glossary

Activation: A decision made by a client at the point of purchase, to order a product or service that has been influenced by such factors as price, promotion, convenience, or impulse.

Ambient lighting: The use of lighting to help create a particular atmosphere or mood within a store.

Audience: An advertising and marketing term used to define the potential target viewers of an advertisement or content displayed by a digital signage.

Available market: The number of consumers identified as having an interest in a product or service, access to its purchase, and the financial means to purchase it.

Average receipt: The average dollar amount spent by a shopper.

Awareness: The ability of consumers to remember information about a brand, ad, or promotion to which they were exposed. “Unaided awareness” refers to the ability to recall without assistance; “aided awareness” refers to cases in which the consumer’s recall was prompted.

Backhaul: A television industry term meaning to transmit coded information or data to a backbone network, which provides the means to exchange information between different Local Area Networks (LANs) or other subnetworks and central control stations. It also means to transport trafficked data between remote or distributed sites and central control sites.

Backlit display: A display that utilizes a fluorescent bulb or other lighting system to illuminate a film transparency or graphic from behind.

Bandwidth: The measure of a communication channel’s capacity to transmit data over a fixed period of time. Bandwidth is the difference between the upper and lower frequencies of a band of electromagnetic radiation over which data is transmitted. The greater the difference between the upper and lower frequencies, the higher the bandwidth’s capacity to transmit data.

Bar code: A scanable line graphic on packaging that contains a product’s Universal Product Code and other identifying information. See UPC.

Bar code scanner: A device that reads bar codes. Portable versions are sometimes referred to as “handhelds” or “wands.”

Benchmark: A performance measurement or standard that future activity may be measured against.

Benchmarking: The process by which companies, following pre-established guidelines for disclosure, share best business practices with other companies. Generally focusing on one aspect of business (credit procedures, distribution procedures, etc.). Benchmarking study is a study that identifies performance measurements and standards for a specific industry, product category, or other group, thereby allowing individual entities to compare their performance with peers.

Biometrics: Biometrics refers to methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. In information technology, in particular, biometrics is used as a form of identity access management and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance.

Biometric characteristics can be divided in:

  • Physiological are related to the shape of the body. Examples include, but are not limited to fingerprint, face recognition, DNA, hand and palm geometry, iris recognition, which has largely replaced retina, and odor/scent.
  • Behavioral are related to the behavior of a person. Examples include, but are not limited to typing rhythm, gait, and voice. Some researchers have coined the term behavior metrics for this class of biometrics.

Voice is also a physiological trait because every person has a different vocal tract, but voice recognition is mainly based on the study of the way a person speaks, commonly classified as behavioral.

Brand: The trademarked name of a product or group of products.

Brand affinity: The goodwill that a brand has established among consumers.

Brand equity: The value of a brand as defined by consumer attitudes toward its stated attributes, product performance and perceived status.

Business Model: With regard to digital signage networks, the term “business model” refers to the manner in which the costs associated with the network are met, or, ideally, exceeded by the revenue for the organization deploying the network.

Campaign: A coordinated effort to market a product, often including an overview of advertising schedules and the various media and tactics to be employed.

Cannibalization: An action that generates sales in one respect by decreasing sales in another. Examples include the addition of kiosks to a market, thereby drawing away customers from existing locations, or the launch of a line extension that attracts users of the flagship product. Also used in regard to the potential for promotional tactics, such as coupons, to reduce profits through their redemption by loyal product users who would have paid full price.

Capacitive: A capacitive touch screen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO).  As the human body is also a conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the local electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location can be passed to a computer running a software application which will calculate how the user’s touch relates to the computer software.

Card Reader: Also known as a magnetic card reader, a card reader is a device used to scan cards containing magnetic data strips

Category management:
The practice of analyzing SKU selection, shelf merchandising, as well as promotion and sales history to improve the business performance of a specific product group.  The function is the responsibility of a retailer’s category manager, with varying levels of support provided by relevant product manufacturers.

Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/ CAM):
Computer software used widely for designing and manufacturing product displays and other marketing materials.

Content: The media, i.e., the video, film clips, still images, animation, audio, text, or any other form of media that is displayed on a digital signage device or network of devices.

Contrast Ratio: A means of measuring display devices by contrasting the ratio between the luminosity of the brightest and darkest colors (white and black) that a display is able to produce. A “high contrast ratio” is a desired characteristic of any display device; however, the contrast ratio reported by marketers of display devices is the ratio under ideal conditions, i.e., a controlled room in total darkness. The actual ratio when using a device outside of these ideal conditions will be significantly reduced due to reflection of ambient light.

