Top 10 Ways Digital Signage Helps Create A Smart Campus

Top 10 Ways Digital Signage Helps Create A Smart Campus Do you need to enhance the student, staff, and visitor experience while running your campus smoothly? From student-facing digital screens featuring real-time scheduling, news, and events information to wayfinding screens to behind-the-scenes monitoring and operations screens, there's no limit to how digital signage can help manage every aspect of your campus. Whether a student, staff, or visitor, a positive and stress-free experience is essential. Effective visual communications go a long way in ensuring a smart campus and creating a positive environment. WELCOME SCREENS What do you want students and visitors to see when they arrive on campus? Welcome students and visitors to your campus with timely, relevant information. Communicating the right information at the right time with high-quality digital signage and communications are crucial for a positive campus experience. Timely & Relevant Information on Campus Events Provide real-time updates on on-campus events. Highlight upcoming events and games, class location changes, campus news, and other important information. Incorporate student testimonials and achievements to foster a sense of community. Example of information and welcome screen in a campus building WAYFINDING Campuses are large, multi-building affairs that can be difficult to navigate. New students, visitors, and even existing students may need help finding the building or room they are looking for. Digital signage is your best, most flexible option for wayfinding. Quickly change a route or direct people to another part of your campus with digital signage. Wait Times No one likes waiting, but waiting is inevitable. Whether it is picking up a welcome kit, attending a game, or writing an exam, line-ups are likely. Digital signs can help alleviate frustration by displaying wait times. In addition, when connected with a mobile phone, you can allow people to wait in less congested areas allowing for better crowd control. Interactive Wayfinding Interactive digital wayfinding contributes to a positive campus experience for visitors and new students and ensures people find their way. Kiosks set up strategically around campus will make navigating their post-secondary education easy and stress-free. Animated paths highlight the route to the selected destination. Add information about the room and provide options for directions to read. In addition, digital signs offer flexibility to adapt to scenarios in your facility, whether due to crowd control, facility repair or maintenance, or security. STUDENT COMMUNICATIONS Keep students engaged and informed throughout the school year. Digital signage is an easy and flexible way to keep students informed of what's going on around campus. Include information on program or schedule changes, school news, student programs, employment opportunities, and student events. Categorize information and design layouts for each category.  Orientation week Starting a new school is always stressful. Orientation Week provides students with the resources to transition smoothly to campus life. Sharing Orientation Week content on digital screens across campus is a great way to use technology to guide students through their first week. Highlight events, social gatherings, student programs, campus information, etc. DONOR WALLS It takes a community of individuals and companies to ensure the success of your school. Recognize their contributions with a digital donor wall in a central location on campus. Run a real-time fundraising campaign, highlight progress towards your goal and show a live list of donors. Incorporate eye-catching videos to highlight the results of donations - new facilities, equipment, scholarship recipients, and more. Faculty-specific Run faculty-specific fundraising campaigns on digital signage in your departmental buildings. Highlight individual or corporate donations to a specific faculty on screens only in their space. Visual Markers Highlight donation size with markers for categories - for example, less than $5,000; $5,000 - $15,000; etc. Make each category visually distinct. TRANSIT SCHEDULES Many students, staff, and visitors will use public transit to commute back and forth from campus. Integrate real-time transit schedule data into your digital signs, highlighting stops on your campus. Then, trigger the data to appear when classes finish. Advertising Signs at transit stops are another opportunity for ad revenue. Schedule advertising to display at peak traffic times. Display branded content at transit stops and immerse students in the campus experience. Example of transit screen on a campus MENU BOARDS From menu boards in campus cafeterias to concession stands in your stadiums and recreation facilities, digital signage offers several advantages. Share nutritional information, promote new menu items, and more. Incorporate a live feed of campus information into your menu boards to ensure essential information is getting shared no matter where someone is on campus. Nutritional Information Easily share nutritional information on your digital menu boards and meet government compliance regulations. Create dynamic menus that rotate through nutritional information, pricing, and options. Automate Scheduling Automate the scheduling of your menu boards and associated content. Set menus to automatically change based on various factors, including time of day, inventory availability, weather conditions, etc. Integrate With Backend Systems Connect your digital menu boards with your inventory and POS systems to ensure what is on-screen reflects what is available. Promote items where you have large quantities or offer limited-time promotions. CAMPUS STORES Digital signs allow you to easily promote and highlight new and exclusive products for sale at your campus stores. Highlight multiple products through a playlist, or schedule specific products to appear before, during, and after game time. Experiential Design Use digital signage to foster school spirit - highlight school history, accomplishments and awards, athletic teams, and faculties. Incorporate digital signs, video walls, and kiosks into your store design, and students or visitors will love being there. Digital Associates Create digital associates with interactive kiosks. Adding an interactive kiosk to your campus store enables students and visitors to search for desired items, browse your store's inventory, check for sizes and colors, and even pay for their items. LOCKER ROOMS Digital signs improve the aesthetic of locker rooms and are a great way to energize players for the game and help manage the logistics of running a team. Locker Signs Identify each player's locker with a digital sign. Display a photo of the player, their name, position, and number. Include player stats that can update as the season progresses. Group special teams and positions together with targeted messaging. Make changes on the fly as needed. Schedules  Use digital signs to display schedules for practices, team meetings, the next game, future games, and messages from administrative and coaching staff. ROOM SCHEDULES From study space in the library to meeting rooms to classrooms, digital signage can help you manage room bookings and capacity limits in areas across campus. Integrate digital screens with calendar and resource systems, such as Microsoft Outlook, to automate the flow of information and ensure room usage updates in real-time. Meeting Room Screens Digital screens outside of meeting rooms, classrooms, and other shared spaces make it quick and easy to see who is using the space and when it will be available. Manage Desk Hoteling Use digital signage to quickly and easily share information about desks and workspaces available. Use a touchscreen kiosk or mobile app to enable students and staff to book space. Log usage information of desks and conference rooms for contact tracing and governance. SECURITY AND EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS Most campuses cover a large geographic space, with multiple buildings, facilities, and outdoor spaces. Therefore, you must ensure the safety and security of all students, staff, and visitors on campus. Digital signage and mobile phones are great tools for sharing critical real-time information. Visual Emergency Notifications Audio alarms are still necessary, but integrating digital signage with your audio alarms allows you to share crucial supplemental information. Highlight which exit to use, the status of an emergency situation, and provide visual direction and cues. Mobile Phones Push real-time emergency information to mobile phones and ensure everyone knows what is happening regardless of where they are on campus. Enable students to use a mobile app to request a walk home, help, or other assistance. Line Queue Management Game day is exciting, but security is critical! Security lines can be lengthy and busier at different times. Digital signage allows you to easily change line queue entry points and the capacity to match the physical queues set up.   Example of an emergency notification screen From welcome screens to wayfinding to the book store to emergency notifications and everywhere in between, effective visual communications ensure student, staff and visitors have positive experience on your campus.  

