By William D. Bear
Regional Sales Manager, Crimson AV
The placement of digital kiosks and displays in outdoor environments presents numerous challenges to hardware designers and manufacturers, which are not always readily apparent to the end-user who is trying to bring her vision for a project to life. That is why it is the responsibility of the project integrator to set appropriate client expectations, which includes identifying the key variables for consideration and communicating any and all unique project challenges that are inherent in any, but particularly in outdoor installations.
As soon as projects that involve outdoor kiosks or displays begin to take shape, it is important that the integrator begin discussing the challenges unique to outdoor applications. Examples of a few key questions to address would include:
- Where will this application be installed?
- What are the annual average low temperatures for the area?
- What are the annual average high temperatures for the area?
- What is the annual average relative humidity for the region?
- Will the application be in direct sunlight?
- Will the PC or media player live in the kiosk or will it be stored in an environmentally controlled room?
- How will this product be installed? (wall mount, sidewalk, existing foundation, etc.)
The answers to these questions will help the integrator work with the manufacturer and/or recommend hardware for the project that is designed to accommodate whatever conditions will be prevalent. These will include issues relating to airflow, levels of AR (anti-reflective) and IR (infra-red) coatings on the protective glass and other considerations.
Understanding the environment in which the kiosks need to function may also affect the aesthetics of the design the client is trying to achieve. For example, the client may not want the design to be impinged by exposed air intake louvers, but if louvers are required in specific locations of the kiosk’s exterior to properly cool the internal components, the client will need to know this and make changes to the design to accommodate them. If explained this way, clients will understand that maintaining the proper operating temperature of the internal components for outdoor kiosks to ensure that they work properly and consistently is more important than maintaining the originally intended look of the kiosks.
This doesn’t mean that aesthetics should be ignored; rather, it means that the system integrator needs to be sensitive to client preferences, but proactive in introducing new ideas when the client’s initial concept design disturbs the proper function of the kiosk. This may entail having discussions with the manufacturer about alternatives to the client’s original design and functioning as the conduit between the client’s preferences and the manufacturers suggested performance requirements.
The integrator’s key role in this process is to function as an educated intermediary in communicating the client’s aesthetic needs to the kiosk designer and in turn communicating potential environmental limitations back to the client to ensure everyone is in the same page.
As with all projects, it is the responsibility of the integrator to ensure proper communication between all involved parties. Such communication is integral to ensure any successful deployment of kiosk and signage projects in indoor or outdoor environments and to eliminate failed deployments.
Author William Bear will be a panelist on the Digital Signage Federation’s November “Hangout” discussion entitled, “Accelerated Environmental Life Testing for Digital Kiosks and Displays,” on Wednesday, November 16 at 2 p.m. EST. More information on this and other DSF events can be found on the DSF website. Both DSF members and non-members may join this or any of the DSF’s scheduled Hangout discussions for free – but registration is required and can be accessed on the DSF website here.
William Bear has worked in sales and business development for Crimson AV since 2014.