Whether at bus stops, outside retail shops, or the gigantic billboards on the highway, outdoor digital signs deliver a viewing experience that traditional signage doesn’t come close to matching. The attention grabbing, large screen digital displays are popping up everywhere as technology advancements have improved to present incredible picture quality. This amazing visual clarity has led to the creation of video wall displays that help advertisers enhance the customer experience and increase profitability.
Installing digital signage is a process that requires careful planning of the entire system. This includes selecting mounting systems that are fit-for-purpose and reputable installers to get the job done right the first time.
A successful installation requires an understanding of the risks associated with the installation, and a detailed plan to mitigate the costly consequences. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when planning an outdoor digital signage installation.
- Understand the application for the digital signage, as well as local building codes. Where will it be installed and for what purpose? Will it be in direct sunlight or shade? It is important to understand local building code for installing equipment outdoors. Structures like walls, poles, and even concrete foundations must be engineered to accept the loads placed on a digital display in places like an outdoor strip mall. Mounting solutions should meet structural requirements and local code for intended application.
- Determine the environmental climate the digital sign must endure. Environmental and weather conditions will affect the equipment and often prevent a “one size fits all” mounting approach. Understanding the temperature range is important, as well as other weather conditions such as snow, rain, and wind. Some materials may not be suitable for corrosive environments, which could lead to costly maintenance activities. Use materials that are approved for outdoor and corrosive environments – materials like aluminum, low carbon stainless steel, and proper pre-treatment plating processes like hot dip galvanized, prime coat, and outdoor powder coating.
A digital sign that is not properly secured to a wind rated structure poses a serious threat to people and property. Wind load is measured in pounds per foot, and varies depending on the height above ground level. In a stadium, for example, wind speed and wind load is higher at the upper levels of the stadium than in the lower levels. Wind funneling through corridors can increase load on the display. Calculate wind pressure: “P= 0.00256 x V²” where V is the speed of the wind in mph.
- Understand the engineering constraints of the support structure. Can it support the weight of the digital sign in all types of conditions? Is the mounting attachment suitable for the support structure material? For new structures that need to accommodate increased weight load under certain conditions presented by environmental changes, it’s a good idea to make sure an expert evaluates the situation. Your mounting solutions engineer will develop the optimum solution that fits the application, the environment, and the ideal viewer experience for the digital experience. For example, installing a kiosk sign outdoors where the kiosk has large surface area may require a concrete footing with J bolts or concrete anchors to mount it to the foundation.
- Know the weight of the digital signage system. This includes the mount as well. Equipment being installed in places where it didn’t previously exist, for example, over the heads of patrons in a bar or restaurant, needs extra attention. If it is placed onto structures that weren’t originally intended for the added weight, significant risks are present.
- Use the expertise of a mounting solutions expert. A reputable mounting company will develop an optimized mounting design that will reduce installation and maintenance costs for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The cheapest sticker price for a mount is not likely to be the least expensive mounting solution. Understanding the TCO of a mount is critical to reducing overall costs.
With the growth in digital signage expected to be approximately 35% a year through 2018, and the global outdoor advertising market expected to reach $50.7 billion in 2020, the digital signage revolution shows no signs of slowing. Partnering with a mounting solutions company who provides stock products and full custom capabilities along with engineering services can help ensure a safe and successful installation even when the requirements of the project involve unique structures, massive digital LED display sizes, and unique configurations.