Cost of goods sold: All expenses related to the manufacture, sales, and distribution of consumer products.  In the case of product manufacturers, it includes all promotional allowances paid to retailers. Some companies also classify the production and distribution of displays and signs as a cost of goods sold rather than as part of the marketing budget.

CPM (Cost per Thousand): As M is the Roman numeral for 1,000, CPM represents the standard unit of costing used in advertising, to compare the display rates of mass media advertisement. CPM is used in the pricing of display locations for advertisement, usually increasing with the quality of the audience and scarcity of display opportunity.

Customer relationship management (CRM): Originally used specifically for computer-based methods of tracking customer interactions, the term now refers to the practice of efficiently managing all aspects of customer interaction and the use of purchase history and other data to develop targeted marketing offers. The underlying goal is to manage each customer based on individual preferences and needs over time rather than on isolated transactions or general behavioral assumptions.

Customer segmentation: The practice of dividing a retailer’s shopper base (or a brand’s user base) into groups that reflect their demographics, lifestyle needs, purchase habits, and shopping behaviors in order to develop more effective methods of marketing and merchandising and, ultimately, to engender deeper loyalties.

Customer-Facing: Any retail operation, technology, service or program to which the shopper is exposed. Customer facing technologies are screens, kiosks, and devices that empower or enable customers to interact or receive information targeted to the shopping or buying experience.

Dedicated Server: Also referred to as a managed hosting service or dedicated hosting service, a dedicated server is a means of Internet hosting that provides an organization with a server (the means of providing content) that is not shared by other organizations or individuals. Dedicated servers are needed to control content distribution to large and complex digital signage networks beyond the capabilities of a personal computer.

Demand: The aggregate amount of a product or service required by a market. Demand can also be defined more specifically as the desire of consumers for a product or service.

Digital advertising network: A narrowcast network combining targeted entertainment and/or informational content with advertising.  Distributed through digital networks and/or screens in place-based, out-of-home, consumer venues such as retail, transit, malls, grocery, health clubs, medical offices, gas stations, as well as office buildings and hotels.

Digital display (billboard): Devices that display advertising-only messages via screens equipped with LED (light emitting diode) or LCD (liquid crystal display) technology, often changing, at predetermined times or through motion recognition technology, to feature multiple brands.

Digital Distribution (download), also known as digital delivery or electronic software distribution, is the practice of providing content in a purely digital format, which is downloaded via the internet straight to a consumer’s device.  Digital distribution bypasses conventional physical distribution media, such as paper or DVDs. The term digital distribution is typically applied to freestanding products; digital add-ons for other products are more commonly known as downloadable content. Digitally distributed content may be streamed or downloaded. Streaming involves downloading and using content “on-demand” as it is needed.  Meanwhile, fully downloading the content to a hard drive or other form of storage media allows for quick access in the future.

Digital Light Processing (DLP): A technology first developed by Dr. Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments that is used in projectors and video projectors. DLP projectors use microscopic mirrors arranged on a semiconductor chip known as a Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) to create the displayed image. Each one of the microscopic mirrors represents one or more pixels in the projected image and the number of mirrors determines the resolution of the projected image. The most common projection devices using DLP technology available to the public are single DMD chip or three DMD chip projectors, which differ in the method used to produce the color, but are based on the same concept described above.

Digital Paper (Interactive Paper): Digital paper is used in conjunction with a digital pen, and is a patterned paper that can be used to create digital documents in a handwritten format. The handwriting is stored by the digital pen via the dot pattern coordinates on the paper and can then be uploaded to a computer to create a digital document.

Digital Signage: A centrally and/or remotely controlled and addressable network of typically flat-screen digital displays that deliver targeted content in the form of entertainment, information, or advertisement to a designated audience by means of a combination of software and hardware resources. Other common names for digital signage include those such as “dynamic digital signage,” “digital out-of-home media network,” “electronic signage,” “digital media network,” “digital advertising network,” “narrowcasting network,” and “in-store TV network.”

Digital Video Compression: The compression of digital video files in order to reduce the space required to store the data on a hard drive or in the transmission of the file. Digital video compression is the process of discarding aspects of the content that are redundant and unperceivable to the human eye, such as shades of color or static content within the file, without reducing the perceived quality of the image or content. The greater the compression ratio, the greater the amount of data discarded.

