Creating a Digital Signage Network (3. Needs Assessment)

Assessing the Need(s) for Digital Signage   

                        General branding for the organization

                        Emergency Messaging  (24/7/365)

                        Institutional Advancement

                        Organizational Messaging

                        Staff Communications

                        Faculty Communications

                        Student Communications

                        Alumni Communications

                        Public Communications

                        Announcements

                        Special Events

                        Campus Maps

                        Institutional Video and Audio Content

                        Room Usage Schedules

                        Weather  (Useful to keep the audience engaged with your signage.)

                        Interactive Kiosks

                        Institutional Bookstores

                        Institutional Retail Stores

                        Instructions

                        Education

                        Floor / Building Layouts

                        Way-finding  (Getting people from Point A to Point B.)

                        Social Media Integration  (Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc.)

                        Fast Food and Restaurant Menus

                        Public Service Announcements (PSA’s)

                        Employment Opportunities

                        Building “Goodwill” with the audience (even subliminally)

                        Advertising opportunities

Here are some further questions to ask within the discussion group.  These questions will spur the conversation and assist in establishing a track to run on for the next steps in the decision making process.  Certain discussions will determine if you need a single system to cover one specific location or if you need a more robust system that will cover multiple sites (buildings, campuses or areas) and whether they are located indoors or outdoors.  We use the term “players” to mean a computer than is used to hold the data that will be displayed and to manage that data.  Multiple digital signs can be daisy chained from one player / computer to display the same messaging content over the larger network.  You will need to assess if any existing IP networks within your organization can be utilized to transport the content data to the digital signage and if existing electrical power is available at the spot of choice for the physical signage.  CAVEAT:  It is strongly suggested to include your IP network management team in this discussion early on in the process.  You will also need to begin thinking about how you want your content to be displayed and how it will appear on your signage.  You may need to think of certain people within your organization that possess those requisite skill sets who will create your attractive messages.
Did you perform a thorough digital signage needs analysis?

What are your short and long term goals for your digital signage network?

Will your digital signage network include internal and / or external advertising?

Will your network include live content (live broadcast TV, streaming video, RSS feeds)?

Where do we think digital signage will impact the most pedestrian foot traffic?

Did you perform a site survey for each deployment of digital signage considered?

Will my solution be local or multi-site digital signage deployments?

What are the environmental conditions at each site?

Is the environment secure at the intended deployments?

Are electricity and IP network capabilities available and stable?

What are the specific attachment points to existing infrastructures (block, steel, wood)?

Have you determined the size and number of digital monitors needed?  (Appendix D)

How far away or close will each display be viewed from the audience?  (Appendix D)

Is there secure access to the digital displays and player(s)?

How many existing digital displays will be used?

Do you need interactive digital monitors?  (Wayfinding, touch screen)

Where will your digital players be installed, situate to the digital monitors?  (Data Closet)

What kind of IP network connections do you need?

Are there IP bandwidth limitations to be considered?

Is a fixed IP address network structure available?

Have you assigned a content administrator for content creation?

How many people or locations will need to control the broadcast content?

Does your digital signage solution need flexible scheduling?

Do you need digital display power management (On / Off)?

Do you need audio to accompany video at specific sites?

What do you want digital signage to do for the institution?

Do we have a clear and definable message for our audience(s)?

Will this add value to our institution?

Is this a mission critical project for our organization?  (General and/or Emergency messaging)

There comes a time in the discussion you need to determine if you have the various resources available within the existing organization to not only create your messaging to be displayed, but also to physically install the equipment, hardware and set-up the software management systems.  This is a function of time and you will need to determine when you want your network to be up and running.  If you do not have the people and resources available from within, you will need to consider outsourcing those portions of the project.  We generally outsource network and electrical power drops and installation of the signage (mounting hardware and the digital monitor) to local vendors so that we stay focused on the things we can control from within our own department.  Once the vendors have the network and power drops in place and the monitors mounted, our team goes to the site and proceeds to “light them up” at the appointed time!

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About swgraham2

Mountain Mists is an opportunity to develop some thought processes individually as I journey through this wonderful world; as someone who values highly effective management techniques and the art of leading teams; and through my association with West Virginia University as a professional technologist and network manager specializing in digital signage.
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