Tag: Digital Menu Board
Noventri announces “30-day, Customer Appreciation Buy-Back Program” Coinciding with the Release of the New Eco Series SF-200 Digital Signage Player
For valued Noventri customers that have purchased SF-100 players, Noventri will buy the players back for 60% of the original purchase price, applied toward the purchase of the new SF-200 (accessories not included)
You must contact Noventri before May 18th to take advantage of this program.
Customers who own older Noventri products, such as SignFlash or SF-3000 should contact Noventri for trade-in options.
“We realize that even though the SF-100 and SF-200 share the same software and can live on the same network, some customers may want to keep their Digital Signage network homogeneous, as well as, receive the benefits of the SF-200 speed and upcoming features,” says David Linetsky, President of Noventri.
The Eco-Series SF-200 was launched just this week with a rave review. The SF-200 is a solid state device that can be used as a standalone player or as part of a LAN, WAN or via the Internet. It sports a small footprint at 5.1” W x 3.9”D x 1.5”H, weighs next to nothing and consumes only 4 watts of power.
When combined with Noventri Suite Version 2.8 software, the player becomes a speedy, robust digital signage player that will meet the demands of heavy, enterprise level users.
For information, contact Noventri at: www.noventri.com or 301-790-0103.
“Can I just buy TV screens from a department store and use them for digital signage displays?”
Of course, you can. You can also use a porcupine for a seat cushion. Either choice presents you with certain and specific pains. (See below: 7 Reasons Consumer Screens Are NOT For Digital Signage Use)
The main reason anyone even considers consumer grade is to try to save money. However, the price between consumer and commercial screens can be as little as a few dollars and the difference is shrinking all the time. Is saving a few dollars up front really worth the risks?
Here is some food for thought. The last link between your message and your audience is your screens. That is why reliability is crucial. In the end, you can have the greatest content in the world but it makes no difference if no one can see it. Commercial grade screens are designed and built to handle the usage requirements of digital signage, hence providing the reliability needed to be successful.
Knowing how important screen selection is, Noventri spends a lot of time vetting suppliers before we associate the Noventri name with them. On rare occasions, you can find a company that has great products along with great support. NEC is one of those companies. NEC screens have an amazing track record for being reliable. They are the only screen supplier that has a 3-year onsite overnight warranty and their team is phenomenal. Their focus is on providing great business products. NEC does not even make consumer grade screens! Since our clients expect personal communication and attention to detail, having a company like NEC is a perfect fit.
Or we could sit on a porcupine. We made the right choice. We’re confident that you will, too.
7 Reasons Consumer Screens Are NOT For Digital Signage Use
1. If customers purchase the Consumer TV on their own, there is a high probability it won’t work correctly and they’ll be chasing problems which their digital signage supplier probably won’t be able to support.
2. Many manufacturers will NOT honor the warranty on Consumer TVs if they are used for professional or Digital Signage applications, even if purchased from a digital signage integrator.
3. Consumer TVs are not made for 24/7 operation. Even though many work just fine, it’s impossible to predict failure rate due to 24/7 operation.
4. There is almost no chance that the supplier will be able to find an identical model, even a few months later.
5. Consumer TVs can’t be mounted vertically (Portrait Mode) because they will overheat. Commercial grade screens have special venting and fans that make this possible. If a consumer screen is mounted vertically (Portrait Mode) you may also find that the screen may not be visible if standing anywhere but directly in front of the screen. The viewing angle is for consumer screens is engineered for the TV to be mounted above someone’s fire place or sitting on an entertainment center.
6. Power On/Off on Consumer TVs cannot be controlled with the Digital Signage Player; they’ll need to be turned On/Off manually.
7. The life of a Consumer TV is about half that of a Professional Digital Signage Display.
Are consumer grade screens a viable alternative? Post your comments and questions below.
Does it make a difference where your screens are mounted? YES!
The Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, The Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China all have something in common. Whether they have an audience of one, or of thousands, they can be seen by everyone. These landmarks wouldn’t be nearly as impressive if they could only be seen by one person at a time.
