Sounds Like…

When it comes to digital signage and the dimension of audio in the environment, you are bound to see that sound has the ear of many, and important boundaries for others. It would be nice if we could provide a hard and fast rule when it comes to audio enhancements of your dynamic messaging. But we can’t. We can, however, give you the retail environment “rules of thumb” and bend your ear a bit on ways to implement this worthy tool.

First, it helps to think of audio as sugar in your content recipe. You may not need it, and if you add too much, it is just too much. And like sugar, it can add a great deal of appeal, and assist in delivery – the way a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down… In the most delightful way!

Second, you can simply destroy your employees as though using some wicked form of torture, if you play the same audio track over and over and have no way to limit the sound to a particular environment. This is a fact. And it leads to manual disengagement, as in, the volume is turned off.

Third, however, is the new research showing that comprehension, attention, and retention are improved with a good music and voiceover track. In fact, a music bed helps to deepen the experience, and depending on your system objectives, it can enhance a brand’s style.

And Fourth, audio will often reach a client before they are aware of a screen. What you have then is the power to draw eyes to your digital display that much earlier.  

So, how do you compromise between engaging the ears, and saving your employees’ sanity? You can and should give serious consideration to a sound cone which hangs over your display, and presents sound waves in a tight dimension around your system. Only when someone is within a few feet of the display can they hear the music. In addition, motion detectors can assure the sound plays only when someone is present.

We like the Cone of Silence offered by Interface Group. The patented design delivers a column of sound directly below the sphere providing crisp clear stereo sound. Outside the column, sound level drops 80% so that adjacent patrons are not bothered by the audio content.  In fact, the Library Journal supplement publication Library By Design featured this product for the library system. So if it works for a librarian, it will work great for your clients as well!

The audio component of your presentation gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to edutainment content. Without music, most material falls a bit flat. Test this yourself: play a movie trailer with and without audio. The impact of a good music score can’t be taken lightly. But if you have no way to control the audio either by motion or a “cone of silence” then you run the risk of creating a negative where there was a positive impression. In your needs analysis, look at your environment and the factors above.

That’s very sound advice 😉

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Kiosk, You Ask?

We thank the Kiosk company for assisting with information on the subject of kiosks – a great product for many applications. KIOSK has many years of experience in working with customers to deploy small to medium to very large kiosk projects. They have found six factors to consider when choosing and deploying kiosks for your intended purpose. By no means is this list inclusive of everything -This is a summary of those six considerations:

1)  The Hardware Solution –

You want a kiosk that is build to ADA guidelines and UL specs. And you should choose a form and design that fits your environment, brand and size requirements. In addition, the enclosure and structure should be inviting. There is no reason in today’s market that you should sacrifice esthetics or durability. Every option imaginable is available!

2)  The Application –

Think about your experience when you check in at the airport. Your kiosk operation should be that simple! 2-3 buttons, a clear touchscreen, and simple graphic elements. Who will develop the content and application? You may be able to do that in-house, but there are several companies that do nothing but help companies develop applications, tie in with existing systems/databases and help remotely manage the kiosk.

3) Remote Monitoring/Reporting –

Without remote monitoring/reporting – how will you know what people are doing on the kiosk? Will you know if one of your 2500 screens is down? What about the screen saver- can it be updated to play store specials as they become available?

4) Service –

Think about the warranty, and who actually owns the hardware. If a service call is needed, do you need to outsource on-site maintenance where an outside tech will service the kiosk? You may want to keep spare parts on hand for common replacements.

5) The Kiosk Project –

What is the intended purpose of your kiosks? Decide on 2 or 3 priorities at least initially – you can always add on later. What does a good pilot program look like?  Number of stores? What types of stores?  What’s the budget for the pilot?  The MOST important part of the pilot is determining you success criteria.  What is the budget and who will own the kiosks? It may make sense to lease the hardware.

6) Employee Involvement –

Employees can sometimes feel intimidated or threatened by the kiosk. We’ve seen examples where a kiosk is placed in an existing environment without much employee involvement and the program will fail. 

So, in summary, a kiosk is a great tool and resource, useful for in-store surveys, product descriptions and applications, and guidance for customers. The most important moments in the life of the kiosk campaign are those before it is installed. When you think kiosk, think ASK – the questions above will help guide you to the right answers for you.

Imagery is Worth a Thousand Milliseconds

From Wikipedia: A millisecond (from milli- and second; abbreviation: ms) is a thousandth (1/1,000) of a second.[1]

When we look at dynamic digital signage, it is vitally important that we know the standards when it comes to frames per second in the world of A/V. To create the illusion of motion, video (just as with film movies) consists of a series of images displayed in rapid succession.  Each single image is referred to as a Frame.  The number of frames displayed per second is the Frame Rate.  Ranging from 24 Frames Per Second (FPS) to more than 60, each video rendering standard has a purpose and appropriate set of applications. This is a long subject for a later post.

What is important to know is that the images on your digital display, especially those incorporating “motion” and transforming from one context to another, are relaying far more information than any set of words could ever reproduce. Why is this? It is closely linked to the nature of the left and right hemispheres of our brains.

The main theme to emerge… is that there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres respectively and that our education system, … and modern society discriminate against the right hemisphere. –Roger Sperry (1973) 

 “… now that computers can emulate many of the sequential skills of the brain’s left hemisphere – the part that sees the individual trees in a forest –… it’s time for our imaginative right brain, which sees the entire forest all at once, to take center stage.”  – Dan Pink, NY Times, April 6, 2008, “Let Computers Compute. It’s the Age of the Right Brain”

You might say that we have entered the Age of Dynamic Digital Signage. Each of us, you, me, our audience, all have the capacity to absorb untold millions of bits of information in one gulp, so to speak, via our Right Brain attributes, as we look at an image, a scene, or a face. The Left Brain, on the other hand – the younger, less primal brain – needs to immediatly judge and sort, pocketing bits of data and filing each into a mental file folder based on its qualities. This entire subject comprises the material of tomes, millions of pages of research devoted to the amazing conversation and unique languages of the left and right brains.

All you need to know is that pictures really do convey a thousand words. What a boon for digital signage! The medium that is best able to convey mood, feeling, subliminal connection, brand building, and appeal to the senses is electronic digital signage! Combine music, the engaging montage of images in support of a product message, and you are finally able to hold attention, lift sales and build your brand’s appeal.

…“The era of ‘left brain’ dominance—and the Information Age it engendered —Is giving way to a new world in which ‘right brain’ qualities— inventiveness, empathy, meaning— will govern.” —Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind.

 Building Brands with Digital SignageInventiveness… empathy… meaning. These are qualities that should be imbued within your digital content design. LobbyPOP is gifted with a talented team of dedicated and creative humans who use technology – audio and visual elements – to create powerful messaging that goes far beyond what digital print alone could ever achieve. You are invited to visit the LobbyPOP YouTube channel to experience some of the magic.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  — Albert Einstein

Next post: How About Color, Contrast and Brightness?