“What differentiates an exemplary digital signage installation from environmental noise?”
The answer is thoughtful placement of the screen(s), keeping in mind a balance between locating them in a place people are going to look without being ‘in their face’ or being in the way.
The other aspect is making sure the purpose comes through in the content or messaging. For example, if I am in a liquor store, and see a checkout screen that is 90 percent ads of neighboring businesses, with a local new ticker across the bottom, I’m probably going to tune the whole thing out before seeing anything promotional that applies to that liquor store.
On the other hand, if I am in an amusement park and see a sign reminding me about a nearby offer or how long the wait is for a ride or experience, then I take something away from that and know to look for that type of sign again.
Bottom line: If the intended audience cannot quickly determine why that sign is there, and why they should pay attention, it becomes noise.