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The "Point" of Digital Signage

Wayne Rasor, Director of Digital & Exterior Technology, FASTSIGNS International Inc.
Wayne Rasor, Director of Digital & Exterior Technology, FASTSIGNS International Inc.

Wayne Rasor, Director of Digital & Exterior Technology, FASTSIGNS International Inc.

With the mass of information and data out there, sometimes it helps to just “get to the point!” Digital Signage comes with many nomenclatures such as content, displays, software, data, analytics, etc, and the overall “point” is really “user engagement”. All the fancy terms in the world point towards one goal and that is engaging the user. Now both of those terms can cover various meanings depending on the context and environment. Let’s start with the “user”. A “user” can be a basic consumer, a company employee, a patient, or any other person that might see or interact with digital signage within the market. The next term, “engagement” can get much deeper and have varying levels. Engagement, in its purest form means being involved in an activity and being greatly interested. This is where things start to get a little gray. Engagement does not just mean someone saw it, instead it promoted action or thought of future action. Existing the english lesson, the “point” is that someone was coerced to thought/action from an experience with a digital signage solution.

The “point” is really asking the question “why”. The point of a digital signage solution defines what type of engagement is being designed for the user. If this is not defined in the beginning, all of the displays, content and software in the world becomes useless. When someone approaches a digital solution, what are they supposed to get out of this? Is it mainly to display information, request input from the user, gather data, entertainment, etc? Start with why! Answering that question up front, gives plan and purpose for the selection of content, software and hardware. Essentially knowing what is intended, enables the creation of the message, a route and schedule to deliver it to the final destination of the display to promote user engagement.

  A successful digital signage solution factors in a point/objective, content for a message, software to route/schedule it and finally a display to present it   

Moving to the pieces of a digital signage solution, a single facet usually seems to get all of the focus and this can be dangerous regardless of which part it is. Hardware seems to be what everyone sees, and while it is important, it is really just the delivery vehicle. Displays, for instance, merely deliver the software and content to the user in a visual presentation and sometimes can be interactive through touchscreen overlays. But by themselves, they are not a full solution. Speaking of the content and software, everyone has heard the phrase, “content is king”, and while this is true to a degree, without software to schedule it and without a display to present it, the content is really just an idea in the digital ether. If content is created and it is not displayed on a screen to a user, does it actually even exist? Sounds like something about a tree and forest not making a sound. Finally, the software has to be able to bridge the gap between the content and the final display format. A Ferrari with no wheels looks really pretty but does not really go anywhere.

A successful digital signage solution factors in a point/objective, content for a message, software to route/schedule it and finally a display to present it. These are the basics, but at the rate that technology evolves, user engagement can branch into so many different areas such as smartphones, gestures, voice control, audience analytics, AI, facial detection and who knows what tomorrow holds. If it is going to promote engagement by the user, it needs all parts working together to get the “point” across.

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