Integrators are in the business of creating solutions for their clients. As problem-solvers, digital signage deployments hold enormous potential.
They can answer so many needs: a video wall that forms the stunning centerpiece of a welcome area, an interactive map that guides visitors effortlessly throughout a space, room and schedule signs that smooth operations, or informational signage that keeps everyone connected and informed. Be aware, though, that those happy outcomes require thoughtful planning and an appropriate content management solution.
Integrators need to extend their responsibility for signage systems beyond the hardware. The screens, media players, and network infrastructure don’t matter if the content is too difficult to update and maintain. Ultimately, it’s in the integrator’s best interest to help their clients create a rock-solid
content creation and management strategy during the project discovery phase. Not only will it help you arrive at a more accurate understanding of the hardware requirements, but it will also allow you to offer a real visual communications solution instead of a solidly built problem.
From Wayfinding to space utilization – understand the problem you’re solving
When building a wayfinding system, for example, talk to reception and guest relations personnel. They know what struggles visitors typically experience in navigating the space, as well as what events, exceptions, and complexities make a physical map inadequate to the task of orienting people. If the deployment will be used for space management and operations, supporting room reservation, hoteling, and hot-desking, you’ll want to talk to facilities management. Signage deployments are increasingly used to support health, safety, and access control policies by scanning badges or vaccination records at entry points, as well as advising employees and visitors of current policies. In this case, HR and security will need to be involved in needs discovery.
Know what you have & how best to use it
In most cases, a digital signage deployment is a new, improved mechanism for an existing purpose. Once you’ve got the stakeholders corralled, find out what they’re doing now to achieve the goals the signage deployment will support. For example, a venue rolling out digital signage to promote events was doubtless promoting those events before they got the signs. Event calendars, social media campaigns, email campaigns,
television ads, and more can all be either repurposed or directly reused as digital signage content.
Reinvent as few wheels as possible: If you can leverage your client’s current skills and behaviors to drive automated or very easy content updates, maintaining the signs will never feel like a burden. In many cases, the information the signage deployment needs to convey is already being maintained somewhere, such as calendars, floorplans, social media channels, or RSS feeds. The integrator’s mandate is to ease the burden
on the system owners by leveraging what they’re already doing.
Automated content, generated from systems your client is already maintaining, is quite simply the best way to ensure that a sign’s content is fresh, relevant, and up to date. Whenever possible, information should be supplied to directly to the sign via feeds, data source interfaces, APIs with pull integrations, and other live/ automated data syncs mechanisms. This makes for a dynamic deployment that is also easy to maintain.