Once you’ve decided to invest in a digital signage network, you’ll need to make a number of decisions about how you’ll run it. Although even a little bit of research can overwhelm someone who is new to content management technology, you’ll soon start to make sense of the project once you ask yourself these basic questions:

  • What are the objectives, and how will we measure success?
  • How many sites are there? Where are they?
  • Which department will be responsible? Do they have resources available? Is this budgeted?
  • What does the content look like, how much of it will be needed, and how will it be produced?

It’s about planning, collaboration and assigning responsibility. When everyone knows how they’ll be engaging with the digital signage network, the characteristics for the most appropriate content management system (CMS) will become evident.

A good CMS like Laqorr * is the glue that holds a digital signage network together. Some are sold on an enterprise basis — meant to be installed and managed by a larger customer’s IT team. However, the majority of CMS are cloud-based platforms, with multiple end users accessing a shared set of servers and databases.

So what does a good CMS need to do?

1). It needs to work at scale. Whether you’re updating content on 1 display or 100 displays, you need a CMS that makes that process easy. You don’t want to have to update each display separately, you need to be able to issue one command that sends every screen new content at once.

2). It needs to play still images and video. There’s nothing as captivating as the moving image to tell a story, sell your brand or inform customers. Yet there are times when a still image is more appropriate, or legally required. Therefore your CMS must be able to play both, and play them seamlessly.

3). Don’t stop there. While images and video are the bread and butter of digital signage, it’s just as important to be able to bring up html files, websites and run apps on your network. You need a CMS that can do all that while also being able to assign different elements to different areas of the screen.

4). It needs to be web-based technology.  No one wants to have to visit the office at 10pm because a player in the network is not running the correct video. However, few of us mind logging in on a browser to load a file, or make a simple adjustment to a playlist. It takes seconds, not hours.

5). Most importantly, it needs to be secure. It is critical that your CMS does not compromise the data security of your company. You need complete confidence that no one can hack your CMS and burrow further into your organisation’s IT network, nor compromise your digital signage network itself.

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Choosing the right platform can be perplexing, but there are a few main factors to help you get started.

Budget

Most cloud-based systems charge by the device, per month, similar to wireless phone plans. On-premise systems usually have front-loaded one-time costs, which can work better for some companies if the system is funded as a capital cost, as opposed to an ongoing operating expense.

Operating style

Cloud-based systems leave the IT demands to the software as a service (SaaS) provider. Most end users now are opting for SaaS — outsourcing the system (and sometimes even operating tasks like scheduling and monitoring) to a service provider.

Content

Ultimately, the biggest influencer on CMS selection is what will be on the screen. For example, a platform designed for finance services may not suit the needs for retail marketing. A CMS that is incredibly robust and powerful might be over-engineered for the task at hand (and that brings you back to budget).

Laqorr * does all this and more.

Download our cheat-sheet to see how easy it is to load content, build a playlist and run media content on a national (or international) network of displays.

If you’d like to learn more about how Laqorr is the perfect fit for a digital signage network, get in touch with one of our subject matter experts today.

*Many people ask. Laqorr is pronounced La-Core

We used to have a client who drove across Sydney once a week with a pocket full of USB sticks. He’d visit one of his company’s offices, insert a stick in their digital signage screen then drive on to the next location and do the same. That’s how he updated his network. Actually, this was before he became our client. We made sure he didn’t need to do that anymore.

Yet if you’re doing a similar thing, there are a number of reasons why it’s time to retire your fleet of USB sticks (apart from the considerable inconvenience and parking hassles). Here are three of them.

Security

Most IT teams are wary of staff using USB sticks and with good reason. The opportunity for malware to infect systems is incredibly high, and it’s nearly always done without the user of the USB having any idea of the pain they’ve inflicted. Unless

Efficiency

Our client wasted an entire day updating his network with new content via USB. The same outcome takes minutes using a cloud-based content management system like Laqorr. He did it because it was the only way he could be confident the right content was on the right screen (something Laqorr now does for him simply and efficiently from the cloud).

