What is Digital Signage? Digital Signage is a new fast-growing medium. It refers to the use of display panels (LCD, Plasma), video projectors, or even video walls, to deliver dynamic advertising, information, and entertaining contents at out-of-home locations. The panels may be located in large areas such as halls, train stations, airports, supermarkets, but also in more-confined spaces such as restaurants, shops, elevators.
Why is the digital signage market one of the fastest growing markets? All studies show that digital signage catches attention more than other media. According to an IPSOS survey, 75% of adults remember advertising on digital signage versus 44% on traditional and online media. Most of consumers consider such advertising unique, entertaining, and less annoying than other media. This positive reception of digital signs by consumers as well as today’s increasing affordability of display panels is stimulating a fast adoption of this new generation media.
is the typical architecture of a digital signage network?
The audiovisual contents and playlists are usually built by using specialized software running on workstations. They are stored into a digital signage server.
The digital signage server, typically a powerful computer, is connected to the Players over a LAN or the Internet. There is no limit to the distance between the server and the Players. The server uploads the contents and the playlists into the Players. It may also be used as management station to maintain and monitor the Players, and to allow for software upgrades.
The Players are computers, more or less specialized, that are connected to display panels. They must have enough memory, such as hard drives or flash disks, to store the digital contents they can play in batch mode, according to the scenarios provided by the server. The Players are close coupled to the screens, or even integrated into those.
What is DSNet? DSNet (Digital Signage Network) is based on another principle. It comes as a complement of the traditional schema by allowing a Player to display its audiovisual content over low cost cat5 cables. Instead of one or two joined panels, a Player can handle a quasi unlimited number of monitors distributed in an area of approximately 300m radius. The surface covered by DSNet is sufficient for a large supermarket. The audiovisual content is broadcasted at lower cost. With DSNet, at comparable price, you have more screens and thus you improve the impact of your digital signage campaigns.
What is DSNet network architecture? DSNet is based on three devices:
- broadcaster K5DS-BR8 or K5DS-BR16
- splitter K5DS-SP
- receiver K5DS-RC.
The K5DS-BR8 or K5DS-BR16 broadcaster is the trunk of the system. It is connected to the Player and emulates the operation of a monitor. It is also connected to the local area network to allow for remote or local administration. It encodes and broadcasts the Player audio-visual contents and RS232 data flow (bidirectional) into the UTP Cat5 cables connected to its RJ45 output ports.
The K5DS-RC receivers are light devices that are able to receive the video, the audio and the data stream injected by the Broadcaster into the cable and to forward it on two screens. They manage also the RS232 bidirectional communication allowing the control of the screens by the Player and possibly the information feedback in case of touch screens. The receivers also have a daisy-chain port allowing a wiring in series.
The K5DS-SP Splitter can prove to be necessary in large configurations. It forwards the incoming stream on eight outputs and also forwards the data coming from the eight outputs to the single input.
What are the possible configurations? Without splitters, up to 160 screens can be controlled by only one Player. With a tier of splitters this number passes to 1024 and with two tiers of splitters it passes to 6144. Of course, all intermediate configurations are possible. For example it is possible to start from the Broadcaster with a few cables on which bunches of screens are attached, then to further generate new tree structures with some Splitters.
Is DSNet reserved for large configurations? No, even if DSNet can handle very large installations, it can prove to be useful for modest digital signage networks of a few screens. An 8-port broadcaster is available. Thanks to DSNet, in a simple way you can broadcast your audiovisual contents, manage your installation, and turn on and off each one of your remote screens. The Player can be a simple PC. A digital signage server is not mandatory. Basically, DSNet connects all screens to the PC video and audio connectors. The software used for content design can be small, or even non-existent. A simple video sequence played in loop can make the deal. DSNet is thus a perfect solution for small budgets as well as for big ones.
How is a DSNet network managed? The receivers and splitters are in permanent communication with the broadcaster. The DSNet network can be managed remotely, over a local area network or over the Internet, by means of a Java program that can run on all popular platforms. This program detects automatically the DSNet network architecture and allows for monitoring and real time management of all equipments in the network (broadcaster, splitters and receivers). The video and the volume of each screen can be set individually.