Here’s How And Why Energy Savings Measures With DOOH Screens Can Be A Handle-With-Care Situation
August 30, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Following on to that situation in Europe in which some countries are encouraging or mandating energy usage restrictions, our German language content partners at Invidis have an interesting post up looking at the workable measures for shutting off screens for part of the day.
If you are unfamiliar with what’s up here, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered an energy shortage in European countries that normally import energy from Russia. One of the measures to manage short supplies is to have displays considered non-essential – like digital advertising displays – limited in their hours of operation.
Integrators must take action immediately and support their customers in implementing the measures. From short-term measures to longer-term conversions. It’s an opportunity for integrators to differentiate themselves from the competition, but there are only two days left.
Which measures can/should be implemented to switch off displays and media players:
The electrician variant
On-site measures to cut power supply with
- Manual timer – not very reliable, timer adjusts itself and must be manually set to winter time.
- Network socket (eg Gude )/ smart timer
- Control circuits fuses: time-consuming installation necessary, since there is usually no network in the power box and this also has to be installed later for the remote control
- Pull fuse/plug
- Smart device management boxes like Kiosk IQ
The content variant
- The variant used in the past of showing black content should be avoided because it does not meet the objective of the energy saving measures
The software variant
- DPMS command Screen off/ on – available under Windows and Linux, puts the screen output on standby – challenge that this function is reliably supported by displays.
- Blank Screen Command – sets the screen to black. A kind of screensaver that greatly reduces power consumption.
- Remote management solutions such as SignageOS
This should not be a problem in well designed and managed networks, but far from all digital signage networks have been equipped with remote management functions for cost reasons. In other words, many networks were originally designed for continuous operation (therefore regular shutdowns were not planned).
However, many of the measures come with a number of challenges and can sometimes only be implemented with (time-consuming) on-site installations.
Particular challenges with outdoor screens
The safe operation of outdoor LEDs and outdoor displays in the cold is complex. On cold winter nights, free-standing outdoor LCD screens have to be operated continuously to prevent the LCD crystals from freezing (thus total loss of the panel).
With LED walls, starting up the LED modules in cold temperatures is a particular challenge. The LED modules generate high starting currents because the LEDs are too cold. This can lead to defects in the LED modules. The installation of a cascade connection control (including Viscon Ecoprotect ) is recommended here.
After the quick fixes
After the immediate measures, long-term sustainable solutions are certainly needed in many cases. Daily manual switching off and on is not feasible permanently – in case of doubt, the screen then stays off permanently. For this purpose, for example, system configurations have to be tested, software solutions have to be developed/implemented or additional hardware has to be installed.
This incurs additional costs, which are (hopefully) covered by the lower power consumption. On-site installations also generate additional CO2 emissions.
What are advertising assets?
In addition, it must also be clarified which screens are actually affected by the regulation. Here, however, there is a risk of a long procedure with a large number of city administrations, which are ultimately responsible for the implementation/compliance with the regulation. Implementation of / combination with business-critical functions in DS systems is certainly a good option here.
Green signage is the future
In the medium term, however, there is no way around finally taking the issue of green signage seriously and consistently reducing the energy consumption of digital signage systems and DooH networks. Then it will also be easier to talk to politicians about the fine blade instead of the current wooden hammer.
That blade vs hammer reference relates to opposition and pushback from affected parties who suggest there are better ways to mandate and enforce restrictions, and that these mandates are an optics exercise more than an effective energy savings measure. It’s also very interesting to get a better understanding of the impacts of these measures. As is laid out here, when it comes to sensitive displays and winter cold, just turning screens on and off is no simple or innocuous matter.