Popular Data Integrations For Digital Signage

Dynamic digital signage that integrates data from a variety of sources creates both a personalized and engaging experience for your audience. Digital screens with real-time data like news, weather, traffic, wait times, and KPIs, puts information at your audience's fingertips. It alleviates stress and enables them to make smart decisions. Some of the most popular data sources to integrate into your digital signage include: News and weather feeds News and weather are two of the most common data sources to integrate with your digital signage. Customize your news and weather content to reflect the geographic location and type of information you want to share on your digital screens. There are a variety of paid and free sources. Often there is a delay with the information, so consider that along with your other requirements before selecting the feeds you will use. Popular news feeds include Reuters, CNN, New York Times, and ESPN for sports news. For weather, there are many options, including Screenfeed, AccuWeather, and National Weather Service. Consider your requirements before selecting the source you integrate into your digital signage. YouTube Leverage videos on your organization's YouTube channel as a content source for digital signage. Videos are significantly more engaging than static content for your audience and attract attention and interest. Embed videos as part of a screen layout or share full screen. Social media Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are popular social media networks and excellent content sources for digital signage. However, filtering for inappropriate content/posts is essential even when integrating social media feeds. Sharing social media content on your digital signage provides trust and transparency, increases interaction, improves employee engagement, and increases followers. Financial/Stock market feeds Integrate stock updates from NASDAQ, NYSE, TSX, and other exchanges worldwide into your digital signage layouts. Highlight individual stocks, top 100, top movers, and more. Customize stock updates by your digital signage's country/region location. Colorful graphs, moving tickers, and up/down arrows are guaranteed to grab attention. Traffic Traffic is a primary concern for employees and visitors to your office and facilities. Keep them apprised of traffic, delays, and commute times by integrating feeds from sources like Google Maps, local transportation authorities, and news stations. Sharing real-time traffic information helps alleviate stress and enables employees and visitors to optimize their commute. Internal systems Leverage information from your internal software systems such as CRM, ERP, POS, Inventory, and more to incorporate into your digital signage. Consolidate data from various internal systems into a KPI dashboard screen, and customize data shown by department and location. Additionally, data from your internal systems can trigger what appears on the screens. For example, by integrating your inventory system with your digital menu boards, you can ensure you are only showing items available to order.  Calendars and schedules Integrate Google and Office365 calendars into your digital signage. Show availability of both individuals and resources such as meeting rooms. Screens outside of meeting rooms can show current and upcoming bookings and visually identify when in use or when available.  IoT devices Information is a critical element in creating a personalized experience, and the more information you have, the better the experience you can create. Using IoT devices, including cameras, sensors, RFID tags, and more, you can now collect more information and deliver it intelligently on digital signage screens. It enables you to provide contextual messaging that improves visitors' experience in public venues such as airports, sports arenas, and conference spaces. For example, sensors in spaces such as airports can automate changes to wayfinding screens and reroute travelers around closed or busy areas. In addition, data from local devices can be used to determine the content shown on an individual digital screen.  Emergency notification systems Virtually all organizations need to have a way to notify their employees, customers, or visitors of potential fire, health or safety hazards. While audio alarms have long been the standard, digital communications provide a new and unique way to get real-time alerts and information out to people where and when they need it. Combining existing audio alarms and critical event management solutions such as Everbridge with digital signage is an excellent way for organizations to improve disaster preparedness and safety plans. From social media to traffic to emergency notifications to IoT devices, integrating data into your digital signage helps create a personalized and engaging experience.  

