Not Your Dad’s Digital Signage

TinersTakeDS-featuredDigital signage has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. In order to be successful in a digital signage business, and perhaps, to keep their current business running integrators need to see these changes and act on them. There should be no surprises here, this publication, along with industry experts have been talking for years about how digital signage is HUGE and only getting BIGGER. But, it is not all about equipment and connections anymore. Now it is about content, interaction and making a connection.

Peruse this publication over the past couple of years and you will see hundreds of pieces of equipment that interact with digital signs. It may sound trite in a world of technology, but there is just about nothing that you can not do with digital signage today.

However, if you read my article last month, just wanting to stick a sign up, or thinking you need to stick up a digital sign, is no longer good enough reason to do so. It just becomes wallpaper. So, the area to expand into today, is clearly, the CONTENT. Whether you create that content in-house, or you partner with a company, you still need to understand the real value of digital signs in order to sell them properly.

OK. I probably have not blow you away with my wisdom so far. What I want to get across to you however, is what you can do to get yourself into this market. How do you start learning about how to sell the equipment, how to sell the services and how to know WHY to sell it.

Your first stop in this quest for knowledge will be InfoComm 2014. This year InfoComm is introducing the Solutions Summit: Digital Signage. This summit includes over ten sessions that focus on digital signage. From understanding the current technology, to what the future may bring in the next 10 years, to understanding size of the digital signage market.

A few of the sessions stand out to me. Two directly relate to ROI and understanding how to calculate it. As a salesperson, you need to understand these relationships. One particular session exams how Little Caesar’s Pizza determines ROI and cost effectiveness. Getting that knowledge from a major national brand, seems to be priceless, but will only cost you $69. The second session on this topic discusses the business element of the 7 Key Elements of Digital Signage. The course description calls this element the “most complex” of the seven key elements. I disagree, as you can guess I think content is the most complex, but do think that the business aspect is critical and complex.

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A third session that really stands out to me is, Understanding Content, Its Complexities and Best Practices. This description hits the nail on the head when it says that if you get the content wrong you will fail.

Finally, as part of the summit there are lunches everyday (no, not free, but still worth it). To the best I can determine these lunches are networking opportunities. I always take these opportunities to quietly sit at a table and just listen to what others are saying. It is a great opportunity to get a sense of the good and the bad of other’s experiences. As a user of digital signage systems, I would be interested in hearing from others about the management of content, in addition to the content itself. I believe that building a system that makes the management flexible, powerful and easy, it absolutely critical to success. Everyone of the vendors on the floor will tell you theirs does it best, but sitting at those tables at lunch is where you can really get the scoop, from others who would normally be your competitors.

InfoComm charges for these courses and lunches individually, or as an entire package. I would challenge any mid-size company who is not knee deep in digital signage to send people to the entire Summit. One of the things they will learn is the enormous earning potential of the digital signage market, predicted to be at 13.2 billion dollars within two years. As in year’s past InfoComm will offer the Digital Signage Pavilion. Along with dozens of vendors showcasing their equipment, there are also sessions (free) on the Digital Signage Presentation Stage. As of today, there are over 25 free sessions planned.

This is your opportunity to take your business to a new level, and to experience extremely exciting changes. As an AV company, you are uniquely positioned to start taking advantage of this market. If you have not been convinced by the all of the press and writing over the past several years, take a chance and immerse yourself in digital signage at InfoComm this year. Then, come back and share with your colleagues everything you learned, and decide on a direction to move your business. Think of the billions you stand to lose if you miss out on this opportunity.

Good luck and have fun in Vegas!