By Doug Bannister
Digital signage is a rapidly growing medium, but securing and managing dynamic displays under an organization-wide information technology (IT) network still often comes across as a difficult challenge for many companies. This is a pity, as the technology behind digital signage is well-positioned to make management easier.
While there are many components that make up a successful digital signage deployment—and careful planning is key—in the end, a single software platform can support a wide variety of applications, including not only typical screen content, but also emergency-response mass notifications, room controls and surveillance footage. Indeed, digital signage is helping to augment security and surveillance systems in a variety of environments, including retail stores, hotels, convention centres and other public facilities.
Combining digital signage with security and surveillance systems is a growing trend that can benefit many users. By integrating a digital signage network under standard IT management, organizations do not have to make large additional investments to support other applications. A single platform means costs can be shared across departments and their messaging can be consistent and simplified, with alerts and notifications appearing in all locations simultaneously.
Watching out for you
This type of integration does not necessarily need to have been pre-planned. In many cases, digital signage has been integrated with existing retail security systems.
After all, it is common for shops to use small TV screens displaying surveillance footage to let customers know they are being watched. Some retailers even try to sell out-of-home (OOH) advertising space on the periphery of these screens, though they are generally unsuccessful.
For a digital signage network to use the video feed from a camera is the same as with any other type of feed to the software, but the major difference is in picture quality. Since security digital video recorders (DVRs) must store many hours of footage, their corresponding surveillance cameras tend to be very low-resolution systems.
That being the case, OOH marketers usually do not want to combine their promotional messages with poor-quality surveillance images and a note saying, “We are watching you!” Some retailers soften the message, suggesting instead the cameras help protect customers, but it is generally more appropriate to flank security footage with such content as their hours of operation and/or a store directory.
Also, not all screens have to run the same content. Surveillance footage only needs to run on a few within a store, usually near the entrance and/or cashier.