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Data Versus Information - Why Both Are Vital

Jenn Gvozdek, Marketing Manager
June 27, 2022

The terms data and information are often used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference in meaning and usage. It is estimated that companies generate around 2,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data a day. However, a Forrester report estimates that between 60 and 73% of all data is never used for analytical purposes. The reality is an estimated 95% of organizations don't have the technology and tools to manage data. 

What Is Data?

Statistics Canada defines data as facts, figures, observations, or recordings that can be images, sound, text, or physical measurements. Prices, colors, weights, distances, sizes, temperatures, and locations are examples of data. There are two forms of data - structured and unstructured. Structured data is often referred to as quantitative data, and prices and distances fall into this category. Unstructured data is in its most raw form and isn't organized in any predefined format. Often it is referred to as qualitative data and typically is very text-heavy. Unstructured data includes IoT sensors, social media, video files, and emails.

What Is Information?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines information as knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction. Essentially, information is gleaned or interpreted from analyzing various data points. For example, consider a decrease in several individual stock prices. Although, on their own, these are unique data points about a specific stock, looked at together, it is information about the health of a particular sector or stock market overall. 

Data, Information, and Digital Signage

Digital signage allows organizations to turn their vast amounts of data into useful information. What before might have been individual data points in different systems can now be shared in a cohesive view that enables better decision-making and an improved customer experience.

Let's look at some examples:

KPI Dashboard

Use digital signage software to take data from various systems and create visual KPI dashboards to share with internal teams. Customize the KPIs on the screen by geographic location, department, and more. Real-time access to KPIs enables employees to discover strengths in the business and quickly adjust when they find problems or weaknesses. It also provides transparency to employees into the organization's health, which can improve morale.

Digital Menu Board

Combine stunning graphics, nutritional data, an inventory system, and your POS, and you have a digital menu board. Digital signage software enables you to trigger visuals based on data from many sources, including calendars, clocks, sensors, and other source systems. This combination of visuals, nutritional information, promotions, and item availability, enables customers to make an informed decision about what they want to order.

Have too much of one item? Easily create a flash promotion to boost its sales. Want to run a special between 2:00 and 3:00? Schedule it, and it will automatically display. Integrate social media and create an interactive experience for your guests. For chain restaurants, the branding can be controlled centrally, while the data driving the menu can reflect the individual location.

digital menu board powered by data

Interactive Wayfinding Kiosk

Interactive wayfinding screens or kiosks in your facility improve the experience and ensure the right information is available to people where and when they need it. With digital signage software, you can integrate real-time data from back-end systems to drive on-screen decision-making. For example, incorporate conditional formatting to direct traffic flow based on time and date and integrate transfer points such as stairs or elevators to ensure a smooth transition to multi-floors or multi-regions.

Leverage your data to provide an estimated travel time for each route and empower users to make an informed decision about which way they go.

Integrate with mobile devices or use dynamic QR codes to provide a portable, personalized, interactive wayfinding experience.

Scheduling Screens

People need real-time scheduling information, whether you're running a school, an airport, a hospital, or a transit system. Digital signage software enables you to take data from many different sources, such as databases and GPS tracking systems, and share it across any screen, from mobile phones to digital signs.

Provide real-time updates on schedule changes, whether a delayed flight, a canceled class, or a rescheduled appointment. Using digital signage to share this information allows employees to focus on other valuable tasks. Additionally, keep people safe by enabling emergency notifications to takeover your screens and interrupt your scheduled content. Direct people with instructions, if necessary, and keep them informed of the status of the emergency.

real-time transit information

Both data and information are vital to an organization's success. You really can't have one without the other. Digital signage takes what before might have been data points in different systems and creates a cohesive view. It enables employees, customers, and visitors to make better,more informed decisions.