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Digital Signage Glossary

Terms that are common in the Digital Signage Industry


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A

ABN (Ad-based Network) - Revenue from third party advertising is not necessarily the primary objective of a Digital Signage network. Digital signage networks that do support third party advertising is normally referred to as ad-based networks, and rely on the ad-revenue to sustain the network and generate an extra revenue stream to enhance return on investment (ROI) for the system owner/s. In order for an ABN to be viable it is required to have the right balance of relevant content to advertising, as well as sufficient dwell-time in order to engage the viewer.

Access control - The protection of confidential material and data to individual users.

Account - A set of priviledges assigned to a particular user within a software program.

ActiveMovie - The Microsoft graphic driver software used by Windows Media Player. ActiveMovie supports AVI, Quicktime, and MPEG animations.

ActiveX - A Microsoft software platform used on the web for enhancing interactive media control.

Ad Channels - Channels on a digital signage network which are dedicated to running advertisements. Many times channels can be sources of revenue for local companies who might be able to use the digital signage network.

Advertising Displays - A display in digital signage used for advertising.

Alert - A monitor set up as an automated status message to indicate an unexpected error within a software program has occurred.

Alignment - A position of an element, whether text or graphic on a display. It can be aligned on left, right, top, bottom or center.

Animation - A running sequence of still frames that, when played in succession at high speeds, presents a smooth moving image like a film or video.

Application - A very generalized term for a software program designed for a specific funtion.

Archive - Content and information that has been stored in an accessible format.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Exchange) - A universal standard for representing text, numbers, punctuation marks, letters, and instructions in computer software.

ASF (Active Streaming Format) - WindowsMedia file format standard.

Attribute - A specific characteristic of a style that can be modified.

Authoring Station - A publishing device for the programs that are sent to players running signage software.

Authoring Tools - Software used by developers of multimedia that helps create products. Authoring tools allow for computer programming without the needed knowledge of software programming languages.

AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) - A large file format for developing and viewing audio/video files.


B

Back Channel - A pathway where data can be pushed by a player back to the network manager or server.

Back of House - A term commonly used in the hotel / hospitality industry which describes the employees (staff) that work for the property. This term also generically refers to employee communication to any type of business.

Background - Image or plain color displayed behind the elements on a digital signage screen.

Bandwidth - An amount, measured in bits/kilobits per second, that is able to move through a network connection.

Bevel - 3D effect applied to text elements and graphics.

Bit - Bit is short for 'binary digit.' It is the most fundamental code for computing. It is measured in ones and zeros.

Bitmap - A pattern of colors that make up an image in an image file.

Bold - A heavy look type style for text.

Boot - Turning on a computer and the wait until it is ready.

BPM (Beats Per Minute) - Tempo measurement for music and sound.

Broadcast - A connection that allows for information to be sent from a server to multiple displays at one time.

Broadcast Server - A transmit machine for broadcast files intended to be sent to a digital signage network.

Browser - Netscape, IE, Opera and Firefox are examples of a browser program that is used for viewing files on the web.

Buffering - A way to temporarily store a data streaming over the web ahead of its playback.

Business Marketing - the practice of individuals, or organizations, including commercial businesses, governments and institutions, facilitating the sale of their products or services to other companies or organizations that in turn resell them, use them as components in products or services they offer, or use them to support their operations. Also known as industrial marketing, business marketing is also called business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing, for short. Digital Signage serves as an excellent low cost medium for marketing to existing employees or customers.

Byte - The basic unit of measurement for storage on a computer. It stands for 'binary term.' It is generally used to store a typed number or letter.


C

Cabling - The cable lines used to connect display to computer, power, and internet sources.

Cache - A term for computer memory that stores web pages on a temporary basis so it can be more quickly accessed the next time it is visited.

Captive Audience Networks - A digital out-of-home media network installed where a captive audience is stationed and can be targeted for demographic advertising.

CAT5 - A communications cable used and standardized by the telecom industry. Category 5 uses all four pairs of wires to send and receive data. Cat5e operates at up to 350MHz.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory) - A compact disc containing up to 650 megabytes of information that cen be read only on a CD ROM drive.

CD-ROM Drive - A laser optic deviced used for reading files and software contained on a compact disc.

Channel - A set of digital signage content that plays for a group of screens.

Codec - A compressing software widget used to compress and decompress files, including digital video, in various compression formats.

Composite Video - A video output signal is one cable that contains color, brightness and synchornization information.

Compression - A method for making data smaller so a computer can store more information. It also makes file transfer much faster.

Configuration - The technical specification to be used in a digital signage project or application. This could include RAM, processor speed, type of video, and hard drive space.