Compliance

Which brings us to compliance. He could have posted the USBs but, assuming they arrived on time, could he be confident that staff would update the screens correctly? We’re all busy people and what was his priority might not be theirs. He couldn’t afford to take the risk of running old, outdated or possibly illegal content.

The USB had run its course. He moved into the cloud.

There are plenty of reasons why so many businesses now work in the cloud. Getting rid of USB sticks and managing content online is one of them.

Because cloud devices are the most affordable they have ever been, equipment failure rates are much lower than ever before and if you are currently refurbishing or renovating, it makes perfect sense to include cloud-based tech in your budget.

If you’ve had enough of USBs and are ready to move into the cloud, give us a call. We’ll talk about what’s best for your business and help you achieve an outcome that adds real value.

More and more companies have recognised the value of digital signage and kiosks. Among many benefits, it allows real time messaging that keeps their customers, and their staff, better informed. It also facilitates socially distanced engagement which is extremely important to many businesses.

In this space, old information is worthless, therefore it’s just as important that digital signage displays and kiosks are always on, always connected. You can’t afford to be one of those businesses that is so focused on placement that overlooks crucial issues regarding connectivity, security and compliance.

Consider this

There are numerous considerations when planning a digital signage or kiosk deployment: the number of displays, the types of displays, their location, installation, shopfitting, budget. Here are some others that are just as important.

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  • Connectivity. Without reliable, ‘always-on’ connectivity, your smart network quickly becomes a group of dumb screens. To ensure the network is functioning properly and your messaging strategy is always up to date, make use of all the technology available to you. For example, a wired line can provide a primary connection with failover to a second wired connection or a cellular 4G connection. Network design should always aim to locate 4G modems where they get the best signal (not just in the comms rack) then connect devices (routers, switchers, media players) by ethernet rather than WiFi.
  • Hardware. Indoor locations can challenge network design where it’s essential to provide a quality signal in dense buildings and through obstructions like walls and pillars. A trend toward outdoor settings (such as fairs or pop-up stores) also requires reliable connectivity and ruggedized, hyper-specific deployment of hardware.
  • Security. The larger your network, the greater the opportunity for cyber-attack. Routers that support digital connections must be “secure by design” with built-in security that’s thoroughly tested and manages multiple levels, from secure boot to encryption and authentication of passwords and data.
  • Device management. As data travels between applications and end devices, it’s critical to integrate a management solution that monitors data communication between devices and configures those devices to quickly identify and respond to potential issues and cybersecurity threats.
  • Cost. Always thoroughly evaluate the full setup costs before starting your deployment. With digital signage and kiosks, the costs of operations and ownership can be complex, spanning hardware, software, connectivity, deployment, management applications, security monitoring and support staff.

If you’re ready to begin planning your network strategy, or would value some guidance on best practices to ensure a good connection, please get in touch.

Omnichannel retail has transformed traditional ways of shopping, and ways of reaching consumers. Digital signage has been a major factor in that transformation, becoming central to marketing strategies for most bricks-and-mortar retailers. Yet despite the important role it plays in reaching consumers at a pivotal moment in their journey to purchase, some retailers are failing to get a good ROI from their digital signage network.

We sat down with our Enterprise Account Manager Matt Crawford to get his take on some of the common mistakes he sees, and how you can avoid them.

“It’s not as simple as putting up screens and removing all the posters in-store,” he said. “That approach misses what digital signage really has to offer. It’s not a stand-alone solution. It’s an important part of a strategy that connects the online presence and extends all the way to the physical stores”.

But what works online isn’t necessarily going to work in stores. Matt believes that you need to tailor creative as part of an overarching communication strategy. The messaging could be uniform, or it might be specific to every retail touch point from digital signage to touch screen kiosks or tablets like a Chrometab used by frontline workers. You’ll need a robust, carefully planned network to achieve that outcome.