DIPA (Dynamic Image Provisioning Applications): Software that is utilized in digital signage networks to control various aspects of the content distribution, including specifying which files will be played at what time in each location, partitioning electronic display screens, and controlling the characteristics of displayed content.

Display Device: The electronic device that represents the delivery component of a digital signage network, such as a flat-screen LED, LCD, plasma, or any other type of device that displays content to the audience.

Display Resolution: The number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed in a digital television or computer display system. The resolution of a digital display is an important consideration when purchasing a display and must take into account the intended use of the display device, i.e., where and how the display will be used.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), ASDL: A group of technologies that provide digital transmission of data via the infrastructure of a local telephone network. As compared to analog infrastructures, DSL substantially increases the capacity of common telephone lines to transmit data to homes and offices.

DVB-IP (Digital Video Broadcast—Internet Protocol): The internationally accepted set of standards for digital television. DVB-IP is the international equivalent of the North American digital television standard known as ATSC. DVB utilizes the 6–8-MHz channels and can be broadcast over satellite, cable, or over the air, using the MPEG-2 video compression format, and either Dolby or MPEG audio compression.

DVR (Digital Video Recorder): A recording device that stores data in a digital format on an internal disk drive or other storage medium. The term “DVR” may refer to a stand-alone unit with enabling software or a television that has DVR technology built into the display device. The primary advantage of DVR technology is that it allows for much longer recording times over traditional VCR or other recoding technologies, and enhanced control over the programming content by the user.

Dwell Time: The amount of time that a viewer normally spends in front of a screen. Dwell time is one measure of consideration when judging the necessary ingredients of content designed for a specific audience.

Dynamic Screen Zone: Screen zoning refers to the segmentation of screen space (on a digital signage device) into separate zones or regions, in which multiple and varied types of information can be displayed on a single screen simultaneously.

E-Commerce or eCommerce consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Online retailers are sometimes known as e-tailers and online retail is sometimes known as e-tail.  Almost all big retailers have electronic commerce presence on the World Wide Web.  Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of the business transactions.

Electronic Paper (E-Paper): A display technology that is designed to replicate the appearance of common paper with ink writing on it. E-paper does not use backlight to illuminate its paper, unlike traditional display devices. Instead, e-paper simply reflects light just as an ordinary piece of paper would. It has the ability to display images indefinitely without a source of electricity. E-paper is flexible and can be bent, crumpled, or manipulated, much like an ordinary piece of paper. Future applications include e-books and magazines, posters, clothing, and bags.

Emotional Identity: The interpretation or perception of a brand by a consumer in terms of loyalty, reliability, quality, sentimentality, or other intangible terms.

Encryption: The process of transforming information or data into an unreadable form to anyone other than those possessing the key required to decrypt the information. Encryption is the most common and effective form to secure data.

Flight: The content being displayed on a digital signage device or network. Most typically, “flight” refers to an advertisement or other message content on a display device.

Footfall: A term used in retailing to refer to the amount of traffic, or number of customers patronizing a retail, or other, establishment at a given time. In reference to digital signage, footfall is typically described as the number of customers or patrons that is attracted to an establishment as a result of a digital signage display.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): The most commonly used protocol for exchanging files over any network (e.g., Internet/intranet) between a server computer and a client computer, which allows the client to upload, download, rename, and delete files on the server.

Gift Registry: a particular type of wish list.  A registry is limited to the stock of a given retailer. The retailer will maintain the list for the registrant and make sure that items are removed from the list as they are purchased.  Retailers will often make this list public to anyone who asks for it and will not divulge who has purchased the registered items.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing.  A GUI offers graphical icons and visual indicators as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels, or text navigation to fully represent the information and actions available to a user.

HD (High Definition): An increase in visual or display resolution in any number of formats, including TVs, DVDs, video, and recording devices, such as cameras and camcorders.

HDTV: High Definition Television is a digital television broadcasting system offering higher resolution than traditional or standard television systems (SDTV). Introduced in the United States during the 1990s by an alliance of television manufacturers, HDTV is digitally broadcast because it requires less bandwidth when video compression is used. HDTV systems are distinguished from SDTV in the number of lines in the vertical display resolution, the scanning system, and the number of frames per second.

HTML: Hypertext markup language; the language used to code Web pages.

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol, conventions to transfer information in Web systems.

IDL (Interactive Distance Learning): Remote telecommunication that enables students to learn and participate from a distance via an Internet connection or satellite broadcast, combined with various forms of media, such as teleconferencing software and traditional display devices.

