I am writing this on the plane on my way back from New Caledonia. My wife and I just stored our boat there after the latest instalment of our world sailing adventure. While the team at the office works hard, we try each year to carve out the time to take a short sabbatical to explore a new part of the world on our sailboat. We started from Plattsburg NY three sabbaticals ago. I mention this because I see some very pertinent similarities between those that sail the world and those that build great digital signage.
Travelling great distances on a sailboat is definitely not the road well travelled. We are often very literally on our own. In some places we have spent weeks at a time without seeing another boat. Essential information is often very hard to find. In some areas, charts (maps of the ocean) are all but useless, and well-hidden reefs and hazards are plentiful. Knowing where to go, where NOT to go, and choosing the right course and equipment to get there, can literally make the difference between a successful adventure, and true disaster.
Why we travel this way is another subject… perhaps even requiring some psychoanalysis… But how we do it is very relevant here.
The sailing community is truly amazing. Sailors rely on each other for so much, especially knowledge. We get together frequently in-person and on-line to share the most current information. No one is trying to sell you anything. Everyone is trying to help you make your adventure as safe, successful and pleasant as possible.
Now let’s look at digital signage today. The industry is still very young. The road to success is anything but clear. Getting digital signage right was really hard at the beginning when we started, and not that much has really changed. It is still a challenge. There certainly are many more products and options out there, but this makes it even harder in some ways. How do you determine which solutions are the really the best fit for your needs? Today and for day two?
With so many possible options out there, whom do you believe? Where do you go? What hardware and software do you really need for success? How do you find or create the best content? Lots of questions. That is why we think it is really important to share knowledge at every opportunity, why we try to help each other, and why we created a seminar at DSE this year.
Over the years we have seen many failures most of which were completely unnecessary. Failure discourages others and creates a sad toll of wasted resources and opportunities in their wake. We often see the same mistakes made by others years before, repeated again and again in new projects. We see the same wrong decisions made with the same disastrous results.
There are so many technical and creative hazards to build digital signage systems. A viable and successful digital signage installation. Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn from the past mistakes of others, so you don’t have to hit exactly the same reefs as they did?
Here are a few examples:
- A client contacted us 4 weeks before their new world headquarters was to open. They had built beautiful and extremely large LCD arrays in the most prominent lobby locations. They were installed and ready for content. But there was no content, nor an idea for what the content should be.
- Then there was the corporate communications network that had an entire room full of video editors working flat out to create video content to feed when they build digital signage networks. Even working at full tilt, they could not keep up with the demand. Content was often out dated even before it was posted.
- Another client was demanding content be created in the screens’ ‘native resolution’. Sounds reasonable, if it was a single HD or 4K screen… but it was a 4 x 4 array of 16 – 4K screens! How do you find or create content at THAT resolution?
- We were called in to create some content for a corporate headquarters. In inspecting the installed hardware, we found 3 different Spyder switchers all in line to feed the same screen array when even 1 switcher was unnecessary. No one knew how to change content and everyone was afraid to touch anything.
There are many more cautionary tales to tell but every one of them has a relatively simple solution that could have saved time, money and made everyone happy.
Telecine is a pioneer in the field. We have over 25 years experience to build digital signage installations that win awards and signage networks for corporate clients. We can and do share what we have learned at every opportunity. But wouldn’t it be better if you could hear directly from executives inside the companies who have successfully navigated their way to creating successful signage?
We are interviewing many executives on camera for this seminar. None of them have anything to sell; they are just trying to help you build digital signage and start your adventure as successful as possible.
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Here is just a sampling of what we will ask them:
- Which corporate department has the best track record at championing successful digital signage initiatives?
- Which should come first:
- choosing the correct display hardware,
- choosing the best software or
- designing the content?
- How can you insure against obsolescence?
- How should you budget and allocate responsibilities for day 2 (fresh content and maintenance)?
- What are the best and most effective / cost-effective ways to keep the screen content fresh?
- How do you measure effectiveness, engagement, ROE or ROI?
- What do you wish you had known earlier?
You might already know the answer to some or all of these questions. If so, we would encourage your active participation in the seminar. It is always helpful to have sources and examples to point to when discussing with others.
We really hope you can join us. We very much look forward to embarking on this learning and sharing adventure together. Foul weather gear not required.