In today’s ever-expanding technological landscape, the more interactive something is, the better, right? In some cases, that’s true, but there are several important aspects to note before swapping out your standard digital signage to brand-new interactive digital signage.

Interactive digital signage refers to signs that potential customers can interact with, specifically touchscreens. Interactive media has been shown to increase customer engagement, allow customers to feel more connected to a product or brand, and better capture people’s attention. But those who are familiar with standard digital signage might not realize all the differences between the two. It’s not as easy as uploading additional software or installing a new digital sign. Before you decide to make the switch, make sure you understand everything that goes into installing and managing interactive digital signage.

Hardware

Of course, the hardware for non-touch and touch digital signage is very different. Interactive digital signage requires more high-tech screens and expanded I/O ports, which makes them more costly than standard digital signage. There are four different types of touchscreen technologies that you can use in digital signage:

  • Resistive – a transparent layer is put over the top of the screen and acts almost like a keyboard. When users touch the screen, the top layer senses the placement of the touch and relays it to the software and screen.
  • Capacitive – these screens are made from two layers of glass that conduct electricity separated by an insulator. When a user touches the screen, his or her finger alters the electrical current running through the screen, which is used to pinpoint the location of the touch. One of the major benefits of capacitive touchscreens is that they can be multi-touch and usually have higher screen and touch resolution.
  • Surface acoustic wave – these touchscreens use acoustic waves to sense the location of a touch. A series of transducers and reflectors monitor waves across a solid glass screen. Since the entire screen is glass, surface acoustic wave (SAW) units are the most durable and are recommended for high traffic areas.
  • Optical – located on the corners of the screen, two line-scanning cameras capture the movement of anything that gets close to the surface of the screen and uses the information to track touches. Optical screens are gaining popularity because of their affordability and because they can be used with anything from a gloved finger to the tip of a pen. They can also be used on larger screens without much additional cost.

The software required to run interactive signage also varies from standard digital signage and sometimes requires additional licensing fees. Before purchasing new software, test it out, and make sure it will fill your needs. Check for things like the ease of deployment to screens, the intuitiveness of the interface, and the amount of automation it allows to cut down on time-consuming processes.

Content

Companies thinking of switching to interactive digital signage are probably familiar with standard digital signage. They’re used to making content and even promoting it across platforms (like social media). Because interactive digital signage requires specific software to run, content created for anything else won’t work on the new touchscreen monitor. That means that all content will have to be customized to translate to the interactive screen, or else it will look bad or not work.

When thinking of the costs that go along with installing interactive digital signage, remember to include the cost of creating content. Most of the time, it requires a professional or an outside agency. Even the most technologically savvy person in your office won’t be able to simply jump in and start creating. While that may seem like a negative, a professional will be able to boost your customer engagement even farther by creating more high-quality content than you ever could before including:

  • Contests
  • Quizzes
  • Calculators
  • Games
  • Product catalogs
  • Interactive maps

Installation Services

When thinking about the costs associated with interactive digital signage, the hardware is only the first step. Installation costs are also higher compared to passive digital signage. A site survey is required before installation to ensure that power and internet supplies are adequate for the location. If the location doesn’t have the right cables available, new ones have to be added, which, in turn, runs up the cost.

Constructing an enclosure is also highly recommended, as touchscreens are more prone to damage compared to standard digital signage. Of course, outdoor signage needs to be protected from harmful environmental conditions like rain. Even if your digital signage will be indoors, building an enclosure is still recommended to protect the screen and to provide additional aesthetics. These costs should be considered as a part of the installation.

Digital Signage Manager

In addition to hiring a professional to manage content, you’ll probably also need to consider hiring a digital signage manager or integrator who can help oversee the deployment of the technology and offer technical support when necessary. Interactive digital signage is complicated and has a lot of fine details. Having an expert on your side will help prevent maintenance problems so you can avoid costly errors in the future.

Interactive Digital Signage Displays

Although interactive digital signage is more expensive, the investment could be worth the money. According to a study by Demand Metric, businesses that use interactive media claim that it generates sales conversions moderately or very well 70% of the time versus passive digital signage, which only converts 36% of the time. This new technology is becoming increasingly popular across many industries due to its ability to connect with potential customers and allow them to see information tailor-made for them. There’s no better way to provide personalized information to a customer than letting them select it for themselves. Maybe it’s time for your business to look into interactive digital signage.