Incremental sales: Revenue gained from marketing and merchandising activity that would not have been generated through the standard course of business.

Interactive display: a display that invites and often responds to interaction from shoppers via buttons, touch screens, functioning product samples or other means.

Intercepts: Interviews with shoppers and/or retail personnel that usually occur either on the sales floor, at checkout, or in the parking lot prior to or immediately after a store visit.

Interactive TV (iTV): The interaction of television viewers with television content as it is being viewed. Ranging from “low interactivity,” i.e., changing volume or channels or cameras, to “moderate interactivity,” i.e., video on demand (VOD), to “high interactivity,” i.e., a viewer can influence the actual content as they view it. Interactive TV is generally referred to in regards to “high interactivity” television.

IP Encapsulator: As it relates to computer networking, encapsulation refers to the process of including data from an upper-layer protocol, i.e., User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), into a lower-layer protocol, i.e., Internet protocol. Computer applications generally utilize the upper-layer protocols, while the Internet is based on Internet Protocol or IP. An IP encapsulator is a hardware device that carries out this process by including data from a software application to an IP format that can be delivered to a network of computers.

IPG (Interactive Program Guide): Also known as an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) or Electronic Service Guide, an IPG is an on-screen guide used to display broadcast television programming. It allows viewers to navigate content by channel, title, time, genre, or other means via a remote control, keyboard, or other device. IPGs also allow viewers to search by subject, view program reviews, and apply parental controls.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television): Television content that is received by end users or consumers via the Internet, instead of through traditional broadcast delivery mediums such as cable and satellite. For non-commercial consumers, IPTV is generally offered in a bundled format known as “triple play,” which combines IPTV, Internet access, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is actually Internet-based telephony.

Kbps (Kilobits per Second): Kilobits (1,000 bits) are a standard unit of information in the context of memory storage and address space size. Kilobits are used to express digital communication and transmission speeds. Ku-Band: A portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that utilizes frequencies ranging between 10 and 17 GHz, typically used in fixed satellite communications. The symbol is a reference to “K—under,” meaning the band directly under the K-Band of frequencies.

Kiosk: an electronic kiosk (or computer kiosk or interactive kiosk or multimedia kiosk) houses a computer terminal that often employs custom kiosk software designed to function flawlessly while preventing users from accessing system functions. Indeed, kiosk mode describes such a mode of software operation. Computerized kiosks may store data locally, or retrieve it from a computer network. Some computer kiosks provide a free, informational public service, while others serve a commercial purpose.  Touch screens, trackballs, computer keyboards, and pushbuttons are all typical input devices for interactive computer kiosk.

LAN/WAN (Local Area Network/Wide Area Network): Local Area Network (LAN) refers to a computer network that spans a relatively small area, such as an office, or a group of offices. LANs can be connected to one another through ordinary telephone lines or radio waves to form a Wide Area Network (WAN) over any geographic area. LANs have higher data transfer rates and are not reliant on leased communication lines to transmit data.

LCD: Acronym for “liquid crystal display,” a type of flat-panel display or screen. Requires less power than a plasma screen, so it is more commonly used with battery-powered devices.

LED/OLED (Light Emitting Diode/Organic Light Emitting Diode): LEDs are semiconductor diodes that light up when electricity is passed through them. LEDs are typically comprised of a mix of inorganic semiconductor materials, such as aluminum, gallium, and silicone. Organic LEDs are light-emitting diodes that are made from organic compounds and have the added benefit of being flexible.

Lumination Time: The amount of time that a digital display is able to display images on its screen. This time varies greatly between and among digital signage technologies and is considered an important measure of the life of an individual digital signage screen and an overall network.

Mailing list: an electronic list of e-mail addresses designated by a single name, to which a common message may be sent when the message is “posted to the list”.

Managed Services is the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations. The person or organization that owns or has direct oversight of the organization or system being managed is referred to as the offerer, client, or customer.  The person or organization that accepts and provides the managed service is regarded as the service provider. Typically, the offerer remains accountable for the functionality and performance of managed service and does not relinquish the overall management responsibility of the organization or system.

Mbps (Megabits per Second): A measure of data transfer rate that is equal to one million bits per second.

Media Player: Media players are hardware devices that are used in digital signage systems to store and then typically “push” content onto screens. They vary greatly in capacity and capability, from lower-level MPEG players to sophisticated industrial and commercial use computers that are constructed to provide reliable, secure playback concurrently sending numerous files of different forms of content.

