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Digital Signage: Seven common pitfalls to avoid

An interactive system may require local inputs for touch screens.
Photo courtesy Fujifilm

4. Not involving the right personnel from the start
When beginning a digital signage project, the need to involve all key stakeholders is often overlooked. The notion of deploying screens may come from an organization’s public relations (PR) department, for example, but then runs into problems by getting too far ahead of other departments. It is a good idea to involve key representatives from marketing, HR, purchasing and information technology (IT) teams and, especially, to get buy-in from senior leadership as soon as possible.

From here, the next step is to determine who will be responsible for sourcing and uploading content. These people will need the right technical skills and, to ensure continuity, the support of backup personnel.

Generating content and keeping it current may also require co-ordination between a variety of teams, in which case quality control and accountability can become challenges. It will be important to set up a process for collaborating on creative contributions.

The IT department will certainly be one of the most important stakeholders, as its staff will be most keenly aware of the available resources and which applications may already be taxing the network infrastructure. To prevent problems in the future, the following questions will need to be answered:

  • Does the digital signage need to be integrated with other systems’ databases?
  • Who specifically will be responsible for installing the network hardware?
  • Where will the primary servers reside (i.e. centrally or remotely) and are there any security or firewall issues to deal with?
  • Will assistance be available to help enter Internet Protocol (IP) or domain name system (DNS) settings correctly, so the network’s media players can access the Internet?
  • Is there enough server space for storing and backing up multimedia files?
  • Can user passwords and permissions be administered from a central console?
  • Who will troubleshoot the screens and media players if they go offline?
  • How will information be relayed electronically in case of system failure?
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Indeed, there are many IT-related issues that can affect digital signage in the field. Security may be compromised if outsiders can turn off displays, change their content or remove media players. Heat dissipation may be a problem for screens and players exposed to direct sunlight, requiring extra cooling and/or shielding. Similarly, screens and other electronic equipment should be protected from dust, debris and moisture, especially in manufacturing plants and other industrial environments.

A power supply will need to be available near the screens and players, potentially with power consumption limits imposed on the network. Any applicable electrical wiring and municipal sign codes will need to be complied with, particularly for digital signage that is visible outdoors. There may also be connections needed to integrate the network with other building notification systems, such as paging, security alerts and fire alarms.

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