Digital Signage: More Than Just Advertising -
Large Tablets creating digital signage

Digital Signage: More Than Just Advertising

Digital signage is shedding its ad-only, static image and becoming a solid choice to complement a company's content strategy.

According to an IHS report, the global digital signage market was expected to be $13.9 billion for 2013, and by 2017, is projected to reach $17.1 billion. So what’s pushing the sector ahead? And what are some of the things you can do to put digital signage to work for your business?

Retail environments continue to lead much of the vertical activity. IHS’s Sanju Khatri described the impact:

“…the integration of real-time data and predictive analytics into digital signage is making a big splash among retailers, which are using digital signage solutions to target customers more efficiently, leading to increased dwell time, improved shopping experiences and a rise in sales.”

Arguably, that’s the most obvious use case. But other areas, such as employee-facing applications, are also popular candidates for digital signage. There are plenty of lobbies, meeting rooms and other collaborative spaces that are great candidates for digital signage too. You might even think of it as your physical intranet. Think about where your information will provide the most utility. And be vigilant about how that information could and should be used. Competitive considerations always grab mindshare, but think about all the personalized content available on an enterprise intranet. Your digital signage should be tailored just as tightly. As with other marketing and communications, a shotgun approach rarely works.

But don’t stop there. Marketing content just scratches the surface of digital signage’s potential.

Look at eCommerce apps, point-of-sales (POS) systems and even some of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) and productivity apps. With controlled access and proper delegation, everything from scheduling and booking processes to safety notifications and HR information can be delivered at exactly the right time.

Big Companies Are Carving A Wider Path

Part of the industry’s increasing growth projections can be attributed to how larger companies like Google are integrating hardware and software. DigitalSignageToday captured some of Google’s plans at an event earlier this year:

“the new Chromebox we released with ASUS last week is only $179, and it’s coming down and down and down in price — but then the bigger thing is, even if the hardware is low cost, it’s very tough to maintain this kind of a distributed network of hardware, and that’s what we really make possible with the Chrome platform.”

Here’s the kicker, though:

“With Chrome, one Web-based management console is used to push the content to the Chromeboxes so it can be shown on displays, which should help bring down the IT and support costs of digital signage networks and deployments “dramatically.”

It’s that type of cost structure that could help companies add nodes to their digital signage networks throughout an enterprise. You could easily see how lightweight content management capabilities could be plugged into Google’s Chrome hub. Not that companies could circumvent all of their CMS requirements, but with the enterprise price tags of CMS toolsets, it could result in sizable savings.

Don’t Wait For The Crowd. Create It.

Similar to social and content strategies, finding the right balance between creativity and the right content will define the effectiveness of your digital signage. Think of it as your own content delivery network (CDN). Every piece—from your audience to hardware—should warrant an assessment. Digital signage shouldn’t be a one-off, so don’t treat it as a standalone piece within your larger communications strategy.

Here’s your quick hit list:

1. Assess your environment: Lookinside and outside the firewall for integration hooks to your processes and content systems. Existing infrastructure like intranets, supplier portals and customer service apps are good starting points.

2. Think about ways to tie together customer-facing information with employee-oriented content: Non-sensitive information often can be leveraged in certain spaces to get a better return. Again, think about how media is consumed and focus on where the most utility can be gained.

3. Find a partner that can help with some of the integration and technology choices: Don’t just opt for the digital signage package that a vendor offers. Take the time to choose a partner that can help you with real business requirements. If they’re not willing to invest the time to learn about your objectives, move on.

Your company has the content (or it should), and the advancements in digital signage give you a unique, personalized way to reach more of your audience than ever before. Take a step forth into the new world of work – you may just find digital signage to be right for you.