Remembering Lyle Bunn – An Amazing Display of Inspiration

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This week the online tributes have been pouring in after the passing of Lyle Bunn, renowned analyst, advisor and educator in the digital signage industry. As we read them on various sites we nod our heads and smile. The affable man they describe is the man we knew – always learning, always sharing his knowledge and insights, and always eager to help others succeed.

 

We caught up with Garry Wicka, Clark Brown and Dan Smith, LG’s head of marketing, vice president of sales, and vice president of business development, respectively, who had known Lyle both as a person and as an industry member.

Garry Wicka recalled a special time with Lyle:

“A couple years ago I had the great pleasure of going to a Toronto Blue Jays game with Lyle – part to discuss business, part to just watch a game and drink a beer. During the game Lyle casually mentioned that there is a street in Canada named after him because of baseball.

“My first assumption was that he was an amazing pro athlete that we just didn’t know about and his hometown wanted to celebrate the fact. It turned out I was a bit off.

“Smiling Lyle shared the story. When he was younger he used to help coach with his father a local semi-pro team. There was an annual tournament in a town close to where he grew up – for some reason that specific year the winner of the tournament was going to get to name one of the town’s streets. During the game Lyle was coaching third base. The game had gone back and forth and in the ninth his team was down by one run. His dad knew that Lyle was great at reading pitches, and being down to their final out made a substitution and actually brought Lyle in to bat – sure enough Lyle had been paying attention to the pitcher. On the first pitch Lyle knocked out a three-run homer, winning the tournament for the team. He was the hero of the game and so the town went ahead and changed one of the road names to his.

“To me this is the perfect story of Lyle – he lived some of the most incredible experiences, was never boastful, was a great listener and was always that person you could count on in the ninth inning.”

Clark Brown added, “Lyle Bunn was one of the true good guys in my eyes – he was always polite, always wanted to help, and was not concerned about his own success as he believed that it was more important to help others be successful. He was our national sales meeting keynote in 2016 and spoke to our Channel Champions meeting in May 2017, and looked to promote our brand with frequent introductions and positioning us in the market place. Lyle held a special place here at LG – he meant a lot to many of us and to our industry. His coined phrase ‘Dynamic Signage’ lives on as Lyle’s memory will also.”

Dan Smith concluded, “Lyle had a way of picking up each person and educating them, and enhancing the overall quality and spirit of the industry. He will be missed as he left the world a better place than he found it.”

Thank you Lyle, for setting the bar so high. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Content Management for QSR Digital Signage? Seamless.

QSR owners looking to deploy a restaurant-wide digital signage solution need to not only think about the displays and installation, but also the menus and other content they will be displaying to their customers. Specifically, who’s going to create it, manage it and make sure it’s running according to plan?

QSR corporate offices generally work with advertising agencies who create the digital menus and promotional content for the QSR franchisees to run in their restaurants. This makes everything super easy while providing consistent brand identity and messaging across multiple sites. QSR franchisees who get their digital content from the corporate office may work with content management system (CMS) partners who will run the content for them. Some restaurant owners work directly with ad agencies and/or CMS partners to create and manage their content, and others prefer to create and manage their content in-house.

In any case, LG offers the solutions to ensure content creators and managers have the powerful tools necessary for a seamless operation. Let’s have a quick look:

 

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Digital Signage SuperSign™ is LG’s all-in-one content management software that allows user control of displays and media players. SuperSign includes a client-side PC Editor for creating and editing content, and a server-side Web Editor.

  • Provides a broad range of template designs for fast and easy content creation
  • Enables remote and central monitoring and control via computers and mobile phones
  • Compatible with various content types, such as photos, videos, Flash and music/audio

 

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LG webOS for Signage is a web-based platform that works with the displays’ embedded system-on-chip (SoC) and eliminates the need for external media players, thereby simplifying installation and maintenance. This plug-and-play solution only requires a network and code—and the user is ready to display content.

  • Users can either run the system as a rental subscription software-as-a-service (SaaS) or as a client installation on a server that requires only an Internet connection to function
  • Provides content providers and app developers flexibility and usability that enables faster development and seamless integration
  • Enables a variety of web-based applications across multiple platforms, including Linux, Android, iOS and Windows, as well as the ability to create applications using HTML 5

What’s more, LG has a large nationwide network of partners that offer their own cutting-edge solutions in tandem with LG software and platforms, for ever-expanding capabilities with LG digital signage.