9 Ways Digital Signage Improves Fan Experience

Fans are the fuel for a sports team. They are there to cheer, support, and share the highs and lows. Alvin Martin, former West Ham United Football Club captain, said, "When [fans] turn up at a game, they set the stage for you. They enhance the feeling of the game and the worth of it. You know that if you're playing in front of 30 or 40,000 people, then you're doing something important." "Those big atmospheres help give you an extra five or 10 per cent that you can't replicate in training," says Martin.  So what can sports teams, stadiums, and arenas do to engage fans and create a truly memorable experience?  Digital signage provides many opportunities to amplify fan excitement and enhance their experience, from parking signs and wayfinding, team promotion and advertising on exterior signs, digital kiosks at the ticket booth, product highlights in the souvenir shop and menus at concession stands. PARKING & OUTDOOR DIGITAL SIGNS Outdoor digital signs and advertising allow you to build fan excitement well before entering the stadium. For example, digital billboards advertising the game can excite and captivate fans as they approach your venue. In addition, on non-game days, exterior digital billboards can be an additional source of revenue. While digital parking signs can help fans navigate parking by highlighting parking lots and available spots.  TRANSIT SCHEDULES Not all fans drive to your venue. Many will take advantage of public transit. So make sure fans on transit also feel the excitement. Digital signs at transit stops on your venue property are a great way to get fans excited the minute they arrive. Integrate transit schedule data into your digital signs, highlighting stops at your venue. Trigger the data to appear before and after the game so fans know what to expect. Additionally, signs at transit stops are another opportunity for ad revenue. Schedule advertising to display at peak traffic times. TICKETING SCREENS & KIOSKS Digital signage at ticket booth signs can do more than just let fans know the price of tickets for today's game. Highlight sections available, advertise future games and events, share season ticket information, or sell advertising space to venue partners. Self-serve digital kiosks that allow fans to purchase tickets, either for the current game or for a future game or event, are a great addition to your facility and a perfect way to streamline the ticketing process. Fans can select their seat and pay right from the kiosk. Set a playlist of screens to play when kiosks are not in use, and use the screen real estate for advertising future games, future events in your venue, or promoting the home team. VIDEO WALLS What better way to get fans pumped for the home team than to walk through a hall of their heroes? Video walls and larger digital signs displaying past stars, team history, current players, and branded messaging make fans feel like part of the team and, more importantly, part of a community. WAYFINDING Stadiums and arenas can be pretty big, and getting around any large space can be a challenge. While die-hard fans or season ticket holder fans will probably know their way around your venue, new or visiting fans need guidance. Digital directional signs allow you to change a route or direct people to a specific part of your venue. Create an interactive wayfinding kiosk that will enable fans to enter their seat number and view directions to their seat. Provide a menu of options that guide them to interest points like washrooms, restaurants and stores, and exits. WAIT TIMES No one likes waiting, but waiting is inevitable when you gather with 30,000 other people to watch a game. Digital signs can help alleviate fans' frustration by displaying wait times for the lines at concession stands or washrooms. Offer directions to less congested, similar areas. Sharing wait time information is a valuable tool for managing crowds and ensuring safety. FOOD & BEVERAGE  Use digital menus to upsell food and beverage sales. Prominently display the product you want to sell, displaying lower-priced items less prominently. Highlight game-day and limited-time specials with team branding to connect with fans. Incorporate videos of menu items to entice buyers. Offering your vendor partners digital signs to manage their menu and promote game-day specials is a great way to help increase sales. Digital menus allow concession partners to change menus on the fly or offer on-the-spot promotions for a limited time. Imagine if fans could pull out their phone, view the concession stands closest to their seat, place and pay for an order, and have it delivered to their seat? Then, they'd never have to stand in line or miss a moment of the game. TEAM STORES Promote new and exclusive products for sale at your team store on digital screens inside and outside the store. Highlight multiple products through a playlist, or schedule specific products to appear before, during, and after game time.  Adding an interactive kiosk into your team store lets fans search for desired items, browse your store's inventory, check for sizes and colors, and even pay for their items. LOCKER ROOMS Digital signs improve the aesthetic of locker rooms and are a great way to energize players for the game. In addition, they help manage the logistics of running a professional team by highlighting schedules for practices, team meetings, the next game, and messages from administrative and coaching staff.  Identify each player's locker with a digital sign. Display a photo of the player, their name, position, and number. Include player stats that can update as the season progresses. Group special teams and positions together with targeted messaging. Make changes on the fly as needed. From parking to food & beverage to team store to locker rooms and everywhere in between, effective visual communications ensure every fan has a positive experience at your venue.

