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Digital Signage Applications in IoT

There are few things as attention-grabbing as a large, colorful digital display. Driven by Internet of Things technologies, applications in the digital signage industry are expanding rapidly. This is partly because the capabilities for delivering rich imagery and engaging content have taken great leaps, technologically.

Another factor is that the potential applications for digital signage have taken off, fueled by those new capabilities, lower costs for high-definition displays and cellular data plans, and imagination for whats possible. And finally, an increased need for on-the-go information continues to spur the development of methodologies for delivering that information.

  Touch screen display
From traditional outdoor displays to indoor signage for airports, shopping malls and other heavy-traffic venues, virtual customer service applications and video walls, the opportunities are endless for providing real time information paired with eye catching graphics.
Some of the many different IoT-based applications and use cases for digital signage include:
  • Branding signage that puts your company in front of viewers and passersby
  • Directories guiding visitors to their destinations
  • Roadside alerts and emergency messages
  • Event announcements and venue information
  • Promotions within brick-and-mortar stores
  • Interactive touchscreens for information or transaction kiosks
  • Employee information displays, showing company social media or metrics such as sales wins
  • Public transit schedules, showing real time updates
  • Welcome messaging to greet arriving travelers or customers
Welcome messaging can even include virtual greeters, as we will see in the digital signage application examples below from our customer case studies.

Case Study Examples: Digital Signage IoT Applications

Digi works with many different customers and partners, from development groups in large organizations to systems integrators to startups and entrepreneurial application developers. Our customer case studies are just as diverse, including one digital signage customer who preferred not to be named.

Digital Out-Of-Home Advertising

Signage NYCWhen a full-service media company in the digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising space reached out to Digi International, they found the complete solution needed.

The company specializes in delivering dynamic interactive media for high-traffic locations. Monster Media's displays appear worldwide in storefronts, conventions, sporting events, hotels, entertainment venues, transit system stations and city buses.

Monster Media also carries out interactive campaigns with such clients as Coca-Cola, HBO, The Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios.
The company needed a connectivity solution that would provide reliable, quality service. Wi-Fi connections proved to be problematic due to reliability issues. Internet connections can easily become overloaded and unreliable.

Additionally, security is always a concern with Wi-Fi connections. Wired LAN connections were ruled out due the high costs of landline installations, and the lack of scalability.
The ideal solution was cellular, for several key reasons:
  • Cellular routers are easily to install, as they are dropped in locally
  • They can be positioned anywhere for best reception, and are far less bulky and visible than a satellite dish
  • Because of their small size, they are the most scalable solution
  • For reliability, customers can choose dual-SIM options that provide failover to another cellular carrier
Customers seeking cellular solutions from Digi now have an added benefit: a new generation of routers that can simultaneously support multiple digital signs as a more cost-effective choice.
Monster Media equipped every station with a Digi WR21 cellular router connected via a Verizon cellular network. From their network operation center, Monster Media runs a Digi VPN concentrator to all of their displays for secure connectivity to their assets.
With the Digi WR21 and Digi Remote Manager® in place, the company can monitor the health of their platforms around the world and remotely update their signage at any time. With the solution in place, the company can easily manage thousands of cellular connected media displays with a secure connection.

PRSONAS: Virtual Greeter

PRSONAS is an innovative company that develops holographic greeters for a range of applications designed to enhance visitor and customer experience:
  • Virtual receptionist: Guides visitors to information such as a staff directory or introductory video.
  • Product specialist: Describes product features to help answer shoppers questions.
  • Virtual concierge: Delivers self-service applications and checks in visitors.

The holograms are multi-lingual, and the company has also added American sign language.  
PRSONAS smart virtual presenters use artificial intelligence and computer-generated visual technologies to interact with customers and deliver marketing messages, provide customer support, and perform transactions anywhere, anytime and in any language. The holograms can be integrated with interactive signage where users can make selections or enter data such as their email address; the holograms can automatically follow up with the prospective customer via email once the interaction is complete.

One of the greatest difficulties PSRONAS had early on was reliable connectivity. Because the technology is designed for real time interactivity, issues such as downtime and slow connections were not an option. When installing their holograms at enterprise sites, they found the sales process could become bogged down as they tried to connect to the customer Wi-Fi. The companys security policies and firewalls sometimes prevented a successful installation, derailing their sales opportunities.

PRSONAS worked with Digi to identify the right connectivity solution, and chose the Digi WR11 (now supeseded by Digi IX20), a cellular router that provides 4G LTE for IoT applications. Excellent bandwidth and reliable connectivity were key objectives to ensure the holograms perform optimally. Additionally, the company wanted to provide remote updates.

"We rely on Digis WR11 for remote access to any PRSONAS unit in the field," said David Rose, chief executive officer of PRSONAS.  "We can push any software update or perform basic troubleshooting and support from our location. Some of these updates can be very large, so we need lots of fast and reliable bandwidth. And since all of our presentation is CGI, not shot on green-screen video, we can change offers and the user experience on-demand. Were constantly sending new updates and we can push those over the cloud in less than a minute."

Leightronix: Remote Digital Signage Connectivity

LEIGHTRONIX provides solutions for managing media, including digital video solutions, video-on-demand web streaming media and remote equipment control.

Sign owners want to be able to efficiently update and manage their digital signage remotely, from a centralized location. Ensuring that they had reliable connectivity for those tasks was an enormous challenge. Depending on the locations, and even the type of industry, the barriers can be significant. "For instance," explained David Leighton, President and CEO of LEIGHTRONIX, "retailers need to comply with the PCI (Payment Card Interface) standard, which restricts the traffic they allow onto their networks. Others simply have a policy of not allowing any outside traffic on their Wi-Fi networks. That meant we had to find a way to create our own private network to update and manage signage."

LEIGHTRONIX initially used Digi for cellular routers to provide cost-effective 4G LTE connections. The company then expanded to include connectivity with Digi XBee Cellular modules. These flexible, pre-certified radio modules are easy to deploy, and make it possible to switch between multiple frequencies and wireless protocols as needed. Additionally, they are integrated with Digi Remote Manager®, which enables easy configuration and control from a management dashboard.
With the Digi XBee Cellular modules embedded in its digital signs, LEIGHTRONIX can offer a drop-in, end-to-end solution to customers that provides fast, cost-effective cellular updates and the ability to fully manage their signage.

Contact us to get the help you need, or see these additional resources to learn more about digital signage applications and Digi technologies:
How to Choose the Right Cellular Router
Watch our recorded webinar to learn how to choose the right connectivity solution for your application