Jenn Gvozdek's blog

Digital Communications: Disseminating Information When It is Needed Most

For some time now, digital signage has been reinventing the customer experience, impacting marketing strategies like never before and helping boost sales and supplement a company’s revenues in creative and imaginative ways. From vibrant displays that quickly catch the eye and draw in consumers more effectively than static signage to transforming long queues into infotainment settings that reduce perceived wait times, digital signage has provided businesses with reactive, data-triggered control that allows for instantaneous updating of their advertising at a moment’s notice. Digital communications enable companies to shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to messaging that can be personalized to a specific audience’s needs and desires at just the right time while gathering quantitative data that delivers useful, exploitable consumer behavior analytics for better marketing campaigns. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic and as we collectively move toward a new normal, where many companies were forced to shut down, grocery stores were compelled to implement social distancing requirements, and hospitals were overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, digital signage has been employed to help facilitate and inform when the world needed it most. Digital Signage Proves Indispensable During Pandemic For businesses that remained open over the last two months, such as supermarkets, healthcare facilities, government offices, pharmacies and more, digital signage played a unique role in communicating security and prevention measures, repetitively disseminating important health and safety content in real-time to help keep frontline employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Interactive wayfinding stations helped to direct visitors, patients and families to their intended destinations through hospital and government halls more rapidly, enhancing social distancing efforts and reducing time spent searching while eliminating the need for paper signage and human interaction. Queue management tools allowed grocery stores and other businesses to optimize customer flows while reporting estimated waiting times that allowed patrons to move around within or outside of a location to avoid long line pileups. Digital signage integrated with a store’s POS also enabled these establishments to advertise the availability of and purchase limits on much-needed products such as toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitizer, helping to reduce both crowd influx and customer frustration. For retailers and other businesses that were required to close during the pandemic, digital communications provided a unique channel for these companies to stay in touch with their customers. From ads that directed consumers to their online sites and sales to helpful content such as recommended CDC safety precautions and measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and even calming messaging that helped to soothe seething fears surrounding the crisis, digital signage offered a glimmer of hope during the worst of times and a glimpse of what can be expected as businesses begin to reopen. Digital Signage’s Role in the New Normal As the world looks forward to a return to normalcy, it’s anticipated that the function of digital signage will expand well beyond its pre-COVID-19 role. In fact, smart signage solutions are already being created that integrate precision AI systems for counting people to ensure capacity management, leverage infrared temperature sensors and advanced algorithms to calculate heat signatures and detect abnormal temperatures, and utilize biometric systems for facial or corporal recognition to help identify whether an individual is wearing a mask or if social distancing is being kept. Further, touchless kiosk displays will enable contactless check-ins at hospitals, ERs, clinician offices, restaurants, hotels and more. At a time when information is more vital than ever before, digital signage has been pivotal in broadcasting content that has helped keep healthcare providers, employees and consumers safe while providing an audiovisual medium that has helped closed businesses keep their customers both engaged and purchasing while they wait to reopen the front doors.          

