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Lyle Bunn, Principal & Strategy Architect of Bunn Co., is a noted authority on the digital signage industry.

It should be no surprise that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) would sponsor one of the first books to explain the business of digital signage. Out-of-home digital displays offer a powerful extension of or a cost-effective alternative to television advertising.

The great benefit is in the degree to which “Digital Signage: Software, Networks, Advertising, and Displays: A Primer for Understanding the Business” (NAB Executive Technology Briefings) by Jimmy Schaeffler, describes digital signage. Also beneficial are explanations on how it fits into the marketing and communications mix, and what to consider when investing, deploying or using this medium.

No matter what it is called — dynamic display, retail TV, narrowcasting or electronic signage — digital signage has accelerating momentum as a powerful marketing, staff and patron communications instrument.

While I am pleased to have been one of the people mentioned, the book includes references to many, many of the people, suppliers, networks, advertisers and organizations that comprise the billion-dollar industry.

Digital signage is described in a holistic perspective. Schaeffler describes the medium as a business and business-enabler in communications industries such as broadcast, print publishing and Internet.

It describes various business models for digital signage in a wide range of applications including retail, transportation, hospitality, banking, education, automotive, houses of worship, medical, consumer services and staff, visitor and patron communications. It also references deployments around the world with a focus on North America, Asia, Europe and South America.

The history and emergence of digital signage are addressed by reflecting on the use of videotape runway shows used by New York fashion houses in the late 70’s. The current state of deployments and ad spending presented in the early chapters help to clarify the megatrend toward out-of-home dynamic display.

The characteristics and inherent capabilities of digital signage are well articulated, along with trends and key reasons that are driving the exponential growth of digital signage.

Ways in which digital signage fits naturally into communications campaigns are presented in case studies. Numerous examples of digital signage are provided, including the Mayo Clinic, emebaVet, Gas Station TV, Clear Channel Outdoor and others. These examples point to areas of unique value provided in the planning of networks.

The technology infrastructure and key considerations for network design, integration and deployment are explained implicitly, but the focus is on describing the business of digital signage, the “what” and “why,” rather than the “how.”

As digital signage grows, system integrators, content producers and network operators are getting on the bandwagon. This book is a “must read” for such companies and those seeking to leverage existing offerings, organization or infrastructure to serve or diversify into this new market.

The book is well-written for and applicable to brand managers, communications professionals, advertising agencies, media planners and media buyers for whom digital media and display are part of their future.




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