Interactive Screens: Drupal for Building Digital Signage Solution
Tue, 08/14/2018 - 19:17
Possibly the greatest ever digital signage advertising was created for British Airways which had it all. The advert, connecting to live flight information, displayed a child pointing up to the sky as an aeroplane flew above him. This was so cleverly done that the advert showed the flight number and its destination as well.
What a great blend of entertainment and education using the latest technologies!
Source: British Airways
The digital signage system is scalable and its usefulness can be extracted to a great extent like digital menu boards for restaurants or the interactive digital movie posters for movie theatres. Drupal has the power to be a remarkably scalable digital signage solution for different sorts of organisations thereby reducing costs, speeding up time to market, and building engaging experiences for the people.
Digging Deeper Into The Terminology: Digital Signage
Digital signage refers to a centralised content dissemination platform for serving digital content on screens. It can be leveraged to display information through television programming, menus, advertising and other messages.
It can be seen in the form of digital signboards, billboards, and other such display devices for displaying visual information. It is connected by a content management system like Drupal that sends the digital content to be displayed. The information displayed can be anything ranging from static data and charts and graphs to images and video streaming.
Digital signage is a centralised content dissemination platform for serving digital content through television programming, menus or advertising on screens.
It can be commonly seen in outdoor marketing campaigns to display promotional content. Moreover, industries that rely on real-time information delivery to its employers or customer such as stock exchanges, airports, and sports stadiums can use digital signs to a great extent.
Digital Signage Can Be Used In Awesome Ways
Its uses can be seen through the eyes of organisations to understand the different ways it can be implemented. Some of the biggest brands have harnessed its immense potential.
Netflix, one of the largest over-the-top media service providers, carried a promotional campaign that relied on the humbled animated GIF. Instead of using a long video clip, they opted for reaction-based clips which were just a few seconds long. These videos were tied into the events that were actually happening around the globe.
Swedish pharmacy Apotek Hjärtat developed a controversial billboard using a built-in smoke detector. Every time a smoker passed by, the billboard would cough loudly at them before displaying a series of products to help people stop smoking. Although it turned heads, questions were raised whether such an overt messaging is effective or not.
Coca Cola’s Small World Machines Initiative had a grand ambition and offered a live link between India and Pakistan. Coke machines were placed in both the nations where people could interact with one another through the screen like touching hands, drawing peace, love, and happiness symbols together.
A Trio Of Major Merits Through Digital Signs
Enormous possibilities of digital signs are pretty evident with so many big brands using them to a great effect. Using digital signs can prove beneficial in many ways.
- Enhances customer engagement: People love colourful and moving images rather than static images which help in enhancing user engagement.
- Makes a good impression: Content can be updated remotely within seconds. For instance, such quick updates can help retailers to form a good impression and adjust to customer demands without having to deploy employees or new signs printed.
- Revs up revenue: Digital signs can help increase your sales and revenue. In 2014. Taco John deployed digital menu boards and witnessed a 12% increase in sales.
How Can Drupal Be The Perfect CMS For Digital Signage Solutions?
Well, it all boils down to the CMS that would be relaying digital content on to the screen to attract people. Drupal is one of the big players in the content management systems that can be the perfect fit for creating digital signs.
Your CMS should allow the content creation to be done intuitively and support all the common file types. Drupal comes with intuitive tools for content creation, workflow and publishing for streamlining content authoring.
With Drupal, on-the-go team members can assess, edit and approve content from mobile devices to keep content and promotional campaigns flowing on to the screens regardless of where they are and what device they are working on.
Drupal helps in enabling a swift and simple way to track all the alterations and revisions which is a must-have if you have multiple editors and need to handle a history of content changes.
Drupal allows you to administer custom, editorial workflows for all the processes involved in the content production. It lets you view the stage your content is in - from creation to assessment to publication.
Authentication and user permissions in Drupal helps in handling editorial workflows efficaciously and previews show how the content will look on screen before the content editors would finally approve and relay them on to the screens.
Drupal has the provisions for scheduling the content at your own convenience. It is possible to schedule a campaign to be published at a certain time. In case, a campaign is no longer required or outmoded, it can be unpublished as well.
Drupal is one of the most secure CMS platforms among the leading players like Wordpress, Joomla and Magento. In a report published by Sucuri called Hacked Website Report, Drupal turned out to be the least vulnerable to security attacks in comparison to Wordpress.