Want to meet some of those LG partners and see our latest innovations? Join us at the LG TechTour: New York on Thursday, November 1. Learn More

How Digital Signage is Improving the QSR Experience, Part 2

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Last week we touched on what’s happening with digital signage in the QSR industry. This week we’ll get into the benefits digital signage is bringing to QSRs, regardless of the size of the restaurant or the number of restaurants in the chain.

Enhanced Customer Experiences

Perhaps the biggest benefit of digital signage for a QSR is speed. When customers can clearly see bright, well-organized menus and promotional content, along with high-resolution images of the food items, they can more easily make their decisions on the spot. This helps keep the lines moving so customers can get their orders quicker, enjoy their meal and get back to their day. Another benefit is a reduction in perceived wait time – by displaying entertaining content, such as video clips, customers are given something to do while they wait in line or at the table.

Self-order kiosks with touch screen displays also improve the customer experience. Customers do not have to wait in line, ordering accuracy is virtually guaranteed, loyalty apps can be scanned and service is quickened. Self-order kiosks can also help increase sales as they recommend additional items during the ordering process.

Effective Advertising

Digital menu boards and promotional displays can deliver marketing messages efficiently and effectively and are more likely to grab the customers’ attention than static signage. Eye-catching graphics and short video clips promoting new items, high-margin items or special pricing increase upselling/cross-selling opportunities and the chance of impulse purchases.

Effortless Menu Management

Digital signage can enable QSR business owners to have remote, centralized control of the displays and their content, which means that the owners can make menu changes or add new messaging at any time with just a few clicks. This eliminates the time and burden of manually replacing static menu boards and signs, as well as the recurring costs associated with static menu updates, such as printing, shipping and installation.

Automatic Dayparting

Automatic dayparting is a great advantage for QSR. With a CMS partner or content management software, digital signage can offer the ability to seamlessly switch between breakfast, lunch and main menus according to a set schedule. This eliminates the need for QSR employees to climb ladders behind the counter or run outside to the drive-thru and manually remove and insert menus throughout the day. Automatic dayparting can be done from a centralized location to cover multiple sites so that all menus in all restaurants switch simultaneously.

Real-Time LTO Management

If the QSR has an upcoming LTO they can run a short promotional video clip on their displays so customers will know it’s coming. And when it does, if the QSR runs out of that LTO item they can immediately remove it from the menu rather than have upset customers that want the product but cannot get it because it is sold out.

Quick Overstock Promotion

Digital signage can help reduce wasted product and the associated lost revenue. If a QSR realizes they have ordered too much chicken, for example, they can ask their CMS partner to create and run a short video clip promoting a manager’s special on the chicken sandwich. This can quickly boost sales and reduce the excess chicken inventory that might otherwise reach its sell-by date and have to be discarded.

Expanded Performance From the Drive-Thru

Approximately 70% of QSR business is done at the drive-thru. Having all-weather outdoor digital signage at the drive-thru can help increase sales in a number of ways: 1) Presell – Promote a new menu item at the drive-thru entrance. 2) Upsell – Display high-margin items to entice customers into additional purchases. 3) Promote – Display eye-catching LTO information and images of meal deals. 4) Highlight – Prominently feature bestselling menu items to encourage quick sales and faster ordering.

Increased Efficiency in Kitchen/Food Prep Areas

When integrated with the ordering system, digital displays in QSR kitchens and food prep areas can facilitate quicker, more efficient and more accurate operations because workers see exactly what needs to be made as soon as it is ordered. No more relying on little slips of paper.

In the QSR business, time is money. Digital signage can quicken the QSR experience outside, inside, for customers and employees, and have a positive impact on the bottom line.

How Digital Signage is Improving the QSR Experience, Part 1

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In recent years quick-service restaurants have become major users of digital menu boards and other displays, and their number continues to grow due to the proven advantages digital signage offers over printed (static) menus and cardboard signs.

What’s happening today?

QSR franchisees are converting their old restaurant and refreshing its look to keep in line with the corporate brand image. As they remodel they are incorporating digital signage to: 1) Keep up with screen-savvy younger generations that have come to expect a digital experience. 2) Realize the efficiency of automatic menu dayparting and real-time content control. 3) Deliver promotional messaging to customers waiting in line, whether it’s about a new menu item, store event or limited time offer (LTO).

