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Digital Signage Goes Portable


Portable digital displays proved the ideal solution for a temporary installation at a Gap store in Manhattan. The application takes the hassle, along with the unsightly cords and wiring, out of digital signage.

The retailer deployed tabletop digital signage displays that run on rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for any external power. The freestanding portable displays, from BrightSign, measure 10.5 in. by 19.9 in. by 9.9 in. and feature a built-in 12.1-in. high-resolution screen and media player. They are self-contained and enclosed in a sleek steel display tower.

“There aren’t a lot of electrical outfits on the floors of most retailers, and that has dictated where digital signage displays are placed, which is often on the perimeter of the store,” said Jeff Hastings, CEO, BrightSign, Los Gatos, Calif. “But with the battery-operated portable displays, the retailer can place the signage directly on merchandise tables and check-out counters, and right where the shopper is making the buying decision.”

The batteries in the BrightSign tabletop displays provide 15 hours of life. Gap recharges the batteries overnight, similar to how a consumer would recharge a cell phone, while the store is closed.

Gap installed the displays in the small shop adjacent to its flagship on Fifth Avenue and 54th Street. The space is routinely made over to spotlight limited-time Gap partnerships and special collections. At the beginning of the summer, it was dedicated to the Gap-Threadless summer collection of graphic T-shirts. (In February, Gap entered into a partnership with the Chicago-based Threadless, which works with emerging artists to produce unique T-shirt designs.)

The chain used the digital displays — 15 in all — to draw attention to the individual artists who designed the 15 T-shirts on display and to tell the story about what inspired the design. (The displays were positioned on the top of the fixtures.) Threadless used BrightSign’s BrightAuthor PC software application to create the content (video, which plays as a slide show) that ran on the players. The software is available free to the supplier’s customers.

“This type of display takes the customer from being interested to being engaged to purchasing,” Hastings said.

The screens, which provide full-motion high-definition video, are designed with a 180-degree viewing angle, he added.

The BrightSign tabletop displays are equipped with Wi-Fi adaptors that allow for content updates through store networks or other remote locations.

“New content can be downloaded very quickly with the Wi-Fi connection,” Hastings said, “which makes the displays very dynamic in nature.”

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