Several years ago, I was approached by the Dean of Faculty’s office to install a digital “poster board.” They had a little extra money in the year’s budget and wanted to use it to show off the great work of our students and faculty. They also wanted to make a bit of a splash, so they wanted something that would grab people’s attention and make them say wow. I had heard the term digital signage and knew that it was a young, but quickly growing technology. I knew enough to convince the office not to go with a small form factor computer and monitor, simply playing a PowerPoint slide show. I was fortunate to convince them to go with a real digital signage system, but did so by sheer luck rather than a sound foundation of knowledge in the subject.
Fast forward to today, and I am managing a network of digital signs, based off a central server. I have learned a lot over the years and think our signage system is robust. However, there is still a lot I don’t know. I have watched webinars and read a lot over the years, but there is some fundamental knowledge missing. That is why I was thrilled when contacted by InfoComm last fall, and asked to be part of a group that was reviewing a new course that InfoComm was developing, “Digital Signage for Technology Managers.”
InfoComm has recently debuted the course, and I highly recommend you take it.
One of my biggest struggles when working with customers who want a digital sign is discussing with them what their goals for the sign are, and then applying that to the actual install. After reviewing this course, I now understand why that was an on-going problem. First, I did not have all the language that I needed to discuss this technology with my customers. Second, at the start of this project, I was not aware of the overall larger impact on the college. The course covers all of the language and lingo of digital signage. A particular interest of mine in the course was the section on where to put the signs. How high does the sign go? How big should the sign be? Some of these questions can be answered the same way we calculate viewer needs in other aspect of AV. However, there are some unique challenges with digital signage. Understanding issues like line of sight, attention zone, horizontal visual field, vertical visual field and field of view will help you lead your customers to the best solution.
Also, beginning to understand the overall impact on your institution is important. Who should be involved in a project as you begin to unveil digital signage? In my case, the Dean of Faculty office was the immediate customer, but certainly what we were doing affected Facility Services, Campus Police and other areas of IT. This course begins to open your thinking to the larger needs of digital signage instead of just individual signs.
Another great section of the course is about the second screen. This is a fairly new aspect of digital signage, but one that is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. People are showing up at our locations with tablets and smartphones. Are your prepared to support their interaction with your digital sign? Are you aware of the various possibilities of the second screen, such as integration of QR codes? Obviously, no one course could answer all the issues on this subject, or make you an expert, but InfoComm will absolutely put you on the correct course to understand that these are issues you need to learn more about. The second screen is a current issue, and it is fantastic that InfoComm was able to include such current content in a course.
I always feel that equal to the information provided during any training, is the access to resources to learn more. In this course InfoComm does a terrific job of providing those resources. The course is full of footnotes referencing dozens of articles, whitepapers and other resources to continue your learning. As you take this course, make sure you take note of these resources and make use of them.
The course covers so much more than what I have written here, and had several industry experts involved in the creation and review. If you are like me, and somewhat experienced with digital signage, then this course will fill in those holes that you have. If you are new to digital signage, the course will give you a wealth of information and knowledge needed to get started. What about if you are an integrator or sales person? I am willing to bet that you too will get something out of this course. If you already have all the technical knowledge covered, then you will certainly benefit from the perspective of digital signage from the view of technology managers from education and industry.