Here are four of Matt’s pet peeves, mistakes made by those who haven’t thought very hard about their digital signage strategy.

right wrong post-it

1: The screen is an endpoint, not a starting point Don’t start with the screen, start with the strategy. It is important, obviously, but it comes much later in the list of decisions to be made.  “Before you carve out budget for equipment,” said Matt, “ask how will the ROI be measured? Will it be by sales-uplift, brand awareness, by enhancing customer or employee experience, or all of these? It’s important to work out who’ll be doing the creative and the scheduling and who will take ownership for digital signage for the organisation. Once that and many other things have been established, then and only then is it time to start thinking about the types of screens you want, and where they’re going to be located.”

Once you’re at that point you’ll need to think about size, brightness, visibility and rotation (landscape or portrait). If you have a mix of rotations, it will make your creative and scheduling processes more complicated. Is that ok, have you budgeted for the extra cost that may incur?

“When thinking about what your digital signage network will finally look like, put yourself in your customers shoes. Is it attractive, is it engaging, would it add value to your experience? If ‘No’ is the answer to any of these questions, then the strategy needs a bit more work”.

2: Location, Location ”That’s a mistake I see time and time again. It’s not good enough to put a screen in a window facing a busy road, run some ads and hope people will respond. What if the window doesn’t get enough foot traffic, or it’s not bright enough when flooded by afternoon sun? If the audience can’t read what’s on the screen, the whole thing ends up being a waste of time and money.”

You need to think about customer dwell time. The most sensible location might be the window, but it might actually be near the counter, or the sale items, or the dressing room (if you have one). If you can only afford one screen, make that location count. If you can afford more, make them all count as well.

3: Let’s Get Creative “Get creative with the creative,” says Matt, “and always tailor for the moment the  consumer is engaged with it. What works online may not work in-store. And what works on one screen may not work on another. External facing messages should encourage a visit to the store, while an indoor screen should help guide customers along their path to purchase”

Many retailers forget about how digital signage can be used for all kinds of messaging: informing shoppers about promotional offers, payment options, social distancing, and loyalty programmes. If you have tablets or kiosks, those messages can be even more targeted as these interactions tend to be personalised.

“Above all, the creative needs to be constantly adding value.” said Matt. “If not, what’s the point? If the screen content is static and just showing one image – not displaying engaging video, thought provoking ideas, or helpful messaging – you’re better off with a lightbox.”.

4. Content With Your Content? The content management system (CMS) that runs your digital signage network is the most powerful tool in your marketing strategy. A good system such as Laqorr allows you to place your creative exactly where you need it, exactly when you want it.

“I often refer to one of our clients who has a chain of stores that, among other things, sells umbrellas. Near train stations, stores push a bucket of brollies to the front when the trains arrive and they quickly run an umbrella promo on their screen. Not every store does it (there’s no point trying to sell an umbrella when the sun’s shining), just where it’s raining. And when the weather clears, they’d turn off that promotion. They almost always sell out of umbrellas. That’s the power of targeted, personalised digital marketing”.

Make sure you use all the power that the CMS offers, and a good CMS will make that easy for you. Complex scheduling requirements don’t have to be difficult to manage, but you do have set them up thoughtfully and you do have to manage them. Assigning resources to create the right content and implement a marketing strategy is crucial. And as the umbrella shop knows, the effort pays dividends.

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Last Words

“Digital signage works,” said Matt. “Whether that’s an internal display, a video wall, a kiosk, a tablet. Because you get to decide what plays where and when, you shape the conversation of your marketing in a very specific, very targeted way. When it’s done well, it connects online and physical environments, enhances customer experiences and helps drive sales.”

Learn more about how datmedia can help your business utilise digital signage. Contact us now, and ask for Matt.

Anyone who has done even the slightest research when choosing a screen for digital signage knows that not all displays are created equally. There are many factors that need to be considered carefully when making your choice. Sure, price is an important one, but it’s how you spend your money, not how much money you spend, that really counts. Here are a few things to think about when shopping for a display for your business.

Buy Cheap Buy Twice

Your grandmother knew what she was talking about on this one, and the same applies to digital signage. Some cheap displays are perfectly fine when used for a couple of hours at home. Try that in a commercial or retail setting and it’s a totally different ball game. Use a cheap screen for ten hours a day, every day, and they simply won’t last. You may even void your warranty, and that’s without the inevitable damage from knocks and bumps they’ll get in a busy store.

