreast of up-to-the minute road conditions, others for traffic issues and yet others displaying advertisements with sophisticated, bright, brilliant and beautiful graphics and video.

My digital signage day was just beginning when my colleague called and using mobile convergence technology, pushed out to me the airport delays for the flight we were about to take for our trip to High Mountain State University where we planned to scope out a design for a new stadium video scoreboard and instant replay system.

At the airport, we found the highly visible, interactive way-finding displays very useful, providing new step-by-step walking directions, getting us directly to our gate without delay. Looking at those banks of vertically-oriented displays surrounded with new, flexible and clear screens running banner ads made me laugh. I was laughing thinking of 30th Street Station in center city Philadelphia where train arrivals and departures are displayed with a mechanical, number- shuffling marquis that creates a very odd and a very old sound and takes forever to provide accurate information. This stark contrast between outdated display technologies and the emerging digital displays systems we’d been experiencing gave my colleague and I pause, and we both smiled, realizing that our digital signage day was well under way!

At the hotel, we noted the digital signage applications that enhanced our “visitor experience.” Interactive technology solutions assisted us with check-in, displayed amenities and events, emergency information, and directions with an interactive map of the hotel and its conference center. There was even a digital display using RFID technology that recognized us via our hotel key cards when we passed by, grabbing our attention and matching suggested shopping venues to our interests and allowing us to pull a suggested list of local stores into our smartphones. An additional interactive way-finding display utilizing a very unusual and very brilliant flexible screen design caught our attention and helped to direct us to our rental car and also out to the customer site. Again, we were able to pull data directly off the display with our enabled smart phones.

As we arrived at High Mountain State we knew without a doubt we were at the right campus because the entrance had a huge video screen running a slide show all about the school. We parked the rental car and headed to the arena but got a bit sidetracked along the way. This campus is on about 800 acres. Fortunately after just a few more yards we encountered an interactive, way-finding kiosk which was using Google Earth to fly us over the campus, pinpointing from above our exact location followed by a step-by-step virtual walk across campus to the arena.

The site survey and planning meeting for the design of the stadium’s integrated video systems ended in what we felt was pretty much a cookie cutter of what so many schools had used in the past and we suggested that everyone come back in a couple weeks with some new ideas.

After that, it was off to the Las Vegas nightlife and some casino fun. We had been there many times before but now we found that our “VIP cards”, were triggering all sorts of entertaining and informative displays to come alive when we near or engaged in games that incorporated large displays. We were not just there for fun but had registered for a meeting on “Mobile Convergence.” Of course we lost track of time and when we realized it was just five minutes before the start of the meeting, we hit the Digital Directory and Event Calendar board, found the room location and sighed a breath of relief to see that the start time had been pushed out and we had 30 minutes to spare. We spent a little extra time at this interactive display and learned that these digital directories can interface with programs like Outlook and Dean Even’s scheduling software making changes to and notification possible right at the meeting room’s interactive touch panel or through a remote device.

This was a quick trip and we needed to board a red-eye back east so we drove back to the airport and used the rental car’s unattended parking attendant and digital signage display to expedite parking and direct us to the shuttle to our terminal. We got to our gate, the plane waiting and off we went.

Before we asked for a pillow and leaned back for a long and deserved rest, we both reflected on our Digital Signage Day and the many interactions we had with digital signs. At that moment we sat up, looked at each other and realized that our design for the football arena needed to be a connected, digital signage system unifying all of the new and emerging digital signage technologies we had encountered in just one day. Students, administrators, professors, coaches and staff, all needed to be connected, campus-wide as well as within the stadium.

The scoreboard, concessions, press box, and other key areas would use new, bigger, brighter and beautiful displays and in some location, new flexible screens would provide dazzling highlights of plays and advertisements. Strategically located interactive kiosks would aide fans in finding their seats, their cars and their friends. By unifying end-point displays with mobile, handheld smart devices, emergencies as well as touchdown replays could be distributed everywhere and to everyone.

Our digital signage approach would be bold, brilliant and beautiful to match our digital signage day.