Middleware: Software capable of connecting software components or applications via an enabling service that allows multiple processes to interact across a network. Middleware is literally in the “middle” between applications and acts as the means of connecting applications running on different operating systems, a process generally known as interoperability. The middleware classification includes content management systems, web servers, application servers, and other devices that support application development and delivery.

Mobile Apps: Mobile software is designed to run on handheld computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), enterprise digital assistants (EDAs), smart phones and cell phones. Since the first handheld computers of the 1980s, the popularity of these platforms has risen considerably. Many cell phone models of the late 2000s include the ability to run user-installed software.

Mounting Mechanism: The means or method by which a display device is mounted in its environment, i.e., how the device is attached to a wall, stand, ceiling, or other physical  location.

MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group): A joint working group of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that is responsible for setting international video and audio encoding standards.

MPEG-2: An encoding standard for video content and programming with broadcast TV quality, typically used for DVD, digital TV, or motion video.

MPEG-4: An expanded original MPEG standard to support 3D content, video/ audio “objects,” and other multimedia representation and distribution. MPEG-4 is based on Apple’s QuickTime file format and offers a number of compression options.

Multicasting: In relation to digital signage specifically, multicasting is the transmission of information or data files to a network of digital signage devices, or a group of devices within a network, simultaneously, via the most efficient means of delivering the information or data file, such as satellite to many screens spread across a wide geographic area.

Multi-channel Player: A server that is capable of outputting multiple streams of unique content to multiple digital display devices, typically simultaneously. Multi-channel players may also be referred to as “site servers” or “in-store servers.”

Multi-Touch (Multitouch): a method of interacting with a computer screen or Smartphone.  Instead of using a mouse or stylus pen, multi-touch allows the user(s) to interact with the device by placing two or more fingers directly onto the surface. The movement of the fingers across the screen creates gestures, which send commands to the device. The term Multi-Touch is a trademark of Apple, Inc. Multi-touch requires a touch screen (screen, overlay, table, wall, etc.) or touchpad, as well as software that recognizes multiple simultaneous touch points, as opposed to the single touch screen (e.g. computer touchpad, ATM), which recognizes only one touch point. This effect is achieved through a variety of means, including: heat, finger pressure, high capture rate cameras, infrared light, optic capture, tuned electromagnetic induction, ultrasonic receivers, transducer microphones, laser rangefinders, and shadow capture. Many products using multi-touch interfaces exist and are being developed. Multi-touch is used on portable devices including the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, HTC Touch and Hero, Microsoft’s Zune HD, Samsung Moment, Motorola Milestone and the Palm Pre, as well as notebook desktop products such as the Microsoft Surface, the DELL Latitude XT2, HP TouchSmart tx2, Lenovo ideaPad, etc.

Mystery shopper: A brand or retail representative who visits a store anonymously to evaluate store conditions, customer service or other things without influencing the actions of store personnel.

Narrowcast network: An audio or video feed of content created for delivery through a specific, closed network to a unique audience.

The Nielsen Company: One of two leading auditing services that collect point-of-sale scanner data from retailers to provide syndicated tracking and analysis of product sales, market share and other performance benchmarks. It also is the leading syndicator of audience measurement analytics for television advertising and other mass media. Through its Nielsen In-Store division, the company will offer syndicated data on in-store audience levels and ad placement.

NICS (Network Interface Card): A network interface card is a hardware component that is inserted into a computer, enabling the computer to connect to and communicate over a network, typically an LAN for small groups of computers, or over protocols such as IP for larger networks.

PAL (Phase Altering Line): A color encoding system for broadcast television that is the European standard, and the North American equivalent to the NTSC. PAL is generally accepted as having higher-resolution quality than NTSC, and most computer screens that can also be used to view television are enabled to use PAL and NTSC formats. PAL can also be decoded into the NTSC format with the use of a PAL decoding device.

Photo Kiosk: An interactive kiosk which allows users to print pictures from their digital images. Two major classes of photo kiosks exist:

  • Digital Order Stations:  This type of photo kiosk exists within retail locations and allows users to place orders for prints and photographic products. Products typically get produced instore by a digital minilab, or at another location to be shipped directly to the consumer, or back to the store to be picked up at a later time. Digital Order Stations may or may not support instant printing, and typically do not handle payments.
  • Instant Print Stations – This type of photo kiosk uses internal printers to instantly create photographic prints for a self serve paying customer. Often located in public locations (hotels, schools, airports), Instant Print Stations handle payments. Often such systems will only print 4×6 inch prints although popular dye sublimation photo printers as of 2008 allow for 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, 8×12. It’s more a matter of resupply labor economics and chassis size.

