Downtime is perhaps the biggest problem for digital signage. A dead screen is not only unsightly, but also costing money for as long as it isn’t working. All that investment in hardware, content, networking and installation is failing to get any return while the screen is down. For advertising screens, downtime also costs in lost sales, as the screen isn’t convincing people to buy after seeing the content.
The problem with many digital signage screens is that often they can remain down for long periods before anybody notices, and all that time the screen is losing money, but downtime has other effects and costs too.
Repair and replacement of parts adds additional costs, which means any return on investment is going to take longer to accrue. A dead screen also provides the wrong image; when customers see a company name associated with a broken piece of technology, it affects the corporate reputation.
Digital signage downtime has many causes, but by careful planning and ensuring adequate protection for the screen, it is possible to avoid many of these causes. The most common reasons for digital signage failure are:
Environment— a common cause of failure is when a screen not adequately protected for the environment it is functioning. With outdoor digital signage, this may be lack of weatherproofing or lack of consideration for the environment’s temperature. Even indoor screens are susceptible to failure due to overheating. Ensuring proper ventilation and cooling is essential, and for screens functioning in extremely cold environment, keep a screen warm is just as important as preventing overheating.
System crashes—inadequate media players, poor software and lack of hardware compatibility often lead to system failures. Ensuring compatibility and thorough testing of equipment before installation are the only solutions for preventing this sort of technological breakdown.
Vandalism—unfortunately a common cause of downtime, vandalism can happen in almost any location. Properly protecting a screen with shatterproof screens and a rugged LCD enclosure can help reduce the risk of downtime caused by vandalism.
Lack of Replacement—even the most well protected screen will eventually need replacing. LCD screens, even commercial ones only have a limited operational life of five years. Over time, the picture quality of an LCD screen fades, a good indication the screen is on the way out and is worth replacing.