Your CMS should be able to grow with you and accommodate more screens. Drupal is a highly scalable solution with high traffic sites like Grammy, NBC Olympics, University of Oxford and many other renowned names performing astoundingly well even during the busiest of times.
Support And Maintenance
Drupal is an open source solution and you can rest assured that the Drupal community comprises of numerous vendors who are adept at providing round the clock support and maintenance.
At Opensense Labs, we have designed the Bucket and on-the-go models of support and maintenance services. We offer support in the day-to-day operations. Our support hours run parallelly with business hours but are extendable as per your needs.
The University of Iowa, which is powered by Drupal, kicked off a Drupal Digital Signage Service to offer new digital capabilities inside the campus.
Drupal’s flexibility in content management and delivery in combination with Intel Compute Sticks, mini-computers that serve each screen or sign, proved rewarding. This helped in offering wireless connectivity to the Drupal-based content as it is relayed on to the screens in real-time.
Source: University of Iowa
The digital signs provided key information for students like the time at which a bus would arrive or leave, emergency alerts, advertisements for student groups, computer lab availability, university news, and events etc.
The University reported rapid adoption of the service as many colleges and divisions within the University used the free and user-friendly solution on several screens. Stakeholders used templates and drag and drop tools and widgets for customising and governing the screen content.
The University’s move to expand the use of Drupal to digital signs proved beneficial in many ways. An IOWA NOW news story stated that “the backend is incredibly user-friendly. It’s the same system our websites run on, and so very intuitive. The web-based platform allows us to update information and slides from anywhere and anytime”.
Being an open source software, Drupal incurred no licensing fees. Hardware costs were lower too. Thanks to the project team’s discovery that the digital signs could be run on small, energy-efficient compute sticks. Moreover, wireless connectivity eliminated the expense of data ports and cabling.
Source: University of Iowa
The Drupal Digital Signage system, rather than using a webpage, used a specialised software application. This made the displaying of content as simple as plugging the URL of a sign into a browser. Users were granted access permissions for specific signs and by utilising templates and a drag-and-drop interface, they could display the content or widgets in numerous regions of the screens. That content, displayed on the screen, could also be shared with other units.
Furthermore, the digital signs, being accessible to all screen-reading technologies, saved staff time. Being easy to learn, training time got reduced.
Content editors only needed to enter news or events into a familiar interface. The content would go to both their websites and digital signs simultaneously without having to perform double entry.
Another use case can be seen through Open Y Drupal distribution which was developed by the YMCA of Greater Twin Cities. The objective was to build a platform that would enable all YMCAs to operate as a unified brand through a common technology. Open Y, built on top of Drupal 8, helps in delivering a multi-channel experience for websites, mobile applications, digital signage and fitness screens.
The website of Open Y allows customers to schedule personal training appointments, make online donations to their local YMCA, or look up for monthly promotions. Leveraging the merits of Drupal 8’s API, Open Y integrates all of their systems with Drupal. This comprises its integration with Open Y’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and eCommerce partners but also stretches to fitness screens and wearables like Fitbit.
So, Open Y can use Drupal as a data repository to relay content such as alerts or promotional campaigns to digital signage screens, connected fitness consoles and fitness tracking applications. It, thus, puts Drupal at the core of its digital platform to offer seamless and personalised experiences to its members.
The web-integrated digital signage system for displaying content was demonstrated in a session in DrupalCon Vienna 2017. In this system, the Open Y Drupal distribution was used to serve as a proxy between resources that would provide information about the scheduled activities. In addition to this, it was leveraged to govern the content and to supplement it with both the marketing content and time and location sensitive messaging.
Future Of Digital Signage
According to the statistics given by the Statista, the statistics portal, the digital signage market worldwide was valued at 19.61 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 and the display market was estimated at 6.07 billion U.S. dollar in 2015.
Future of digital signage is bright as is for Drupal and together they can work wonders.
This number is going to see a significant rise by 2023 as the market value is poised to reach 32.84 billion in 2023. Digital signage technology is not just here to stay but grow multifold.
Digital content distribution can surely be taken to next level by making it engaging through digital signage solutions. Drupal can be the perfect choice of CMS for relaying content on screens.
We provide Drupal services with top-of-the-line expertise. Contact us at email@example.com to explore Drupal as a superb platform for building digital signage solutions thereby providing a whole new level of customer experience.
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