Digital signage applications for QSR include menu boards, drive-thru displays, promotional displays, self-order kiosks and infotainment displays. Digital signage can enhance the overall restaurant design, reinforce the brand identity, improve efficiencies and ensure content consistency in multi-site operations. It imparts a clean, modern look and offers numerous opportunities to display a wide range of information in engaging new ways. Simultaneously, it can help cultivate customer loyalty and a desire to come back soon.

Next week we’ll dive into the benefits digital signage brings to a QSR, including:

  • Enhanced customer experiences
  • Effective advertising
  • Effortless menu management
  • Automatic menu dayparting
  • Real-time LTO management
  • Quick overstock promotion
  • Expanded performance from the drive-thru
  • Increased efficiency in kitchen/food prep areas

Stay tuned.

The Digital Signage Evolution is Unstoppable

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As commercial display technology has evolved so has the actual configuration and the solution itself.

Back in the early days of digital signage a QSR, for example, would have a monitor up front serving as a menu board. In the back of the restaurant would be a large computer to play the content, with cables running to the front for the menu board. That computer was expensive – maybe $1500 – $2000 to have enough power to run however many monitors the QSR had in the front area.

But as technology improved, and solutions improved, the actual computer (now called a media player) has gotten much more efficient and powerful, the capacity has gotten larger and the player has gotten much, much smaller. And the costs have come down.

Today, the latest evolution is SoC (system on chip) embedded in the display itself, with an 8GB SoC being powerful enough to run the content. A digital signage solution with SoC and a web-based platform reduces system costs by eliminating the need for the media player, and also saves money on installation labor as well as cabling.

And that’s just for content delivery. When we consider the evolution of the displays themselves it’s incredible what has happened. We’ve gone from thick and heavy flat panels to lighter, thinner flat panels, virtually seamless video walls with ultra-narrow bezels, stretched displays that go where no display could go before, razor-thin displays that seamlessly blend into the environment, curved flexible displays that can actually become the environment, and transparent displays that take digital content to yet another new level of excitement.

Where will it all end? We don’t believe it will. All we know is that today’s digital signage solutions offer businesses more ways than ever to stand out from the competition, create better customer experiences, and manage their content in real time from pretty much anywhere.

We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Opportunities Soar for Digital Signage in Airports

By using digital signage for flight information, wayfinding, alerts, advertising, infotainment and other content in key locations, airports can provide travelers with experiences that create real value. Not only will arriving and departing passengers find their way around more easily; they will be more apt to spend extra time in the airport, and patronize the shops, when the environment is visually accommodating and engaging. Digital signage can capture the attention of even the most seasoned travelers while compelling them to shop, dine and get to their gate on time.

Here are some of the benefits digital signage can provide:

  • Enhance brand perception and the traveler experience, with beautiful, innovative displays
  • Unique, attention-grabbing installations can display custom content in ways never thought possible
  • High-haze semi-outdoor displays provide clarity and reduced glare, even in less than ideal lighting
  • High-brightness outdoor displays withstand harsh environments and easily communicate information to arriving travelers
  • Digital signage can be seamlessly integrated and centrally managed, monitored and controlled remotely
  • Content updates can be made in real time
  • Unique displays allow for flexible installations in both portrait and landscape, with the ability to segment multiple content sources on one screen, simultaneously

 

Watch this new virtual flythrough to get an idea of what’s possible.

Make Sure There’s No Place for No Signal

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When you’re counting on your digital signage to attract, engage and inform, and compel people to take action, you don’t want to see a blank screen with the little “No Signal” message. A blank screen can mean lost sales or other actions not taken, and that’s why your commercial displays should have an automatic fail over function.

Automatic fail over enables automatic switching to other input sources (in order of priority) if the primary signal is interrupted. It also enables the automatic playback of content stored on the display’s system-on-chip (SoC). Since a robust SoC can hold 8GB of content there’s a lot to work with.

Here’s a typical example of how it works, with what’s called a triple redundancy. If a business is using media players for their digital signage content, they can set the display’s auto fail over priority of input sources as media player 1, a second media player as media player 2, and the SoC as the third content source. So two media players would have to fail in order for the SoC to be used.