The best way to make your digital screens viewable by the masses is to move them off the floor! Hanging them by the ceiling or on the wall with proper tilting can go a long way. The cynics will say ‘Yeah, but the higher they are the harder it is for them to read.’ Then get a bigger screen! Make the fonts larger! There is always a way around distance. There is NOT a way around having your message blocked while there is a group of people in front of the screen that is on a floor stand. Even one person standing in front of the screen can be enough to destroy your message if your screen is on the floor.
While floor standing screens have their place, make sure that everyone can see your screens by taking the high road, not the low road.
SIDE NOTE: Although this isn’t an article about touch-screens, one reason why touch screen kiosks are strongly discouraged is because they’re intended for one person to use them at a time. Who wants to wait in line to see the Eiffel Tower one person at a time? I would rather enjoy the Eiffel Tower with my friends and family. The same feelings or principles apply to digital signage. People are at your place of business to do something other than stop and admire the new digital screens. So make your digital signs a part of their day-to-day lives by giving them the information they need that is easily viewable by many.
Noventri recently came across this particular entry at QSRWeb.com titled, “Where are the traditional menu board companies?”’
We must say, “Kudos, Scott Sharon.” He is right on when he presents several thought-provoking questions in the second paragraph. His statement, “ …most of the digital menu boards are sold by companies outside the menu board industry” is an interesting observation.
We agree wholeheartedly that IT and AV companies are popping up everywhere with the idea that they can jump on the digital menu board bandwagon and mount some video screens using standard digital signage mentality and call them digital menu boards. But they don’t always work.
Scott’s article confirmed what we have always known…just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There is more to digital menu boards than just screens, software and hardware and this is where IT and AV companies drop the ball many times.
Likewise, for menu board companies to begin offering digital menu boards there would be a stupendous learning curve to overcome. They are far removed from the technology know-how needed to launch digital menu boards and would soon find themselves needing to partner with companies that understand the technology, ergo, IT and AV.
Ideally the solution would be to develop a symbiotic relationship with both…someone who knows the technology as well as the needs of QSRs and menu board usage. After all, traditional menu boards work, it’s just that they are cumbersome to update and compliance is sporadic throughout franchises. Digital menu boards must provide a solution to the aforementioned, but also understand the design elements of a menu and bring to the table a stable, low-cost, easy-to-use technology.
Having worked closely with QSR’s for years, we, by all means do not know everything there is to know about the menu board industry, but we have developed essential relationships and gained inside knowledge along the way. As a company, we can confidently say, there is definitely more to digital menu boards then meets the eye.
Thanks again, Mr. Sharon and QSRWeb.com for sharing this fundamental insight
In part 1 we talked about The “I Want To Hit You In The Face” Effect and how you can increase your revenue with digital signage menu boards.
Part 2 touched on the patron’s Time To Choose, or TTC. TTC is important to the food provider and digital signage menu boards can assist the speed of service resulting in accomplishing the food provider’s many objectives.
Before we get started, I would like to mention that I probably should have made cutting costs the first part of this series. After all, that is the first thing that a business tries to do when researching a purchase for their restaurant chain. I chose part 3, however; because in the end, the order that these blogs are in doesn’t really matter. You’ll start to see that everything that we talk about is interconnected; almost having a symbiotic relationship with the other. The really interesting part you will notice is that the relationship between these points fall apart once video and animation is introduced to the content. So, while you consider the past articles and all of the upcoming parts of this series, be honest with yourself. Put all of those presentations that are given at the shows aside and really think about how you react to this menu medium. To be enlightened can be as simple as seeing things from a different perspective. You shouldn’t be empathetic with the digital signage industry, not the vendors, not the consultants, not the industry “educators”. Remove yourself from the hype and you’ll know what actually works.
We’ll begin by not considering menu boards at all. Lets talk food!
At a very basic level, the business model of a food vendor is to buy ingredients and food stuffs at the lowest possible price without sacrificing quality. Then, they use those ingredients to make food items that are featured on the current menu and sell them with a substantial profit. Part of that profit is what covers overhead. The overhead includes payroll, equipment maintenance, marketing, utilities etc… In other words, the cost of doing business. The left over profit is how the restaurant makes money.
The goal of any business is to decrease costs so that the profit becomes stronger.
