Most schools are hard up for money with budgets always strained: there are always expenses to account for, new equipment to purchase, educational resources to update… the list is endless. (more…)
In the crowded space of digital signage solutions, picking one is becoming increasingly difficult.
This is further complicated by the multitude of stakeholders with varying requirements – from marketing and communications to operational and most importantly, IT stipulations.
With over a decade’s experience working with buyers across multiple companies and departments, we have come across a lot of variety in the level of sophistication and knowledge about digital signage systems.
For the most part, buyers have a fairly clear vision of the overall objective of the signage network and what kind of content they would like to have.
But most buyers, even experienced C-level executives, do not know the pros/cons between different digital signage technology architectures e.g. on-premise vs hosted, or between a solution developed in PHP vs Python or an android-based vs Linux-based solution. Neither do they have the time nor see a need to learn to be an expert. And this is ok.
That being said, the technical success of a digital signage project depends, to a large part, on its pre-sale evaluation, i.e. the Q&A between the project manager and the vendor.
Don’t Ask These Questions
During a typical 8-10 week evaluation process to vet digital signage providers, we respond to approximately 12-15 technical questions. While most are relevant and critically important, there are other questions we get asked ALL THE TIME, but in a very imprecise way that leaves a lot to interpretation.
Here are some of our (not-so) favorite questions:
1. How good is your support?
At Mvix, we are frequently asked this question and we launch ourselves into a monologue of the fact that we provide a 3-pronged support structure which includes 24/7 phone support, help desk tickets, and knowledgebase articles, with 2 hierarchical levels of technical sophistication (which we refer as Level-1 and Level-2 support).
But did that monologue really answer the question of how “good” our support is? Obviously not.
2. Is your software easy to use?
Hands-down, one of the most “blah” questions.
It’s akin to asking “How easy is it to drive a car?” or “How easy is it to use a computer?” or “How easy is it to ___________ (fill in your favorite task)?”
The answer for any of these questions is obvious – it’s not about the software, but the user’s adaptation. No vendor will ever tell you that their software is not easy to use. If they thought so, they would’ve corrected it anyway.
Considering the above, are these really the best ways to ask such questions to get a detailed, meaningful and valid answer?
So, what questions should IT directors ask to vet digital signage providers?
Regardless of your industry and/or your specific functional needs, the questions listed below are critical to ask of any prospective digital signage providers.
Ask them to make sure you are:
- fully identifying business opportunities
- analyzing security capabilities
- effectively checking references
- setting the right implementation expectations
- accessing the necessary level of training and support
- putting yourself in a position to scale for future company growth
- understanding how to measure the results of your investment
Ask These Questions Instead
There are several ways to approach this, but for the purpose of simplicity let’s divide into product questions and support questions.
Product and Evolution:
Targeted questions IT directors can ask about applications and platforms:
- Language? Methodology used?
- How frequent are new releases? What is your process for rolling these out? Are there fees for upgrades to new versions? Can you give some examples of new features released in the last upgrade?
- Has the product offering expanded by acquiring other companies and connecting different solutions?
- What percentage of time does the development team spend on support vs R&D?
The goal of these questions is to understand if the product has a ton of legacy code.
More lines of code are NOT good. It means more time spent on maintenance and more work and cost associated with upgrades. In fact, upgrades will take longer and major changes in the user interface become almost impossible.
Support and Onboarding:
Targeted questions that IT directors can ask to vet digital signage providers include:
- Will I have an assigned point of contact to support me?
- What is the guaranteed uptime per the SLA? How long is the average response time?
- What is the percentage of solved issues in 1 contact?
The goal here should be to understand if support is Proactive or Reactive.
They are really a misunderstanding by the client on how to use the solution.
Companies that provide dedicated training resources can prevent this confusion for their clients, providing a much better experience.
This is just the tip of the iceberg; the more specific questions buyers ask, the happier they will be with the digital signage fit and the more successful the relationship will be.
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Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day is on its way. Here are several templates for Valentine’s Day to use for your digital signage displays.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and mutual respect for our significant others. However, it’s also a great opportunity for businesses to generate some much-needed revenue at the beginning of the new fiscal year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), total Valentine’s Day spending in 2015 was projected to reach almost $19 billion – with $1.7 billion of that from candy sales alone. That’s a lot of chocolate-covered caramel.
Digital Signage Templates for Valentine’s Day
Unlike many other holidays, Valentine’s Day offers a unique opportunity for businesses. Consumers, both male and female, will be on the lookout for special deals, discounts, and offers. That’s because they want to find the perfect gift without breaking their post-holiday budgets. This is where Valentine’s Day digital signage templates enter the picture.
A cornerstone concept of digital signage is delivering the right message at the right time – and the time to deliver Valentine’s Day themed advertising is now. Digital signage templates for Valentine’s Day will help inform consumers about what deals are available, and the different ways they can make the big day special. Also, how they can set themselves apart from all the other couples competing to find the best gifts. (Because let’s face it, the post-Valentine’s Day comparison among couples happens every year, and nobody wants to come in last.)