Connection - Parameters used for naming and saving files used on different players.

Content - Files, static and dynamic, that are played back on a digital signage media player device.

Content File - A folder on a player where the content resides and is stored awaiting scheduled playback.

Cookie - A file containing small bits of information, sent from a web server to a browsing computer. Cookies allow tracking and recognization eliminating the need for redownload of information.

Crop - To remove unneeded portions of a graphic image by adjusting the top, bottom, or side borders.

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) - A glass vacuum picture tube that can be found inside a tube television and computer monitors. They utilize an magnetically targeted stream of electrons to display an image.

Ctrl - A keyboard shortcut key that allows for multiple seleciton when using a mouse.


D

Data - Numbers, text, sounds, or images that, after it is transcribed into bits, is processed by a computer.

Database - A collection of data which collectively comprise an information network.

Datacasting - The broadcast of digital data information over a network of receivers and players. An alternative to traditional broadcasting.

Decompress - A process of restoring information to its original uncompressed format after it has already been compressed.

Default - The selection that is shown when a user does not specify anything.

Digital Media - Video, sound, pictures, and text that is downloaded or streamed over a WAN or LAN.

Digital Media Platform - The infrastructure (hardware, software, connectivity and various resources) that is purposefully designed to host, support and broadcast various media file types with the objective to entertain, inform, and educate a targeted audience. Interactive layers and peripheral devices can be added atop this base to create an Interactive Media Platform.

Digital Out-of-Home - refers to signage that is displayed in public spaces by means of projector, LCD, Plasma screen, Electronic billboard, Isle-talkers, etc. Multimedia content is usually displayed using a computer, also referred to as a digital engine or media player. You will find digital signage in most public spaces like airports, outdoor concert venues, bars, restaurants, cafes, college campuses, convention centres, stock markets, call centres, trains, busses, taxis, and retail environments.

Digital Sign - a singular reference to a screen that is running digital signage. Digital signs are found in company break areas to speak to the employees or public spaces like airports, outdoor concert venues, bars, restaurants, cafes, college campuses, convention centres, stock markets, call centres, trains, busses, taxis, and retail environments.

Digital Signage - refers to signage that is displayed in public spaces by means of projector, LCD, Plasma screen, Electronic billboard, Isle-talkers, etc. Multimedia content is usually displayed using a computer, also referred to as a digital engine or media player. You will find digital signage in most public spaces like airports, outdoor concert venues, bars, restaurants, cafes, college campuses, convention centres, stock markets, call centres, trains, busses, taxis, and retail environments.

Digital Signage Network - the medium that digital signage content travels between the creation of the content, the displaying of the content on the screen, status information that proves that the content was actually displayed and reporting of how the network is functioning at any given time of the day.

Digital Signage Player - A Digital Signage Player is the device at customer sites where Digital Signage Software accesses and displays digital signage information that it "receives" from the controlling server. Digital Signage Players automatically communicate with a primary server and in some cases, roll over to backup servers in the event of an interruption. The player may further assure consistency and uninterrupted signage presentation by preloading pages while others are being displayed.

Digital Signage Software - software that is standalone or Internet based that drives a digital signage system and digital sign.

Digital Signage Solutions - A complete system with software, hardware, installation, training and sometimes even including content.

Digital Video - A video that has been placed in digitized format that is then able to be controlled by a PC.

DirectShow - Microsoft's graphic software used for display of various animation type formats.

DirectX - A graphics playback software developed by Microsoft for playback in PC environments of some scripts.

Disolve - a transition that fades between two signage pages.

Dithering - A process which makes images appear more smooth when resizing them by adding additional colors into the mix.

Domain - The URL or web address of a internet web site.

Download - The transfer or install of software from one computer to another. Often done over the internet.

Dwell-time - The amount of time a customer remains in a venue, or a specific area within the venue. Dwell-time is an important variable in determining display placement, advertisement size (seconds), content loop duration, advertising-to-content ratio, and advertisement cost. One of the primary objectives of Digital Signage is to increase dwell-time, and therefore often forms part of the Return on Investment (ROI) metrics and cost justification value proposition.

Dynamic Signage - refers to signage that is displayed in public spaces by means of projector, LCD, Plasma screen, Electronic billboard, Isle-talkers, etc. Multimedia content is usually displayed using a computer, also referred to as a digital engine or media player. You will find digital signage in most public spaces like airports, outdoor concert venues, bars, restaurants, cafes, college campuses, convention centres, stock markets, call centres, trains, busses, taxis, and retail environments.


