Latest Trends In Digital Signage and IP-Based Audio for Mass Notifications

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In the contemporary landscape of communication and safety, digital signage and IP-based audio systems have emerged as crucial tools for mass notification applications. This article delves into the latest trends in these technologies, shedding light on their role in enhancing security and streamlining communication. As we navigate the dynamic world of digital signage and audio solutions, we’ll explore how they are collectively shaping the landscape of mass notifications for a safer and more efficient future.

Mass Notification Digital Signage Trends

One of the predominant trends in the field of digital signage is the growing emphasis on multi-functionality. Digital displays are evolving beyond their traditional role in advertising to encompass a wide range of services, including emergency notifications and dynamic wayfinding.

As Nanolumens’ Todd Alan Green pointed out, “These dynamic displays now serve as mission-critical messaging systems, revenue generators and emergency response tools. We can now address a multitude of use cases and deliver significantly more value than simple digital signage displays used to provide.”

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Sony’s 4K HDR professional BRAVIA displays are slim and energy-efficient so that they can blend into virtually any setting that requires mass notifications. According to the company, the displays are built upon top-notch image quality which translates to pictures that are realistic, colors that are vibrant and text that is legible – which can be critical to emergency messaging.

According to Green, these modern displays are seamlessly integrated into content management systems (CMS) with dedicated templates for emergency notifications. This integration involves real-time data sources, such as weather updates and security alerts, which play a pivotal role in ensuring that notifications are responsive and context-aware. Green emphasized the importance of a robust CMS that can connect with data sources through APIs, facilitating automation and context-aware notifications. Jay Leedy of Sony also noted that cloud-based communication tools and open-source data are simplifying the issuance of timely and context-aware alerts.

Another noteworthy trend is the proliferation of screens employed for critical messaging. Andrew Gildin of Korbyt commented, “We’re observing a substantial surge in screen deployment, spanning across digital signage, meeting room displays and even door panels.”

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Multi-Channel Approach and Personalization

Another noteworthy development involves the integration of mobile devices to enhance digital signage, especially in emergency situations. Leedy highlighted the significance of a multi-channel approach using smartphones, as certain types of messages are better suited for specific screen types.

Korbyt Emergency Alerts

Korby says Korbyt Anywhere stands as an indispensable tool for workplace safety messaging, offering a comprehensive platform to create, distribute and manage highly effective safety campaigns. Its real-time update capabilities enable rapid dissemination of safety information in response to workplace changes or emergencies.

For example, Leedy said, “In a corporate communications environment, a digital sign may detail specific actions required as per corporate policies, whereas an advertising sign might simply announce an event and instruct people to follow guidance on their smartphones.”

In emergency scenarios, it is crucial to consider the audience and the duration for which they will be in front of and able to comprehend the message. Leedy advised that simplicity is key in emergency messaging, as long as the content doesn’t induce panic.

Machine Learning and AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is exerting a significant influence on nearly every market in both the security and audiovisual industry, and digital signage is no exception. AI presents exciting opportunities to enhance data and make digital signage more engaging and context-aware. In terms of emergencies and mass notifications, Nanolumens’ Green highlighted how the integration of critical event management platforms and building management systems can provide valuable data that AI can utilize to offer intelligent safety recommendations to staff and the public. However, Leedy cautioned that we are still a long way from a world where generative AI can reliably interpret how to communicate with humans in emergency situations.

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The Future of Digital Signage for Mass Notifications

The digital signage of the future is anticipated to be dynamic, predictive and personalized, with consideration for environmental and human factors. Green envisions AI creating “semi-personalized experiences” across various digital signage applications.

“The digital signage of the future will be genuinely dynamic, adapting to environmental and human factors, predicting future sales, rather than merely estimating and reacting,” he said.

Leedy also anticipates an increasing use of digital signage for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) applications. He envisions a scenario where real-time location services – combined with the sensors and cameras of screens – could automate messaging to direct people from one location to another.

The Growing Significance of IP-Based Audio in Mass Notification Systems

Now let’s delve into the world of audio trends, where the integration of IP-based systems is reshaping how organizations communicate and ensure safety in mass notification applications.

According to Gina Sansivero of AtlasIED, personnel safety and facility security are paramount concerns for organizations across various industries, and IP-based audio systems have gained prominence due to their ability to address these concerns effectively. These systems leverage existing network infrastructure and the power of software for efficient operation.

Enhanced Security and Automation

One of the key advantages of IP-based audio systems is their ability to enhance security and automation. By integrating software-based solutions, organizations can automate responses and reduce the potential for human error during high-stress situations. It’s also important to note that these systems are not limited to traditional speakers. According to Sansivero, the systems also include microphones for two-way intercom, visual elements like flashers and text-based screens for improved communication and compliance.

Security Considerations for IP-Based Audio Systems

When implementing IP-based audio systems, security is a primary concern. Organizations install these systems to strengthen their overall security and safety measures, as the availability of a clear and intelligible audio system is critical for swift personnel response. Sansivero also added that the safety of employees is a top priority, and IP-based audio systems can be vital in addressing potential on-site issues like chemical spills, fires and medical emergencies.

Bogen Nyquist

Specific to Bogen Communications, the company’s IP-based paging and intercom solutions, known as Nyquist, feature scenario-based automated action sequences, known as Routines, which can be pre-configured and customized based on the unique requirements and specifications for each education facility. Routines can be programmed to automatically launch a sequence of actions through the Nyquist system due to a manual input or a triggering system event, such as a security breach through a third-party platform.

To ensure the integrity and confidentiality of audio alerts, Sansivero says IP-based systems are typically installed on SIP/VoIP networks, subject to the same security protocols as the dedicated network. IT managers play a key role in safeguarding these systems by implementing standard IT security measures and keeping VOIP telephony networks updated with the latest security updates.

Ken Venuti of Bogen Communications added that many organizations require that an IP-based public address system be deployed on their own network in order to restrict traffic on the network and limit vulnerabilities. Venuti says additional protocols, such as SIP over Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-Time Protocol (SRTP), along with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or multi-factor authentication, strengthen the security of the network and are being adopted for government, military and healthcare applications. 

The Role of Cloud-Based Solutions

Cloud-based solutions have a crucial role to play in the deployment and management of IP audio systems. Venuti says they offer additional features such as mass SMS alerting, outbound email and mobile app notifications. However, Venuti cautions that certain system elements, such as phone system integration and analog-to-IP gateways, are better managed on-premises. Therefore, a hybrid cloud-based infrastructure can provide the best of both worlds, offering enhanced accessibility and control while ensuring system functionality, even in the event of communication interruptions.

What’s Next?

In a world where effective communication and safety are a priority, the convergence of digital signage and IP-based audio systems is paving the way for more efficient and secure mass notification applications. These evolving technologies ensure that organizations can adapt to the evolving landscape of communication, providing a safer and more responsive environment.