The New Era of Personalization

No More One Size Fits All Messaging In recent years Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify have defined personalization. While seemingly subtle, these platforms serve up programs and products that cater to individual users' interests and needs. Personalization is now expected everywhere, from grocery stores to hospitals to airports. Everyone wants access to relevant real-time information. Digital signage is uniquely positioned to enable organizations to display personalized information to individuals or groups based on various triggers, including data, IoT sensors, and more. Walking the fine line between personalization and privacy With personalization comes privacy concerns. Who supplied the personal information? Are privacy guidelines being met? Is personal data being protected? One report found that 79% of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies, and 81% feel they have very little or no control over the data collected. In addition, while organizations are responsible for sharing how data is collected and used, only one-in-five adults say they always read privacy policies. Organizations must be transparent and proactively share how data is collected and used to alleviate concerns. Value of personalization Personalization can have a significant impact. Research has found that 72% of customers will only engage with personalized messaging despite the concerns. In addition, engagement is profitable - Epsilon research found that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Integrating data with your digital signage enables you to quickly customize experiences or personalize the information shown to meet the audience's needs.  Let's look at both an individual and group personalization scenario.  An individual checks into an emergency room and is assigned a personalized ID number and a QR code to access a wait-time app. Then, on the digital screen in the waiting area, they can see the IDs and approximate wait times for everyone. By scanning the QR code, they can access the same information on their mobile phone and filter it down to see their individual wait time. Additionally, they can move around the facility with mobile access while waiting. An organization has digital screens hung in all departments. The information on the screens is customized to reflect the department. For example, the digital screen shows open support tickets, time to resolve issues, and other important KPIs in the support area. While in the sales department, the digital screen displays information such as sales forecast against actuals, highlights recently closed deals, and how individual reps are tracking against quota. In addition, the screens can feature news, weather, traffic, social media feeds, and essential company information and updates in common areas. Types of data There are four common types of data – first-party, second-party, third-party data, and zero-party. First-party data is collected by your organization directly from interactions with your audience (customers, social media followers, website visitors, and more). Second-party data is obtained through a partner you agree to share information with, while third-party data is collected, bought, and sold by data aggregators. In 2018 Forrester coined the term zero-party data. This is "data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them]." Surveys, quizzes, and website widgets are the most common ways to collect zero-party data. Using these tools, it is possible to better understand the respondents' interests and preferences. Combine zero-party data with digital signage and provide a more personalized experience for the viewer. For example, an interactive wayfinding kiosk in a mall may start by asking the user what they are looking for and provide a list of categories for them to choose from. If the user selects sporting goods, the kiosk can provide a list of stores in that category, identify their location on the map, and show any promotions or offers available at those stores. Using zero-party data allows organizations to personalize a digital signage experience without worrying about GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations. Personalization at Scale IBM defines Personalization at Scale as the ability to create individual customer experiences across your entire organization based on the journey undertaken by each customer. Data, content, experience, measurement, and customer service are key elements. At a basic level, personalization at scale is getting the right information to people where and when they need it. Digital signage can play an essential role in enabling organizations to achieve personalization at scale. By combining data with digital signage, you can go beyond static content and provide personalized and interactive experiences on any screen. For example, at a self-serve kiosk in a restaurant, customers can start by scanning a coupon or loyalty card; they can be offered customized promotions or shown a curated list of additional items to order based on interests or previous purchases. Likewise, in a retail store, sensor or vision technology can customize content on digital screens based on triggers set, or a digital mirror can recommend additional items to virtually try on based on the individuals' initial selections. In an airport, digital signage can be connected to flight information. The language on screens as passengers disembark the plane can adjust to incorporate the native language of the country passengers are arriving from. While digital signage is uniquely positioned to enable organizations to share personalized information and create personal experiences, they must prioritize data and privacy.  

