Lucky you – you’re constructing a new facility, or overhauling and retrofitting an existing one! This is a perfect opportunity to marry the design of your building with a comprehensive digital signage deployment. And yes, you are going to want digital signage – it’s proven to be effective for both audience and employee engagement, and organizations without it will simply fall behind their competitors.
Display screens can go anywhere, and there are many configurations to use. Think about each space and what would best serve people using it. In a lobby or welcome area, you want to make a good first impression. Would a big video wall grab people’s attention to reinforce your brand and overall message, or would it distract? How many screens, what size, and what configuration and shape?
Will visitors need wayfinding? If so, perhaps interactive touchscreens or kiosks are the best solution for that. Your lobby is the perfect place to focus your audience and train them to use your facility to their greatest advantage. Think about installation – light glare, easy to see but not intrusive, viewing angles, etc. And consider what you’ll show on screens – would still images work best, or video, or a combination of both?
If you have lots of events, include a rotating playlist of current and upcoming events, or include them on a readerboard, or even an interactive screen that incorporates wayfinding into the event listings. If your public-facing spaces have important visitors every day, think about dedicated welcome screens. If you only occasionally have VIPS, then you can include welcome messages in normal digital signage playlist rotations.
The key is to think about what the building, and each separate space within it, will be used for. A truly comprehensive digital signage deployment will have certain types of displays for areas the public uses, with content that makes sense for that audience, and different displays and content for internal communications with staff.
Unlike many organizations that have to shoehorn digital signage into an existing space or décor, you can start thinking about it right in the planning stages. Before the foundation is poured, you’ll want to know exactly how digital signage will work in that location.
Obviously, the physical infrastructure will be impacted by your decisions in the design phase. Once you know what is going where, you can include cabling, mounts and other physical considerations right from the beginning. If you are using interactive displays, do they need an internet connection? Should you have separate dedicated cables for that, or will POE cables work best? Will you have any displays outdoors? If so, then that’s a very different type of display.
You are buying all your hardware from somewhere, probably an integrator. Work with them in the design phase to optimize your digital signage deployment. One thing many organizations forget to consider is climate – how hot or cold does the room get, and what’s the humidity like? Will you need ventilation? These factors can affect the longevity of your displays. And there’s sunlight – direct sunlight can not only put unwanted glare on your displays, but actually heat them up.
But successful digital signage is more than just physical infrastructure and attractive content. It’s also a clear and comprehensive plan for who creates the content, who manages and schedules it, where the content is stored (is it on local machines, or stored remotely in the cloud?), what kind of ROI measures will be built in, and how easily the software interfaces with other apps you are using, like scheduling, calendaring, queuing and reservation systems.
These are all questions that should be answered before a single piece of hardware has been purchased or a single brick laid. Your project managers, IT experts, integrator, architects and the team that will use and manage the digital signage system need to all come together and figure out the best ways to accomplish your overall goals.
And don’t forget to build in flexibility and expansion. Your building is going to last a while, and technology and communication methods are likely to change over time. You don’t want to be stuck with an inflexible system that cannot adapt to new developments. It would be a shame to spend all this time and money, only to find five years later that you have boxed yourselves in and cannot remain competitive.
A new facility is a fantastic opportunity to make digital signage an integrated part of your whole branding and communications strategy, both for the public and employees. And with some good planning, you can remain current, or even on the cutting edge, for years to come.