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More to digital signage than meets the eye

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Computex, Taiwan – Digital signage could usher in a new breed of reseller in IT, particularly in the South African market where the technology is in its infancy and has been vastly under-utilised.

During a tour conducted by James Wang, head of platform management department at AOpen, and Amy Lin, manager, business development & management, the company demonstrated a variety of applications where digital signage presents a host of opportunities for resellers willing to invest the time in skilling up on the technology.
In South Africa, digital signage is often viewed as a grudge purchase and, more often than not, is widely ignored by the general public as bland, boring banners or clips are repeated on a loop ad nauseum.
As Wang points out, this new technology is all about content. "Digital signage is about content, content and more content," he says. "And even more important is the management of this content."
While SA shoppers are becoming accustomed to digital signage in various retailers, Wang says the technology is not restricted to point-of-sale (POS), but even when it is, it can add so many benefits to a business.
This point is amply demonstrated by a coffee-shop environment in AOpen's reception area where Wang and Lin pointed out various products from a digital display offering seating and booking; frame displays selling various products ranging from coffee and snacks through to souvenir cups and mugs; menus on displays that can be automatically updated with specials on a particular day or at a specific time; and multi-screen panels put together to attract clientele for big sporting or cultural events.
But traditional POS is not the only area where digital displays come to the fore.
Wang lists another two key areas for the technology as point-of-wait (POW) and point-of-transit (POT).
While POT is pretty self-explanatory – displays at airports or other transport terminals that can give travelers up-to-the-minute information – point-of-wait has an endless amount of possiblities.
A full demonstration of a system at a clinic or hospital was on display – and it is not solely aimed at patients waiting for their number to come up on screen for a check-up.
The fully-integrated system has a display module extending over the patient's bed which not only monitors everything from heart rate and blood pressure, but can update nursing staff on medications and dosages. It can also be used by the patient himself as an entertainment screen for television, movies and games.
It is also networked to display modules at the nurses station where conditions can be remotely monitored as needed.
Wang says that the opportunities in digital signage are almost infinite – and only limited by imagination.
"If a client can come up with a concept, we'll help him put it into practice," Wang says.