SignSwift HD1080 Player Manual now online

The manual for the SignSwift HD1080 Player is now available online for anyone wanting to examine it pre-purchase or for any existing users who want the latest version.

SignSwift HD1080 Digital Signage Player Manual http://signswift.com/product/manual-HD1080

Digital Signage is about YOUR content, YOUR message and YOUR brand

If you read the literature from most digital signage vendors you may come away with the impression that it’s really important to supplement your key marketing messages with extra extra information feeds showing weather, traffic, news headlines etc. A digital sign with lots of changing information on it, they claim, will attract more attention. Such systems allow you to clutter the screen with all manner of panels, split screens, RSS feeds and other rapidly changing information.

We say that the conventional wisdom is wrong and here’s why:-

1) The information they typically display from RSS feeds is readily available to consumers on their phone, on the radio as they drive, … or through many other channels. Merely duplicating the same information they already have is not interesting.

2) A cluttered screen fragments your message in the spatial dimension: you are dividing their attention between multiple elements on screen and thus each element likely gets less attention.

3) Someone glancing at your screen may never see your actual marketing messages – in the space of the 10s of attention you have from them they might see only the weather screen. Did you spend all that money on a digital sign to show people the weather??

4) Your digital signage should reflect the attributes of your brand: If your brand is elegant and refined your digital signage should be that way too. A busy screen with rapidly changing panels littered around the edges is neither elegant nor refined.

5) Your digital signage should reflect the typography and colors of your brand. You have chosen certain font styles and color schemes. Mixing in RSS feeds using Flash or HTML technologies typically results in a morass of different font styles, sizes and color schemes. Stick with clear simple colors and typography that aligns with your branding.

6) Your digital signage should also amplify the temporal qualities of your brand. Are you a ‘fast-paced-sports-store’ or a ‘slow-gentle-spa’? Chose an appropriate pace for your digital signage as it transitions from screen to screen and message to message. Mixing in rapidly changing RSS feed panels will destroy this aspect of your branding just as easily as the mixture of typography and colors will.

7) If you absolutely must display news, weather or traffic please make it relevant and filter it to show just the local or exceptional items. Do show important breaking news, don’t show last night’s headlines. Do show a major traffic incident that affects routes near your store, don’t show a traffic map on a Friday afternoon that displays the normal slow patten. Do show an alert for an incoming winter snow storm, but not a display that shows today’s weather will be the same as yesterday and the same as tomorrow.

None of this is intended to mean that you should just display a static image on your digital sign. To the contrary, the use of color changes and subtle transitions can help attract attention and bring eyeballs to your digital signage displays. But keep it subtle – the human eye has amazing motion detecting capabilities – it doesn’t need a display that flashes from black to white across the whole surface area.

Here at SignSwift we are focused on helping you communicate YOUR content, YOUR marketing messages and YOUR brand to your customers. We want to help you create great looking displays that have really high quality text over graphics that will communicate your messages effectively with the least distraction.

We want to help create ATTRACTION not DISTRACTION.

SignSwift 1080HD Digital Signage Players

The SignSwift HD1080 player with HDMI connectivity is back in stock after a brief hiatus. You can order it here: http://bit.ly/eKSMnJ

SignSwift Digital Signage Player

Kinect: the ideal Digital Signage advert targeting system?

Microsoft has issued a statement saying that it isn’t using Kinect to collect information about users in order to personalize advertising content shown to them. This comes after Dennis Durkin, of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, suggested that the Kinect hardware could do just that.

But think for a moment about the possibilities of a 3D camera that can detect people and assess approximate age and gender and how that could be used to adjust the message showing on screen. There are of course some vendors already working in this space but the possibility of a low-cost 3D camera system like Kinect could be a game-changer in terms of making this capability affordable.

Advertising billboards that address passers by personally with targeted advertising have been seen in sci-fi movies before, most famously in Minority Report where one bill board announces “John Anderton. You could use a Guinness right about now” as he walks past, but the idea came long before that. In The 6th Day with Arnold Schwarzenegger for example a circular billboard addresses him personally also. How long until this same technology is common place in malls and airports?

Take a look at this video to see some of the capabilities of the Kinect sensor technolgy:

Now imagine them applied to a digital signage system, one that deliver a targeted advert matching your profile. But why stop there, with this technology it could also put you in the scene wearing some new clothes, of course. A system like that could be the a huge crowd attractor for the novelty value alone.

SignSwift HD1080p Player

SignSwift 1080p Player

The SignSwift HD1080p Player is now available for purchase. Featuring an HDMI output this player can turn any 1080i or 1080p capable LCD screen into a vibrant digital sign that will be sure to attract more attention to your business.