Piecemeal: A digital signage network that is developed in a piecemeal fashion, meaning that the various hardware, software, content management, or any other component of the network has been procured from separate providers. The site owner or someone else tasked by that company will pick, in a “combination” fashion, the individual partners that together install and operate the digital display network.

Plasma: A type of flat-panel display that works by sealing a mixture of cells containing a combination of neon and xenon gases between two panels of glass, with parallel electrodes deposited on their surfaces. When a voltage is passed through the cells containing the gases, ionized plasma is emitted, which creates UV radiation. The UV radiation then excites color phosphors and visible light is emitted from each cell.

Playlist: The scheduled list of content to be displayed on a digital signage network distributed by a server. Playlists define not only the order of displayed content, but also the duration of the content displayed.

Playlog: The means by which the performance of a digital signage network can be monitored and recorded. Playlogs record what content was played on which display devices for how long or how often, at what time, and on what date. Playlogs can also record other network performance information.

POP (Point of Purchase)/POS (Point of Sale): POP or POS may be defined differently by different organizations. Generally, the POP or POS is the place where a transaction occurs. It may be broadly defined, i.e., a retail store, or narrowly defined, i.e., a specific cash register within the retail store.

Proof of Play: The summary playback reports and the raw playlogs of a digital signage network. Proof of Play provides a metric for measuring the effectiveness of a digital signage network, however, it may only provide reporting on which content was played by the playback device, i.e., the server, and may not reflect which ads were actually displayed.

Protocol: The standard that allows or controls data transfers, communications, and connections between two computing devices. A protocol may be carried out via software, hardware, or a combination of hardware and software working together. Protocol is the set of rules that governs communication between computing devices. Internet protocol, or IP, enables communicable unique global addressing between and among computers.

Qualitative research: In broad terms, anecdotal research. The analysis of narrative feedback derived from a handful of consumer focus groups is an example of qualitative research

Quantitative research:
In broad terms, data-driven research. The analysis of scanner data to forecast sales is an example of quantitative research.

Queue Management: Queue areas are places in which people in line (first-come, first-served) wait for goods or services.  Examples include checking out groceries or other goods that have been collected in a self service shop, in a shop without self service, at an ATM, at a ticket desk, a city bus, or in a taxi stand.

RASables: An acronym for the key criteria used to assess the desirability of an applications system. Literally, RASables stands for Reliability, Availability, and Scalability.

Remote Management and Monitoring: sometimes referred to as Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM), this refers to remotely managing information technology (IT) infrastructure such as workstations (desktops, laptops, notebooks, etc), servers, network devices, storage devices, IT security devices, etc of a company.
Major sub-services included in RIM are:

  • Service desk / Help desk
  • Proactive monitoring of server and network devices
  • Workstation Management
  • Server Management
  • Storage management
  • Application support
  • IT security Management

Request For Proposal (RFP): More commonly used acronym for “request for proposal,” a request by a potential client for suppliers to submit bids on a project. Product manufacturers often require RFPs from marketing agencies and point-of-purchase suppliers.

Request for Quotation (RFQ): Acronym for “request for quotation.” Some use it synonymously with RFP.

Resistive touch screen panel is composed of several layers, the most important of which are two thin, metallic, electrically conductive layers separated by a narrow gap.  When an object, such as a finger, presses down on a point on the panel’s outer surface the two metallic layers become connected at that point: the panel then behaves as a pair of voltage dividers with connected outputs.  This causes a change in the electrical current which is registered as a touch event and sent to the controller for processing.

Return on Investment (ROI): Return on investment is the primary monetary measurement for financial analysis of any investment. ROI, often called Rate of Return, or simply “return,” is the ratio of money gained or lost on an investment in relation to the amount of money spent or invested.

Return on Objectives (ROO): Return on objectives is a term coined by digital signage industry professionals to describe the forms of return on a digital signage network other than monetary returns. Other means of return on digital signage networks are necessary because many projects are not intended or employed for monetary gain, and for those projects that are not “for-profit” networks, their returns are not easily measured in monetary terms.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): A means of automatically identifying people, products, or animals, by storing and remotely retrieving data via a radio wave transponder known as an RFID tag. RFID can, for example, be used in digital signage applications by attaching an RFID tag to an individual, or an individual’s credit card, that transmits data to digital signage devices about recent purchases or spending activity.

