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Here are some trends you should keep your eyes on as we all fly/drive out to Hades – er, make that Las Vegas – for our annual festival of “techniness.”
The #1 item on my list: Substituting large LCD monitors (and TVs) for projector installations. I’m talking about what we fondly call “hang and bangs.” Fact is, ceiling-mounted projectors in conference and meeting rooms that use screens with widths in the 70- to 90-inch range are ceding ground to these new behemoth LCD displays.
In my travels around the country, I’m hearing more and more from dealers and integrators who are installing 70- and 80-inch LCD monitors (and TVs!) manufactured by, well, you know who they are. And said LCD manufacturer is now offering an extended, multi-year warranty on these products, including the TVs. The latter products are popular because of their low price and the fact that they have a built-in four-port HDMI switcher.
As the restaurant industry accelerates the adoption of interior digital menu boards to showcase their offerings, more operators are also installing exterior digital signage to pull in new and existing customers.
John Kunze, director of Sign Division Sales at Watchfire, said the typical return on investment for one of his company's signs is anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on what features an operator requests.
Still, costs remain the main reason more operators haven't updated or added exterior signage.
"This is an investment of $20,000 to $50,000, so that's a new shake machine or fryer for some operators," Kunze said. "But the costs are coming down and more restaurants are starting to realize there is a pretty quick ROI."
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