These are nutty, very scary times, but there are countless great examples of people doing what they can to help and make a difference.
There is a woman at truck stop off a barren stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Nova Scotia who is cooking hot meals, free, for truckers who are having trouble even finding a place to pull over for a restroom break, never mind get dinner. Amazing.
In the digital signage and DOOH ecosystem, many, many companies have developed content for our industry to run on screens, and you can find most or all of them referenced here. But I started wondering what else companies and individuals in our industry are doing.
I don’t mean tuning existing products to better serve a dramatically changed marketplace. That’s good, and in many cases helpful (like this), but those are business decisions and strategies in a time when some companies may just be trying to hang on.
I mean companies that are dropping what they normally do, re-tooling, or just being creative, to address needs that are either not being met, or helping with shortfalls.
Here are two great examples (and please send me more that involve industry companies):
Duggal Visual Solutions, a revered printing company based in New York, is using facilities it has at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard to make protective face masks for first responders working around the city’s boroughs.
The company has a digital wing and has done some interesting retail signage projects (they’re a past client), but most of what they do is high quality printing. Duggal is particularly known for working with photographers, and for its large format lightboxes.
With the fabrication studio Bednark, Duggal staff have a goal of producing 360,000 face shields, and the big greenhouse building in the Navy Yards is filled with people, boxes and completed shields. Awesome!
On the opposite coast, the digital signage solutions firm 10Net Focus in Vancouver, BC thought about ways to help, and came up with a scheme to re-purpose used digital screens to help connect families with loved ones who are separated by quarantines and social distancing mandates.
They secured screens and rolling AV carts from clients, loaded PCs with Zoom video conferencing software, and established portable set-ups that can be wheeled into extended care facilities so a grandmother, for example, can see and chat with her kids and grandkids.
“We have already secured a few more displays and PC’s and will be making more rolling carts in the days/weeks to come,” says 10Net’s Trevor Nuttall in a Linkedin post, “but are in need of QUALITY camera/mic/sound combinations.”
“A good A/V experience is the KEY to elderly people feeling connected as opposed to frustrated. If you have any hardware that you would like to donate or if you wish to join with us on this initiative, please reach out!”
“We wish to ‘donate’ these carts at cost with free remote support from us, so the more equipment that is donated the more people that can be connected in this time of ‘social distancing.”
I assume this is something the company can do in their own cities – Vancouver and now Phoenix. Doing so in other cities would be tough, but there are lots of integrators and solutions providers in other cities who have people, wheels and probably a lot of orphaned tech that still works.
Well done, guys!
As noted earlier, if you have a story to tell, let me know.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.