We are currently shipping this item through eBay, please visit ebay.com.

Using Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Techniques to Create Better Digital Signage

Techniques used for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Search Engine Optmization (SEO) might seem like they would have nothing to do with the techniques used in Digital Signage but there’s a lot that Digital Signage Professionals can learn from the world of Search Engine Marketing.

When you sit down to plan a Digital Signage Campaign you need to come up with the text and graphics you will use on your displays. But how do you know which words will attract the most attention within your target audience? How do you pick your key headings to drive the greatest attention? For example, if you were making a digital sign for an Indian Restaurant how could you know that the words ‘tandori’, ‘vegetarian’, ‘spice’ and ‘saffron’ where all words that people associate with that type of business? And how could you know how important each of those words was to them?

Well, that exactly the kind of information you can get from SEO Keyword Tools!  They can tell you exactly what phrases people associate with any particular word or term, so by simply entering “indian restaurant” and “indian cuisine” into an SEO Keyword Tool we get the answers we need to craft our Digital Signage Display.

One of the newest SEO Keyword Tools is actually one we wrote ourselves, you can find it at http://seokeywordsearch.com.  Unlike every other tool out there it provides a unique graphical approach to SEO Keyword Analysis because it creates for you a complete map of the keywords for any starting phrase and it shows you just how important each word is and how they relate to each other.  In a matter of minutes you have a clear picture of the subject matter and can craft great looking digital signage displays that meet your  end-users’ expectations precisely.

So stop guessing what people want to see on your digital signage displays, and start using SEO Keyword Analysis today to improve your work.

Templates make it easy to create great looking digital signage with character

Digital Signage Templates

Templates make it easy to create great looking digital signage with character

Templates are one of the features of Signswift that makes it easy to create great looking digital signage without much effort.  Templates bring a consistent look and feel to your digital signage display even when different images are used on each slide in your project.

Signswift plans to continually add new templates and we are always on the lookout for great ideas, so if you have a favorite color scheme or layout you’d like to see us add, just add a comment below or send us an email and we’ll add your suggestion to the pot from which we pick out new template ideas.

SignSwift featured on Microsoft.com today

As part of the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 launch today a case study featuring SignSwift appeared on Microsoft.com.  You can read the case study here.

Microsoft Case Study on SignSwifthttp://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?casestudyid=4000006885

Fonts and typography for digital signage

Digital Signage Fonts

High quality typography gets your message across better

The fonts and typography used in your digital signage display will be critical for determining how visible it is across a room.  SignSwift includes best-of-breed rendering technology based on Version 4 of Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Format (WPF) technology.  Compare our output against that of any other digital signage solution – we don’t think you’ll find anything better.

According to Microsoft “The WPF text rendering stack … brings improvements to text rendering configurability, clarity, and support for international languages. The new text stack now supports explicitly selecting aliased, grayscale, or ClearType rendering modes. The text stack now supports display-optimized character layout … optimized text hinting and snapping for either animated or static text.”

Because SignSwift renders each image at exactly the right resolution for your display it is able to render great looking text for any display size.  The addition of contrasting drop shadows and complementary color selection further enhances the way our text looks.

When it’s your brand-image on the line, we think you’ll agree with us that having crisp, brilliant typography is critical and you shouldn’t accept anything less than the best.

Digital Signage Reliability Metrics

Digital Sign Fail

You need reliable software/firmware for digital signage displays

One statistic you probably won’t find in any of the literature for the various digital signage systems available on the market today is a reliability metric.  All of us have seen displays like this one where the computer powering the digital sign has crashed or failed to start up.

There are several ways to deal with the inherent unreliability of computer software:-

1. Use a simpler solution.  If you are running Windows or Linux behind your digital signage display you will eventually have to deal with updates, device drivers, configuration changes and other issues that affect overall reliability, up-time and maintenance costs.  If you use a fixed-function digital signage player these issues are less likely.

2. Use a solid-state device with no moving parts:  Disk drives are inherently unreliable over long periods of time, SSD’s with no moving parts or flash-memory-based players are likely to be more reliable in the long-run.

3. Keep it simple: If your digital signage display combines live video streams, RSS feeds, scheduled playback of content and more it’s going to be inherently less reliable than a simpler system.  It’s a simple mathematical fact that 99.9% reliability applied across, say, 4 subsystems, will give you only 99.6% overall reliability (and often less when the communication failures between these subsystems is taken into account).  99.6% may sound just fine to you as a reliability number but that’s over a day every year when your digital sign is not working!  Let’s hope it’s a quiet day for your business and that you notice it in time!