Guest Post: Jason Cremins, Signagelive
Every company or organization regardless of their size or number of employees has a need to communicate openly and effectively with their teams. The challenge is that for many companies a sizeable percentage of their workforce do not have a copy email or access to an Intranet and for those that do, the volume of messages they receive on their phone, tablet or laptop dilutes the message you want to communicate or is ignored completely.
Add the challenge of distributed workforces over multiple locations, time zones and languages, and the need to find an alternative and effective method of employee communication is clear.
The solution is to deploy a robust, scalable easy to manage digital signage network that can engage, educate, entertain and inform employees within common areas within; offices, lobbies, breakrooms, factory floors, sales departments, canteens and meeting spaces.
Establishing your key objectives
Before rushing out to purchase digital signage hardware and software, you need to first establish your objectives and how you will measure the success of your digital signage solution.
Establishing and maintain consistent messaging
A digital signage solution should enable you to maintain a consistent brand style and message using templates to easily update key messages that can be published and displayed on specific displays and locations on dates/times that will gain the maximum engagement from your employees.
Inform and educate your audience
Creating content should be simple and your digital signage solution should include both tools within the software to create simple messages, but also integrate with third-party content creation software to meet your requirements. For graphic designers, a digital signage platform that integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud would streamline publishing and upload of content, whereas those interested in creating great content without being a graphic designer would benefit from being able to incorporate Google Slides or content created in simple yet powerful creative tools such as PosterMyWall.
The content you publish needs to be of a quality in style, copy and tone that projects the core values of your business. Keep your content conversational and language simple, you only have a few seconds to get your message across so make sure you get to the point and maximize the impact.
Encourage your management team to contribute and take ownership
You want to choose a digital signage solution that enables you to combine company messaging with those from local users. Providing department heads and managers an easy to update series of templates that maintain corporate branding whilst allowing them to change the message they wish to communicate to their teams. These messages can be incorporated into a playlist of head office messages and displayed full screen or in a main-zone on a display that is divided into zones, or for some companies they allocate a dedicated zone on their layout for local messages whilst the main zone contains corporate messaging.
Using your digital signage to train and educate your team
Your digital signage solution should enable you to not just show playlists of scheduled content but enable you to take control of the display using a remote control and change the content so that you can use the display for employee training, show health and safety videos or switch to a KPI dashboard or the latest social media mentions of your business.
Providing a platform for senior executives to talk to the team
Another major challenge of a large distributed workforce is the ability for easy communication of company strategy and results by senior executives to the entire business. Choosing the right digital signage solution will enable you to easy switch every display on the network over to a live stream of the CEO conducting a town hall with live transcription and subtitles in local languages. When the live session is completed, the digital signage displays revert back to the scheduled content and the live video session is saved for future playback.
Turn your internal messaging into digital signage content
Many companies are using internal communications platforms such as Slack, Facebook for Work, Yammer and Interact Intranet to keep employees informed on all aspects of the business and internal projects. Your digital signage solution should integrate seamlessly with your internal communications platform and enable you to turn the messages, polls and feedback to be visualized into your company brand style and scheduled on your digital signage display within a playlist.
Visualize data from internal systems to keep your team focused on performance and goals
In addition, many companies have invested in software that turns data within their internal systems into KPIs and Dashboards that they wish to incorporate into their digital signage playlists. Your chosen digital signage platform should enable you to integrate with these systems, so whether it’s Salesforce, Google Analytics or a SQL database you have the ability to turn your data into digital signage content that has meaning to your employees.
Ensure your team are aware of how the company is perceived on social media
Social Media sentiment is an important indicator of how the outside world perceives your company or brand. Adding social media visualisations to your digital signage enables your employees to gain an insight into how your business is viewed and even contribute to the discussion using hashtag campaigns promoted internally for employees to use.
Integrate your calendars to display room availability and enable your team to book rooms at the room entrance.
Keeping track of meeting room usage is a big challenge for companies and many have turned to technology to resolve the problem. Your digital signage solution should provide you with a native Room Booking and calendar integration with Google and Office 365. The resulting solution will enable you to display room availability on small displays that can be mounted outside each room showing the current and future bookings and use lights on the display to indicate if the room is free (green) or in use (red) so that the room occupancy can be seen at a glance even when walking side-on to the display. If the room is free (green) your room booking app provided with your digital signage solution should enable you to book the room by touching it and selecting the duration, allowing for any future bookings as part of the process.