Commercial Warranty and Certification

Spend a little more for a screen that comes with a commercial warranty and Australian certification and you’ll be covered for anything between 16 and 24/7 use. This is especially important in a heavy duty location like a quick service restaurant where high temperatures and industrial grime can also take its toll.

Orientation

It’s important to know that domestic screens aren’t made to be put on their side. If you want to run portrait content on a landscape display (which all domestic models are), turning it on its side may void the warranty. It will probably shorten the life of the screen as well. A commercial grade display is built for mounting in both orientations.

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Brightness

This is the big one. Think very carefully about how people are going to view your display, and don’t under estimate the importance of making it easy – customers are not going to squint at your screen just to see your content. Check if there is any ambient light where you’re planning to mount the screen. Will it be in a window, facing the footpath? Are your windows tinted? Do they get a lot of direct sunlight? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you’ll need more than a standard screen.

NIT is a measure of brightness and a standard domestic model is around 300nit. If you want your message to jump out on an indoor display, you’ll need at least 450nit. If the screen is facing a window, make that 700nit. If it is in high ambient light, you’ll need upward of 2000nit. Not surprisingly, the brighter a screen is, the more expensive it becomes. This is especially true for larger format displays, those upward of 55” are noticeably pricier than the cheap domestic model we first spoke about. But remember, even if you spend just a few hundred dollars on a display but no one can read it, it’s still a waste of money.

The benefits of a commercial graded high-bright display speaks for itself. You won’t be wasting money on a display that hasn’t been designed to do the job and isn’t going to last. You’ll have the confidence that comes with a commercial warranty and above all, your digital signage will cut through for everyone to see. Which is the point, right?

datmedia partners with VUNO to supply clients who need well priced, high-bright screens. Their displays are excellent value for situations where high ambient light is an issue. Contact us for more information.

In any business, every task has a champion: the person who takes charge and makes sure the job gets done. Digital signage is no different – if you don’t have a champion to take care of it in your company, you’re in trouble.

You’re probably aware of the importance of digital signage or else you wouldn’t be reading this article. And you probably know that not all signage is created equally – there’s the good, the bad and the astonishingly ugly. Making sure you’re in the first category, not the last, is where your Champ comes in.

She or he is the person responsible for campaigns from start to finish. They own it. They coordinate with marketing to determine what the campaign looks like, the content strategy, and they make sure the design team pulls it together. The Champ will manage the approvals process and ensure media files are loaded to the Content Management System correctly and on time. They also make sure that the display units are running properly and show the right files on the right screens at the right time to the right audience. They’ll collate any run-data, oversee reporting and ensure all stakeholders get the information they need in a timely fashion. Then they’ll repeat the process for the next campaign.

If that sounds arduous and all a bit unnecessary – perhaps you’ve only got two screens on a single site – think again. No matter how small or how big your company may be, to do digital signage correctly you need to do all of those things. Chances are you’re doing them already and don’t even realise.

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In a small company the Champ is going to be multi-tasking and probably wears several of those hats. She or he could be the owner and the marketing person who also designs the artwork in Powerpoint, exports a few JPG’s and loads them to the screen via a USB. They’re in touch with their customers every day, so they know what works, and what doesn’t work. Using that feedback, they amend their files and rerun them until they get the results – the Return On Investment – that they’re looking for. A multi-national corporation will have more people involved but the process is exactly the same. And keeping it all together is the job of the Champ.

Consequently, digital signage is only as effective as the person running it. How good they’ll be comes down to training. You wouldn’t let someone who can’t drive behind the wheel of your car, so don’t let an untrained colleague drive the digital signage. Make sure your Champ understands the customer, knows how to build a campaign, how to design effective artwork, understands how your technology and software works, how to read the results. Training is critical, as is retraining. It shouldn’t be a one-time lesson but something that evolves along with the business.

