Concierge's Perfect Vision
by Barnaby Page for Screenmediamag.com, Screen Media
Content may be king, but technology is often the kingmaker. While it’s true that the most technically impeccable screen-media network will fail miserably if it’s not delivering the right messages to the right people in the right place at the right time, it’s equally true that poor implementation of technology can prevent the content from reaching its target.
So in terms of network design, one of the most important implementation factors is choosing the right size (and shape) of screens, and then putting them in the right place. Screens are not only a major capital cost, they’re also difficult to move or replace if they’re not chosen or positioned correctly at the beginning.
And, of course, the displays are the customer-facing front line of the network - the devices that actually deliver the content to the audience. Viewers won’t know if your content-management software could benefit from a better scheduling interface, but they certainly will notice if the screens aren’t right.
Fortunately, we have a better than ever range of screens to choose from today. Not only are there the two principal display types - plasma and LCD - with their respective pros and cons, but there’s also a dramatically increasing spread of screen sizes. In this respect screen media is a beneficiary of developments in other industries, particularly consumer electronics, where the display requirements of devices ranging from tiny video iPods to huge high-definition televisions mean that manufacturers are working hard to push the limits at both extremes of size.
For example, Springboard Retail Networks uses 8.4-inch displays for its touchscreens mounted on shopping trolleys; linked to a wireless network, the screens combine functions that assist the user such as a product finder, a shopping list, and product scanning, as well as tracking trolleys and showing advertising. IBM’s Shopping Buddy, based on its Mobile Tablet for Retail, is a similar concept also with an 8.4-inch screen.
Size isn’t the only consideration in specifying screens, of course. Display technology, viewing angle, brightness, and contrast ratio all matter too, as well as resolution, refresh time and response time. But of all these, size is probably the feature that makes the most difference to the effectiveness of the screen’s message - and the success of the network.