By Robert White
Manager of Convergent Technologies, Multi-Media Solutions
As an integrator providing digital signage have you ever thought about all of the things that can jump up and bite you in the proverbial butt? I mean the kinds of things that can really put you at odds with your customer or even worse land you in a lawsuit. Well, suffice to say there are quite a few things these days that can create this outcome, and if you don’t do your best to stay abreast of them and keep your customer informed you can end up in some hot water. So these liabilities where are they coming from? How serious are they, and why should I pay attention to them? Let’s take a couple minutes to uncover some of the big ones and try to answer these questions.
Let’s start with a list of some of the hot buttons…
- Does that ADA compliance thing apply to our design and implementation of digital signage?
Let’s start by uncovering some of the places these liabilities are coming from. Many of them deal with safety, but the real kicker is that some liabilities are enforced by the government. Take the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) for example. This civil rights law enacted in 1990 affects many aspects of both interactive and non-interactive digital signage. For example, if the touchscreen kiosk in your lobby is available from forward approach and has touch buttons above 48″ tall and there is no handicap mode that changes the height of these buttons then your kiosk is breaking the law. There are serious implications at stake.
- Do you have permission to use that? Video, TV shows, streams and content from other websites…
Did you know that some of the RSS feeds that you and I take for granted that our customers can use have “use clauses” that preclude them from being employed in digital signage? Did you know that some of those images that our end users copy and paste from google image searches to use in their signage are actually copyrighted material? The second one may not be a surprise, but the first one may be. The chances of getting caught for the smaller digital signage infractions may not be high, but in some cases, it still constitutes breaking the law.
- Where did this calories requirement come from and where does it apply?
A new liability for digital signage goes into effect in December 2016 from the FDA, referred to as the Menu Labeling Law. Many have heard of this law so it is not a surprise, but nonetheless it is another potential liability for the digital signage industry with legal implications. It goes into effect on December 1st and requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations.
- Is your digital signage ENERGY STAR compliant? When is that even a factor?
Believe it or not certain states are starting to enact energy requirements for electronics used in commercial settings. This is inclusive of LCD screens deployed in a building for digital signage. The regulation enacted by California’s Electric Commission is an example of new state laws that will affect what type of screens can be used for digital signage.
- Will your system really integrate and perform as required with the Emergency Notification System?
Unfortunately we live in a world where we can no longer pretend that integration with ENS (emergency notification system) isn’t necessary. While most integrators would tell you that digital signage is never meant to be the only ENS, it should certainly be a complementing solution to whatever the main ENS is. This is where CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) compliance comes into play. It allows your digital signage solution to tie into and have emergency messages triggered by the ENS. In some specific scenarios like Airports if audio is part of your digital signage system, you commonly have to install audio “ducking” equipment so anytime there is a PA announcement your audio will be “ducked.” You can see the liabilities here if this solution isn’t secure and reliable for both the end user or the integrator installing it and saying it will work.
These are just a few of the top liabilities in current era, but there are many more where those came from. What if your monitor falls off the wall and lands on someone? What if the local sign ordinance decides that your images on your sign change too quickly? As you can see, there are a lot of things to watch out for, and there are more serious liabilities, which are enforced by local, state or federal governments. Not only that, but depending upon where you do business, new regulations and requirements may be enacted or change. So, the best advice is to stay informed about what will impact your business.
Author Robert White will co-present “Emerging Liabilities in Dynamic Digital Signage,” with Mike White at Digital Signage Expo 2016 on Thursday, March 17 from 9:15-10:15am at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information on this or any educational program offered at DSE 2016 or to learn more about digital signage, go here.
Robert White, a Design Engineer for Unified AV, focuses on where audiovisual and IT meet. An industry veteran of 10 plus years, White specializes in digital signage solutions, having been to the highest level of training for many of the top enterprise level digital signage packages available, and he oversees all of Unified AV’s largest digital signage deployments both domestic and international. White contributes back to the industry by leading the Digital Signage Special Interest Group within the USAV Group, and has had the opportunity to be a panel speaker at InfoComm on the Digital Signage Application Showcase Stage. He is CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) certified an ANSI accredited certification. He has also served on DSE’s educational committees, recommending topics and reviewing proposals for the annual DSE conference.