None of this information is news to the food provider, but I’m making a point.
The point being; cutting costs is a fundamental part of doing business for the food provider. Counting every penny is how succesful food providers operate.
Cutting costs is, or should be, an innate response to anyone in business. But, where do menu boards come in and how can they help reduce costs?
1. Automation reduces the need for on site staff to get involved with the menu boards. Employees no longer need to switch menus between breakfast and lunch, update pricing or hang promo posters. This provides an opportunity for a more customer centric culture. Focus is on the patron and no longer as much on “chores”. The result? The food provider saves money by way of doing more with less. Less staff is needed and the staff that is on the payroll have time to do the more important things. This sort of focus is where you can start seeing a “Soft ROI” and actually see an uplift in revenue as well as an increase in customer satisfaction. “Soft ROI” is a discussion for another article, but it is the sum of great customer experience, word of mouth, etc… “Soft ROI” provides intangible results at first. After time, you will start to notice a difference in sales uplift and customer retention, hence the term “Soft ROI”.
2. Printed material costs money. Distributing that printed material to all of the stores costs even more money. Policing how these promos and menus are setup as well as managing what day the promos commence are time consuming and costly. Time is money, and as time goes on, it seems as though it becomes an even more precious commodity. Digital menu boards can save time, and since time is one of our most valuable assets, it makes sense to protect those assets and to make them work for us.
3. Renovations and repairs are expensive. Digital menu boards have been used to enhance the look of an environment without performing a full out renovation of the store, thereby, cutting cost. Lyle Bunn, an independent adviser and educator in the digital signage industry says: “Victoria’s Secret, for example, has about five different generations of store design. When the oldest generation needed some face lifting, they looked instead at putting in digital signage,” Bunn said. “It saved them a lot of money and had a similar modernizing effect. It introduced a level of energy and vitality at a much lower cost than undertaking major leasehold improvements.”
Up until now, we have only compared the difference in costs with digital menu boards and paper/plastic menu boards. What about those that are looking for digital signage and need to know how to save costs by choosing the right solution?
1. Animations and video are not needed and are not recommended for menus, so hefty PC hardware isn’t needed. An energy efficient solid state player uses the least amount of electricity. Electricity can become costly. One PC based player uses about $200 per year in electricity. Now, multiply that amount by how many PC based players are being proposed for each site. With certain solid state player hardware, less than $4 per year per player is possible saving the restaurant up to 98% each year in electricity alone. You can operate 50 solid state players for the same amount of electricity consumed by one PC. Please note that these rates are based on the national average. Electricity costs overseas, especially in developing countries, electricity costs are exponentially higher. In this case, a 98% energy savings is welcomed with opened arms.
2. PC Player hardware wears out and breaks. Hard Disk Drives wear out and the same goes for Fan Motors. Service contracts cost a lot and if a service contract isn’t available, having the PC’s repaired and/or replaced on a case-by-case basis is also not cost effective and is also time consuming. Again, solid state player hardware is the solution to cut costs. Solid state player hardware has no moving parts and they don’t require operating systems such as windows that get viruses. This goes a long way with keeping costs down.
3. Moving content costs more. We’ve already established that animations and video shouldn’t be used in menus but we have some more points to prove. It takes much more time to create, deploy and manage content that includes motion elements. Moving content generally requires special talent to perform compelling animations and video, and if that talent isn’t within your organization, a production company must be hired to accomplish this. Whether this talent is internal or external, you’re “pigeon holing” yourself when it comes to your creative team and it is never the low cost approach that you’re looking for. As brought up in part 1, Clean, Clear and Crisp content wins in the end.
There are many other aspects to consider on the on-site level and the corporate level that make digital signage menu boards a great way to cut costs for a food provider. If digital signage menu boards are already on the radar for enhancing your chain of restaurants, remember to choose the solution that meets all of the objectives while costing you the least.
In part 4 we will discuss how to reduce the time it takes to update menus and how digital menu boards can help.
*Quote from Lyle Bunn was taken from the online article “Digital Signage for Small Business” – http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/news/article.php/3879361/Digital-Signage-for-Small-Business.htm