What is smart digital signage: all you need to know about smart signage in 2022

A woman in a blue coat interacts with a smart touch screen digital signage kiosk


Ever wondered why modern cellphones are called smartphones? What changed between the earlier keypad mobile phones and the sleek calling devices we use today? A moment of retrospection will reveal that modern cellphones are more than just calling devices; they can now literally read our heartbeats and count our footsteps!

Everything is turning “smart.” Digital signage, those flat-screens & billboards showing prearranged content, have also smartened up over the years. Gone are the days when you had to load your favorite media files from your computer to a USB device, plug it into a screen and play the same content for as long as you could until someone pointed out that Christmas is over and the content needs to be updated. Then you go back to the same tedious cycle of publishing the content. Well, not anymore!

Smart digital signage is the new cool thing; turn in any direction, and you will find a smart signage staring back at you.

In this blog, we will delve into the definition of smart signage and explore some attributes of it. We will also learn how smart displays can be utilized and see a few mind boggling real-life examples.

What is smart signage or smart digital signage?

Smart digital signage systems are signage displays that operate on smart digital signage software. These smart features can manifest in many ways; they may bring a certain degree of automation to content management and screen management and allow remote accessibility.

There can also be more personalized content distribution. A simple example of smart digital signage is the interactive touchscreen kiosks we often see in airports, ATMs, or retail check-out areas.

Many smart digital signage solutions enable integrating the display systems with third-party applications, such as an organization’s internal dashboards or internal communication tools. These advanced functionalities are impossible in conventional digital signs like USB-driven signage.

Definition of Smart Signage: A smart digital signage is a display solution that optimizes results and reduces human supervision by different mechanisms, such as operational automation, interactivity, personalization of media, or remote screen & content management.

Smart signage vs. intelligent signage

We often use the words ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ interchangeably. However, when it comes to gadgets, smart may not always mean intelligent. Smart digital signage can be considered intelligent when it starts acting autonomously by dynamically predicting or analyzing the environment or human needs.

For example, an intelligent solution can be an AI-driven digital signage in a retail store that reads customers’ demographics and moods to show personalized product suggestions. It is also a smart digital signage.

On the other hand, if we consider an interactive digital menu board that allows restaurant-goers to self-order food, then that display is only a smart signage, not an intelligent one.

Features that make smart digital signage smart

1. Content automation

Automation is one of the most important benefits of smart digital signage systems. A smart signage software will allow you to schedule your media on a screen or group of screens. Your assigned content will be automatically published at the specified date and time. Not just one, or two, or three; users can create as many schedules as they want.

Besides content scheduling, a smart digital signage solution will commonly offer its users a bunch of ready-to-use content applications to ensure dynamic media playback on screen. These apps can show an extensive range of real time content like:

  • Weather updates

  • Live traffic updates

  • Fresh news headlines

  • Moment-by-moment sports scores

  • Or something as simple as the current time on a world clock.

2. Remote accessibility

Remote accessibility means the users can control smart digital signage from any geographic location. This is possible because of the internet and how modern digital signage players are built.

Both external digital signage players and SoC-operated Smart TVs can be connected to the internet and wirelessly and remotely transfer data from the CMS to the screen. This is a sharp contrast to the traditional USB players that need to be physically connected to any device for sharing media files.

Remote accessibility is further enhanced by the presence of cloud-based smart signage platforms. While the modern digital signage players allow users to access the screens remotely, cloud-based software makes the digital signage command center or the CMS remotely accessible.

3. Integrations & inter-device communication

A smart digital signage solution has the power to communicate with other smart devices or third-party applications. A lot of these network-network communications can be achieved through API integrations.

Integrating a smart digital signage system helps the display software pull data from private servers and present those data on the screen. A typical example can be the smart digital signage screens in offices that show different KPIs and metrics to help various departments make analytics-driven decisions.

4. Interactivity

Many of the smart digital signage systems are made interactive. Interactivity enables two-way communication between the end user and the digital screen. This feature contributes to delivering personalized experiences. Many ‘smart’ functionalities work behind interactive displays- computational powers, sensory powers (it can recognize human touch), and device automation (auto-ON/OFF).

5. Judgment and intelligence

As discussed earlier in this blog, intelligent displays are a highly-powerful subset of smart digital signage systems. There is a wide range of possibilities to play around with and mould intelligent screens for human benefit. Some examples can be IoT systems or AI-powered screens.

Intelligent screens sense their surroundings and filter those sensory inputs and analyze them to make independent decisions on our behalf.

6. Software & device security

A smart digital signage system is not easily vulnerable to hacking, data theft, or sabotage. These smart software applications are guarded by high-standard security protocols like end-to-end encryption, https, authentication, and access controls.

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What can smart digital signage be used for?

Smart digital signage systems are so flexible and adaptive that they find application in almost every domain and industry. Here are some common applications of smart digital signage solutions:

  1. Multi-touch video walls

  2. Dynamic advertising displays

  3. QR-enabled digital menu boards

  4. Interactive kiosks

  5. IoT projects

  6. Digital window displays

  7. Large-scale globe-spanning networks of digital signage

  8. Smart outdoor digital billboards

  9. Smart door signage

  10. AI-screens for trigger-based content display

Some real-life examples of smart digital signage

Smart signage or smart digital signage systems are popularly used these days by organizations of all sizes to promote products and build brand engagement. It is also used commonly for streamlining operations in transportation ticketing or retail check-outs.

Here are some real-life examples of smart digital signage that are deriving monumental results for the owners.

1. Fanta Printergam Smart Signage, Australia

Fanta’s innovative out-of-home campaign asked passersby to click a photo of themselves with the signage in the background. Next, the campaign participants were asked to upload this photo on Instagram with the hashtag #FantaTastesLike. Once the photo is uploaded, the smart signage immediately prints the photo and it delivers it through the Fanta Printergram.

2. Smart Digital Signage at airport Automatic Baggage Drop, Singapore

Singapore’s Changi airport has revolutionized air transportation and air travel. The video below shows how the smart interactive displays generate the passenger’s boarding pass and securely processes the baggages at the connected baggage drop belt.

3. McDonald’s Smart Orchestra Digital Billboard, Portugal

McDonald’s has long established itself as the king of disruptive promotional campaigns. In 2018, the QSR chain came up with yet another fun campaign to promote its Maestro Burger. People could simply wave into the air mimicking an orchestra conductor, and the tasty Maestro burger on screen dances to the tune. Nothing beats a dancing burger, right?

In conclusion

The best thing about smart signage is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be costly. Remote accessibility, content scheduling, and software integrations & customizations are basic features that most of the top digital signage brands offer. The cost of digital signage ownership ultimately depends on how complex your business needs are. But as far as basic smart digital signage solutions go, you can easily afford them.

Looking to deploy a smart digital signage solution for your business? Pickcel is an award-winning brand that gets you the best of both words advanced features and reasonable pricing. Contact our sales team for a free demo.

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Namrata Chakraborty

Namrata is the content marketer for Pickcel. She enjoys writing and her area of expertise is where art meets science & technology.

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