Ask the Board – September 29, 2016 | TERRY MCFARLAND


Are there any appropriate applications for consumer displays in your experience? Why or why not?

Are there any appropriate [digital signage]applications for consumer displays [outside of people’s homes]?  Sure!  But most likely, there are only a handful of applications that could work with a consumer display. Basically, they would be applications where you either have a very climate/lighting controlled, non 24/7 environment, or you are trying to mimic the “at home experience.”  There are several experts on this subject that advocate for commercial displays over consumer, and they are correct in every detail.  If you are in an uncontrollable/public environment (which 99.9 percent of digital signage applications are going to be in), read no more!  Please get a commercial display and benefit from the better warranties, functionality, 24/7 operation, long-life operation, screen-finish options, scaling options, etc.

However, if you’re like me, and you actually have “home-like” settings where the displays get turned off at night and you want to make your guests feel at home, it’s completely reasonable to consider a consumer model.  Obviously, consumer displays are going to be cheaper, and while I don’t advocate environmental waste, one can’t deny that many consumer models can be replaced once or twice at full cost before reaching the initial cost of a commercial display.  Also, the look and feel of consumer displays avails us many nice options that might be more difficult to find in the commercial arena.  For example, if you had a very specifically themed environment (e.g. furniture, paint, carpet, etc.) and you needed a curved screen, it might be very difficult to find a perfect match in the commercial world.  And, you really wouldn’t need to if it’s not a 24/7 operation where the screen will be turned off at night much like it would if it was sitting in someone’s home.  With a situation like this, the need for commercial becomes a tougher argument.

Of course, the case for consumer displays probably fits into the 0.1 percent of use-case scenarios, and it just so happens that some of my work fits into this small percentage..  Of course, most of my work fits into that 99.9 percent of use-cases where we should really go commercial.

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Manager | Disney Information Design & Experience
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

End User Council

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