• Nikki Ault

The New Blue Screen of Death In Digital Signage

We've all heard of that dreaded blue screen of death. The screen that only comes after a Windows computer system has crashed and you lose everything. Your files, your life, your mind!

Digital signage uses technology such as LCD and LED Screens along with multimedia players to display informational or advertising content.

In the world of Digital Signage, there is a new blue screen of death, and in actuality it is black. Having a digital screen experience an outage means you lose your content, your branding, your mind, and possibly more.

While the benefits of Digital Signage make a strong case for installation, it does no good if the screen is viewed blankly. Understanding the possibilities for the blank screen, what exactly you're losing with a black screen, and an all encompassed solution to help prevent the black screen from rearing it's unwanted face.

Is it Plugged In?

Yes this is the very first question your support team is going to ask you and it is the most obvious issue behind a blank digital screen. If you laugh at this question, it will most likely be the culprit, for just that reason.

From here, there are a slew of things that could affect the display:

Power outage: Is there a current power outage in the area, or has there been one recently? According to Customized Uptime Solutions, "What you might not know is that almost half of equipment downtime is power related and 70% of power issues go undetected or misdiagnosed."

It is crucial to have a power protection plan in place, in the case of spikes, surges, etc., to avoid experiencing a full system failure. Something like Uninterruptible power managers (UPMs) are all in one solutions that combine UPS and power conditioners that can reduce service calls up to 30% or more.

Internet/Cloud Connectivity: With most digital signage systems, if the internet connection is lost, the current content will continue to play. There just wont be a pull or push for new content, if scheduled. However, if the system was not created with that option, and it requires internet to function, it may produce a blank screen or error message of some sort.

No Content Created or Scheduled: Your content management system (CMS) can often be set up to display content that is created and can be displayed based upon a schedule. If there is a point where there is no content created or scheduled, the screen will go blank.

For this reason, it is imperative to have either a content management person to control and keep up with the content, utilize a digital signage integrator who will provide this as a service, or ensure you have the ability to deploy a "default content playlist" to catch an "no content scheduled" issue.

The Cost of a Blank Display

A blank screen not only causes you a headache, but it can also have a major impact on your business. After all, you did purchase a digital display to help you convey a message to your audience, and if that message is not being displayed you have lost it's sole purpose.

Here are a few things you could lose out on when your display is black:

Potential sales: 94% of total retail sales are still generated in brick-and-mortar stores. That is a lot of opportunity time to advertise to your customers on digital signage displays in your store. An advertisement for your newest seasonal product could be grabbing at your customer's eyes instead, the blank screen that is ignored.

Signagelive.com points out that, With72% of purchases made at the point of decision, that last moment within reach of a product, digital signage placed within products offers a great way to influence which items your customers buy. Imagine the potential sales lost if that screen is black instead of enticing your customer to buy those last minute items.

Advertiser Dollars: Content space on your digital screens can be purchased by vendors or advertisers to help cover the cost of the display, as well as, provide additional advertising and information to your audience.

A paying advertiser may not be too happy if their dollars are paying for a blank display. Not only are they losing their money from advertising, but are also losing potential sales that we mentioned above.

Lack of Direction: Digital signage is often used for wayfinding purposes in large buildings, or hard to navigate venues, such as conference centers, hotels, malls, and airports. Customers rely on the displays to give up to date information and direct them where to go.

Customers will find themselves frustrated, stressed, and more than likely lost, if they are unable to find the information they need on a blank screen.

Missed branding opportunity: Digital signage gives your audience more exposure to your brand. It becomes more than just a logo or a catchy slogan. In fact, 47.7% of people find digital signage effective on brand awareness.

You can incorporate fun facts about your brand, what makes you different from your competitors, and can be the missing link in your omni-channel connection between all your marketing efforts. This can include your website, your social media pages, your mobile app (if applicable), and your physical location. I'm not so sure a black screen will offer you the same thing.

Portrayed View: Quick back story for the point here. My husband and I attended The Columbus Zoo last weekend. One of my favorite places to be and full of digital displays filling my mind and heart with photos, fun facts, and information about the animals and the zoo itself. I was quite disappointed when we walked past a blank screen on the grounds. My instant thought was "that makes the zoo look sloppy, and what wasted space."

Now, I may be an exception to the rule because I am immersed in the digital world, however it was the portrayed view of the zoo as a whole that I thought of, and not the screen itself. This can happen to your business as well. A blank screen at a doctor's office may portray to a customer that if you cannot keep up with your signage, how will you maintain their care?

Your Ctrl+Alt+Delete

Your first line of defense against a blank screen and all the havoc that it wreaks, is making sure you have the right digital signage solution provider in place. Utilizing a provider that can give you a white glove service will help ensure that in the event a blank screen does happen, it is handled as quickly and accurately as possible to return your screen to its full functionality.

Be sure you understand how to access your tech support team that is to handle an issue when it arises. Know your contact person, how to escalate the issue, what the turn around time typically is, and what is expected of you as the customer.

In the event you have the new blue screen of death, or black digital display screen, and are looking for a turnkey solution provider, let Coffman Media help you with their proactive service levels.

Coffman Media provides an all encompassed solution which can help bring down your total cost of ownership. They offer the best of breed hardware to minimize risks of freezing and operating system corruption, and in the event of an outage, you will have 24 hour access to their robust support system ensuring a technician will reach out within 60 minutes of that reported outage.

If you would like to discuss getting your black screen of death back to working order to help grow your business again, request a free consultation with Coffman Media.

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