What improvements have you seen in hardware that have made it easier to install, operate and maintain displays in outdoor locations?”
There are a few improvements of note: On the display side, the monitors require less environmental support such as heating and cooling. They still require it (especially in distinct geographical regions with harsh weather conditions), but they are becoming more self-sufficient. The environmental enclosures can be a very costly proposition to install and to maintain, so minimizing their need is a big win.
Displays are also becoming more rugged. Some manufacturers have developed very svelte, beautiful displays that happen to be very durable. Enclosures are usually needed to provide physical security, protection from damage and the elements. If smaller or lesser enclosures can be used because the displays are rugged enough on their own, then that minimizes the initial and ongoing investments.
I think another improvement of note is how powerful System-on-a Chip (SoC) processors have become. Specifically, these SoC are now directly built into the displays. Depending on a merchant’s use case, they may not need anything other than the display’s SoC to power their content playback. Again, it lessens the overall cost of the solution for specific merchants.
There are a few other items, but these stand out in my mind.