Digital Signage & Human Resources

When people think about digital signage, they often think of digital signs that are installed in retail or hospitality locations for the benefit of customers. However, there are a multitude of applications for digital signage ranging from wayfinding to scheduling to entertainment to many more. These alternative applications of digital signage are welcomed by customers and personnel alike, and can produce a strong return on investment. Digital signs maintained for employees rather than for the benefit of customers can be immensely useful and help disseminate information quickly, accurately, and in a format that is attention-grabbing. In fact, there are many ways digital signage can be used in human resources. Here are some ideas, and maybe they'll spark ideas of your own. Keep Your Employees Updated Fresh content is a necessity with digital signage if you want your employees to pay attention. Sometimes important information arises naturally, whether it is important company news, weather or traffic, that can be featured on your digital signage. However, it is also valuable to integrate important real-time information with reminders about deadlines for things such as expenses, benefits changes or company and departmental KPIs. These messages can be delivered in eye-catching ways that cause your staff to sit up and take notice.                      Marketing department kpis Motivate Your Staff When morale is high, everything seems to be easier, including challenges that might seem overwhelming when spirits are flagging. Digital signage is a perfect medium for sharing information that motivates your team and lets them know how much they are appreciated. For example, you could use digital signage to relay positive tweets from customers to a digital signs throughout your organization. Also employee accomplishments, such as congratulations for staff who successfully completed certifications, signed a large account, or achieved a major personal milestone are examples of feel-good information that can boost motivation and make employees feel valued. Mix in Entertainment to Keep It Fresh Incorporating entertaining elements with the information you want to convey to your employees keeps your digital signage fresh and increases the likelihood that people will notice important information that is conveyed on the signs. Mixing in, say, a 30-second positive news clip, an announcement of a staff pizza party, or some other type of light content can keep people from thinking of employee-facing digital signage as just another taskmaster. Running news and weather feeds can inform and entertain while drawing employee attention to other important facts conveyed by digital signage. Personalize Content by Department, Floor, or Building Employee-facing digital signage can easily be personalized by building, floor, department, or any number of other ways. If you run, say, a hospital, the ER team will benefit from different information than the accounting team. And if your workplace is a large campus, building-specific information (such as upcoming maintenance or painting) can be delivered to the right people when they need it. Digital signage offers the perfect way to combine information that must be delivered to everyone, as well as more customized information that can be delivered solely to the employees affected by it. Conclusion Most of us have encountered customer-facing digital signage in stores, restaurants, or healthcare facilities. Digital signs can also be extremely informative for those behind the scenes: your employees. Memos are easy to ignore or lose, and announcements over a PA are easy to tune out. Digital signage gives you the power and flexibility to reach your employees with eye-catching, informative content that's relevant to their workday, and to deliver emergency information more quickly than any other method should that be necessary.

3 Reasons to display digital KPIs in your office

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) provide actionable metrics that most organizations use to keep their strategy on track and enable them to manage, control and achieve desired business results.  Historically, KPIs have often been tracked in spreadsheets and scorecards that were distributed on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. With the growing popularity of digital screens and digital signage it is now possible to publish real-time updates to KPIs as they happen and keep everyone in the organization informed about how things are tracking. Is your organization ready for real-time KPIs? Here are 3 reasons you should be considering displaying digital KPIs in your office. 1. Create healthy competition between your sales teams Only the strong survive in today's competitive business ecosystem. In order to keep your sales team on top of their game, you need to cultivate a competitive data-driven culture where the right performance indicators and business metrics are shared in real-time with teams across the organization. The west coast team is going to up their game if they see the east coast team is beating them with sales when the walk into the office in the morning.   2. Provide employee communications in real-time Integrating with back-end applications like CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.) and ERP (SAP, Oracle, etc.), can show performance metric changes as they happen, enabling improved decision making and allowing staff to be more proactive which increases efficiency.   3. Improve moralE, enthusiasm, & discipline Engaging with your employees and getting them more involved at work can help boost confidence by building an understanding of how the company is performing, increase their trust with company transparency, and create a culture of team spirit. Motivated employees who are committed to their job and their employer are more likely to be high performing, loyal and happy in their work, and it is these employees who will be your company's best ambassadors.     

Digital Communication’s Impact of Transportation

Transportation, particularly across long distances, is stressful on passengers. There are tickets to purchase and keep track of, numbers to remember, and rides and planes to catch. With effective digital communication, you can ease that burden and enhance passengers’ experiences. Instead of a constant headache, you can give passengers access to real-time information about critical arrival and departure times, delays, cancellations, changes, and more. The overall goal of any transportation facility is a simple one – get passengers where they need to go safely, efficiently and effectively, with minimal confusion and waiting along the way. By arming your passengers with critical information through digital communications and signage, meeting the challenges that stand between you and that goal head on is easier than ever. With effective digital communications, you can: Alleviate perceived wait times When information is murky, passengers arrive earlier than needed, leading to a lot of sitting and waiting around. With effective digital communication, you can provide passengers reliable information about their trip, allowing them to budget their time in a way that’s more enjoyable. Enhance travel experiences Alongside reduced waits come better overall experiences. We’ve all been there – the bad travel experiences stand out, but so do the seamless and smooth ones. People want their experiences to align with the relaxing, fun trip they’re on, not clash with it. Engage passengers with other key information Beyond simple flight or other mode-of-travel information, passengers will benefit from key information regarding weather, news, emergency broadcasts and more. Deliver real-time, location-based information Being able to tailor critical information based on location provides innumerable benefits – go beyond simply providing information and customize it for passengers and areas, providing an individualized and beneficial experience. Improve overall operations With effective digital communications, employees spend less time answering questions and putting out fires and more time ensuring they help every aspect of your facility run as smoothly as possible. Keep passengers safe Emergency notifications can interrupt regularly scheduled content, ensuring passengers are taken care of and notified of any critical information. Position yourself as a “travel guide” With interactive wayfinding kiosks and information throughout your facility, you can go beyond “the place where travel happens” and achieve true “travel guide” and industry-leader status.

