Don’t Put Off Your Investment: Utilizing Digital Signage During Uncertain Times and Beyond

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Don’t let your digital signs and televisions collect dust in an empty eating area. Instead, repurpose them!

In this uncertain time of a pandemic, digital signage could be flexible, changeable and adaptable from a display standpoint. Amongst other industry verticals, movable digital signage can be a huge benefit to restaurants, bars and foodservices during COVID-19, helping businesses adapt to changing regulation as our world moves cautiously from stay-at-home to a new normal.

Everything is different and changing week to week with a mix of county, state and national guidelines. Getting food and creating a safe working environment can be a lot easier with signage that can be changed quickly and remotely, and even deployed to multiple locations using a content management system (CMS) that connects to the Internet. For example, right now, digital signs can be placed in a window to be easily seen by people outside, ensuring patrons understand your current business offering(s), which involves curbside pickup and/or to go procedures for most. Should the pandemic continue, and the popularity of food delivery services such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub increase, digital signage could be used to create an area that showcases updated information for driver pickups without the need for employees to supply updates on orders. This would allow employees to remain focused on in-store or drive-thru patrons and create a safer environment as well.

While digital signage can be complex, a simple video output or the utilization of HDBaseT technology would allow you to use a single wire to connect to a display on a floor stand. This creates an easily movable temporary display in a window or lobby allowing for versatility and variable length to a computer or CMS. These displays could notify if an order is ready so patrons can minimize their time inside to pick up food or list the number to call for curbside pickup and further instructions; such as the need to open a trunk, back car door, etc., or list any special deals to be seen by people driving or walking by. Making these displays temporary and movable means they won’t have a shelf life like other types of signage and can be adapted as change is needed. For example, you can easily move a display to the lobby or to an open dining area created to allow for social distancing at a later date. For example, you can easily move a display to the lobby or to an open dining areas created to allow for social distancing at a later date.

This may sound like something too difficult to implement, especially if your location may not allow an installer onsite. However, AV (audio/video) contractors can develop special, movable solutions for restaurants, bars and retailers that able to be self-installed. As mentioned previously, utilizing HDBaseT standards allows for ease of cord management, which enables flexible, moveable displays. It would be especially beneficial in areas without outlets as it has power capability on its own. HDBaseT technology allows for a single cable to transmit ultra-high-definition video and audio, Ethernet, controls, and USB up to 100W of power. Once the reopening of dining areas ensues, displays can be moved to these areas to communicate social distancing rules and requirements, informing patrons where they can sit. Not only would this benefit the safety of patrons and employees alike, but it would also take away the need of having employees constantly explaining the regulations for the restaurant for each patron.

Once we get to more “normal” times, these temporary displays could be repurposed and moved to more permanent locations, perhaps being converted to menu displays. As far as the temporary window displays, these could be easily converted to be permanent fixtures and instead display information about upcoming events and happenings at the venue. AV contractors could also provide better cabling solutions through the ceiling that would look cleaner and are less likely to be unplugged, not to mention better mounting to convert a temporary display to a permanent one.

Restaurants and bars must remain innovative in order to continue to be successful and competitive, and digital signage is one way to help assist businesses in continuing to provide a higher level of customer service, while also keeping employees and patrons safe during these uncertain times. It may also help secure additional work for AV installers after the pandemic has died down while delivering immediate and long-term value to restaurants, bars and fast food establishments.

About Author

YT Liang is a senior product manager at ATEN Technology, Inc., a global manufacturer of KVM and Pro AV connectivity solutions that is helping customers achieve stability, solve complex problems, and become more efficient in their day-to-day operations. For more information, visit: www.aten.com/us/en/ and follow @ATENConnect on Twitter.

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