E

Electronic Billboard - Billboards that can be updated remotely via the internet.

Electronic Signage - Digital Media including stills, dynamic video, and interactivity that is used to replace static signage.

Embedded Player - A flash player that is embedded within a web browser to display media clips.

Employee Communications - A business management method for employers to engage employees (sometimes referred to as associates) and to build employee morale, perforance and confidence in the organization. An "engaged employee" is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests. In addition to traditional communication mediums such as newsletters and bulletin boards, digital signage serves as a responsive way to gain a consistent message to all employees throughout any sized organization.

Enclosure - Equipment used to house digital signage hardware including displays, media players, and associated mounts and wiring systems.

Encoding - A change or tranfer of media file types between multiple formats.

Engaged Employee - an employee or associate who is paid by an organization who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests.

Expression-based Media - Invites people to engage with beneficial and entertaining content that forces users to HAVE FUN. It also encourages people to share information and talk to each other in a user-controlled media environment.

Extension - Letters that follow the name of a file. These letter abbreviations inidcate the format the file is in and how it can be viewed.


F

Fade - A slow or gradual change in a setting like brightness or volume that takes place over a period of time.

Flash - An animated vector graphic file. The player is offered by Adobe (previously Macromedia). Flash files do not require as much bandwidth as standard media.

Flat Panel - A thin electronic display device that can be powered by digital signage for content distribution.

Fly-on - A type of file transition that brings in a file from outside the screen's borders.

FPS (Frames Per Second) - The measured speed at which an video or animation is played.

Free Digital Signage - The ability to use a digital signage system for a time period for free. StrandVision offers this type of free digital signage.

Front of House - Commonly used in the hospitality industry for digital signage screens used for marketing communication to guests and visitors of the property. Also is used generically for marketing to visitors and customers.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - A standard protocol for data transfer over the web.

FTP Server - A type of computer that can receive FTP link requests from a client computer.


G

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) - A graphic file format where images are built with pixels with up to 256 colors. GIF files are compressed and can be downloaded quickly.

Graphics - Non-text pictures and illustrations that can be viewed. Graphics can be vector or raster (bitmaps).

GUI (Graphical User Interface) - The look at feel of a program or web site.

Gzip (.tar.gz) - A data compression format that is usually used by Linux / Unix. When combined with Tar files, it holds multiple compressed files in a directory. This allows for many compressed files to be sent more quickly and easily over the web.


H

HDTV - High Definition Television or signage that is displayed at a vertical resolution higher than 720.

Health Monitoring - A process by which the status of computers on a network are regularly checked to see if they are running properly.

Host - Server computer that allows access to programs and documents by users.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - An internet document programming language that tells the browser how to display text and graphics on the screen.

Hyperlink or Hypertext - Objects, whether text or graphics, on an internet site that when selected using a mouse, navigate to a different page on the web.


I

Image - Non-text graphics or pictures

Imagemap - An interactive graphic image where different regions have different links. When the graphic is clicked, another program launches.

Information Technology (IT) - A general term used to encompass networking, computers, and information systems.

Interactive Digital - An interactive layer is added to a digital signage system, allowing the targeted audience and users to engage with the on-screen content in real-time by means of a specialized devices, touch screen, or mobile phone.

Intranet - An internal communications network used by a company that is unavailable to the public.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) - A company that provides internet connections for business and personal accounts. ISP service must be established before a connection to the internet can be made.


J

JAVA - A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. It is designed for writing programs that are downloaded to and run on a computer with small programs called 'applets.'

Javascript - A programming language that enables web pages to be designed with a higher level of interactivity.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) - A popular compression type for still image files. Works well with photographs.


K

Kerning - An adjustment of the normal space distances between specific character combinations.

Keyword - A word or phrase, generally typed into a web search engine used to find a particular term.

Kiosks - Small terminals placed in public places that provide a service or deploy information. They can incorporate and integrate many different types of technology, including digital signage.


L

LCD Screen (Liquid Crystal Display) - a thin, flat panel used for electronically displaying information such as text, images, and moving pictures. Among its major features are its lightweight construction, its portability, and its ability to be produced in much larger screen sizes than are practical for the construction of cathode ray tube (CRT) display technology.

Local Playback - Files that exist and play on a local computer as opposed to an external source.

Location Based Advertising - The placement of advertisements near the point of purchase where it immediately influences buyers.

Login - An account profile giving a specific level of access to a computer or server.

Loop - A single repetition of all available digital signage content.


M

Media - General term used for audio, images, and video which are used to reach an audience of some sort.

Memory - The size of data that can be stored on a computer's disk or chip.

