Most kids dash out to get their driver’s permit the second they’re old enough.
Their sweet sixteen comes with a driver’s license—and, for the lucky ones, a sweet ride.
I, however, dragged my feet until right before my freshman year of college to finally get my license.
I could see and want the advantages that having a license would bring: more chances to visit my friends, opportunities to get summer jobs further away from my home, chances to explore the greater independence that comes with growing up.
But I had certain barriers to get around before I could reap those benefits.
I was terrified of driving—of accidentally hitting the gas when I needed to brake, or of another driver deciding to run a red and T-bone me.
Both of my parents were very busy and didn’t have time to spend riding around town with me so I could practice. And even if I did get my license, I didn’t have money for gas, or frequent access to a car.
However, barriers can arise that make it difficult to optimize one’s digital signage use and extract the technology’s full potential as a powerful communication tool.
Below, we’re going to look at five common problem areas and how to address them, with a particular eye to pre-planning as a preventative measure.
After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And, since only half of global firms do strategic coordination before deploying a digital signage network, an ounce of preplanning might return a pound of competitive advantage.
1. Software and Hardware
Your first step is to recognize that not all digital signage systems are made equal.
Different types of displays and software play to particular strengths but might be weak in other ways.
Before installing digital signage, it’s imperative to research which of the many options are most suited to your needs and budget. Otherwise, you’ll be limiting yourself when it comes to using your network, or having to spend more money later to upgrade.
Also, make sure that the hardware and software you choose are complimentary and compatible with each other. Using the same vendor for both hardware and software should help prevent compatibility issues, but if you don’t plan on doing that, it’ll be another thing you should research.
To get you started, here are some issues to consider for hardware and software, summed up from this article.
- Size of screen: Depending on where you want to put it, and what sort of content you wish to display, you might find a larger or smaller screen more suitable. There are simple formulas for calculating what distance from the screen an image of a certain size will be legible at. Size will, of course, affect price, becoming a limiting factor in choosing what type of screen will work best.
- Type of screen: There are many options, ranging classic options like LCD and projection to fancy newcomers like OLED, ePaper, and indoor LED. Each has advantages and limitations in terms of size, price, what it’s best at displaying, and in what environment it’s most legible and eye-catching. Make sure you have an idea of the possibilities available to you, because it may turn out that the best solution for you is an unconventional one.
- Mounting: Floor, wall, or ceiling-mounted? Your answer will vary depending on the space you’re in and whether you want the screens to be interactive.
Content Management Software
Difficulty in using CMS is among the top three complaints of digital signage users.
Make sure to choose CMS that’s user-friendly, can be synched with the cloud for easy sharing to multiple locations and screens, can be used to update content instantly if needed, and is capable of doing what you need it to do.
If you want to display social media feeds, for example, ask your vendor if there’s a built-in widget for doing that or if that’s something you’ll have to develop yourself.
According to a recent study of major banks using digital signage, 16 percent had difficulties providing sufficient bandwidth for their systems.
If you’re using the Internet or local VPN to stream your content, you may run into issues with your ISP, who often limit the amount of bandwidth each customer can use. You might suddenly find your screens going blank because your ISP has cut you off.
That’s a problem you want to prevent in advance by knowing whether your current setup can provide for your needs, or whether you’ll need to make changes.
Larger files require more bandwidth to stream. Standard resolution video takes about 40 MB/minute, whereas high resolution footage (1080i) requires a whopping 140 MB/minute. You may wish to invest in a private line-lease connection, which will allow you to monitor data flow and allocate bandwidth as necessary to high-demand links.
3. Localized Content
While the ability to provide localized content among multiple locations is cited in the top three reasons to adopt digital signage, actually doing so can prove challenging.
Half of the banks in the previously mentioned study express difficulties in localizing content among their branches, and the numbers actually localizing content have decreased over recent years.
It’s a problem when one of your main reasons for implementing a signage solution becomes one of your main barriers towards using it effectively.
This is a problem where the best solutions involve planning in advance, but you can also start fixing it now even if you have a system in place.
If you’re still in the planning stage, start considering solutions for making your content locally applicable. One popular option is making each location responsible for some of its own content. However, there’s an obvious downside here. This produces uneven results based on the time and personnel resources of each location. You could do the same thing on the regional level, which might allow for more oversight.
Giving access to local managers while reserving approvals for HQ, you can have localized content and brand consistency pretty easily.
Or, you can take advantage of modern-day data analyzing capabilities and produce some highly targeted messaging. For example, your messages could vary based on the estimated wait time in a queue, or by local demographics such as languages spoken.
If your system is already up and running, that sort of solution might be more complicated to implement.
On the simpler side, you can set up your digital signs to display the local branch’s social media feeds, or even the local weather. It’s a small way to make the experience more personal for the customer.
Speaking of content, what’s your strategy for evaluating and approving new content? Referring back to that study, over 15 percent of respondents reported workflow issues in getting new content approved.
Often, the system is too complicated, or the people responsible for approving the content are too slow to respond.
This might lead to missed marketing opportunities, especially on the local level, among other frustrations.
Have a clear and consistent system in place for approving new content, plus readily available guidelines as to what sort of content is appropriate and likely to be approved. (That makes everyone’s job less stressful.)
A cloud-based solution such as Google Drive is a good way to centralize the approval process and keep people from having to play email tag.
Even a well-designed digital signage network won’t maintain itself.
Creating and approving content, troubleshooting technical issues, even wiping dust off the screens—all of this takes time.
Seventeen percent of surveyed banks mentioned problems with providing enough labor to keep their digital signage network running smoothly, with 30 percent requiring three or more FTEs.
Recognize that while installing a digital signage network can bring benefits, if you don’t have enough manpower resources to allocate you’ll end up with stressed employees and subpar content.
Providing sufficient training for those involved in the project and investing in user-friendly CMS will cut down on the difficulties in this area.
Installing a digital signage network is a major undertaking.
In order to execute it effectively, you’ll need to spend significant time researching to make sure you choose the solutions that fit your company, purposes, and budget best. You’ll need to also make sure you have the resources necessary, from Internet bandwidth to manpower to systems for content creation and approval.
The amount of planning involved might look daunting, but it’s worth it to prevent costly problems from arising in the future. Learn from the mistakes others make, so you don’t have to make them yourself.
By planning now, you’re guaranteeing that you’ll get the best results possible from your digital signs.
And later, when you’re cruising along towards increased profits, greater customer loyalty, stronger brand recognition, and the myriad other benefits digital signage can bring, you’ll know that your hard work powered your success.
Have you faced any challenges in implementing digital signage that you’d like us to address in a future post? Tell us about them below!