Valentine’s Day templates can inspire consumers with new ideas and make them aware of gift options that they might never have considered. This is true regardless of industry – sometimes buyers don’t know what they want until they see it. Add in the extra pressure on consumers to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift (and the consequences if they fail!) and retailers have the perfect recipe for encouraging both planned and spur of the moment purchases.
Digital Signage Templates for Restaurants
Restaurants and food service businesses usually fare well on Valentine’s Day.
NRF’s research found that over a third of surveyors (35.1 percent) made plans for an evening out on the town. This included visiting restaurants for a romantic dinner. Naturally, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants.
Consider how restaurants can use Valentine’s Day digital signage templates to enhance patrons’ experience:
- Showcase unique Valentine’s Day menus and food offerings.
- Display special deals applicable only during the Valentine’s Day season, such as discounts for couples who dine together.
- Create a romantic mood by altering the layout of traditional menu signage to include festive themes and colors to set the mood.
Everyone has to eat, and plenty of consumers will happily pay to have professionals handle the food side of things on the big day. Food service businesses should begin leveraging restaurant templates now to spread the word and guarantee a packed house before the 14th rolls around.
Digital Signage Templates for Hotels
Valentine’s Day and its associated weekends are hot choices for couples interested in planning a romantic getaway. Research shows on Valentine’s Day, shows 40 percent of travelers choose hotel/motel accommodations over options like vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts, or ski lodges.
This means that hotels stand to rake in profits during the week of Valentine’s Day – as long as travelers are aware of the deals these hotels have to offer. Hotels can use Valentine’s Day digital signage templates to:
- Welcome holiday travelers with warm greetings on customized digital displays.
- Advertise romance packages for couples offered on a limited-time basis.
- Display unique accommodations through festive templates that inform guests about lodging perks and upgrades.
Research further found that when it comes to gift giving, surveyors preferred a shared experience (like travel) with their partner over any type of product (beating out heavy hitters like smartphones, candy, and even jewelry).
Hotels can leverage the flexibility of digital signage templates for Valentine’s Day to help guests feel comfortable and guarantee they have an unforgettable experience.
Digital Signage Templates for Corporate Settings
Many of us might not imagine the workplace as the place for Valentine’s Day festivities. However, don’t be too quick to assume that the holiday is only for couples. The above research shows that half of all consumers are single. That’s a fact that businesses often neglect during the couples-oriented Valentine’s shopping season.
Valentine’s Day is a day of appreciation. So, many individuals take the occasion to reach out to their close coworkers in corporate settings. The data shows that behind couples, who typically spend around $99 on their significant others, people actually spend the next largest sums on their coworkers – around $54.
Digital signage templates for Valentine’s Day in corporate settings can be utilized to spread goodwill and warm feeling throughout the office, something greatly needed in our hectic work environments:
- Digital templates to remind workers about the holiday and urging them to show their appreciation for their fellow employees.
- Signage to raise awareness of office initiatives to boost morale. This includes spreading the word about holiday parties, get together, or gift-exchanges that may be taking place.
- Human Resources departments can use customizable digital displays to remind employees about corporate policies related to inter-office relationships or public displays of affection.
Valentine’s Day in corporate settings must be handled with care. However, digital signage templates for Valentine’s Day can be a great way to support a respectful workplace. It will also make everyone feel appreciated.
Digital Signage Templates for Colleges
The Valentine’s Day season is a busy time of year for colleges; both for students who are single and looking and those in happy relationships. Many retailers may not consider cash-strapped college students a prime demographic. However, business owners shouldn’t underestimate Millennial spending power.
Research on the buying habits of the 18 to 24 year old demographic shows that this group is optimistic about the future of the economy and is willing to spend if the occasion calls for it.
And NRF’s research shows that the average 18 to 24-year-old shopper still spends nearly $169 per year on Valentine’s Day. Therefore, marketing to this group on their home turf can be lucrative for retail businesses. Digital signage templates for colleges can be leveraged in numerous ways:
- Displaying holiday promotions from university-sanctioned businesses within college unions, food courts, or spirit stores.
- Informing college students about sponsored Valentine’s Day events on campus they may want to attend.
- Using customizable, scrolling displays in areas of heavy foot traffic to provide maximum exposure for holiday offers. This is a strategy that can only be found through digital displays.
Reaching Consumers through Digital Signage
There’s no denying that Valentine’s Day supports consumer spending. From happy couples to corporate employees to singles spending the day with friends, most of us will end up hitting the stores before the 14th arrives.
Businesses hoping to get in on these profits must do everything they can to grab consumer attention. They must impress them with the value they have to share. We all know that digital signage is engaging. Therefore, combining established digital strategies with digital signage templates for Valentine’s Day is a powerful way to guarantee that business owners feel the love this Valentine’s season.
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