Developing a Digital Signage Strategy

Digital signage projects aren't uniquely complex, but they have many moving parts. Often they involve numerous stakeholders, a myriad of messages, and an assortment of technologies and data sources (often some or all of these competing with each other). Therefore, managing a digital signage project requires a good plan and process.  Implementation Process Omnivex follows a 4 step process with all of its digital signage implementations. We believe all organizations should follow a carefully established, repeatable, and scalable process when rolling out digital signage. Let's look at the steps in detail: Discover - In the discovery phase, we meet with you to discuss your business' overall project goals, establish project contacts, schedule frequent progress meetings, and set expectations and project responsibilities. We'll gather all the relevant information and requirements needed to truly understand your business to build a solution that works for you.  Architect - Once that initial information gathering is complete, we lay out the blueprint for your solution. We'll dig deep on everything from data integration and visual design mock-ups to scripting requirements and content management needs. At this stage, expectations turn into a real-world solution. Build - Once we've finalized the project blueprint, our team will create your solution. Layouts, playlists, scripts, data architecture, and integration all take shape at this stage, with everyone on the team focused on the overall project goal. Regular progress meetings allow you to view the project's development and provide feedback. In addition, a proof of concept is often run at this stage to confirm that the solution meets expectations. The build stage includes an iterative review process. You can't just look at something once. Having a fresh set of eyes review the solution is essential as things are often missed. Be open to constructive criticism and use this build phase to improve your screens before they go live! Test and Deploy - Testing is an essential part of our process. Our team will test the solution to ensure everything works and presents correctly. We'll then assist you with installing it in your facility and deploying the solution once testing is complete. Our team will provide full project documentation outlining the structure and necessary points to manage the solution. Training is important during this phase to ensure everyone working with the system understands how to use it, for example, adding a menu item on a digital menu board or adding a wayfinding point of interest. Inspire, Instruct, Inform Content is king, so make sure your digital signage inspires, instructs, and informs your audience. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be on digital signage, and you will need to consider other ways to share that information. It is essential to consider all communication channels for messaging and which messages are best suited to each channel.  Digital signage messaging is best when dynamic, interactive (through a touchscreen or mobile devices), and shares immediately actionable information. For example, consider a display in a meeting room and shared office spaces that provides room booking and hot desk heat map information. These displays can help employees determine where they can collaborate and perform their daily tasks. In addition, QR codes give your audience the ability to take content with them or find out more about messaging. Though digital signage relies on the same best practices as most graphic design, some unique considerations exist. Ensure that your graphic design experts consider the display technology, dwell times at the display, and media format specifications of your digital signage system. Omnivex has a team of graphic design professionals who can assist you with your needs.  Message fatigue is another important consideration: Keep messages fresh – quarterly updates at a minimum Repeated audio can aggravate any audience Ensure the most important messaging is shared across all channels of communication Ensure your message is consumable for as many audiences members as possible. This is a moral and ethical consideration, especially concerning accessibility and representation for diversity and inclusion.

Next Generation Visual Paging Systems

There is a tendency for airports to use long-standing acronyms of FIDS, GIDS, BIDS, etc. when discussing passenger-facing screens. These screens represent the “last mile” of a key data system within the airport. Historically, airports have focused their purchasing decisions on the related key data systems – not the screen software. The display software was tailor made for singular purpose and propriety in nature with little functionality outside of that primary scope. As airports purchased more data systems, additional screen software came along for the ride. For years, this was accepted and many airports have grown into a dysfunctional state, with multiple screen systems in place, often with a 1-to-1 relationship of system to screen use case! There is a better way Modern digital signage content management systems (CMS) take a platform approach, serving any data source to any screen at any time. This breaks airports away from single use screens for FIDS, BIDS, GIDS, etc. At the drop of a hat (or data change) a screen can adapt and change based on the communication prioritizations laid out by the stakeholder. The above suggests there should be no such thing as a “visual paging system”. However, the visual page is simply text, delivered by a key data system upstream of the CMS. The CMS sees the page and determines which screens it is displayed on, typically mapped with the same zoning as the integrated audio paging solution – yay for metadata! To add another screen system into an airport to exclusively deal with visual paging leans further into the dysfunction mentioned above. It also robs the airport of agility when approaching passenger communication. In an ideal scenario an airport has all their screens on a unified CMS. Screens in the concourse are highlighted as requiring visual paging alerts. It is safe to assume that during quiet periods, there will be less paging announcements. Historically, this leaves a blank area on the screen, serving no purpose other than looking like something is missing/wrong. A platform CMS can see there is no current visual page data and show an alternate piece of content. This allows communications to be prioritized.  Here is a good example of this: Priority 1: Emergency Messaging - Full Screen Takeover (Emergency Management Platform) Priority 2: Visual Paging (Audio Paging System and/or AI Driven Speech To Text Gateway) Priority 3: Advertising (Advertising Booking Platform) Priority 4: Airport Messaging (Uploaded Content By Operator) With this order of prioritization, the CMS is waiting for a trigger from the emergency platform. If there is no current condition, it looks for a visual page. If there is no visual page, it shows revenue-generating ads, and if there are no ads booked for that screen location, show airport messaging, etc. This is a simple concept, yet many airports are still wasting screen real estate, with extremely poor utilization rates in those “blank” screen areas. This approach demands a CMS that is not only capable of Communication Prioritization, but also integrates with all the upstream data systems that invoke the content change. This is why the platform approach is crucial. It future proofs the airports digital screen assets, increases ROI on any data systems that are purchased and provides ultimate agility to achieve the airports messaging goals.

