Outdoor Kiosk & Shopping Center Kiosks
Simon Mall Digital Wayfinder and Digital Signage Review
Editors Note November 2022: We are going to add some pictures but basically the big Wayfinder touchscreens have been covered with a hard paper directory. See post on SixteenNine for more. We think it comes down to the squeak squeak of going cheap. The Simon mall premium outlets here had them here in Denver. First time around the sun out of the west that they faced whacked their screens. Eventually, they just opted for paper overlay over the touchscreens. Pretty common outdoors. Instead of spending 45K they spent around 25K on a unit that ended up being a static paper menu mount. Pretty spendy mount.. I want to say it was Gable sourcing Keewin on the enclosures. Other outdoors like IKE are around $50K I think.
Well, we went back to the outdoor shopping center yesterday and while we were there we checked up on the digital signage unit installed at the brand new Simon Outlet Mall. There are 10 of them spaced out around the outlet mall which was just completed 2 years ago and is the next generation outdoor shopping mall with over a 100 shops. Coloradans like being outdoor.
When we last checked before, it was winter and the units seemed just fine. Yesterday in Colorado it got to 95 and this unit is oriented to face West and East and direct sunlight.
- The unit receives no mitigation or shelter from the sun or the heat.
- While we there another customer wanted to try using our side of the unit because the other side wasn’t working. It was non-functional.
- On the sunny side it was quite nearly impossible to read the display thru the glare, and yes, the screen was very hot.
- On the software side I do like the interface and I will given them an A for the wayfinding.
Digital Wayfinding ROI
On the hardware side, the unit is attractive, it was relatively inexpensive to purchase, but it fails here in Colorado. Another example of the budget not matching the objective. Now they need to replace the units and the overall costs will likely triple. Should have just got well-designed unit and paid the relatively low extra money.
For site location of the unit, I can understand the way they oriented it as direct right angle but the rest of the outlet mall is not laid out in right angles so they could’ve easily added 15 to 30 degrees of offset i order to avoid the direct sunlight.
Definition of not working is the screen was blacked out and when you touched it white spots would appear. The screen was very hot for sure. That was the status of the East side which had been heated up and blacked out.
Outdoor Display Tips From LG-MRI website
Sun is the biggest enemy of LCD displays. It will cause them to heat up, discolor, and eventually turn black. The sun hits the display surface with 1250 watts/m2 of energy, which will cause the temperature of the Liquid Crystal cell to increase significantly, even on the coldest of days. This can have the effect of literally causing the Liquid Crystals to boil and turn black, what is known as solar clearing.
We have all probably seen our phones turn off because they are “too hot” and need to cool down before use, but outdoor displays don’t have the luxury of taking a break when they are too hot. QSRs, media companies, and transit stations rely on the display being on and visible no matter what the ambient conditions are. Keeping LCDs cool is critically important to providing a 24/7 use in all environments, where temperature fluctuates and direct sunlight is always an issue.
LCDs have very low reflection and absorb almost 98% of the solar energy. This means that viewing an LCD outdoors works great because of the low reflection, but keeping it cool is the biggest challenge.
Update November 2022 — good technical report on McDonalds “isotropic” displays (Coates and Samsung OH55s). Bottomline — It is an edge seal breach (failure) and loss of LC fluid/ingestion of air.
It is essential that:
- The LCD edge seal must have greater strength than ANY of the commercial LCDs offered to the market place
- The front polarizer of the LCD must be kept cool in any ambient from -40°C to +50°C, with or without solar irradiance exposure up to 1250 w/m^2
- The rear polarizer of the LCD must be kept cool
- Under any combination of solar irradiance and ambient temperature exposure, the LCD cell must be kept physically flat to minimize mechanical stress on/deformation of the LCD cell
Simon Outlet Mall Digital Signage Wayfinding Outdoor Kiosk West facing afternoon