Today, I attended the Digital Signage Federation’s first “learning series” webinar – “Turning on Digital Signage” brought to us by the guys at Brawn Consulting. In short, it was a great session with lots of helpful information, all presented in 1 quick hour. It was very much a 101-type session on digital signage, placements, “components” of the network and even selling, which makes sense coming from someone who leads a consulting group. From my POV, it was really geared to companies who would sell services of the digital signage network “components,” specifically hardware and software providers (makes sense because they’re AV guys, too). There were mentions sprinkled in about content, and I appreciated that they were sprinkled in in the right context (working together with the components and identifying ways digital signage can be used in various locations). I think anyone listening, particularly those who want to learn the basics of this thing called “digital signage,” walked away with learning something. Here are the specific nuggets of the session that I walked away with:
- The “industry” doesn’t talk about “digital” signage and “interactive” signage as separate terms. “Digital” signage can become “interactive,” but in the end, it’s all digital. I either have to accept this or continue pushing this. To me, there is a big distinction and it’s important to differentiate the two. (“Digital” signage and “traditional” OOH are about 1-way messaging. Both can become “interactive,” therefore becoming conduits for 2-way interaction. Push/pull messaging vs. just push.) But what this does is exacerbate the problem of people talking consistently about this space. Although there were mentions in text of “interactivity,” everything today was talked about as “digital signage.” I believe the opportunity for this “OOH” medium is the possibility for interaction, driving deeper into brands. Not just an efficient way to “display”/push messages out. I’ll keep talking the way that I talk, but I am becoming more and more aware of how everyone else talks about it.
- I’m big into models. The Brawn guys have created a model that identifies 7 Key Elements to Digital Signage: Hardware, Software, Connectivity, Content, Operations, Design, & Business. I want to get a copy of this deck so I can absorb everything involved in each of the elements. Overall, though, this is a “simple” guide.
- I loved how they put consumers before makers/distributers/sellers in terms of identifying value. They were talking about identifying what’s “valuable” before you implement any digital signage solution and they started with the audience (consumers). This is music to my ears. If it’s not providing value to the people who are ultimately going to use it, it’s no good. (They also presented a “value triad,” which was another model that I thought was effective and simple. Want to see it again, though.)
- There are ~350 companies out there selling digital signage software. Wow. And I know first hand about this, because I spent the last four years of my life creating a custom piece of interactive signage software. I understand and appreciate nuance differences, but 350 different solutions? How can one navigate the space well enough to know what software is best for them? I know the end user (consumer) doesn’t care about this, but as someone who would need to ultimately buy (or create) one of these, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Actually, I would….now I understand what the guys at Preset & Brawn do :)
As I said when I first learned about this series, education sessions like this are needed. They’re the “right” way for an organization like the Digital Signage Federation to take responsibility and own education. Many people need to be hearing about this and listening in on these sessions. I would love to know who participated today and what they got out of it.