When I sat down at my desk and turned on my computer (a Chromebox) this morning, there was a little alert advising that an update was available and to restart to apply the update. Now in a Windows or Mac world that could potentially render your device useless for an hour or so while the updates are downloaded, installed and applied. However, on a Chromebox (or any Chrome device including Chromebooks) a reboot never takes longer than 10 seconds until the machine is fully operational. I’m serious. 10 seconds. So I rebooted and got to work.Then I thought to myself, remember back when you had to worry about antivirus software and the relentless job of keeping it up-to-date. That’s all obsolete now. The Chrome Operating System has such sophisticated security features built-in, that even worrying about devices becoming compromised is now a thing of the past.

Often when I am speaking to prospective new clients that have a need and use for digital signage, touch screens and devices for frontline workers and customers, a common concern arises. Security. One of the fears that would-be digital signage users have is that someone will hijack the content on their screens and display competitors content (or worse).

One horror story about this type of activity was in 2019 when hackers uploaded a pornographic video that then screened on high profile central Auckland promotional screens to shocked shoppers and pedestrians. The video ran for approximately two hours from 8 am. While some people were shocked, others reportedly just stopped and watched. With all of the hard work that Marketing and Branding teams do to build trust, loyalty and brand advocacy, this is not the type of content any business would like playing on their screens.

chromebooks-bank

Another concern organisations often have is that a network of digital signage devices will add to the IT Team’s workload. Setting up and maintaining a fleet of new devices would usually just add risk, vulnerability and extra work for the IT Team. By using Chrome Enterprise one IT Team reduced device setup time from three hours to 25 minutes. They said: “Chrome Enterprise adds extra security features that protect employees and our platform while offering easy support tools for our IT team”.

Many people are wondering what the #NewNormal will be like. If you think about it, using devices that increase security, reduce workloads and mitigate risk should really be part of the new normal for organisations. Here are five security features that you might not (but should) know about Chrome devices and the Chrome operating system:

Sandboxing

Chrome OS keeps different software on Chrome devices separate with sandboxing. So even if one part somehow gets infected, the rest is designed to stay safe.

Verified boot

Every time a Chrome device starts up, it goes through Verified Boot — a rigorous and seamless security check-up in the background that prevents malware.

Security chip

Protect your data. Every Chromebox and Chromebook includes a built-in security chip to encrypt the most sensitive data and keep it away from prying eyes.

Built-in virus protection

Built-in virus protection defends Chrome devices from malware automatically. You can focus on what you need to do, instead of installing third-party security software.

Powerwash

In the rare event that something does go wrong, a fresh start is just a click away. With the power-washing feature on Chrome devices, they can easily be reset (even remotely) to restore factory settings and get rid of malware in the process.

it security

So in a year when cybersecurity has never been more important, It’s nice to know that there are simple technology choices that can help alleviate risk, increase productivity and tighten security. If you or someone you know are considering digital signage, but have security and IT concerns, you should try a Chrome device demo. I can hook it up for free and it could end up saving your organisation hundreds of IT hours and unnecessary security headaches.

If you have found this article insightful, or helpful, please consider sharing it to help others to find out how to gain critical control in managing threats and mitigating the harmful impacts of attacks. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Outdoor digital signs look great and can attract a lot of eyeballs; after all, that’s what they’re there for. But before you plunge in and make a decision to take your digital communication outdoors, there are a couple of things you should consider.

The Benefits

Outdoor digital signage is a powerful communications tool that engages audiences (potential customers) and saves on operational costs (like printing and compliance).

It offers significant visual appeal in places where you can’t normally focus your customer’s attention Because of the dynamic exchange afforded by video or social media content as well as real-time scheduling, you have the opportunity for truly meaningful interaction. 

While you can coordinate your marketing strategy both indoors and outdoors, you have the opportunity to make a point of difference. 

The Purpose

Deciding what you want to use your screen for will help you decide what type of screen is right for you. Ask yourself what sort of content will you be running, how complex will it be, do you want customers to engage with that content directly?

LCD are great for dynamic brand messaging with fine, detailed artwork. There are limitations about size, scale and brightness. LED screens can be significantly brighter and more flexible (you need to wrap your display around the side of a building? No problem). Touch screens offer the ability for customers to interact directly with your content (which is ideal for wayfinding, for instance).

The Challenges

Location is the most obvious challenge. You’ll need placement that meets the following requirements:

  • VISIBILITY – can customers see the screen, are they able to engage with its content?
  • BRIGHTNESS – is it bright enough for them to read in even brighter, direct sunlight?
  • WEATHER – an IP rated enclosure increases safety by managing rain, snow, dust, heat and bugs.
  • TAMPER PROOF – accidents happen. Your display will require strong housing to mitigate damage or vandalism

You must also consider power and data – can you get these services to your ideal location, safely and efficiently?

In short, outdoor digital signage significantly increases your ability to reach customers in new and exciting ways. It allows you to expand your network and take your marketing into new territory. If you’re ready to talk to someone about your plans, get in touch with our team.

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.

solutions_cx_neverware_hero

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

I am recovering from shoulder surgery and my physiotherapist said to me, “You’re not out of the woods yet, but you are definitely in a clearing.”

Unexpectedly, the retail sector also seems to be in a clearing as we emerge from 2020. After years of commentary forecasting a brick-and-mortar retail apocalypse, CBNC reports that for the first time in five years, retailers will open more stores than they will close in 2021, according to Coresight Research. This is encouraging for consumers and good news for retailers during this surprisingly exciting time for retail.