Engaging and interacting with a new generation of students

Engaging and interacting with a generation of students raised surrounded by media is driving significant change amongst schools, colleges and universities. Students today expect and prefer digital communications, and as a result digital signage has become a cost-effective tool for schools to utilize. Dynamic digital signage is enabling schools to improve communications ranging from emergency notifications to wayfinding to events and employee communications. Digital communications in education can: Help schools to cost effectively communicate in real-time with students, staff and visitors Improve school safety by connecting with emergency notification and alarm systems Enhance student, faculty, employee, and visitor experience by creating an engaging and interactive environment Help schools create an environment that is easy to navigate through the use of interactive wayfinding and digital signs Tie into existing systems such as maintenance, inventory and other  administrative systems to provide accurate real-time information to staff and students Be used for a number of applications including digital menu boards, donor walls, emergency notifications, staff/student/visitor communications, and interactive wayfinding An excellent example of a university who is using visual communications and devices like digital signage to communicate with their staff, students, and visitors is the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The Rotman School of Management is the #1 business school in Canada according to the Financial Times, ranked #1 in the world for intellectual capital by Bloomberg Businessweek, and consistently places in the global top 10 for faculty and research. It has over 1100 Canadian and international students participating in its MBA programs annually and over 2,000 people (staff, professors, students, and guests) in and out of the schools two primary buildings on any given day. The school hosts over 100 events a year in its event spaces including book launches, panels, and speaker series on a wide range of topics. The Rotman School of Management recently doubled in size, expanding into a second building in 2012 with a $93 million dollar expansion. Prior to the construction their digital signage was comprised of 6 screens. With the expansion Rotman wanted to provide engaging and effective navigation in the campus buildings and also keep visitors informed of what was happening that day. They also wanted to update the technology in their original building as part of the project. Special consideration also needed to be given to the location of the signage, housing of the players and running of cables due to limited server room space and other infrastructure such as utilities and elevators. The Rotman School of Management has received overwhelming support for their signage solution. It has helped the school improve building navigation and the communication of relevant information and events to building visitors. "The new digital signage around the school gives us a voice in the physical space and allows us to deliver relevant messaging at the time it’s needed the most,” said Eugene Grichko, Brand Experience and Engagement Specialist with the Marketing Team at Rotman. Read the full case study!  

DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS: Filling an Information Gap

How Digital Signage Works as First Line of Offense in a Real-time World From highway billboards that warn us about traffic delays to airport signs that steer us through the terminal and even the smartphones in our pockets, we take it for granted that we’re never far from a screen that can deliver information to us when and where we need it. Yet when companies need to extract more value from the vast amounts of data generated by their IT systems, they underestimate or completely overlook the potential of digital communications to transform the business. And the stakes are high: In a recent IDG survey conducted with Omnivex, respondents expressed concern about the potential for security risks, loss of competitive edge, and growing inefficiency when information can’t be shared quickly and easily. In this age of Digital Transformation, information — and the insights generated from that data — has become crucial for success. Increasingly, digital communications are the first line of offense in a real-time world, spurring a move by IT from systems of record to systems of engagement, according to Chris Devlin, president of Omnivex Corporation. “Digital transformation isn’t just disrupting business models. It’s changing the way technology itself is deployed,” says Devlin. “Screens are increasingly everywhere, to the point where we expect to see them and actively look for them. They enable businesses to get the right information to the right people at the right time.” Read more in the full document from IDG.

