LED Signage Offers Better Communication And A Lower Carbon Footprint

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LED based signage enhances advertising because of the striking and eye-catching visual effects, which is why it is the most sought after for both indoor and outdoor applications.

By Potshangbam July

The adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ truly applies to the marketing world. For any business
to grow, it is important to build awareness about the brand. Signage and displays have traditionally been popular tools of marketing campaigns to grab the public’s attention. LED signage goes a step further as it offers more visibility and flexibility in comparison with printed banners or litup billboards. Light-emitting diodes conserve energy and provide many other benefits. High brightness, lower power consumption, and a longer life are some of the traits that give LED displays an edge over the earlier LCD screens. LED signage, both indoor and outdoor, are more distinctly visible and are being adopted on a large scale as they  communicate messages in a much more effective way.

How LED signage can boost marketing campaigns
LED displays are now the most effective modern communication tool to ramp up a business and attract consumers to brands or products. Apart from raising awareness, these displays serve as educational tools by highlighting many unique facets of the products. It is known that our brains absorb 90 per cent of visual information, and retain it for a long time.

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LEDs, with their powerful visual effects, impact the consumers’ mind very effectively. They deliver eyecatching crisp images, a wide range of colours, text, animation, etc. They now also offer impactful full-motion video, 3D embedded interactive screens and creative installations that reflect the brand’s identity. In fact, LED video displays also enable design standardisation, a finer pixel pitch, improved colour calibration, etc. LED video displays represent one of the fastest growing technologies in the digital signage and professional displays industry, with global revenues set to exceed US$ 7.6 billion by 2023.

Besides the above attractions, LED signs are the most energyefficient option. LEDs require 24 volts to run while other conventional lighting choices like neon or incandescent lighting need 15,000 volts. The higher the volt requirement, the higher the monthly energy bills. The use of LED signage enables advertisers to save up to 90 per cent in energy costs. LEDs also have lower carbon emissions. Besides, running costs with LED signs are more affordable, since maintenance is minimal. LED lighting is known for brightness and clarity, which means that it is possible to view and read from a distance or even in direct sunlight. Customisation is also easy – the signs are dimmable to the extent required, and can be programmed or controlled from a remote operating room. Considering all these factors, LEDs have become an excellent signage option for marketing purposes. LED displays are changing the way businesses operate, from just conveying a message to increasing engagement by using flashing text or colourful images and animation.

Indoor versus outdoor LEDs The performance of LED signage remains the same for both indoor and outdoor applications. However, the types of LEDs that work best indoors will not deliver the same effect outdoors. Starting with brightness, outdoor signs are designed to output up to 10,000 nits screens, and are equipped with many bright LEDs in one pixel to give ultra-high brightness. Therefore, they are ten times brighter than indoor displays. At the same time, they consume very little power. Since the indoor environment is dimmer, and there are no concerns regarding external weather fluctuations, indoor LED signage requires less brightness than outdoor LED signs. Outdoor LED signage is also typically larger in size to make it more visible from afar.

Since indoor LED displays will be viewed from up close, they require a higher resolution than outdoor displays. Higher resolutions provide a clear and sharp display, and improve the picture quality. Since the distance between the screen and viewer is less, issues like blurry, pixelated images can deflect the viewer’s attention instantly. Therefore, indoor LED displays with high resolutions help to connect with the consumers better.

Outdoor digital signage faces the challenge of extreme weather conditions, such as UV damage, humidity, dust, rain, wind, high temperatures, etc. Sunlight also causes damage. To protect the components of outdoor signage, it is advised to equip it with awnings or enclosures that protect the screen from direct sunlight, rain or wind. Other solutions include heavy wall extruded aluminium cabinets, fade-proof louvred shades, full silicone  encapsulation, etc. There are also sensors that gauge the ambient brightness outdoors and adjust the screen automatically.

Interestingly, outdoor LED screens are gaining popularity because of their capability to stream content in real-time. These screens are installed at various locations, and real-time transmission makes it possible to control them from afar. The advertising content can be changed and edited after carefully monitoring viewers’ choices and other trends.

The videos and images can be displayed till an operator decides to turn off the system or switch content. Outdoor signage is also used to give regular updates on weather conditions, power supply, working conditions, etc. In case a display breaks down, the problem shows up on the management’s remote dashboard in real-time, which helps to resolve it quickly.

Popularity of LED signage The US and China are the two leading countries in terms of the number of installations of LED displays and signs. It is expected that by 2024, the US LED market will exceed US$ 2.5 billion. Notably, the US dominates the world’s digital out-of-home (DOOH) industry, capturing 25 per cent of the entire ad revenue. China is the largest LED display manufacturing hub in the world. No other country has touched such a massive scale of production, which has helped it gain 39 per cent of the world market in the third quarter of 2019.

India’s digital signage market is expected to grow at a considerable rate, driven by a rising number of promotional campaigns, marketing activities, infrastructure development at sports venues, and growth in the retail and transportation sectors. According to 6Wresearch, India’s digital signage market is projected to reach US$ 874 million by 2022. With the various initiatives of the Indian government to promote the use of LED products, and stringent norms introduced to reduce carbon emissions, the LED lighting industry is poised to grow well in the country.

Gautam Malkani, managing director, Fulham (India) Pvt Ltd, shares his insights into the unique characteristics of LED based signage, and why they stand out from the rest.

How is LED technology changing the signage industry?
The use of LEDs in the signage industry has changed the way businesses think about advertising. The incorporation of technologies such as DMX and DALI has ensured  tremendous flexibility for an advertiser to change the entire concept or content by simply reprogramming the displays. Reduced energy costs are further ensuring increased usage of LED signage across the world.

How does LED technology compare with other signage lighting options?
LED technology offers several benefits over conventional signage lighting systems. The primary benefit is lower maintenance costs due to the longer lifetime of the LEDs. Further,
since LEDs are a point source, optical control is easier, which makes LEDs more versatile for use in signage designs and also ensures minimisation of light pollution.

Is the use of LED signage lighting more appropriate for the outdoors or indoors?
With the current switch from conventional lighting to LED lighting nearly complete in all segments of the lighting industry—auto, industry, modern work spaces and retail, it is
safe to assume that there are very few alternatives to using LEDs in both indoor and outdoor signage. It would be safe to assume that LEDs are the best suited option for both outdoor and indoor applications.

What are the latest trends with regard to LED signage lighting?
Omni-channel marketing that focuses on providing a seamless experience across all channels, from websites and smartphones to brick-and-mortar stores, is becoming the latest trend for advertisers. With this in mind, the use of video walls, as well as Direct View LEDs (DV LEDs) for both indoor and outdoor applications will see increased usage in the future.

What are the considerations that should be kept in mind while selecting LED signage?
From AV designs to CAD renderings, it is important to plot out and set up the digital signage hardware before implementation. Correctly selecting application based IP-rated products, BIS certified products, and robust LED drivers/SMPS, as well as good thermal management of the complete signage installation will ensure long lasting, trouble-free signage installations.

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