Health Care A Great Target Vertical For Digital Signage, But The Competition Is Not Just From Rival Providers
January 21, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Health care is a heavily pre-occupied right now by the pandemic, but I think that sector is a huge, longer-range target for digital signage applications that has largely been untouched to date.
Just in the same way workplaces developed into a huge vertical market for displays, addressing communication and operating issues through screens in common areas and at the gateways to shared meeting and work areas, the same needs are evident in health care settings. COVID-based broadcast news coverage from hospital environments regularly reinforces how patient rooms and nursing stations are STILL using marker pens and whiteboards to update patient and operating status, even though the caregivers are digitizing records and steadily tracking activity.
I note this because while it is a somewhat greenfields opportunity, the competition to win business is NOT just with other digital signage solutions providers. There are companies already very active in health care that are adding digital signage functionality to their offers – just as has been seen in other sectors, from payment systems to video conferencing (Zoom, for example, has rudimentary digital signage capabilities).
It would be very hard, time-consuming and expensive for a digital signage CMS to add non-signage communications to meet specialty needs like health care, but on the flip side, pretty easy for a health care-focused software to add basic digital signage functionality – like playing a set of videos in a loop.
Consider a company called Equiva, which announced this week how its health relationship management platform (or HRM) “cohesively powers delivery of educational content and applications via tablets, mobile apps, kiosks, digital signage and more.”
Equiva says its platform blends unique aspects of patient engagement, care management, and marketing in a framework that bridges data analytics with education and behavioral science-driven methodologies – to purposefully mobilize intelligence-driven action among consumers, patients, their loved ones, and members of the care team.
I have not seen Equiva and can’t speak to the depth of its digital signage features, but these sorts of bolt-on digital signage applications developed by companies that do other things tend to be pretty “lite” in terms of capabilities. They’re not usually built for scale and complexity, and the truly important stuff – like device management and data-handling – are absent or minimal. But the health care facility administrators probably don’t know that, or understand the importance of that.
It’s hard to crack a new vertical, especially if end-users are being asked to pay for, learn and use a platform that exists for just one aspect of communications and doesn’t push out to other devices, like mobile. What’s starting to develop with a handful of digital signage CMS platforms – Signagelive and Screencloud, for example – are headless CMS systems that allow business communicators to use the content and communication tools they already have, and then use an API (software handshake) to distribute and manage content to screens, without having to specifically use the digital signage CMS’ front-end and UX.
So … health care is, I think, a great vertical to look at, but companies need to understand the competition and also how their solutions can fit in and perhaps work with the tools already in place.