Above all, the Champ must become your digital signage expert. They need to find an answer for any and all questions put to them by customers, clients, internal and external stakeholders. Because if they can’t do that, they can’t do their job. Digital signage turns into a wasted opportunity, your ROI goes through the floor and your once valuable network becomes a pointless, and expensive, group of TVs on the wall.

You don’t want that. You want results. So. Who’s your digital signage champ?

In business, very little happens overnight and only well planned projects happen at all. With a little more certainty taking hold, now is the time to think about the future, and how to get back there.

This is a great opportunity to rethink your engagement strategies – how do you want to reach customers, talk to your staff, and have them engage with clients? What do you do now that could be done better? What do you want to do that you’ve not had the capacity, nor the time, to do before?

The ‘new normal’ gives us all a chance to do things differently. One of your new strategies could be harnessing the power of the cloud. That might be finally discarding USB sticks from your screens and building a cloud based digital signage network that gives you complete control when engaging customers.

Or it might be enabling front line teams with interactive devices so they can be more client responsive, and more productive. Engagement and productivity improves the bottom line.

We help our clients engage their customers and enable teams through cloud based technology. Planning is the key, and now is the time to start. Talk to us about your future and find out how we can help you get back there.

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Today’s trends are often tomorrow’s every-day reality. There was a time when colour TV was only for rich families. Then every house-hold had a ‘colour set’, now it’s so ubiquitous that it’s unthinkable that your mobile device wouldn’t be in colour. That said, there was a time not so long ago when 3D was so on-trend it would take over cinema, television and mobile. Today, not so much.

Digital signage has had its own share of trends, some that changed the industry, others that hit the deck almost as soon as they had become a trend. Here are our thoughts on a couple that could become the next big thing. They may not affect you today, but they have the capacity to change the way you do business tomorrow.

Big Is Beautiful

For most businesses, bigger is definitely better. As new technology and soaring demand have allowed screen sizes to grow in size but shrink in price, more and more companies are installing digital displays for all sorts of reasons: promotional activity, training, corporate communications, wayfinding and so forth. It was only a couple of years ago that a 55” LCD screen was a big deal. Today they are commonplace, if not a tad on the small size. Expect to see 80” become standard with ever brighter nit ratings (brightness). 2500 to 5000nit displays enable your message to be seen in the highly sun affected conditions at a price much cheaper than you’d think. And these displays will only get bigger and brighter.

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3D Wayfinding

This doesn’t mean you’ll need to dig in the cupboard looking for your red-and-green cardboard specs next time you go to the supermarket. However it could change the way you interact with a way finder device next time you’re at a shopping centre, museum, hospital or any multi-level facility where navigation is important. 3D Wayfinding helps a user find their way with interactive, first-person mapping on a touch-screen or kiosk.

Mobile

Events of 2020 certainly changed the way we view healthcare, and the way it operates. It has propelled a quiet revolution that was taking place with professionals having greater access to data on the move. At the forefront of that is a need for better software working with secure, robust devices on equally secure, robust platforms (a Chrometab running Google Chrome for instance). As Google itself says, the combination offers “A better, faster way to work. Fast boots, background updates, and a familiar interface give precious time back to patients.” Which sounds pretty good to us, especially if you’re waiting in a hospital queue.

As with changes in mobile and screen technology, it’s another example of how incremental advances in both software and hardware suddenly combine to make a substantial improvement in the way we live our lives.

Many businesses are looking for a mobile device solution for their frontend team. It helps associates be nimble, more proactive and more efficient. They also help customers more readily engage with your organisation. A mobile, cloud-based device helps bring the online world into the physical space. But there’s a concern when deploying a fleet of mobile devices – security.

How do you fend off hackers, fraudsters, phishers and other threats from causing mayhem on your network. From irritating malware to breaches that could cost your business serious money, opportunists abound. That’s why organisations are spending more than ever to improve security with a raft of products and services. They too cost money.

There is another way to protect your company, your team and your clients. It offers tremendous flexibility and extends across a range of cloud-native devices designed for frontend workers. We’ve spoken before about the merits of Chrome Enterprise as it supports the Chromebox for digital signage, Chromebooks, Chromebases and Chrometabs – but a little repetition never goes astray.