If the business doesn’t use media players, and uses the SoC as the primary content source, they can set the function so that if the SoC should fail the display can switch to a USB stick with content, and if the USB stick should fail the display can switch to a preset static image. If the business is a QSR, for example, that static image could be a general menu, so there wouldn’t be a blank screen and customers could still order certain items.

Auto fail over makes continuous advertising and marketing possible, to ensure you get the most mileage for your message and your display.

Is Your Digital Signage in It for the Long Run?

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We hear it time and time again. A business purchases TVs from the local big box store to use as digital signage. Afterward they encounter problems with setting up the TVs, not getting the performance they wanted, TVs failing and not qualifying for replacement due to overuse. The reason for these problems is simple: Consumer TVs are not designed to perform the duties of digital signage—that’s a job for commercial-grade displays.

If you’re thinking about using digital signage in your business, you should really think long term, and choose a solution that will give you years of trouble-free ROI. From engineered durability, range of sizes and innovative form factors to installation, integration and management, commercial displays excel at meeting long-term business needs.

Commercial displays are designed for 18-24/7 operation (depending on model) and can perform reliably in virtually any environment and often harsh conditions without downtime. And not only is the construction superior, the back-end infrastructure allows businesses to create, post and manage their own content with ease. Let’s have a quick look at the advantages commercial digital signage displays offer:

Professional Support – Commercial display vendors can provide installation, maintenance and support services as well as recommend content management partners.

Effective Brightness and Contrast – Commercial displays are available with a brightness and contrast range that’s ideal for the venue. Resellers and systems integrators can take note of the lighting conditions in specified areas and select displays accordingly.

Display Orientation – Commercial displays can be used in landscape or portrait modes and have a wide selection of industrial mounting options. Consumer TVs are landscape only.

Innovative Form Factors – Extremely thin commercial displays are available that can blend seamlessly into the décor, complement existing structures or become iconic elements of the architecture.

Easy Connectivity – Commercial displays make an installation much more economical for systems integration. Feed the display any type of digital signal and it will daisy chain to whatever the output requires.

Variety of Inputs – Commercial displays feature a wide variety of inputs including RS232C, RJ45, USB, HDMI, DP, DVI-D and more.

Easy Content Management – Web-based content creation/management platforms are supported by a wide range of software integrators. The platform works with the display’s embedded SoC (System on Chip) and eliminates the need for external media players.

Fail-safe Engineering – Commercial displays are engineered to enable redundancies in content sources so that should one source fail, the display will automatically switch over to available backup sources, in a specified order.

Reduced Power Consumption – The leading commercial displays use less electricity because they are air-cooled and require no internal fans. Fans increase power consumption, add bulk and pull in dust.

Circuit-protecting Conformal Coating – Conformal coating is a thin chemical coating or polymer film that is topically applied to circuit boards to protect electronic circuits from harsh environments that may contain moisture, dust, grease, iron powder and other contaminants known to harm circuit boards. When applied, the coating “conforms” to the circuit assembly.

IP5X Certification – Select commercial displays have passed the rigorous dust ingress test to receive their IP5X certifications for dust-proofing. They have protection against contact and are made to resist dust buildup, which means better performance and less heat generation.

Outdoor Use – Outdoor commercial displays employ vandal-resistant glass and an IP56 design which allows for reliable outdoor operation. They are designed to be not only water resistant but resistant against the damaging effects of the sun, rain, snow, dust and wind. These displays also feature ultra-high brightness and contrast, luminance control, enhanced thermal management, polarized sunglass viewable anti-glare screens, plus available interactive touch panels.

Commercial Warranties – Commercial displays are backed by 3-year commercial warranties with extended years of service coverage available. Consumer TVs, on the other hand, have a 1-year warranty and often specify that extended hours of use per day will void it.

Thin Clients Bring High Security, Ease of Management and Cost Savings

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Picture this: It’s Wednesday morning and you arrive at your workplace – a large corporate headquarters. As you enter your department you look around and decide to take a workstation near the west windows. You sit down at a clean, uncluttered desk furnished with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and nothing else. You log onto the system with your encryption key, your familiar desktop appears on the screen and you pick up right where you were when you logged off on Tuesday. Except that on Tuesday you took a seat in the east section. Everything you need, all of your applications and data, is at your fingertips. Other employees arrive and do the same. The workday begins.