Looking Ahead to 2020 and the Future of Digital Communications

As 2020 looms, it’s time to consider where digital communications are heading and how you can leverage that direction to stay ahead of the curve, drive engagement and influence behavior. Digital signage and digital visual communications are critical – they are your first line of offense in a real-time world. Screens are the first things seen in public spaces and they’re becoming as ubiquitous as lighting is today. In other words, it’s your first impression, and it should be a core consideration for your business. What are challenges with traditional information delivery? How can you take advantage of cutting-edge innovations, digital agility and digital transformation? Let’s dive in. Digital Transformation’s Increasing Role Digital transformation is going to be a key factor in the advancement of digital engagement. It’s right there in the name – it’s all about leveraging and stretching modern technologies in ways that have never been tried. That’s the essence of transformation. But it isn’t just the latest industry buzzword. It’s a concrete movement toward progress and, as MIT Principal Scientist George Westerman says, “a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.” To achieve this kind of “radical” shift, buy-in must come from the top. It’s time for CEOs to spearhead an effort of cross-department collaboration, pairing business-focused philosophies with rapid application development models and tools. Challenges Faced in Traditional Information Delivery Disruption is both the largest motivator and largest inhibitor, but it’s far from the only challenge associated with information delivery. In fact, a survey conducted by IDG in March of this year found that: 22% of respondents are concerned with security and access control when sharing sensitive information 20% frequently encounter technical difficulties with their current software solution 18% say information is often low-quality and/or prone to human error 14% called current methods of communicating important information outdated Further, 44% said information is updated manually and is either cumbersome or time-consuming to digest, while 36% felt that information was easy to overlook or ignore and that it wasn’t completely up to date. Ease of sharing between groups and devices was also a major concern. When information can’t be easily accessed or shared, respondents labeled security risks (58%), loss of competitive edge (50%) and inefficiency and cost increases (48%) as top concerns. Fortunately, these concerns can be alleviated through digital signage solutions. How Digital Signage Can Help The majority of survey respondents exhibited some familiarity with digital signage solutions. 84% were highly likely to consider these solutions to solve the aforementioned challenges. The potential benefits were clear to respondents – 54% highlighted improving efficiency and cost management, while enhancing productivity and better capturing business opportunities to drive revenue growth each came in at 52%. It’s clear that the capabilities of digital signage are being recognized, but how can you turn that recognition into action? Omnivex can help. We’re committed to developing software that helps you take advantage of all the innovations that surround today’s clever and connected devices, and our Digital Agility Framework helps us define exactly how we’ll deliver on that goal. Omnivex Digital Agility Framework With our Digital Agility Framework, Omnivex, People, Technology Silos and Organizational Silos function as integral parts of a wider framework that includes governance and security. The People aspect focuses in on culture and communications. Here Omnivex helps you inform people in real time through a commitment to connection, distribution, presentation and automation. Technology Silos – applications, databases, IoT and third-party solutions – support your organization, while Organizational Silos – the departments, divisions, roles and locations that make your organization tick. Omnivex provides a digital communications platform to connect these silos across your business, empowering you to deliver any information to any screen, anytime. Digital signage has a lot to offer a rapidly changing world, and Omnivex can help you keep pace in 2020 by enabling you to share information on any screen across your organization and create true engagement of audiences. When you can provide engaging content in real time, you’ll be ready to find your place in our increasingly digital age.

How Do You Digitalize the Workplace?

A popular area of discussion is the digitalization of the workplace, but what does that really mean? The digital workplace can take many different shapes and forms and will vary by organization. At Omnivex we believe that digital communications on devices like digital screens, video walls, interactive kiosks and tablets will play an integral role in the digital workplace. Gone are the days of walls of closed door offices. Today many work environments have evolved into free flowing workplaces that enable collaborative work and with employees who often work virtually. In these environments the communication of information, such as corporate messages, departmental KPIs, has become increasingly important. For these organizations - how do you ensure that the right people are getting the right messages at the right time? In other industries like manufacturing and healthcare you have large portions of the workforce that aren't tied to computers and digitizing the workplace with devices like digital signs is helping improve productivity, increase employee satisfaction and improve safety. Digital signs are getting real-time information to people where and when they need it, enabling them to make informed decisions. What type of technologies are helping digitalize work? While not a new technology, digital screens are one of the primary technologies being used by a number of organizations to help digitalize the workplace. These screens are reducing the need for paper signage, company-wide emails, and many other historic ways of communicating with a dispersed workforce. Omnivex was mentioned in a  Gartner report - What Does It Mean to Digitalize Work?1. “The report mentions that shared screens will grow in businesses as well. There will be computing available to anyone near the screen or microphone — no handheld personal device necessary. In all these automations, more and more physical items are eliminated as work steps too are eliminated or speeded or otherwise enhanced and augmented. Paper is gone. Plastic is gone. Data entry is simplified and enriched.” 1 - https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3043921        

