Introduction The marriage of digital signage and content
Chapter 1 The major types of content management software
Enterprise (licensed) software
Chapter 2 Trends in content management
Ease of use
Integration with third-party systems
Use existing data
PC-based hardware and software
Chapter 3 OOH and the use of aggregators
Aggregator benefits for advertisers
Aggregator benefits for businesses
Next generation of aggregators
Chapter 4 Add-ons
Conclusion Keep the content fresh and personal
Digital signage is an exciting new technology that is revolutionizing the way businesses interact with customers. The combination of affordable LCD screens, high-definition video and increasing interactivity is making digital signage an effective way for businesses and advertisers to reach customers.
While the possibilities of digital signage are exciting, just having a new, eye-catching technology is not the entire battle. The novelty of seeing high-definition screens in public places will wear off quickly if businesses do not take the time to create a valid content-management strategy.
"I don’t care how nice the monitor looks," said Scott Koller, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Wireless Ronin Technologies of Minneapolis, Minn., a company that helps businesses create in-store marketing and advertising campaigns. "At the end of the day, if that content isn't playing where and when it's supposed to, and if that message isn't reaching the customer, then the rest of it is for naught."
"[Content management] is the most important thing," said Craig Hubbell, executive vice president of media services for PlayNetwork of Redmond, Wash., a company that provides in-store music, video media and digital signage. "Content is king and the network itself is queen. The two really need to work well together."
Good content management means that not only is the network running smoothly and the right messages are appearing at the right times in places where customers can easily see them, but that the content is specifically tailored to the individuals who comprise the customer base of a business.
"Most networks forget who the audience is and what their needs are," said Jeff Collard, president of Toronto, Ont.-based Omnivex Corp., a company that provides display management software solutions for digital signage systems. Too often, "networks treat [the audience] like cattle to be sold to advertisers."
But audiences do not want to be treated as faceless customers. With all of the technology and advertising that goes on in today's world, it is easy for a person to feel disoriented and alienated, making it all the more important that digital signage realizes its potential and engages the customer as an individual, not as part of the crowd.
So how can the unlimited potential of digital signage be maximized? First, the right hardware must be purchased for the task at hand. The right hardware may be different depending on the size, spending power of the business and what type of content will be playing on the digital signage.
Technologies like RFID, news and weather feeds, touchscreen kiosks and interaction with mobile devices can help engage the audience and provide instant feedback for the business.
Aggregators can help match the right network with the right advertiser.
These factors are all components of what should be a well-thought-out, multilayered strategy designed to make a digital signage network as effective as possible.
"You have to have a sound hardware, software and content strategy in place to have a successful digital signage network," said Mike Zmuda, director of business development for NEC Display Solutions of Itasca, Ill., a company that designs and produces visual display technology.