Doug Bannister's blog

IOT and Healthcare

The Internet of Things (IoT) and integration of devices into all facets of daily life holds lots of promise, but perhaps the area where it holds the most promise is healthcare. It is estimated that "646 million IoT devices will be used for healthcare by 2020" (Internet of Things 2015 Report, BI Intelligence). Combined with visual communications and devices like sensors IoT has the potential to elevate healthcare to an entirely new level. HEALTHCARE IN 2020 Advances in technology have given individuals the tools to be an active participate in their own health and wellness. The recent popularity of consumer health monitoring devices such as FitBit or the Health apps on Smart Phones is giving individuals a wealth of data that didn’t exist previously. Other devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers are giving patients the freedom to be at home or out and about but sharing relevant information with their healthcare provider about their medical status. These new devices are both delivering valuable data and lessening the need for doctor and patient interaction which enables more patients to be treated. IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES What does the hospital of the future look like? Here are a couple of scenarios that if they aren’t happening already aren’t too far in the future. 1. Elevating operating and treatment room efficiency By using sensors that monitor whether a room is occupied and pushing that information to screens and devices like tablets or mobile phones schedules can be updated in real-time and staff easily notified. Optimizing the use of space benefits not only the hospital and its staff but also patients by reducing waits and increasing the number of people who can be treated. 2. Personalized experience What if everyone knew your name and what you needed? Devices and sensors like RFID are making this possible. Imagine walking into a hospital and the wayfinding is customized to what you have scheduled for the day and shows you how to get where you need to go. Perhaps screens in waiting areas keep you up to date on your specific wait. Or maybe your hospital room is personalized for you and information on tests and appointments is easily accessible on your TV screen. The options for IoT in healthcare are endless. With these options comes some potential concerns like information security, but that is a discussion for a different day!

The new face of retail is digital

These days to get people out of their houses and shopping in the store retailers need to rethink how they attract and retain customers. From the exterior of the store through to the checkout retailers need to create an immersive and personalized shopping experience. The explosion of the Internet of Things and new digital devices such as sensors that can communicate with each other has enabled retailers to create a new personalized shopping experience. Today posters and shelf tags have been replaced with dynamic digital signs that offer real-time information on products and availability, as well as interactive information or visually enticing photos and video. Screens at checkouts leverage loyalty program information to offer personalized information on complimentary products or services relevant to the individual at the register. Do you remember pouring over a paper catalogue looking at toys when you were a kid? These days paper catalogues have now taken the form of self-serve kiosks that allow customers to view a retailers full offering and place orders without having to go up to the checkout. How many times have you asked a clerk to check the stockroom for a size you need? Now in many retail stores clerks are armed with tablets that provide real-time information on inventory levels and enable them to provide you with additional product information or reviews. Retailers that want to leap frog the competition have realized creating an immersive digital experience in their stores is key. Critical to this is having a software platform that can take information from a variety of sources and drive an immersive and interactive visual experience across all of these devices.  Read The Connected Store whitepaper for more information!

4 Best Practices for Effective Digital Signage Content

Every organization around the world had different visual content needs that are driven by their business practices, focus and audiences. These content needs often change and evolve over time, so it is important to follow the following best practices when creating effective digital signage content.  1. Ensure consistent branding Your digital signage should reflect your organization as much as your website, logo, markting collateral, events and office decor. Most companies have a style guide which dictates what fonts to use where, acceptable ways to use your logo, and other creative directives.  This is a good tool to ensure the look and feel of your screens are not only consistent with each other, but also with company guidelines. In organizations with multiple offices or geographic locations or in franchise situations, managing a consistent brand image is extremly important. Building digital signage using standardized brand/company guidelines makes the job of creating content for an organization various screens and devices dramatically easier. Example of good digital signage content 2. Promote legibility On digital signs the viewer needs to be able to absorb the information with a quick glance or it will not be effective. This means the font sizes, background and foreground colours, icons, charts, and other content items should be visually clear in the environment in which the screens exist. If people are viewing the content from a distance it will need to be kept simple, large and with good contrast. It is generally advisable to avoid putting too much information on the screen - it makes more sense to break up the information onto multiple screens and have them rotate through in a sequence. 3. Deliver key focus points "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci. Although there can be a tempation to present lots of different types of information on a single screen, this can distract people from absorbing what is most important. When planning your screens identify the one or two most important pieces of information you need to get across and focus on those in your layout and design.  Certain elements like time, date, and logos won't be distracting as they are easily recognizable and will only be absorbed if the need is there. 4. Select appropriate icons and images As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Wherever possible, represent information as images, icons, charts and guages rather than text alone. There are many different types and styles of charts. Choosing the right chart type can make a big difference in the legibility and comprehension of the underlying data. Generally speaking, Bar charts are better than pie charts Use a horizontal bar chart for ranking different scenarios Use a vertical bar chart for time comparisons Line charts are used for connecting continuous data on an interval scale Bullet charts are great for showing value vs. targets such as KPIs

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