Can You Sell Digital Signage for the Home?

Large touchscreen digital signage displays in the home could be a niche market for integrators. Scrolling stock tables, video conferencing stations, enlarged alarm panel interface, daily calendar, weather, sports scores and more are just some applications.

Timo Hildebrandt

“My view is there's no bad time to innovate,” Jeff Bezos once said. “You should be doing it when times are good and when times are tough—and you want to be doing it around things that your customers care about.” The Amazon founder and CEO shared those thoughts in the aftermath of CES 2008 and his new Kindle device, which has gone on to multi-billion dollar annual sales.

The always anticipated Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is once again abuzz with hot devices that “Work with Nest” or otherwise simplify a formerly more complex part of life. This begs the question in custom installation: “How else should we be innovating?” To my mind, we as integrators should look to the product categories that have already innovated in the commercial space and introduce our customers to the myriad benefits that just aren't typically being offered to them.

Why isn't there more digital signage specified in the residential setting?

Homeowners are just as keen to invest in longer lasting displays with better warranty coverage, and the commercial-grade connectivity and ports are ideal for residential system design as well. Generally speaking, digital signage displays are built in a more resilient housing and are tailor-made for mounting or in-wall installation. And what's not to love about the primary benefit of adding dynamic content to a formerly content-limited screen? Let us spend a moment innovating as an industry and conceive of the leading applications for digital signage in the average client's household.

Picture an omni-present family dashboard in the common living area. Digital signage content creation tools can provide a template for features like displaying a calendar of the kids' activities, announcing weather alerts, or even changing screens to complement the surrounding décor when nobody is in the vicinity. Add to that a task list, a reminder of what's for dinner, or a countdown to that upcoming holiday vacation.

The options are limitless with interactive touch-sensitive display hardware. The AVAD System Design Group and partners such as RiseVision make it easy to perform the initial front-end programming to make these residential dreams a reality for anyone.

And the data shows that these customers are willing to budget for technology that makes their homes smarter and more interactive. According to a residential marketplace survey released by Coldwell Banker in January, “more than half of homeowners (54 percent) would purchase or install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that doing so would make it sell faster.” Nothing says leisure like a well-placed touchscreen media center.

We're continuing to see many more residential projects putting commercial displays to the test, including Samsung Pro, Planar Digital Signage, Optoma, LG and NEC. The specific hardware and benefits can vary substantially thanks to the latest product engineering. Custom installation professionals have support resources out there to help them select the right components.

Versatile Display Enable Options

hanks to the versatile display options of leading digital signage manufacturers, you can consider specifying a screen in portrait mode to be mounted at the front entryway for a more modern security panel that can be connected to the latest alarm system app interfaces. When not in use, perhaps a dynamic photo album that auto-syncs with their cloud photo storage account would be a nice touch as well.

The right content management system allows you to give your customers significantly more options than even the most decked out new smart HDTVs. Just this year, AOPEN debuted the world's first commercial grade multi-touch display based on Google Chrome. Manufacturers such as BrightSign are also expanding their lineup with additional 4K signage and easier-to-use subscription based content creation.

In 2016, set yourself on a path to innovate more in the residential market and you'll find a great opportunity with digital signage. Be the first to program a sports and stock news scroll in a customer's mancave or a videoconferencing station in their home office. Anywhere you can pull data and control signals, digital signage can be the portal to make the client's vision a reality. Even a multi-panel video wall is no longer just the domain of commercial spaces.

It's been a long time since video was simply about resolution and the number of channels. Digital signage brings to any home the benefits of IP addressing and content scheduling to ensure that every video and data source can be updated from anywhere at any interval. Consumer interest may be piqued by Amazon Dash or Echo, but they will be thrilled to see the potential of digital signage in their home. 

Timo Hildebrandt is senior vendor business manager for AVAD, LLC.