Germany has ordered overnight shutdowns for non-essential digital signage, to save its natural gas reserves for more important purposes.
Like many European countries, Germany depends on gas imported from Russia. And thanks to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, this gas is currently in short supply.
The European Union has therefore implemented an energy saving plan. One of Germany’s tactics is to turn off digital signage in store windows and other non-essential locations between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Germany will also shut down outdoor lighting in some public buildings and implement many other energy-saving measures.
The to plan [PDF] demanding the shutdown was published on August 12, with a deadline set for September 1.
But as a German release Individuals reports, reports, the regulations were unnecessarily vague. To start a updated prescription [PDF] seems to have made the simple mistake of substituting 06:00 and 16:00 – meaning the digital display could only work from 16:00 to 22:00.
Individuals also pointed out that digital signage at bus stops and train stations can do double duty by displaying advertisements and timetable information.
Exceptions for these dual-purpose panels have been provided.
These mistakes and ambiguities would have left those using digital signs unsure of what they should be doing and worried about missing the deadline.
To complicate matters further, it is necessary to completely turn off the screens rather than leaving the screens blank.
Digital signage is rarely turned off and retail staff will need to learn how to do this. Many digital panels also include a computer – some are Android machines, others use Compute Sticks, the Intel NUC and even the Raspberry Pi, so admins will have to deal with additional reboots.
And then there’s the matter of content updates, which are often scheduled overnight.
This all adds up to a stressful time for digital signage administrators, and not much time to get it right.
And huge, huge, huge potential for Bork nationally. Let us know if you spot any Putin-related BSOD action stemming from German policy, which followed a plan implemented by Spain earlier in August that doesn’t appear to have caused massive problems. ®