In addition to displays located at the room, your digital signage solution should allow you to display the availability of multiple rooms on larger displays throughout the building so that your employees can see at a glance what rooms are available and when.
Add Live TV to keep your team aware of the latest events
Incorporating Live TV into your digital signage network enables you to provide your employees with a hybrid solution where the main zone in a multi-zone layout contains the channel of your choosing whilst the other zones show company information. This is a great solution for canteens and breakrooms.
Add curated News, Sports and Entertainment content to keep displays fresh and relevant
An alternative to Live TV is to include syndicated news, sports and entertainment content within your digital signage content strategy. Your digital signage solution should incorporate News Apps that can be used for free or incorporate carefully curated content specifically designed for digital signage use from providers such as; Screenfeed and Seenspire.
Enhance your digital signage solution with Apps and Free Content
The openness and extensibility of your chosen digital signage solution will be demonstrated in availability of a marketplace in their platform. A Marketplace with free content, templates and apps created by the software provider along with carefully selected third-party apps and solutions that compliment the software providers core offering, these can include audience measurement, content creation tools and media sales integrations.
Choose an affordable, robust and scalable digital signage platform
Choosing a digital signage platform that is affordable, easy to scale, has a history of delivering digital signage solutions over decades and can demonstrate use by enterprise customers globally will ensure you have selected a partner that you can trust and will be around in years to come to support you.
Make sure your digital signage platform is enterprise grade and operates with your IT and network infrastructure
A digital signage solution will most likely be operating on your company network and will require to work seamlessly with your IT systems and security. Ensure you select a digital signage platform and company that can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to security including independent penetration testing to ensure that their software is not vulnerable to hackers and security flaws.
Your digital signage platform providers should be able to work with your IT team to lockdown access across your network to only the IP addresses or domains required to operate the solution and never require non standard ports to be accessible creating vulnerability in your network security.
Choose a partner that can provide custom support and services to ensure your digital signage project is a success from concept to business as usual
The success of your digital signage project will be dependant on the implementation and ongoing support provided by your digital signage platform provider. Make sure you work with a company that goes into great detail to fully understand your needs and can provide a custom proposal that includes; consultancy, creative services to setup content packs and integration with your internal systems, and can provide a support plan that meets your needs.
Integrate your digital signage solutions with emergency messaging systems
Mass Notification systems alert employees of an imminent danger and the action they need to take, an example being a fire in a building. Digital Signage provides an opportunity to inform employees of the action required to be taken if integrated into your mass notification and building management systems. Make sure you select a digital signage platform that can be integrated with your internal notification systems, instantly responding to events and showing important and potentially life saving information to your employees.
Ensure you have a wide choice of hardware that delivers your exact requirements
Unfortunately, many digital signage projects never deliver on the original objectives, the main reason being that the customer purchased displays and players without first considering whether they were best suited for their current and future requirements.
Make sure you work with a digital signage software provider that supports all of the industry leading industry manufacturers and their players or displays with players integrated. If they do not sell hardware, you can be sure that any advice they provide will be impartial and not influenced by commercial gain. Your chosen digital signage software provider will be able to advise you on which hardware is best for your requirements and work with the recommended hardware vendor (or vendors) to setup demonstrations, partner on proof of concepts and ensure the final solution comprising hardware and software delivers on your objectives.
Careful planning will ensure your digital signage project is a success
By ensuring you select a digital signage solution that delivers these capabilities, you can be confident that you have a selected a partner that can meet your needs; now and in the future.
In addition, you will greatly increase your chances of your digital signage project being a success.
Make sure you avoid digital signage solution providers that;
- Do not provide the consultancy, implementation and support services you will require to be successful.
- Have software and services that are costly and difficult to use and maintain.
- Cannot demonstrate a history and pedigree of delivering global workplace solutions.
- Their content creation and management is expensive.
- Their software lacks integration capabilities with your existing internal systems and data.
- Their platform is not robust and scalable.
- They restrict the display and players that you can choose.