Roll Out: The act of shipping and installing self service kiosks to their appropriate locations. Steps in a typical roll out include site selection, site preparation, shipping, delivery, installation and on-site quality assurance testing.

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on demand. SaaS software vendors may host the application on their own web servers or download the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. The on-demand function may be handled internally to share licenses within a firm or by a third-party application service provider (ASP) sharing licenses between firms.

Sales Lift: The percentage increase in sales or revenue resulting from a specific initiative, such as the deployment of a digital signage network.

Salience: Prominent or conspicuous relevant information in content. Salience is a measure of the quality of content in terms of its ability to increase sales or brand awareness and loyalty. Horizontal salience occurs when individuals exchange information, while vertical salience refers to an individual’s first-hand knowledge of a brand.

Satellite: A satellite in a telecommunications context refers to a transmission device that is stationed in space for communications purposes, and receives communications from a terrestrial “uplink” station, then sending the same communication back to the earth for receipt via an antenna. Antennas linked to a receiver that has been specified to acquire the satellite’s communication are able to restructure that signal, typically for both secured and unsecured uses.

Satellite Broadband Distribution: Satellite broadband distribution refers to a means of content distribution via a high-speed satellite Internet connection that does not require a terrestrial signal (such as a mobile signal, a phone line, or a hard-wired cable connection). Satellite broadband connects a computer to a satellite via a satellite modem linked to a traditional satellite dish.

Self Check In and Checkout devices are automated alternatives to the traditional cashier-staffed checkout at various businesses.

Side Server/Edge Server: Side Servers are a set of hardware components used to improve the performance of web-based systems, such as digital signage networks. In relation to digital signage networks, “side” or “edge servers” are commonly used to store and dispatch advertisement or other files to the networked devices.

Smart Card: Also known as “chip cards” or “integrated circuit cards,” smart cards are any card that contains embedded integrated circuits that are able to process (receive and send out) information. Smart cards are similar in size to a typical credit card.

Streaming Video: The distribution or delivery of uninterrupted video via a telecommunications network, typically the Internet or an intranet that does not require downloading by the end user. Streaming requires an end-user medium, such as a personal computer, to buffer a few seconds of video data before being displayed on the screen, so that the medium can stay ahead of itself throughout the stream. The word “stream” refers to the delivery method and not the display or transmission devices. Streaming video will be used more and more on digital signage systems.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): Invented by Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, under contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, TCP/IP is the protocol of the Internet that has become the global standard for communications. TCP offers transport functions that ensure the total number of bytes sent by the provider is received correctly by the user.

Test market: A limited, controlled geographical area in which a new product or marketing plan is launched as an experiment. Results from the launch are carefully monitored in order to revise and develop plans for expansion into other markets.

Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD): An LCD that uses Thin Film Transistor technology to improve the quality of displayed images. TFT technology embeds transistors within the glass panel of an LCD, thus improving the stability of the image. TFT technology has been typically utilized in radiography, such as with mammograms, and is today generally utilized in all but the least expensive LCD devices. TFT-LCD devices are widely utilized in interactive touch screen applications.

Touch screen: a touch screen is a display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The term generally refers to touch or contact to the display of the device by a finger or hand. Touch screens can also sense other passive objects, such as a stylus. However, if the object sensed is active, as with a light pen, the term touch screen is generally not applicable. The ability to interact directly with a display typically indicates the presence of a touch screen. The touch screen has two main attributes. First, it enables one to interact with what is displayed directly on the screen, where it is displayed, rather than indirectly with a mouse or touchpad. Secondly, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device, again, such as a stylus that needs to be held in the hand. Such displays can be attached to computers or, as terminals, to networks. They also play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices, mobile phones, and video games.

Trackball:  a trackball is a pointing device consisting of a ball held by a socket containing sensors to detect a rotation of the ball about two axes—like an upside-down mouse with an exposed protruding ball. The user rolls the ball with the thumb, fingers, or the palm of the hand to move a cursor. Large tracker balls are common on CAD workstations for easy precision.  Before the advent of the touchpad, small trackballs were common on portable computers, where there may be no desk space on which to run a mouse.  Some small thumb balls clip onto the side of the keyboard and have integral buttons with the same function as mouse buttons. The trackball was invented by Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff as part of the Royal Canadian Navy’s DATAR system in 1952, eleven years before the mouse was invented.  This first trackball used a Canadian five-pin bowling ball.

