DIGITAL SIGNAGE has long proven its effectiveness in delivering branding, advertising, and up-to-the-minute information in retail outlets, hotels, convention centers, office buildings, and public spaces. With the COVID-19 pandemic mandating that facilities ensure the safety of their visitors and employees, it is now playing a role not only in conveying important public health messaging, but in helping people in buildings and public areas abide by the latest safety regulations as well.
Jonathan Brawn, director at Brawn Consulting, an audiovisual, IT, and digital signage-focused consultancy, notes that in the early stages of the pandemic, digital signage kiosk manufacturers began adapting their solutions to accommodate both signage and a hand sanitizer station. “Once more time had passed, [they started] to look at putting in things like temperature-screening stations that tie into things like building access,” he says.
Examples of new solutions and features designed to meet COVID-19-related needs include:
- Diversified, a global technology solutions provider, has extended its digital signage-as-a-service offering called FocalPoint with VitalSign. The new feature uses infrared temperature sensors to perform temperature monitoring, and is available as either a freestanding or wall-mounted kiosk.
- The "digital wellness stations" by Ping HD combine a display, temperature monitor, automatic hand sanitizing station, and protective glove dispenser into one kiosk. (The units also come equipped with a library of COVID-19 templates to streamline messaging.)
- Swiss digital signage platform developer Navori Labs recently released QL Access, an add-on to the company’s QL digital signage software. The module counts the number of visitors on premises; detects if they are wearing face masks (and provides data on the fabric type, shape, color, and pattern of each mask); and will allow users to customize the system according to their own specific occupancy rules.
- Version 1.32 of the AxisTV Signage Suite by digital signage solutions provider Visix incorporates a new drag-and-drop Voice Recognizer Widget (VRW) that transforms any display into a hands-free interactive sign, including screen banks and video walls.
In addition to the new COVID-related features, Brawn says the current public health climate may also alter digital signage deployment considerations to take physical distancing into account. Channel pros offering digital signage solutions will need to take this into account as well.
Brawn cites a queue in front of a store as an example: “People are farther apart and you’re reaching a smaller number of people, but for a longer time. That will potentially change the size of the display you would implement, and also what your dwell time is going to be, because it is going to take longer to service more people.”