Digital Signage: Seven common pitfalls to avoid

Provisions for commercial-grade display technology are needed from the start.
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3. Lacking a content strategy
As mentioned, it is essential to have a plan in mind for on-screen content, as well as the resources in place to create and manage it. With digital signage, after all, content can be scheduled in advance to change at regular intervals or based on external factors.

The right mix of content is what makes digital signage attention-catching and memorable. To truly engage passersby, marketing materials need to be combined with informative and entertaining content. This can be achieved by either dynamically displaying one message at a time or incorporating multiple messages in the same display area. Some portions of the screen may change, such as streaming video feeds, weather updates and event schedules, while others remain fixed, such as corporate logos or menus of services.

If a digital signage network will rely on TV feeds for news or sports, by way of example, each media player should be equipped with a video capture card for connecting to a set-top box with either coaxial cable or High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) input and located near a cable or satellite TV jack. Further, there should be a contingency plan for making real-time changes in case of cancelled or rescheduled broadcasts.

Digital signage can be as simple as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or as complex as a six-zone video wall with live feeds, real-time messaging and dynamic scheduling. The more elaborate the strategy, the greater the need for different people to perform different functions relating to the creation and management of content, whether they are corporate marketing, AV, web design, human resources (HR) or management information systems (MIS) professionals—and whether internal expertise is sufficient or outsourcing will be called for.

It is easy for clients to feel intimidated by all of the available options, but many of today’s media players are preloaded with a wide selection of user-friendly design templates and tools, making in-house content creation a viable and affordable option.

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The following are some questions to ask:

  • Will localized input be required from remote sites?
  • Will graphic design be handled by staff or by an outside firm?
  • Can product suppliers, vendors or partners help supply content?
  • Will existing content need to be reformatted for the displays?
  • Will multiple media files be streamed simultaneously and, if so, will this be supported by the network’s software, memory and processing power?
  • Will Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML) and RSS content be sent to the digital signage?
  • Does the content demand audio and, if so, will sound be permissible in all of the locations selected for the digital signage network?
  • Will content playback be logged for reporting purposes?
  • How frequently will the content be updated to keep it fresh and relevant?

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