Transponder: A term that is short for “transmitter–responder,” it is a device on a communications satellite that receives a signal from earth, amplifies, and then retransmits that signal on a different frequency, back to receiving antennas on the earth. Satellites typically feature several transponders.

Triggered Content: Content that can be programmed into a digital signage network, or into a single device, that overrides the scheduled content from a playlist when a predetermined condition is met. Predetermined conditions may include an emergency situation, selection of items off of a shelf, the proximity of shoppers, or the absence of attentive viewers. Content can also be triggered via an RFID transponder, a biometric identification, a barcode, or a smart card.

Turn-key: A turn-key solution is a digital signage network system in which a single company is tasked by the company triggering the digital signage system to develop and implement the entire deployment of the digital signage system. Generally, the site owner or controlling company takes over the management of the content or outsources that function to a third party. Some turn-key providers, however, also offer content management services.

UDP/TCP (User Datagram Protocol/Transmission Control Protocol): UDP/TCP is an Internet protocol within the TCP that is used in the place of the TCP, when a reliable delivery is not required. It is typically used on networked computers to deliver short messages between them. These are referred to as datagrams.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS):  also known as a battery backup, provides emergency power and, depending on the topology, line regulation as well to connected equipment by supplying power from a separate source when utility power is not available.  It differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator, which does not provide instant protection from a momentary power interruption.  A UPS, however, can be used to provide uninterrupted power to equipment, typically for 5–15 minutes until an auxiliary power supply can be turned on, utility power restored, or equipment safely shut down.

VAR (Value-Added Reseller): A VAR is an organization that is able to increase the value of a product by either packaging separate applications together, or integrating their own applications or services into existing applications, and subsequently reselling the repackaged or integrated product to the consumer or retailer.

Virtual Private Network (VPN): VPNs are communications networks that are “tunneled” through other networks, such as the Internet, to provide enhanced security or other desired goals for communication. In digital signage networks, a VPN can be used to provide the security or connectivity reliability that a private network is capable of, but has lower associated costs than a dedicated private network. Using a VPN, a digital signage network has the ability to provide secure and reliable content delivery without delivering the content over the Internet.

VITC (Video Interval Time Code): Pronounced “vit-see,” a VITC is a form of SMPTE (Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineering) standard, which is a set of cooperating standards that allow for the labeling of individual film or video frames with a time code used in the editing process. VITC enables editors to read video or film frame by frame in the most accurate manner.

VOD (Video on Demand): VOD refers to a system that enables the user to select and watch video content, on demand, instantly, from another locale, on a television set or web browser, via a network, as a part of an interactive television system.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): VoIP refers to a category of hardware and software that routes voice conversations over the Internet or through any IP-based network, and does not require the users to incur a surcharge above the cost of the Internet service itself.

WAN (Wide Area Network) is a computer network that covers a broad area (i.e., any network whose communications links cross metropolitan, regional, or national boundaries. This is in contrast with personal area networks (PANs), local area networks (LANs), campus area networks (CANs), or metropolitan area networks (MANs) which are usually limited to a room, building, campus or specific metropolitan area (e.g., a city) respectively.

WDSL (Wireless Digital Subscriber Line): WDSL refers to a fixed wireless DSL technology that utilizes a stationary digital transceiver, directed at a radio transmission tower, to send and receive a signal.

Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity): Wi-Fi is a wireless technology brand owned by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which is used generically to refer to any type of 802.11 network or WLAN. Common Wi-Fi applications include the Internet and VoIP phone access, gaming, and network connectivity for consumer electronics, including digital cameras, DVD players, and television sets.

Wireless Communications and Devices is the transfer of information over a distance without the use of electrical conductors or “wires”.  The distances involved may be short (a few meters as in television remote control) or long (thousands or millions of kilometers for radio communications).  When the context is clear, the term is often shortened to “wireless”.  Wireless communication is generally considered to be a branch of telecommunications. It encompasses various types of fixed, mobile, and portable two-way radios, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wireless networking.  Other examples of wireless technology include GPS units, garage door openers and or garage doors, wireless computer mice, keyboards and headsets, satellite television and cordless telephones.

Word of mouth:
The spread of information about a product or store through common human conversation and interaction. The concept became a marketing “discipline” when companies began attempting to trigger word-of-mouth buzz about their products. Also known as “viral marketing,” especially in the context of digital media.