What is digital signage?

Digital signage is a sector of outdoor media which presents substantial growth during the last decade. Digital signage is based on the use of digital screens, originating from various projection technologies.  Digital signage installations can be found both in public spaces (train stations, airports, etc) as well as in public access private facilities (corporate buildings, universities, retail stores, etc).

The management of the installed screens is performed through PCs which use a network (either the Internet or a private network) in order to send and receive content updates, content schedules, etc. Nevertheless, there are digital signage installations that are built with a 'stand-alone" architecture.  In these cases content updates are performed manually with the use of various storage media (USB sticks, memory cards, etc).  Nevertheless, in the case a network includes multiple points of presence, the "stand-alone" solution is not cost-efficient due to the need for manual content update, and thus, the initial investment for the purchase of digital signage software and centralized management equipment makes a financial sense in the medium term.

The emergence of digital signage technologies helped the appearance, both globally and in Greece, of new business models, which mainly exploit public of public-accessible private spaces for the development of advertising applications, providing thus the base for advertising digital signage.  With the use of these applications, advertisers were provided the ability either to target specific groups or to target advertising to large numbers of people while they are in outdoor spaces, a ability not available in the past.

Besides advertising digital signage, another business model developed was digital signage applications for corporate use.  With this business model integrated service providers have the chance to offer the ability for the development of privately use digital signage networks for companies or brands wishing to exploit the medium for exlusive advertisement or for advertising third-party companies in their own venues (e.g. retailers).

The main advantage of digital signage when compared with conventional signage is the easiness of content update, as well as the ability for showing animated or video content, providing at the same time the ability to show appropriate content depending on time of the day and public demographics. The aired content may even change in an interactive way (through triggers provided by the people or the environment).

It is important to understand that the adoption of digital signage solutions, and with the prerequisite of appropriate use, is capable of returning a very high ROI (Return On Investment) compared to conventional signage.

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