Deploying outdoor digital signage presents a set of unique challenges.
Challenges can be overcome with proper preparation and can maximize the user’s return on investment. Ryan Kh, in his article, ‘3 Case Studies That Prove Digital Signs Work,’ explains how digital can be a valuable resource for any company’s marketing strategy, “Digital signage is becoming a notable trend in marketing. Both local and multinational companies are using digital signs to reach and engage with their customers, and if you’ve been paying attention, they’re working…Digital signs have been proven to be very engaging.”
When planning for a signage project, be sure to research the various options available to make an informed decision. Compared to an indoor solution, outdoor digital signage installations require more robust enclosures, electronics, and thermal management systems. Do not make the mistake of using the same budget as indoors, because the environments are simply not the same.
Generally, the following 6 conditions do not exist for most indoor digital sign installations. However, when deploying digital outdoors, the integrator or end user will need to overcome these 6 challenges to create the most eye-catching, dynamic signage.
Kiosks installed in direct sunlight require commercial grade, high-bright LCDs that are a minimum of 1,500 nits (or more) of brightness. If the LCD enclosure is not installed in direct sunlight, do not assume that high ambient light does not still exist. The sun can be quite bothersome for outdoor digital signs! Be wary of LCD manufacturers that market displays as “high bright,” but are only in the brightness range of 700 nits. These screens are not bright enough for outdoor use, much like looking at a cell phone outdoors. A screen that may look vibrant on the indoors is not suited for the outdoors.
Most indoor signage applications are installed in an environment that has an ambient temperature range of 65°-75°F. The outdoor scene is a whole different beast. For example, a typical Pennsylvania climate will require that the LCD enclosure is operational in temperatures of -20° to 110°F. Robust electronics that have a heat tolerance of 140°F (40°C) are recommended for use inside an enclosure. In addition, the solution will require adequate air flow to ensure the electronics are operational in high heat and freezing temperatures.
If an LCD is exposed to a high level of humidity, it can increase the likelihood that moisture and dust will harm the screen. In some cases, these elements can cause the LCD to malfunction. When purchasing expensive electronics, it is better to be safe than sorry! Choose a NEMA 3R rated LCD enclosure that will protect vital electronics and maximize the lifecycle of the equipment.
Rain, snow, sleet, dust, and dirt can all be detrimental to LCDs and electronics. For wide corporate roll-outs, it may be necessary to deploy a “one size fits all” outdoor digital sign solution. All-weather LCD enclosures, with the proper gasket, can protect everything that is installed inside of the box.
Mother Nature, in the form of blustery, harsh wind, can pose additional dangers, if not properly planned. Wind force can put additional pressure on the structure and create a vacuum. According to Stuart Sweet, in his blog ‘What is Wind Load?,’ “[Wind load] describes how much wind affects something. It's a combination of how much wind you have, how much drag the object has, and how big it is.” Determining wind load is critical to the design and installation of structurally sound and safe equipment. The overall wind load is affected by the size and shape of a structure. It is imperative to note that the higher off the ground the signage is installed, the greater the wind load.
A 4-layer anti-graffiti window film can be applied to the enclosure window to prevent vandalism on the visible area. In the event tagging or spray painted graffiti occurs, simply peel off a layer for a fresh, vandal free window. An anti-graffiti clear top coat can be applied to protect the enclosure paint. Unique keyed locks will prevent harm from entering the kiosk. Enclosure manufacturers may also offer ballistic windows and enclosure bodies for particularly worrisome installation locations.
With these added challenges, the total cost of the signage solution will be greatly affected. Outdoor digital can set your business apart from the crowd and make a splash in a sea of outdated, static boards. Planning for all that may be “thrown at it” will decrease the chance of damage and loss of money. A heavy-duty, expertly designed, well built, all-weather digital solution will always pay off in the long run!
For more information:
-- Outdoor Digital Signage Projects: 4 Tips to Educate Customers
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