Digital Signage for New Buildings Pt. 1: General Considerations

Digital display technology has created a range of possibilities for how information is delivered, and real estate developers are taking note. From video walls to wayfinding and welcome screens, this type of technology has become an integral part of daily life. 

Rather than building and then implementing a digital signage system, construction companies are now including Visual Communications directly into the design process.

Since digital displays are becoming a standard in new building development, properly scoping it into the greater plan is critical. Once you've decided to make Visual Communications part of the process, it is important to reflect on a few key points.

When to Consider Digital Displays

One of the first things to think about is where you are in the process. Although Visual Communications systems can be implemented in the late stages of a project, it is ideal to consider it from the very beginning in order to optimize the impact of the solution. Additionally, you want to be able to optimize the technology in the physical space as it is being built. The best times to scope digital displays are early on during the budgeting phase of the project.

Practical Use

When looking at the logistics of a Visual Communications solution, it is critical to look at the intent. What will the building be used for? What type of messages will the screens display? Will the building need wayfinding technology or is the scope a tad larger and includes video walls? The anticipated use of the structure can dictate the following:

  • Screen size
  • Configuration
  • Placement
     

It is also important to consider the industries and businesses that will be using the digital signage. A corporate setting may focus more on internal communications, whereas a building with heavy foot traffic may want to install displays with welcome screens and wayfinding. The following are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Building type: The majority of new buildings are using digital displays to facilitate the flow of information. This can include stadiums, hospitals, corporate buildings, schools and retail.
  • Placement: The building's intended use should dictate the placement of screens, like: recessed screens, enclosures and free-standing kiosks.
  • Screen type: From video walls to interactive displays, the type of screen can also dictate where and how you place it. If it is interactive technology, you want it within arm's reach and with a video wall the viewing distance also needs to be considered.
  • Use case: How you intend to use the display should also come into play. Some screens may solely be intended for back-of-house communications. These decisions are what can further dictate the technology.

In addition to reflections on the use case for the building and screens themselves, there are a variety of other details to take into consideration.

General Considerations

When scoping digital displays, there are some things that require careful consideration:

Navigation

Signage can be used for wayfinding and to further define pathways. Interactive welcome screens and directory stations can improve navigation and ease visitor frustrations. Convergent points are another aspect to think about when scoping Visual Communications. Any space where people congregate can be enhanced by digital screens that convey useful information to the audience.

Engagement 

Should people physically use the signage or do you intend to make a WOW statement? A video wall can knock visitors off their feet but an interactive display can direct them to exactly where they need to be. It all simply depends on your intent.

This will also help you determine distance. If it's a video wall, people should be standing far away, while interactive displays can sit on kiosks in the lobby and be touched by passersby.


Location 

The location of the signs is crucial to their success. Where can signs maximize impact? Entrances and hallways are ideal for video walls, whereas smaller screens are generally used for wayfinding and interactive programs. It is also critical to consider sightline obstructions. Are there any spots where people cannot see the screen? Do you need to change the angle? Considering sightlines at each point of egress will ensure all screens are mounted in a way that’s optimized for their intended uses.

There are a variety of methods in which Visual Communications can make an impact. The important takeaway here is that digital displays are creating a convenience for people that they don't want to live without, and thus, the technology isn't going away.


Scoping digital signage into the design of a building early on ensures the highest probability of success. It is important to understand that placement, intent and engagement are all factors that can define an installation. Plotting out these other details early is the first step to seamlessly including this modern technology in your new project.

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