Don't Leave Your Data in the Dark

One of the fundamental reasons for taking your business digital is to better leverage existing resources like data. Using digital signage software you have the ability to utilize the volumes of data collected over the years and still being collected to improve areas like your digital communications and customer experience. One common question is - how do I turn my data into engaging digital communications and interactive experiences? Below are some applications to consider as a starting point: Advertising Whether it was advertising products and services or upcoming promotions and events, organizations have long used digital screens to get their message in front of audiences. A digital communications platform, enables you to leverage you data to show relevant and personalized content for your viewers. Employee Communications A properly engaged employee is happier, loyal, more productive, and passionate. There are so many benefits to maintaining a high level of employee engagement, least of which is how it affects your bottom line. Engage your employees with real-time updates of data, social media feeds, announcements, emergency notifications, and more. Emergency Notifications 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 provides a new and unique way to get real-time alerts and information out to people where and when they need it.  Schedules/Timetables When real-time scheduling is paramount for your business you need a digital communications platform that takes information from many different sources, such as database and GPS tracking systems, and shares it across any screen, from mobile phones to digital signs. Interactive Kiosks People today are more self-directed than ever. Few are bothered by self-checkout lanes in supermarkets or information kiosks in retail stores, and the trial and adoption of these is growing rapidly. Digital communications on devices such as self-serve kiosks provide a number of business advantages, including improving brand engagement and optimizing staff. Menu boards Combine real-time information with eye-catching graphics to create menu boards that attract and engage customers. A digtal communications platform enables you to trigger visuals based on information coming from a variety of sources, including calendars, clocks, sensors, and source systems such as inventory, ERP, or CRM. Wayfinding Help visitors find their way with interactive wayfinding. Using a digital communications platform you can create maps and floor plans that are easy to understand and ensure accuracy with your changing environment. Maps and floor plans are easy to maintain; by connecting to back end systems, they will reflect the current state of a changing environment.  

Smart Transportation

Gone are the days of paper signs and delays in getting updated information out to travellers. We live in a real-time world and travellers expect real-time, relevant information at their fingertips. Digital communications in transportation facilities, using devices like digital signs and interactive kiosks, can enhance passenger experience. They help people get to where they need to go safely, efficiently, and effectively.  Equipping your passengers with the right information, at the right time ensures a positive experience. This is critical in an environment that demands time sensitive information. Digital communications in transportation can: Alleviate perceived wait times Enhance travel experiences Engage passengers with news, weather, emergency broadcasts Deliver real-time location-based information, such as arrival/departure times, cancellations and delays, or service stoppage Improve operations by reducing the workload of employees Keep passengers safe; emergency notifications can interrupt regularly scheduled content Be a “travel guide” through interactive wayfinding kiosks Wayfinding has evolved over the last couple of decades from static paper signage to electronic wayfinding to interactive wayfinding. This is largely the result of new technologies becoming available for airports, stations and terminals to leverage. One technology that has had a significant impact is digital signage. With digital signs transportation organizations can quickly and easily update signage.  This provides travellers with more accurate information on arrival/departure times, cancellations, delays and gate changes. Digital signage has also led to significant improvements in wayfinding in facilities like airports, where there are multiple terminals and large volumes of people that need to be moved through the space quickly. In airports wayfinding encompasses a number of areas including moving travellers between terminals, to gates, through security, and to restaurants and shops. These same screens are often also used to for advertising and to provide news and weather updates. Interactive wayfinding takes traditional wayfinding to an entirely new level of self-service by integrating technologies like touchscreens, RFID, and barcode scanners.  This allows travellers to independently select a destination from a map or list and the system creates a map to the end point factoring things such as multiple floors, multiple regions, and multiple buildings. Additionally, some software solutions use conditional formatting and are able to react to things such as elevator operation times, making the system choose an appropriate route based on current conditions. Read our Columbus International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Vancouver International Airport case studies to learn how those organizations are leveraging digital communications.  

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