Seven Reasons Why Your Digital Signage Job May Look Like Crap

March 13, 2024 by guest author, Nick Lynch

Guest Post: Nick Lynch, cFire

I often am amazed out in the world when I see screens small and large with obvious errors from minor to grotesque.  In my experience here are 7 reasons why your digital signage may be suboptimal or down right crappy!

  1. Network – Depending on the number of displays and locations your network architecture is causing big problems.  This can be as simple as a speed issue if your displays are intended to stream content.  Other little hiccups can come from the wrong network switch installed in the chain,  that is not a gigabit switch, hobbling all other equipment in the chain.
  2. No Quality Assurance Program – After spending so much time and money creating content, a certain fatigue sets in and the team creating content should not QA it.  Employ either a third party or a parallel team to do a real QA assessment, and don’t do it from a laptop!  Go see the content and note errors, etc, and budget for this including travel.
  3. Leadership – Many organizations struggle to truly lead an intelligent content strategy, especially around smaller screens in hallways and other employee areas.  Often, leadership is focused on the biggest screens with the perceived highest impact. Do sweat the small stuff.
  4. Security – Not only do you not want the displays hacked, but a real problem I’ve heard about is the night security staff getting into the server room and attempting to turn off the system, because they are tired of looking at the same content.
  5. Technical Media – Somewhere a creative team is working on content according to, hopefully, a content creation guide supplied by a vendor or an internal resource.  At some point, their output must match the specifications in resolution, frame rate, codec and aspect ratio.  Also, someone receiving this content to play on screens must be able to competently assess its quality and ability to meet the specifications.  Here, there can be friction between these entities, resulting in a compromised output or down-right sabotage.
  6. Technical Hardware – Have you ever seen a server room required to power an LED wall?  I have seen many, and often there is a long list of components and cables that all should be replaced every 3-5 years.  There may be a grumpy systems tech that knocks another vendor’s server offline while working on their own, resulting in a giant black screen for two days, while five or more parties determine fault.
  7. Ownership – Slightly different from leadership, ownership is a huge responsibility for a signage program.  This person or team will need to understand the total ecosystem in order to be successful and be committed to success.

In conclusion, there are myriad ways for your expensive digital signage program to make your organization look bad everyday.  Be proactive and understand where the gremlins are in the ecosystem and make sure they’re asleep by midnight.

Great-looking content is a team effort and a combination of skill, technical expertise, good taste and the will of your enterprise.

About The Writer

Nicholas Lynch is the Executive Creative Director of cFire, a San Francisco area digital design studio specializing in immersive content technology. We increase engagement in physical places using digital art and nature, video wall content, immersive installations, and event technology. For example, his team made the award-winning Waterfall in Safesforce’s headquarters building.

  1. Wes Dixon says:

    Very good list…My favorite is #7

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