Design Practices For Digital Signage

Designing for digital signage is similar to designing for other mediums in many ways. For example, audience, content, and layout are all important considerations, along with digital signage-specific requirements such as data feeds, location, accessibility, and more.   Let's take a closer look at how to approach designing for digital signage: First Step - Key questions To get started, you need to consider a few questions: Who will be looking at my screens, where will they be looking at them, and what will they be doing when looking at the screens? Who - Identify your audience or audiences and essential considerations such as language and accessibility that relate to them. Consider all your possible audiences - customers, visitors, employees, and more. For example, it is common to share information with multiple audiences. What - Consider what types of information your audience needs. What information will improve their experience, reduce stress, or enhance decision-making? Ensure you incorporate as much real-time information as possible into your digital signage. Where - Think about where your audience will be when they need information. Are they at their desk, on the move, or perhaps in a public setting? You can easily share information on digital signs, mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and more. Choose a mixture of screens that reflect the needs of your audience. When - Are you sharing critical real-time information, or are you sharing branding and advertising information? The type of information you share on your digital screens will impact the frequency and how it is shared. Critical real-time information must be communicated immediately; such as changes to flight information in an airport or emergency notifications. Then, create a scheduled rotation for other information like news, corporate branding, advertisements, social feeds, and more. Why - Consider why you want to share a particular piece of content or information. Make sure the content you share improves the experience, reduces stress, or enhances the knowledge of your audience. The answers to Who, What, Where, When, and Why will drive your digital signage and content strategy. Second Step - Content Now it is time to think about the content you want to have on your screens. What types of content are you currently sharing with your audiences? Common types of content include news, weather, policies, schedules, social media, corporate branding, advertisements, KPIs, and emergency notifications. Currently, you may be sharing this information via emails, newsletters, intranet sites, or even printed documents. Create a list of topics you want to share and which screens you want to share the information on to get started. For example, you might like to share company policies, HR announcements, welcome new employees, or recognize outstanding work in an office environment. While in an airport, you might want to share information like scheduling, gate location, wayfinding/directional information, or advertising. As you consider the information, think about the order in which it should appear. Create a final content list that includes the content source and file type. Third Step - Visual appearance Now that you know the content you want to feature, it is time to think about how the screens will look. It is essential to consider what additional elements to include on the screens. For example, branding and logos, corporate colors, date and time, news and weather, social media feeds, traffic reports are all commonly incorporated. These elements will form the static part of your template. Fourth Step - Visual elements Start gathering all of the necessary visual elements and media assets you will need for your digital signage. For photos, make sure the image quality is high, and the resolution is large enough to match the screen resolution at least or exceed. For video, consider how long your audience will be viewing your screens; generally, shorter is better. Also, consider resolution - are your screens all standard HD, or are they 4k? If possible, compile a list of the visual elements and the file types. Then, make sure your content management system can handle the files. Fifth Step - Data Consider your existing data sources and how to integrate them with your digital signage. Data may come from internal software systems, external feeds, IoT devices, etc. How easily can data be updated, and how is it best represented on screen? For example, can you convert a rainy forecast into an icon for rain on your screen, or can you highlight a low KPI measurement in red? It is essential to think about how the social feeds will be filtered when integrating social media. Corporate content is relatively safe, but followers and hashtags need to be screened for language and messaging. Sixth Step - Personalization Examine your desired content in the context of your audiences and form a matrix plan for your digital screens. For example, do all of your screens need to see the same information, or should you tailor certain information to specific screens based on criteria like the location? Consider changing up designs by section and use visual cues, such as color, title, layout change, to enable people to locate the content they need quickly. Additionally, consider whether you need full-screen takeovers to highlight critical information in your organization. Learn more about design practices for digital signage in our blog.