This is the world of Thin Clients – secure cloud computing endpoint devices including all-in-one (AIO) devices with keyboard and mouse, ultra-lightweight laptops, and small desktop boxes. Thin Clients create a highly productive work environment that brings numerous benefits to large businesses.

What Are Thin Clients?

Thin Clients are used as PC replacements to give end users access to any virtual desktop or virtualized application and give businesses a cost-effective way to create a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). A Thin Client is a trimmed-down version of a PC, and part of a network. It acts as an interface for a company’s data center where the files, data, applications, controlled functions and real computing power reside. Thin Clients are compatible with multiple hypervisors such as Microsoft, VMware® and Citrix®, and give an IT department many different options for applications to be used.

Why You Need Thin Clients

Thin Clients make a great addition to any education, healthcare, government, corporate or financial services business. They are also ideal for environments with numerous employees and well-defined functions/highly structured tasks, such as call centers. A VDI with Thin Clients offers three key benefits over a traditional PC:

High Security – Thin Clients are protected from user installation of unauthorized applications, and data cannot be copied to or saved to any location other than the server if IT has turned off the device’s USB ports. IT can also lock down a particular device if it is lost or stolen.

Data, software and applications in the server are easily firewalled, monitored and protected and the IT department can enable multi-factor authentication, data encryption, anti-spam/virus/malware protection, and intrusion protection and detection.

Thin Clients also offer companies a great deal of control over application installations and configuration management, user administrative privileges, user access to specific content and websites, and which devices can send out sensitive information.

Ease of Management – A VDI with Thin Clients greatly reduces the burden on IT departments. The IT department can easily manage and monitor every Thin Client device on the network from a central location, whether it’s a few hundred units in one building or thousands of units spread out across the globe. Security updates, software patching and application/OS updates can be applied, tested and activated for all users at once.

Cost Savings

Besides having a lower total cost of ownership (including product, operation, licensing and administration) than PCs, Thin Clients are very energy efficient, using significantly less wattage on average compared to a 150-watt PC. If a company has hundreds or thousands of devices, the cost savings over time can contribute significantly to other business initiatives.

The future looks very good for Thin Clients, and the businesses that use them. Today, more and more applications are moving to the cloud, and businesses are moving to a model where the data follows the user, rather than the user following the data. These are ideal conditions for Thin Client endpoints.

Think Your Space Is Too Bright for Large Format Digital Signage?

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Then it’s time to outshine the sun.

It’s a common concern in places such as airport concourses that are bathed in high ambient daylight. Will large format LCD digital signage be able to deliver crisp, vivid images amid all that brightness?

With the right technology the answer is yes. LG’s Shine Out technology is a well-suited solution for delivering crisp, clear and vivid 4K UHD content in areas with direct sunlight, bright ambient light or harsh indoor lighting.

When displays are placed in front lobby areas or window-facing applications where there might be a lot of sun, the harsh reflection and glare can wash out even the best images. To preserve image quality, Shine Out technology features an anti-glare, anti-reflective overlay that does not soften the image like conventional anti-reflective coatings. Instead, it actually increases contrast ratio and color saturation while deflecting the light. The overlay also protects the screen surface, which is very important in a public environment where people can get close to the screen and bump into it, scratch it or hit it with an object.

And when you factor in the displays’ advanced local dimming function, the image quality maintains high contrast so colors pop. With LG large format 4K UHD displays, the backlighting in specific areas of the screen can be controlled to increase contrast and provide a clearer image. LEDs that can be switched on and off are installed behind the screen’s liquid crystal pixels. This means that a specific area on the screen that is displaying black can be darkened even further, by switching off the LEDs separately from brighter areas where the LEDs are switched on. The result is reduced light leakage, substantially deeper blacks and excellent contrast.

To top it all off, LG’s IPS (In-Plane Switching) screen technology provides true wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees, where colors and contrast remain consistent and data is clearly readable. With non-IPS displays the viewer needs to be centered directly in front of the screen to realize the best performance – at an angle color and contrast decrease dramatically and data becomes illegible. IPS vastly improves off-angle viewing, which is extremely important in areas with heavy foot traffic. IPS panels also feature effective thermal management that eliminates image degradation and screen blackening that can occur with non-IPS displays placed in direct sunlight.

Large format 4K UHD displays are ideal for attracting attention and making the message matter. And with Shine Out, advanced local dimming and IPS they can cut through the brightness with a brilliance all their own.