How to Deploy Digital Signage
As in the real estate business, the old saying for success is… location, location, location! Placement of a digital sign is critical. It needs to be seen regularly to be effective. To be sure, there are often internal “political” issues involving certain locations to be overcome from time to time. Also, if you are considering outdoor deployments of digital signage you need to be cognizant of local traffic laws concerning outdoor signage and its proximity to the roadway. Digital “billboards” cannot change the display image duration time too quickly due to road safety concerns. Your digital signage cannot become an undue distraction to drivers. Laws often require that a display image must stay “on screen” a minimum number of seconds before it can transition to the next displayed image.
Begin the discussion of placement early on in the planning process so that you get maximum buy-in from everyone. You do not want to take away from the ambiance, historic site association, or respect for a specific venue by placing digital signage in an inappropriate space. Sell the stakeholders on the overall benefit of a well-placed digital sign for everyone involved. We have found key locations in the organization that maximize our message exposure to the transient pedestrian traffic on our campuses and at the same time are considerate of the décor of the client’s facility. Here are some of the locations we have targeted for our digital signage on our three campuses at West Virginia University, or are in the planning phases for future deployment:
High pedestrian traffic areas
Pedestrian “Choke-Points” or intersections of foot traffic
Classrooms (Clocks with ONLY Emergency Messaging in background)
Longer Pedestrian Dwell Times
Student Housing Complexes
Building “Commons” areas (Lobby areas and reception areas)
Parking Garage exits
Vertical (Corner Left) Horizontal (Center)
Study Areas (Student Union)
The Mountainlair (Student Union) is a high pedestrian traffic area on campus that includes the food court area, student study areas, main lobby reception desk, career services, restaurants, games area and formal meeting rooms. We have 18 digital signs running three separate information loops in this facility that highlight general WVU information, WVU Student Organizations and WVU Career Services.
Mountainlair Main Reception Desk
Small framed Digital Sign near Conference Room
Digital signage should be sized according to the venue. Bigger is not always better! We use the smaller footprint of the digital sign in a narrow hallway that receives a lot of foot traffic or where lines tend to form for special events in the area outside the Blue Gold Ballrooms.
Mountaineer Games Area
Large Reception Area
WVU includes digital signage in the games area where the large bowling alley, billiards room and pinball / air hockey games are located. We also have digital signage placed in areas where we hold career fairs and other areas where vendors meet our students, faculty and staff.
Elevator Area (WVU Library)
Eliza’s Café (WVU Library)
Access to elevators is an ideal deployment for digital signage. There are longer dwell times there and lessens the perceived waiting time that people experience. Food Courts, Cafés and Dining Halls are excellent choices for digital signage placements as people dwell there longer and often are in lines waiting for their food orders to be served or are sitting longer as they eat their meals.
WVU College of Business & Economics has two deployments of digital signage outside of the Dean’s Offices and also outside of the Academic Programs & Advising Offices. These areas have ample seating adjacent to the entrances for students and visitors and are high pedestrian traffic areas.
Evansdale Residential Complex (Reception Desk)
Brooks Tower Dining Facility
The seventeen WVU Student Residential Complexes on our three campuses all include digital signage in the daily lives. Obviously, the emergency messaging features of our network provide 24/7/365 safety alerts in the event of problems on our campuses. All of the Dining Facilities on our campuses enjoy digital signage as a part of the individual décor of the facility.
The Brew & Gold Café on the main floor of one of the student residence halls has long lines of thirsty students that stretch through the hallway in the mornings. This is an opportune time to market the institutional message to students awaiting their turn at the counter.
On the day of a new deployment, we send our digital signage team (including an Engineer from our sister unit) to the deployment site to “light up” the new digital signage. Your IT professional is the key to success, especially on deployment day; hopefully you are as fortunate as we are in having identified an IT Guru/Ninja for this significant hire. Our IT Professional Technologist installs and confirms the computer / player that is located in a nearby data closet is running optimally, while the Engineer makes the final connections of power and IP network to the digital signs at that location as well as makes any final adjustments to the picture quality. They also use a super-secret PIN code to lock the monitor down to prevent mischievous people from attempting to change the channel on the monitor away from our intended message stream. (Yeah, go figure!) The digital signs at that deployment then join all the other digital signs on our WVU campuses in receiving these various loops of information which are updated from our Master Control Room on a minute by minute basis automatically. If all goes well, the WVU Information Station can be fully functional in about an hour on deployment day.