Since the unfortunate events of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all major brands are rethinking and reshaping their advertisements messages. Now, they are focusing on support and are using anything from outdoor LED billboards, 4K video walls, to outdoor screens to spread the “social distancing” and “wash your hands” messages.
Content is the lifeblood of digital signage communications. Regardless of how this content is displayed, it can reach large audiences and shift in a matter of seconds.
In this solution brief, we will review the challenges of deploying digital signage solutions outdoors. Many problems arise, from harsh environmental conditions, which can make it difficult for external displays and players, to unreliable, unavailable, and often slow media players.
Then, we will discuss Lanner’s solution to address these challenges. How the dual wireless media player, LEC-7242, can provide reliable streaming of media content via dual wireless connectivity, WiFi/LTE. Even in harsh outdoor conditions and remote areas, LEC-7242 can deliver content to environments accessible to the public for Digital out-of-home media (DOOH) or other applications.
To function properly, drive-thru restaurants need outdoor screens that display changing menus, promotions, offers, etc. They need a solution that ensures reliable and high-performance external displays, which can be managed remotely.
Other sectors like transportation also use LED Billboards for applications such as wayfinding, passenger information on bus stations, road maintenance, traffic/weather alerts, and accident alerts. Commercial ads for retailers, big screens in stadiums, gas prices on gas stations, and stock exchange feed on Wall Street, are just a few more examples.
These digital billboards provide vital information in a simple way, but installing digital signage outdoors and providing seamless flow of content has two major challenges:
- Harsh Weather conditions
- Unreliable Speed and Unavailable Connectivity
Harsh Weather Conditions
Digital signage solutions are often installed in external environments, from cities, to rural areas, where they can be affected by all kinds of harsh weather conditions, from heavy rain, snowstorms, to scorching heat. Although outdoor signage technology is usually protected in a weather enclosure, some of their vital hardware components are still at risk from low-high temperatures, and other conditions.
The digital signage media player and screens providing all content need to be enclosed in weather-proof cases, otherwise, their hard drives or power supplies may fail, leaving the digital signage out of work.
Digital signs like the ones located nearby Wall Street showing the stock exchange data, or the displays showing the gasoline prices at a gas station, do not really require high definition, but rely on availability and speed. Traditional media players are unable to provide high performance, speed, and highly available connectivity.
Although fiber optics can be used to provide fast data transmission and high availability. Installing lines to outdoor LED billboards can be quite expensive and challenging. These displays are usually installed in high places or with difficult access.
Outdoor digital signage requires a multiple-component solution that provides the right computing performance, energy-efficiency, harsh environment resistance, and reliable connectivity via multiple access technologies.
So, what are these components of a digital signage solution? — No digital signage solution is the same, but more or less, they all use the following set of essential components.
- Digital displays: The choice of digital display varies from application to application. For example, airports showing arrivals/departures externally may not need high-quality definition screens but may require reliable outdoor LED displays that deliver on-demand information throughout the entire day. Other applications like fast-food restaurants might require HD or even 4K/Ultra HD but might not really care about real-time information.
- Digital signage player: This is the device that connects and delivers content to the digital display via HDMI (or another video interface). The player connects to the Internet through wired or wireless, fetches the content, and provides remote management. Connectivity in external environments can be achieved via WiFi or LTE. Some digital signage players store, manage and host all the content on the device itself via expandable storage. Other solutions are cloud-based and can store all content online, host it, and even perform advanced analytics.
- Digital signage software: The software is an essential component in a digital signage solution. It allows users to connect with proper credentials from any PC or smartphone and manage all the digital displays and their content. The software must be capable of integrating with the screens and updating content in real-time.
- Content and CMS (Content Management System): A CMS can support a large variety and number of digital signage players, remotely and from a central place. The CMS makes it easy to control and distribute all content to the displays via the player.
Lanner Solution: LEC-7242 –Wireless Digital Signage Media Player
The LEC-7242 is a rugged wireless digital signage media player. It is certified with CC/CE/PTCRB for LTE and WiFi and designed to work optimally for the IoT/IIoT network edge.
