Understanding Small Scale Digital Signage Deployment

An Introduction to Small-Scale Digital Signage Technology & Application

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." — Mark Twain

What Is Digital Signage?

Digital signage is a form of electronic display that shows information, advertising, and other messages. It is networked video displays in public or common-use spaces that broadcast highly targeted messages to a defined, temporary audience to show select content.

Digital signage is a also called "Narrowcasting", "Screen Media", "Place-based Media", "Digital Merchandising", "Digital Media Networks", "Digital Out-of-Home" or "Captive Audience Networks".


  • Company to customer
  • School to student
  • Government to citizen


  • Retail stores
  • Corporate (non-retail) buildings
  • Educational facilities

  • Hospitals and medical offices
  • Transportation hubs
  • Service industry facilities

The Digital Signage Business Model

  • Product and Installation
    • Distributed video and audio system design and integration
    • Hardware sales
  • Software As A Service (SAAS)
    • Software that is deployed over the internet or to run behind a firewall on a local area network
  • Content Creation and Management
    • The ultimate recurring revenue stream

Digital Signage Is A Growth Opportunity

"Despite a slowdown in the worldwide growth of flat planel displays (FPD), digital signage (i.e., public displays) is forecast to grow at a compound average growth rate of 20% to 2016." — DisplaySearch
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." — Thomas E. Edison

Where Digital Signage Is Used

  • Hotels, airports and stadiums are the obvious answers!
  • Retail and shopping centers
  • Churches and schools offer virtually limitless potential
  • Sports bars and restaurants
    • Why can't all those TV's play "controlled content" during non-game hours?
  • Spas, salons and fashion boutiques
    • Services are a retail sale!
  • Automative and recreational vehicle sales and service centers

Small Scale versus Large Scale Digital Signage

  • 80% of projects are captured by 20% of business
    • 20% of DOOH projects aren't being aggressively pursued!
  • Large scale digital signage installation have long sales cycles and may tie up valuable resources for extended periods
    • Small scale installations often aren't even identified as digital signage opportunities!

What Are The Components of a Digital Signage Installation?

  • Player
    • Computer
    • On-board player
    • Dedicated Server
  • Distribution
    • Network
    • Parallel network
    • Line level
    • MATV
  • Display device
    • Projection
    • Flat panel

What Signals Are Used In Digital Signage?

  • Network connection to player
    • Player may be centrally located or mounted in or on the display panel
  • Player output typically VGA or DVI-D
  • Analog (VGA) signals may be distributed from the player via Cat5E as non-network distributed A/V
  • For maximum utility, digital signage player output may be modulated and distributed via MATV
  • TMDS signals are becoming important
    • HDMI
    • DVI-D
    • DisplayPort

How Are Digital Signage Signals Distributed?

  • Short distances — a native choice
  • Short to mid distances — a balanced perspective
  • IP addressable installations
    • The digital sign as a network component
  • Digital — DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D
    • Critical for multi-panel video walls
  • MATV — RF Modulated
    • Ultimate flexibility

Digital Signage and Network Interface

  • In digital signage, the network plays several vital roles
    • Originating source for content
    • IP addressed centralized control of digital signage hardware and software
    • Regional distribution of content to "zoned" players
      • Players may then distribute line level video and audio via UTP or native connectivity
    • Distribution of content via LAN connectivity to individual panels with on-board players

Wireless Solutions for Digital Signage

  • Wireless from source to player
    • This is a LAN connection
  • Wireless from player to display
    • This is an A/V connection
    • Used in combination with wired distribution
  • All wireless is not equal!
    • 802.11 or spread spectrum devices offer the best performance
  • Consider security needs
    • Is the digital signage system part of the LAN installation or is it a stand-alone subsystem?

MATV and Digital Signage

  • Coax provides from 370 to 1,000 times more capacity than twisted-pair
  • Coax MATV head-ends can be much less expensive than redundant network matrix switches
  • Connect display to network for control and on-board static image delivery, switch to ATSC to QAM for SD and HD video

Monetizing The Digital Signage Opportunity

  • There are many profit opportunities delivered by DOOH industry
    • Hardware sales, system design and integration, system management, content creation, content management, and cross-platform promotion and advertising sales
  • Leverage the opportunity to create new possiblities!

In Conclusion…

"Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were." — David Rockefeller
"Behind the scenes digital signage requires an advanced physical infrastructure from power, data cables, screens and routing equipment to software applications and middleware. Sitting on top of digital sisgnage hardware is usually a content management and playback system to ensure the right information is displayed at the right time. The future is bright for digital signage." — Jason Slater, Jason Slater Technology Blog