Sign of the times? Digital signage gets creative

Creative form factors

BenQ showed new products designed to make digital signage deployment more flexible, including smaller, narrower flat-screen panels with a 16-by-3 aspect ratio instead of 16-by-9. Available in 28-inch and 33-inch sizes, these screens—available for about $1,000 apiece—can be stacked to create digital signage in virtually any size, said Bob Wudeck, associate vice president for BenQ.

“We’re trying to put digital signage in areas you wouldn’t expect, in ways you wouldn’t expect,” Wudeck said.

BenQ also unveiled a 55-inch, dual-sided standing display, barely wider than a thumb, on which you could show one message for people entering a room or building and a different message for those who are leaving. This dual-sided display sells for around $5,000.

Projector makers like Ricoh and Epson, meanwhile, demonstrated how projectors could be used to create dynamic digital signage on curved or irregular surfaces, such as cubes or other shapes.

Another creative form factor on display at InfoComm was transparent digital signage, shown by companies such as LG and Planar. These LCD displays let light through, so you can see objects behind them—and they could have interesting applications for display cases in school hallways or campus museums, for instance.

The IP-based audio company Barix showed a new product called Audio Point, which enables schools to set up what Barix CEO Andy Stadheim called “audio signage.”

The product consists of a router and two bridges for creating audio channels that can stream audio on demand to a user’s device of choice. You can synchronize this audio stream with video being shown on digital signage, for instance—or you could provide just an audio video feed for assisted listening, tours, or other applications.

Audio streams can be single- or multi-channel, allowing schools to deliver streams in multiple languages. A demo kit costs between $1,500 and $2,000.

(Next page: New products that make digital signage easier and more cost-effective to deploy)

Dennis Pierce

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