Projectors Edging into Digital Signage Applications

Industry estimates now account for about 25 percent of all digital signage applications involving projectors.

Convention centers, large venues such as sports arenas, and hotels and resorts are increasingly deploying projectors for digital signage applications. Industry estimates now account for about 25 percent of all digital signage applications involving projectors.

Projectors bring several advantages to digital signage. Cost per inch is one very attractive advantage. There’s more screen space for less money. Some venues can’t support the weight of digital screens, so projectors are a viable alternative.

Projectors can also provide a better solution in some high ambient light applications, for example in storefront windows. Storefront windows are subject to high ambient light preventing large-format displays from being effective as signage. With the proper screen technology, projectors would provide a brighter image and can enhance the overall window experience. An installation using projection can rear project onto a film appended to a window. This film can be any size or shape, and due to brightness, will overcome ambient light issues. Further, the use of different touch technologies allows for new and exciting interactive opportunities at the storefront during and after business hours.

Projection mapping is becoming a growing application for digital signage. Using this technique, projectors convey images onto multiple types of surfaces (stone, ice, metal, etc.). Some apps are even looking at mapping content around digital displays, giving a multi-dimensional look and feel to the content being displayed. For example, at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Center, projectors are used to projection map around a videowall. At Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, 3D images are projected onto the basketball court for player introductions. Some hotels and resorts are projecting images onto their swimming pools at night.

The introduction of solid-state technology will only enhance the trend toward projectors in digital signage. While conventional projector lamps can have a life expectancy of up to 10,000 hours, solid-state light source projectors are capable of lifetimes at least two times greater. The extended-use capabilities of solid state meet many digital signage requirements. Further, the upcoming ability for solid-state light source projectors to project 4K images also will play to certain applications.

One last major benefit that projectors supply for digital signage applications is ease for redundancy. Technologies such as projection stacking allow for the image to not only be projected at a higher brightness but also allow for backup in case one projector were to fail or shut down. Using multiple projectors overlapped on a screen guarantees an image is always displayed even in the case of one projector failing.

Here are five pieces of advice to maximize the deployment of projectors in your digital signage projects:
● Make sure content is set to the right format.
● Select the right screen for the job and for the application.
● Make sure that the projectors are set correctly for the space they are projecting onto.
● Leverage the right type of projector for the application.
● Consider projectors with option slots for easy PC integration to minimize installation costs.

For digital signage that requires extended use, make sure that you have the right technology and the right solution for the application. It is important to remember that displays aren’t the answer to digital signage 100 percent of the time; and projectors aren’t either. But projectors and displays together, or individually for certain applications, can solve your digital signage challenges 100 percent of the time. The key is the right solution for the right application.

NEC Display Solutions is a member of the Digital Signage Federation, the only independent, not-for-profit trade organization serving the digital signage industry. The DSF supports and promotes the common business interests of worldwide digital signage, interactive technologies, and digital out-of-home network industries. To learn more, go to www.digitalsignagefederation.org.

Richard Ventura is vice president of business development and solutions for NEC Display Solutions of America, managing the focus on developing new business and strategies for key vertical markets. He is responsible for the growth and market penetration of NEC’s award-winning portfolio of products, he is also responsible for development of new go-to-market strategies and products for the solutions market. He is the DSF 2015 secretary/treasurer and member of the board of directors and executive committee. He can be reached at rventura@necdisplay.com.

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