What improvements have you seen in hardware that have made it easier to install, operate and maintain displays in outdoor locations?”
More than eight years ago, we installed two outdoor monitors as part of our initial roll-out of 10 digital signs on our three Morgantown campuses at West Virginia University. Digital signage was still in the “toddler stage” of expansion in a fast growing industry; especially in the Higher Education vertical market. But it would soon be at the running stage! At that time, the options for outdoor digital signage were somewhat limited in that you basically purchased a monitor from one vendor and then had to find another suitable vendor to provide some sort of enclosure to mount to a wall or platform and then install the monitor within that enclosure. It was NOT a form fit. But it all had to fit! The enclosures were bulky and often more massive than desirable. You paid a premium for “climate control” functions for heating in the winter, cooling in the summer, humidity swings and there was a major consideration about how it would all perform in various levels of sun brightness and glare. You also had to add additional electric circuits to run not only the monitor but also to handle the power requirements of added heaters, fans, humidistats and thermostats within the enclosure itself!
In Almost Heaven, West Virginia, we can see summer temperatures well over 100 degrees, winter temperature of -20 degrees, brutal wind chill factors that can drop temperatures like a rock within an hour, humidity running the range of oppressive and sweltering humid to frigidly dry as a bone in a blustery winter and a bright and beautiful sun that can fade anything it touches. Plus, adding the climate control features could easily double the cost of the hardware solution for the installation in a heartbeat.
Presently, you have seen major vendors respond to offer outdoor monitor solutions in a variety of footprint sizes and climate controlled within its own monitor framework and bezels. No longer is a massive box required to place a monitor out of the elements. The form factor is now far more appealing, and the screen technology can even adjust automatically to swings in brightness levels throughout the day and night. Another nice improvement in the technology is that the outdoor monitors are much more “green” in energy consumption by providing that climate control.