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Digital Displays Make Responsive, Attractive Buildings – On the Cheap

Just a few years ago, billboards were relatively static displays. Every day on your drive home you would see the same billboard ad. It was a static display because the giant tarp was expensive and difficult to change. After a few drives, the billboard became wallpaper you stopped noticing. Nowadays, that same billboard has a digital display. It has the power to show one ad for 10 seconds then another for 30 seconds, and you notice every time it switches.

The power of digital displays

Advances in screen technology have made digital displays are an extremely affordable way to update and tailor content. Advertising was the first to adopt digital over physical. Why? It brought two major benefits to their content-driven business: increased revenue and reduced cost. Revenue grew because digital displays, and their attention-grabbing changes, increase content flexibility and customization, thereby attracting more  viewers. Cost reduction came from eliminating print and install steps every time the ad was changed. Now it can be done remotely, with a click of a button.

This does not mean success is achieved just by going digital. Digital displays must be relevant in the given setting in order to attract viewers. For example, in internet advertising,  native ads – that match the form and function of the platform upon which it appears – are viewed 53% more than generic banner ads.

If designed with the audience in mind, digital displays can yield high viewer interest. As shown in this advertising study, targeted digital content demonstrates great ROI versus print: 

Examples of High-impact Digital Displays

Lobby tenant directory


  • Easy updating
  • Modernize a lobby’s feel
  • Enhance guest experience
  • Help grow your business/brand
  • Make your employees’ jobs easier

In this article by Enplug, a software signage company, Rising Realty Partners used Enplug’s software to power a digital directory in the lobby of its 460,000-square-foot PacMutual buildings in downtown Los Angeles. This historic landmark is made up of three interconnected buildings and houses a large number of tenants, so it’s important for visitors to be able to find the tenant they’re looking for. Rising Realty Partners also loops in other content alongside its digital directory, like social media feeds, news feeds, promotional graphics and weather.

A great secondary benefit to digital lobby signage: Within one week of displaying a social media feed in their lobby, Rising Realty Partners saw a 35% increase in tweets due to 100% more users interacting with their brand on Twitter.

elevator signageElevator Touch-to-go

In this ZDNet article, sleek, speedy, energy-efficient elevator dispatch technology is implemented to ensure guests never again pile into a crowded car or wait endlessly in the lobby.

Marriott Marquis in Times Square had a problem in 2001. The 49-story hotel, with nearly 2,000 rooms, also had a rooftop restaurant and bar, theater and a large amount of meeting space. As a result, the hotel elevators had to accommodate thousands of unexpected passengers every day. People often had to wait over 5 minutes for the elevator.

Schindler Elevator Corp., advised Marriott to install the Miconic 10, a smart elevator system that allows users to enter their floor onto a keypad. It calculates the fastest travel time to the destination and then assigns an elevator. Schindler predicted a 15%-20% increase in efficiency. Fast forward to 2012, and the entire system is 50% more efficient.

Elevator touch-to-go technologies are typically called destination dispatch. This technology is more common — and easier to install — in new construction. But a vast majority of old building upgrades are now employing the technology. It can take as little as a couple weeks to convert the elevators and may range from $60,000 to $250,000 per elevator, depending on the size of the building.

visitor managementVisitor management console

I had a meeting at LinkedIn’s San Francisco office, and it was a great visitor experience. I signed in and my host was alerted I was there. I didn’t need to wonder if I should send her an awkward “I’m here” email. Or surprise her with a knock on the door. She replied to me, that she’d meet me downstairs in 5 minutes. Plus, LinkedIn now had an electronic record for all people visiting the building.

Modern businesses are getting rid of paper sign-in and using visitor management systems to provide a quick, easy iPad sign-in experience. Visitor management systems automate badge printing, host notifications, and legal agreements for a more secure, enjoyable guest visit.

A major player in visitor management is Envoy. As featured in a TechCrunch article, Envoy’s mission is to digitize modern office management, starting with a visitor registration system that kills the traditional lobby sign-in book. Used by companies like Box, Pandora, and Yelp, Envoy massively simplifies how visitors register for meetings, and are handled when they arrive. Envoy has a subscription software model with two tiers, at a $99 and $249 a month price point per building.

digital wall artRotating Art Displays

Now that we’ve described the efficiency benefits of digital displays, let’s move onto the beauty contest. Is your building designed to captivate people every day?

Interior design is especially important for office properties courting millennial tenants. In a 2017 Capital One survey of 10,000+ millennial professionals across 5 major cities, 63% felt innovation wasn’t reflected in their workplace and 51% highly desire artwork & creative imagery.

Also, as more routine work is tasked to robots and computers, the jobs do that remain increasingly demand creative thinking. In a Pacific Standard article, new research shows “seeing or reading works of art, and briefly reflecting upon them, induces inspiration, thereby facilitating creative thinking,” a critical skill at today’s innovative companies.

When incorporating art into the workplace, remember that tenants are in your building daily not just once. After walking by the same artwork day after day, year after year, you stop noticing it. A static piece that’s interesting on first glance, quickly becomes wallpaper.

Digital displays are an easy, innovative to way to surprise & delight tenants with new art every day. With a service like Impart, you can turn any TV into a dynamic canvas, featuring meaningful art and inspiring artist stories.

Impart is sparking creativity and conversation at innovative companies like Future Labs, Precision for Medicine and The Case Foundation. Best part – at only $40/month per TV, Impart is a rotating art display at a fraction of physical art’s cost.

Final Thoughts

With the rapidly growing role of technology in our lives, people will expect more advanced technology in the buildings they reside and work in. From lobby directories to rotating art, digital displays offer the relevance, efficiency, and dynamic content people demand today. With an affordable subscription and ongoing software improvements, digital displays cost less and deliver more value than their physical counterparts. A win-win for properties and their tenants.

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Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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