Posted by: Richard Williams | Posted on: | 0 Comments
While the digital signage market has been thriving for some years, outdoor digital signage is still a relatively new concept. Placing display devices such as LCD TVs outside may sound aberrant for such sensitive electronic devices but the advantage of outside screens more counteract the challenges that placing a screen outside can cause.
The biggest advantage for outdoor digital signage is in the size of potential audience compared to an indoor system. While shoppers may get to see your nice LCD display inside the store – just think how many people are walking, driving or being driven past.
But investing in outdoor digital signage is a challenge and there are many pitfalls which can cast doubt on getting a return on your investment, and often this can put businesses off. But with perseverance and the right advice, outdoor digital signage can really pay off.
In general there are five aspects to outdoor digital signage that you should plan for:
Choosing the right screen
The screen choice is important for outdoor screens as under varying light conditions the screen brightness can be dramatically reduced. Choose a screen with the highest brightness possible (normally measured in nits). Using a commercial grade screen is also recommended as they are designed to be brighter and to remain on for longer periods.
Protecting it from the elements
LCD enclosures are the simplest solution for all-weather protection. These are often manufactured to International standards like NEMA 4 and IP65 and can withstand rainfall, sleet, snow and other weather elements, as well as protecting the screen from particulates like dust that can cause overheating and short circuits.
Ensuring there are adequate climatic controls inside the LCD enclosure is also important. Heaters should be installed for any screen that is to operate in conditions below 5 degrees c, whilst additional fans and even air conditioning should be considered for hotter temperatures. Often both hot and cold solutions are required to cope with both the demands of winter and summer.
You should also bear in mind that temperature can affect the screen brightness so be prepared for a loss of brightness in outdoor locations.
Direct sunlight is another challenge for outdoor digital signage. The sun can not only reduce brightness levels and create glare, making the screen unreadable, but also direct sunlight can actually burn the surface of the LCD or plasma. Try and position the screen out of direct sunlight if possible or consider using anti-glare glass, optical bonding, tints or other sunlight readable solutions.
Often forgotten about, but ensuring your screen is not disabled by a deliberate attack is vital otherwise you could be forced to continually repair and replace the device. Ant-vandal solutions are available such as toughened glass but making sure you have a good quality steel LCD enclosure will provide the majority of protection.