The appliance runs Litmus Edge, which is an intelligent edge computing platform for Industrial IoT. This platform makes it capable of collecting, analyzing, and acting on data right at the edge, without having to forward it to a central station. This edge computing platform can be implemented out-of-the-box, connected to all (video sources), and start obtaining data for analytics.
LEC-7242 Key Features
The LEC-7242 can manage multiple digital signage displays deployed in commercial, enterprise, or public areas. It comes with the integrated Graphics Processor Unit (GPU), Intel® HD Graphics 500, which consumes low resources.
The wireless media player can improve the reliability of digital signage solutions by providing dual wireless interfaces. It can connect via WiFi to an Internet gateway within short ranges or high-speed, long-range LTE networks and improve applications like the Digital OOH.
- It comes with Intel Apollo Lake Celeron® N3350 / Atom® X5-E3940. From 2.4GHz / 1.8GHz (Core 2 / 4).
- It runs without fans. It comes with advanced passive cooling technology.
- 8 GB Memory.
- GPU Intel® HD Graphics 500
- 2 Ethernet (RJ45) 10/100/1000 Mbps.
- Storage: Onboard 64GB eMMC 1x SATA.
- I/O: Serial Port, USB3.0,
- FCC/CE/PTCRB certification for LTE or WiFi.
- Wide operating temperature (0°C~50°C / -20°C~70°C)
Coca Cola, one of the largest and most recognizable brands, replaced its iconic LED billboard located in Times Square, New York City, to spread advice and promote social distancing amid the COVID-19. Other big companies like Audi and McDonalds are also helping spread the message during the outbreak.
Of course, big brands at big places can leverage digital signage to spread messages to thousands of people. But for them it is simple, they can dynamically change and update these outdoor digital billboards in a matter of seconds with a few keystrokes from a central remote computer.
An outdoor digital signage player, such as LEC-7242, is a crucial component for multi-component solutions like these. It provides reliable and available connectivity outdoors for the enclosed screens and a remote content management center on the cloud or on-premises.
- Remote management: A digital signage player like LEC-7242 provides services for outdoor advertising, marketing, wayfinding, exhibitions, Digital-Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising, and more. All the content can be managed remotely via a computer or mobile phone. Make changes and control the content displayed in the outdoors digital sign remotely. The fast LTE connectivity allows high availability for managing DOOH anywhere and on the move.
- High availability: The rugged wireless digital media player, LEC-7242, provides high availability with dual WiFi and LTE interfaces. If the WiFi network fails, LEC-7242 can still connect via LTE and deliver content. The appliance comes with dual SIM for LTE or WiFi so that you can connect to the displays to the content management center using both technologies.
- Withstands harsh outdoor conditions. The integrated solution (displays + rugged wireless media player) is capable of coping with harsh environments with wide temperatures, snow, hot sun, and even moisture, and still provide reliable wireless communication.
- Make mobile digital signage possible: The mobile digital player using mobile broadband LTE, can be a perfect fit for applications such as road maintenance or trucks/taxis displaying ads. The on-vehicle digital signage mobile computers are creating new advertising channels for businesses.
Digital signage is evolving. From the single line programmable LED signs that show quick information such as exchange data feeds that rely on super low latency connectivity to high-definition screens that display entire streaming movies on the roof of moving taxis.
Next-gen digital signage technology can provide vital information on-real time and with a higher definition for inhabitants of smart cities. This technology can reach broader audiences, such as the billboards in NYC Times Square, and improve lives.
Lanner’s LEC-7242 is the ideal deployment for outdoor digital signage displays that may need to cope with often harsh outdoor conditions and that require reliable, fast, and available connectivity. With a solution such as Lanner’s dual wireless digital signage player with LTE and WiFi, displays can be connected and managed from a central remote location.
For more information on the solution of LEC-7242, request a quote.
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zokuga/4199747483