A little more than a year ago, the Digital Signage Experts Group (DSEG) premiered its Digital Signage Certified Experts course as a broad overview of the digital signage industry — and since then "somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500" people have taken the course either online or in person, according to DSEG board member Jonathan Brawn, a principal at Brawn Consulting.
DSEG, which describes itself as an impartial and brand-agnostic organization that works hand-in-hand with the manufacturers, distributors, content creators and resellers in the digital signage industry, has announced the addition of three new certification programs to complement the group's original certification offering.
The DSEG now will offer certification courses for Digital Signage Display Experts (DSDE), Digital Signage Network Experts (DSNE) and Digital Signage Sales Professional (DSSP) to its curriculum. Just like with the DSCE, the new courses will be offered at live events around the country and via live webinars and virtual online versions.
"We had additional courses in mind from the startâ€¦because you really can't fit all of the bits and pieces people really need to know into one course," Brawn said.
The original DSCE (Digital Signage Certified Expert) course is an "immersion into the digital signage market for those wanting an impartial and agnostic approach to understanding the complexities of the industry. It covers the scale and scope of the industry and examines the disparate parts of complex digital signage solutions culminating in the 7 Key Elements of Digital Signage," according to a press release from the DSEG.
The new DSDE (Digital Signage Display Expert) course goes over the science of sight and how it relates to display specifications, selecting the appropriate type of display for deployments and display calibrations, among other topics.
The DSEG says the DSNE (Digital Signage Network Experts) course "is a fundamental approach to understanding network structure and operating principals, as well as security." The course has an introduction to networks, network design and topology, and gets into networking hardware and network protocols.
The DSSP (Digital Signage Sales Professional) course looks at the obstacles faced by digital signage salespeople in "conveying to the customers and end-users what digital signage entails as well as what it can really do for them," according to the press release. "The DSSP focuses on the information and skills necessary to translate value into the reality for the digital signage customer."
Brawn says the DSSP course is essentially "the Certified Expert-Lite" for people who don't need some of the more technical aspects of the more intensive course.
"All the material that's in Sales Professional is also contained within the Certified Expert program, but the Sales Prof program is aimed at people who want to take a half-day, real focused seminar purely on the sales elements of digital signage who don't need or want any of the technical elements at all."
All of the courses culminate in an online test for participants, after which they're awarded certification in the program.
Several players in the digital signage industry have started incorporating the original certification program into their training, and some are starting to explore adding one of the new courses, Brawn says.
Earlier this year, Ingram Micro Inc. started offering the DSCE course to its channel partners, and Kevin Schroll, Samsung Electronics America's senior product marketing manager – large format displays, says that Samsung sales reps are encouraged to take the courses offered by Brawn's company.
"The training courses provide pertinent information to better enable the Samsung sales representatives to properly assess the customer's digital signage needs and match it to the solution Samsung can provide," Schroll said.
And late last year, Almo Professional A/V announced that it was the first distributor in the industry to have its entire sales force successfully complete the DSCE program.
"Digital signage is clearly one of the fastest-growing segments of the commercial audiovisual industry," Sam Taylor, executive vice president and COO of Almo Professional A/V, said in a release at the time. "The challenge is that most professionals don't have a full understanding of how to take all the complex parts of a digital signage system to produce an effective image and create value in the networkâ€¦This designation gives our partners an edge because not only can they get all the digital signage hardware and software from Almo Professional A/V, they also have an expert resource to guide them through the process and help them create a system that is the best solution for their customers."
The new courses augment the broad understanding of the industry the earlier course provided, Brawn says.
"They are really focused on a single element," he said. "We break everything down in the Cert Experts program into seven key elements of digital signage, and so now we've created technical courses that are just really in-depth in certain areas."
DSEG will continue offering the original course along with the new programs in-person at seminars and tradeshows, Brawn says, but the group has found that most professionals are opting to take the courses online.
"It's more of an issue that people don't want to make the time commitment of spending the entire day out of the office," he said. "So the self-guided, which is exactly the same course materialâ€¦we're finding that is really in demand."