Common Challenges When Implementing Digital Signage

You have decided your organization needs digital signage. Now what? Where do you start? Digital signage projects come with a unique set of challenges, including client stakeholder alignment, project management hurdles, content strategy, technology infrastructure, and resource availability. There is a lot to think about, so let's dive into each area in detail: Stakeholder Alignment Is everyone on the same page? Are they bought into the plan? Client and stakeholder alignment seems like a simple concept but is often one of the most significant issues derailing any project, including digital signage. Ensure that the following stakeholders are present as early as possible in your digital signage project: Project champion - This person has authority over the project and all stakeholders. They are the person that problems escalate to, are responsible for the budget, and ensure the right people are available to work on the project. Technical - The technical stakeholder is typically someone from the IT department. They ensure the plan for the digital signage network is feasible and the infrastructure exists to support it. Additionally, they can evaluate if the devices (players, screens) you want to use meet your company's security requirements or other essential protocols. Content - Let's face it - content is king! Make sure your marketing and/or communications folks are actively involved in what you are putting on your digital displays. It would be best if you had a cohesive strategy for your content. Ensure corporate branding and messaging are reflected and the content meets governance and privacy requirements. Have these people available as early as possible in your digital signage project. Project Management Having a plan and process is essential, and this is not unique to only digital signage projects. Break your project down into stages or phases. Identify key objectives for each stage and ensure you check all of the boxes as you move through the stages. Digital signage projects often bring together multiple departments, technologies, and data sources. There are many moving parts so staying on top of the project is critical. Content Strategy What messages belong on your digital signage? Who are you trying to reach? What other channels of communications do you have available? These are just a few questions to consider when thinking about the content for your digital signage network. Ensure you have a robust methodology for what goes where and why. The reality is that not everything should go your digital signage. Create audience personas and tailor your content to the various personas. When building your personas consider cultural, geographic, and other considerations. Make sure to avoid message fatigue, particularly when looping content! Digital signage requires a unique design, and while it does follow general design principles, it has special needs. What types of content will you use? Video, still images, dynamic text, and streaming video are just a few possibilities. Your corporate feed is closely monitored if you integrate social media, but consider how you filter content from your audience or through hashtags. Also, think about your data sources - KPIs, news, weather, traffic, databases or other software applications, and calendars - are just a few examples. Make sure you understand all of the rules and regulations, particularly accessibility requirements, related to your digital signage network. Don't build digital experiences that exclude people. For example, make sure the height of a wayfinding kiosk is appropriate for someone in a wheelchair and screen options are accessible. Hybrid work environments are here to stay, so consider a mobile-first strategy. An omnichannel experience ensures your messages follow people regardless of whether they are in front of a mobile screen or a digital sign. Since the pandemic, QR codes have become very popular and essential for a mobile digital signage strategy. Technology Infrastructure A reliable technology infrastructure is critical to a successful digital signage implementation. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of technology improvements, from SoC screens to media players to purpose-built Linux devices to IoT. Each will have different considerations for how it will operate on a network. Company networks aren't uniform. Make sure you work with your IT department to ensure the devices and screens you select meet your company standards. Provide them with as much information as possible about your chosen devices. Ask your IT department to provide a cohesive strategy for how devices will work on your company network. Network bandwidth and configuration are becoming less of an issue with the cloud. However, make sure you look at the throughput and transferring of files. One option is to consider a forward and store methodology. However, this approach affects the network, and you will want to have a rigid schedule for how and when to transfer files. Streaming content on digital signage has become very popular in recent years. It is essential to think about the best protocol and encoding structure. Additionally, consider what type of events you want to or are best to stream. Ensure multicast protocols are correctly set up on your network, and the technical infrastructure can handle streaming. Lastly, ensure you get in the field and see where your digital screens will go. Make note of potential network and cabling considerations. Identify structural issues that might require involvement from construction or facilities teams. Resource Availability Staffing is probably one of the biggest challenges facing companies these days. With projects like digital signage implementations, it is common to see a changeover in staff, particularly once a project has been live for a while. Staffing changes can be both from a technical side and the people creating and managing the content. Dedicated resources are essential but often impossible unless it is a large installation. Regardless of your situation, make sure you have a plan in place for transferring knowledge between resources. Additionally, document all processes, guidelines, and other critical information related to your digital signage network. Finally, be prepared and be flexible!