Mobile Click - The user’s phone number is treated much like a web “cookie”, adding a layer of measurability to track user statistics across digital signage networks. It enables the dynamic digital signage system to recognize a unique user engaging with a social media application via a mobile phone.

MP3 (MPEG 1, audio layer 3) - A compression format used for audio which can be downloaded and used on either a computer or handheld MP3 player.

MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) - A standard for audio/video. There are three major MPEG standards: MPEG 1, MPEG 2, and MPEG 4.

MSF (minutes, seconds, frames) - A method of measuring time for a video. Frames are either 29.99 or 30 per second depending on whether it is drop frame or not

Multimedia - The integration of multiple forms of media including text, graphics, video, and audio.


N

Narrowcasting - Dyanmic digital signage that uses low bandwidth communication from the server to the display devices.

Network - Computers that are linked together with the intent to share information and resources. Networks can be set up on a Local Area Network (LAN) where computers are linked together in a single office, or Wide Area Network (WAN) where computers are connected at different geographic locations.

Newscasting - The process of sending news over the internet.

NTSC - National Television Standards Committee: A committee which standardizes color sequences in television for both the United States and Japan.


O

Online - An active connection to the internet.

OTS (Opportunity To See) - The probability a screen has to be viewed by consumers. OTS is a percentage of the people who see the screen compared to the people that entere the venue.


P

PDF (Portable Document Format) - A document created by Adobe software which allows for unchanged formatting for viewing large file-sized documents. Viewing a PDF requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

PowerPoint - A Microsoft Office software product that allows for slide and presentation creation. Some digital signage solutions can utilize PowerPoint content.

Proof of Play - a secure document where content is logged each time content is displayed. Proof of play shows a summary of count and duration for every hour. This is often used to charge advertisers.

Protocol - Established methods for communication and data transfer between two devices over the web.


Q

Quicktime - A software program that allows for play and view of multiple formats including: graphics, animation, text and sound.


R

RAM (Random Access Memory) - Hardware used inside of a computer for short term storage capabilities. More RAM can be added to a computer as the need arises.

Real Time - Live broadcast of events or the time an event actually takes place.

Resolution - Resolution is often conveyed in dots per square inch. The resolution most often refers to the detail of an image. The higher the dots, the more clear the picture quality will be.

RGB - Red, Green, and Blue. These combined colors are used to create an image on a computer screen or digital signage display.


S

Server - A computer system that allows for client software to be run on other computers.

Social Media Applications - Invites people to engage with beneficial and entertaining content. It encourages people to share information and talk to each other in a user-controlled media environment.

Sound Card - A hardware extension that allows for audio to be played on a computer.

StrandVision (Strand Vision) - A digital signage platform that utilizes a thin networking medium (a strand) to connect to private or public content distribution servers which communicate the visual marketing messages to a local screen.

Streaming Media - A data transfer that happens over the internet which allows for flow of audio and video information to be played in real-time. A player is needed to interpret and send a signal of the streaming media to a display device.


T

Tar (.tar) - Short for Tape Archive, this data format is usually used by Linux / Unix which holds multiple files in a directory. This is more commonly used to send many files easily over the web.

Template - A pre-formatted file that allows for a foundation in creating a new set of content.

Text Crawler - A text segment that is displayed in a crawler box section at the bottom of a digital signage display.


U

Upload - The precise opposite of download. The transfer of data from the computer being used to another computer.

URL (Universal Resource Locator) - The unique web address of a file or document on the internet.


V

VAR (Value added Reseller) - A reseller of a product of hardware or software.

VBR (Variable Bit Rate) - A two-pass encoding that compresses a movie file to the most optimal data rate possible. Unlike uniform data rates, VBR varies from second to second.

Vector Graphics - Also referred to as 'object oriented' graphics. Vector images can be scaled without distortion and, due to their relatively small size, they can be transferred easily over the internet.


W

WAV (.wav) - Digital audio sound file extension, pronounced 'wave.'

Web Designer - An individual who is responsible for the look and feel of an internet site being hosted on the word wide web. Both design and web-based programming knowledge is necessary to be a web designer.

Web Developer - The individual responsible for building a web site's technical capabilities. A developer needs software programming skills.

Web Site - A place on the internet where specific messages are communicated through use of text, graphics, audio, video, and any other type of dynamic media.

Webcast - Movies, videoes, or radio and television that is delivered on a live or delayed basis via the internet.

Wizard - A help file that guides users through a process for setting up a specific application.


Z

Zip (.zip) - A data compression format that holds multiple compressed files in a directory. This allows for large files to be sent more quickly and easily over the web.



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