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Chrome Enterprise is a new solution to an old problem. Recognising that the serious concerns posed by malware, ransomware, phishing and hacking was never going away, Chrome Enterprise took a unique approach to endpoint security.

Multi-layered device security. Each software layer within a Chrome device works together by design to provide unique security benefits.

  • Encrypt user data
  • Prevent OS tampering
  • Reduce on-device data footprint
  • Regularly patch and update

Isolated and managed apps. Ensure harmful apps are kept out of users’ hands.

  • Limit attack surface with sandboxing
  • Enforce access policies
  • Secure multiple ecosystems

Phishing 

  • Google Safe Browsing warns users of malicious sites before navigating to them.
  • Security keys and 2SV help prevent hackers from using stolen passwords.
  • If attack prevails: Password Alert Policy requires users to change a password when its used with an unauthorised site.

Ransomware

  • Low on-device data footprint limits the data that can be held at ransom.
  • Read-only OS prevents executables from running locally.
  • If attack prevails: Verified boot confirms the system is unmodified at boot up.

Malicious apps

  • Per-permission based blocklisting controls what extensions can be accessed.
  • Managed Google Play facilitates curation by user group and policy configuration by app.
  • If attack prevails: Sandboxing limits attack surface.
datmedia solutions team enablement chrometabs

That’s why Chrome devices don’t require Antivirus software. Installed apps can’t modify the Operating System, and Sandboxing isolates any attack to a limited surface. Updates to the OS happen in the background without disrupting a user’s session. Sensitive data can be isolated to a configured session, then completely, and automatically, erased.

That’s why Chrome devices are an excellent choice for frontline workers and businesses that value mobile flexibility for customers. They’re built around an endpoint security framework that is designed to keep your business safe in the cloud.

If you’d like to learn more about how Chrome Enterprise in general, and the Chromebox,  Chromebooks, Chrometabs and Chromebases in particular, can benefit your organisation, please get in touch. We’d love to help.

A good content management system (CMS) is the glue that holds a digital signage network together. No one wants to have several displays in different locations with the only way to update them is to drive around town with a pocket full of USBs. True story – we had a client who did exactly that. When they had new content, they’d load up USB keys then travel all over the city and manually insert them into each display. It was quicker than the post, cheaper than a courier but a huge waste of time, right?

There’s a smarter way which lets you update any display in your network with the click of a mouse. A good CMS will let you maintain your schedules anywhere you can get data reception.  Another true story – a client of ours has been known to update their CMS from a phone while sitting at the beach. We call that Working From Home, In Style.

man phone beach

So what does a good CMS need to do?

1). It needs to work at scale. Whether you’re updating content on 1 display or 100 displays, you need a CMS that makes that process easy. You don’t want to have to update each display separately, you need to be able to issue one command that sends every screen new content at once.

2). It needs to play still images and video. There’s nothing as captivating as the moving image to tell a story, sell your brand or inform customers. Yet there are times when a still image is more appropriate, or legally required. Therefore your CMS must be able to play both, and play them seamlessly.

3). Don’t stop there. While images and video are the bread and butter of digital signage, it’s just as important to be able to bring up html files, websites and run apps on your network. You need a CMS that can do all that while also being able to assign different elements to different areas of the screen.

4). It needs to be web-based technology.  No one wants to have to visit the office at 10pm because a player in the network is not running the correct video. However, few of us mind logging in on a browser to load a file, or make a simple adjustment to a playlist. It takes seconds, not hours.

5). Most importantly, it needs to be secure. It is critical that your CMS does not compromise the data security of your company. You need complete confidence that no one can hack your CMS and burrow further into your organisation’s IT network, nor compromise your digital signage network itself.

Laqorr does all this and more. Download our cheat-sheet to see how easy it is to load content, build a playlist and run media content on a national (or international) network of displays.

If you’d like to learn more about how Laqorr is the perfect fit for a digital signage network, get in touch with one of our subject matter experts today.