Creating a Digital Signage Network (20. Throttling Growth)

                                                            Throttling Growth                                                                                      

You are going to be excited when you see that first content display hit your digital signs!  Everyone is going to be excited!  The creative juices will instantly begin flowing and ideas will pop-up faster than you can write them down.  Soon the realization will hit that you are only bounded by your own innovation, creativity and budget.  You will now need to manage how fast you grow in such a way that it is a reasonable and sustainable growth financially and from a personnel management aspect.  Have honest and frank discussions with your administrators about the cost of your growth and what their ongoing expectations and visions are for the growth of their digital signage network.

We have found that a phase broken down into achieving specific goals is the best way to progress to maximize the strengths of your new network.  It is a juggling act that can get out of control fast if you try to add too many things to your digital signage network system, too fast.  Add a new phase and master the benefits it brings for a period of time before you attack a new additional phase.  Let the dust settle on a new phase in case you need to work a few kinks out of it initially.  We usually target at least a week of solid performance before we release the next fancy bell or whistle.  If it doesn’t blow up in the first week we feel confident we can move on to our next phase(s).

If you have an emergency messaging feature built into your digital signage network always test any new phase change against the triggering of an alert message!  You might be surprised to find that some changes may effect the triggering of the alert message or add latency (extra time) to how quickly the alert message actually displays on your digital signage.  If a new feature adds latency, you need to make some difficult decisions or try to determine if tweaks can be made that will gain the lost time back.  We test these situations in isolation on a test player until we are satisfied with our results, then we release the changes gradually across our network to over 100 digital signs.  Our system switches to emergency alert mode within 10 seconds… if a change takes the response time to 20 seconds or more that represents a 100% increase in response time to display any alert.  You have to decide if the trade-off in the new feature  vs. response time increase is worth any extra liability.

Project management is a key component at this point when making such a decision.

Thoughts: 

Do not grow too fast!  Be patient.

What are reasonable expectations for time to market of a project phase?

Budget each Phase regarding personnel time to create or add the feature and the costs!

How is a Phase determined?  (Team approach and Goals for a Phase)

Avoid putting the cart before the horse!  Plan your research and development well.

Know your vendor supply chain and time required for delivery of equipment.

Where will we securely store equipment awaiting installation?

Know what administrators will do to support you now and in the future.

Know your installation times.  (Power Drops, Network Drops, Equipment Mounting)

Stay in touch with key players in the Phase.  (IT/Graphic Design, Vendors, Shipping, Installers)

Do we need to consider audience measurement data at some point?

Are we interested in wayfinding technology?

Are we interested in touch screen interactivity?

Are there benefits to key deployments of a video wall?

Will we develop an entrepreneurial model by selling advertising?

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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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