Digital Design Trends 2022

Why Trends Are Important Trends are something that reflects the world currently. You can look back at each decade – the 70s, 80s, 90s, and spot the trends in everything – music, design, visuals, colours, fonts. Design touches every aspect of our lives, whether it's product design, interior design, graphic design – everything we interact with is first an idea. Looking at design trends helps us understand what is going on in the time we're living in and what has come before, and they can also help us predict what is to come. Usually, at the end of a year, there are a lot of lists published around the latest design trends for the upcoming new year. Color Trends A few sites have picked calm, cool colors as the hot color choices of 2022. Pantone – Color of the Year You can't discuss color trends without talking about Pantone. They are the leading authority on all things color, and they started issuing a color of the year in 2000. This year's color is Very Peri, a type of periwinkle blue. Pantone provides an excellent overview of the selected color and other interesting information. The great thing about Pantone is they also show what colors you can mix it with and provide pallets. Download the pallets from Pantone Connect. If you use Adobe design programs, you will find the Pantone color library built-in. Shutterstock Shutterstock is a stock site used by designers around the world. They publish a list of color trends based on designer purchases every year. It's pretty cool, as they use an AI and go through "billions of bits of data" to show what colors the design world is using. In addition, their methodology makes it unbiased, as it's just collecting information from images purchased on their site. For 2022, they are predicting some calmer, soothing colors will take center stage – calming coral, velvet violet, pacific pink, and green, to name a few. In 2021 Shutterstock's AI system found green dominated click-through rates and conversions. It's insights like these that make Shutterstock's trend lists more substantial and relevant. Also worth noting, Shutterstock highlights the top color in countries worldwide as a part of this list, so check and see what is trending in other regions. Font Trends This year, I see several font trends, including Serif fonts, large typography, flexible typography, text with gradients, transparent text, outline text, and mixed-width. Great sites to check out for fonts - MyFonts, Design Shack, and Shutterstock. Shutterstock provides a Font Trends list. Although not generated by their AI but rather by a team of designers, it's still a great list to compare with other font trend lists around. Serif Fonts - Many trend lists are predicting serif fonts are making a comeback. But, of course, sans-Serif fonts have been the norm for a while now, prevalent in mobile apps and websites. So seeing some simpler, less ornate, serif fonts is no real surprise. Large Typography - In this situation, bigger is better! Extremely large typefaces are grabbing attention and creating a wow factor. But, of course, how big it is will depend on where you are using it. Flexible Typography - Using flexible typography allows designers to play with individual letter height and width. Late 19th century's gothic typefaces inspire it. Text with Gradients - A gradient is a progression of colors. It allows designers to create a unique look and feel. Combine your fonts with a gradient to grab attention. Transparent Text - Allow your background images to show through by using transparent text. With this style, you should surround the text with a block of solid color to show the letters. Outline Text - This is typically used with Sans Serif fonts and paired with all caps. Draw attention to specific words by pairing outline text with solid lettering. Mixed-width - One new typography trend many people highlight this year is mixed-width type. Mixed width type is just what it sounds – typography where the width and even height of the letters are mixed. Mixed width fonts allow designers to set the height and width of each letter. By some examples, you can see that it's a very distinctive look that stands out. Design trends Now let's look at overall design trends. What kinds of things are people predicting will be in demand in 2022? We've looked through the lists and pulled what we thought would be most applicable to digital signs. Motion Motion seems to be the most significant trend, and rightfully so. More and more, content is being viewed on a digital platform, whether it's a phone, tablet, or digital sign. Additionally, online platforms are making it easier for people to create videos. In this day and age, where practically everyone can view a video at any time, static images can't compete. Motion draws people's eyes to your screen and content. On digital signage, subtle movement can have a huge impact. Consider incorporating semi-transparent text or a logo over the top of your video to grab attention subtly. Also, play around with zoom effects. The 90s Yes, the 90s appear to be back, from symbols and icons to colors. Minimalist design was popular when mobile apps first came out in the early 2000s, but now color and complex imagery are being used. With so much design focused on mobile apps in the last decade – which also brought some rather strict conventions around usability – it's refreshing to see the 90s design ethos becoming popular again. Organic shapes Go back to the basics and nature with organic shapes and neutral colors. Instead of precise lines and geometric shapes, consider using curvy lines to give your visuals a more natural and organic feel. Geometric shapes have a very rigid look and feel, impacting how your audience perceives your business. In comparison, organic shapes in the visuals on your digital screen could allow you to create a more open and inviting environment.

3 Ways Digital Signage Fuels Employee Engagement

There has been a lot of discussion in the media over the last year regarding the “Great Resignation.” This term was coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University. Whether it was because of the pandemic or came to the surface during the pandemic, it highlights a dramatic increase in employee burnout and a desire to reevaluate life and work environments. Research found that almost half (49%) of Americans looked for a new job during the pandemic. While they are many reasons causing employees to look for a new job, such as career advancement and compensation, company culture is also a significant reason. What is the difference between employee experience and employee engagement? Gallup notes employee experience constitutes the entire journey an employee takes with an organization. Everything in the employee life cycle from the interview process to the day-to-day job to post-exit interactions. By contrast, Gallup defines employee engagement as the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in both their work and workplace. Why does employee engagement matter? An organization’s success is very dependent on its employees and their level of engagement. When employees are enthusiastic and committed to their jobs, they are more productive, quality is better, and absenteeism decreases. In addition, they understand the goals and objectives of the organization and are committed to its overall success. According to Smarp, companies having a thriving culture experience a revenue boost of 4X. How can digital signage help? Information is the fuel that powers organizations. Traditional channels like paper memos, emails, and company newsletters are long gone and often harm employee engagement. Instead, digital communications on digital signage, tablets, mobile phones, and more provide employees with relevant real-time information and empower them to make faster and better business decisions. Here are 3 ways digital signage fuels employee engagement: Real-time information Leverage digital signage to provide employees with relevant real-time information on screens throughout your organization. Empower employees to make faster and better business decisions by putting KPIs and other important information at their fingertips. Ensure adjustments and course corrections can be made before a small problem becomes a big issue. Additionally, tie digital signage into back-office systems for facility or resource availability (i.e., rooms & equipment) and alarm systems to provide critical emergency information. Awareness User your digital signs to tailor content to specific audiences or individuals. Consider a digital screen in a warehouse - a message welcomes the morning shift to work and reminds them to finish their safety training by the deadline. At their work station, personalized information about the orders for the day and key statistics from the previous shift can be pushed to their mobile phone or screen in the area. Digital signage in the locker room could thank the departing shift for their work, showcase KPIs from their group, and provide real-time updates on weather and traffic for their drive home. Additionally, digital signage can increase awareness of corporate policies, procedures, values, and competitive positioning. Recognition Employees want to feel valued. They want their work to be appreciated. A study found that 37% of employees consider recognition the most important in boosting productivity. Employee recognition is a terrific way to use digital signage. Whether by division, department, or individual, digital signage can highlight recent success and achievements. Additionally, content could include customer accolades or other praise from company social media networks. Also, consider giving employees a way to submit positive information about their peers. Learn more about using digital signage to fuel employee engagement!


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