2020 created retail space vacancies which have enabled retailers to negotiate shorter, more flexible leases with more affordable rental contracts. This has created opportunities for retailers to diversify their footprint, experiment with new formats and open new stores

Another thing that 2020 prompted was a digital shift in consumer behaviour, which has expedited digital transformation plans for many organisations. As the retail sector evolves to meet the ever-changing expectations of consumers, value-adding digital solutions have become an essential component when opening new stores.

free demo device

Purpose-built digital signage, touch screen kiosks and cloud-native devices enhance customer experience and improve employee engagement; and are perfect digital touchpoints to add value to new stores. With multiple internal stakeholders involved in the planning process, there are numerous reasons to include in-store digital in the new store budget.

When digital signage has been part of the architectural design and installed by professionals, it is much more than a marketing tool. It improves aesthetics, enhances customer experience and validates brands as digital natives. C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better.” As retailers open new stores in 2021 there has never been a more important time to innovate for the future.

This really is good news for retailers during this surprisingly exciting time for retail. If your organisation is opening new stores and exploring innovation, please get in touch. datmedia specialises in helping businesses transform digitally with innovative solutions. We’re dedicated to enabling positive change through technology.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

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.

connection_touch
  • 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.

The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is still being felt in the way we do business. Whilst some of the fallout has been minimised here in Australia, the impact that continues to be felt overseas has left a long tail in terms of supply chains and logistics.

Contributing factors include:

  • Raw Material Shortages:  Due to COVID-related disruptions to mining, the supply of raw materials such as silica and copper required for manufacturing electronics has been in short supply.
  • Reduced Manufacturing Output:  Manufacturers are not operating at full capacity due to the above mentioned shortages, market uncertainty, COVID restrictions and a shift towards manufacturing-to-order (see below).
  • Stock On Hand:  Supply chain participants such as manufacturers, OEM’s and distributors are unwilling to risk being caught with excess stock should demand suddenly drop again, and have therefore drastically reduced their on hand inventory.|
  • Manufacturing To Order:  Companies are producing more items on a ‘by order’ basis and holding less stock on hand.  When end customers place an order for some items previously available ‘off the shelf’, they now need to factor the entire manufacturing and shipping process into their lead times.
  • Shipping Delays:  There is currently a shortage of shipping containers compounded by restricted access to ports. This is resulting in significantly longer shipping timelines and increases in shipping costs, with huge premiums being commanded by shipping suppliers for priority delivery.  When importing items from overseas it is now necessary to factor additional cost and time and/or consider international air freight options (which are also at a premium).

The net result is that despite the current strength of the Aussie dollar, import supply chains are experiencing increased costs and significant delays in delivery timelines.

Our advice to clients is to budget and plan as early as possible and communicate with solutions partners such as datmedia at those early stages.

That allows us to negotiate the best rates and availability with suppliers on your behalf and deliver projects on time and on budget as often as possible.

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.

article_digital_displays

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.

According to many web polls, most people update their phone every two years. Many device warranties are often only for one, two, or three years. This is even true for some commercial devices. The world we live in is changing faster than ever before and keeping important technology up-to-date can seem like an endless challenge.

When I received my recent electricity bill, it was clear that my solar system was no longer working as it should. It was the biggest electricity bill that I have seen since we installed our panels and it shocked me into taking action. I kind of knew even before I called the solar company to come and see what the problem was, that I was probably going to have to invest in some new equipment.

Sure enough, the inverter wasn’t even turning on and there were various other system failures. As the system had been installed over 10 years ago, a warranty claim wasn’t even an option. So when the quote came in with two choices I needed to have a good think about each of them and more importantly what I wanted for the future.

I wanted to play my part towards Net Zero by 2050 of course, however, it was also an important time to think about return on investment. Do I simply replace the failing component, or do I take advantage of current incentives and replace the whole system? If I just replaced the failing unit, it will almost certainly outlast the rest of the system and will probably cost more in the long run (for both the equipment and on my electricity bill).

So now I have a new solar energy system that even has an app on my phone to show me how much money I am making and how much energy I am producing, along with how many trees I am saving and other environmental impact metrics. More importantly, the technology is up-to-date and has new warranties.

digital signage bernie

Many early adopters of digital signage now have ageing equipment yet it is serving a purpose that is now more important than ever before. That important purpose? – Supporting businesses and their customers during the COVID19 pandemic and into the future as consumers change the way they transact. With the equipment outside (or approaching the end of) warranties, updating technology is essential to businesses in 2021.

For eligible businesses that need to update equipment before March 12th, 2021, the Australian Government’s Instant Asset Write-Off scheme could mean that eligible businesses can claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of the cost of an asset in the year the asset is first used or installed ready for use.

datmedia do not offer financial advice, just a world-class digital signage service and CMS. However, if it helps, we can help facilitate an Operating Lease to update technology that hasn’t been included in a capital expenditure budget. Whether it’s updating technology, streamlining operations, or even just another quirky Bernie Sanders meme, we are here to help.

Please consider sharing this article to help businesses that may need to update their digital signage equipment soon and to get this Bernie Sanders meme circulating.

Thank you for reading and sharing, and please get in touch if you would like to know more about how we can help you update your technology in 2021.

Computer image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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.

brightness

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.