Laura Davis-Taylor Answers 5 Questions in Preparation for LAVNCH WEEK 2.0

Laura Davis-Taylor is the chief strategy officer for InReality, LLC, and she will be giving the keynote during Digital Signage Day of LAVNCH WEEK 2.0. Although we had a DS Day during our first LAVNCH WEEK, I knew we were really focusing on bringing in fresh content, so I was curious to hear about how Laura was going to help us accomplish that goal. Laura helped me home in on some psychological and philosophical theories that I wouldn’t have thought had anything to do with AV! Boy, was I wrong.

inReality LDT

This is an interview with Laura Davis-Taylor, as written by Steph Beckett. It has been edited for clarity. 

SB: First thing’s first. Will you talk a little bit about your background in AV and how you got involved with the Digital Signage Federation?

LDT: I got involved in digital signage in the year 2000 when it was a very new concept. There were about three CMS’s, and I was in store-design. My background is in advertising, but I got into store design after I got the whole internet marketing thing down. That’s when I really saw the whole opportunity to bring brand planning and brand promises and customer experience, design and physical places in technology together. From that point on, I have really been the advocate for why those three trifectas need to be working together seamlessly and how important digital signage and these emerging AV-type technologies were toward the customer experience. I wrote a book in 2008, way back, called “Lighting Up the Aisle,” which I think is still one of the few books on these things. Because I’ve been so passionate about this topic and pushing it forward, I was excited to get involved with [the] DSF. That was years ago, and now I’m on the board. For me, it’s about advocating potentials so that we support the mission of the DSF, which is basically “how do we power up the industry by connecting members to the information and the people they need to grow their business?”

SB: Got it. About your keynote, you’re delivering it on DS Day, June 26, and we’re really excited. I know the title is Getting Back to Business, but could you give me a little summary of what you’ll be discussing?

LDT: Yeah, so the whole point of getting back to business is — I’ve been on quite a few webinars with industry peers — and it’s so wonderful how our industry is so uniquely positioned to help companies get back to business. It’s because we’ve been in the business of providing the right message in the right place at the right time. That’s really been about adding value to the experience of the customer. But when your health/safety is top of mind, having the right information in the right place at the right time is so critical, and we are absolutely the people to do that, but all the business owners out there in AV are trying to get back to business after a very rough couple of months. We want to help them understand the rich opportunity of expanding their own business with back-to-business technologies and services. But [the challenge is] how to do that in a way when they haven’t had the time to deep-dive into this world. We want to empower our AV industry to get there successfully, so I’ll be speaking about the opportunity and some of the things that, being in the business myself, we think are the use-cases they should home in on first. I’m also going to talk about privacy, prudency and a way to filter what level of technology and service based on what types of use cases and what type of privacy implications they want to be aware of.

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SB: We know the audience during this next DS Day is going to be very integrator-heavy. What are a few things you want them to learn from your keynote?

LDT: I would say not so much learn, but I more want the audience to take away that the ecosystem working together is really what’s greasing the skids to this. So, if you don’t already have ecosystem partners for this, find them, and everybody operate off of these same principles that I’m talking about. I really see the solutions coming together quickly — that’s what’s making this happen, but you’ve got to understand the psychology of the people who are going to be experiencing these things.

SB: I know you’ll also be talking about the safe-space movement. What is that exactly in regards to our industry?

LDT: Yes, so it’s about how perception is reality, and when facts are unclear, that’s scary for people. What I’ve learned, and what I’m going to be sharing, is not so much, “Do I trust the space?” It’s more about, “Do I trust that you’re protecting me from others in the space with me that don’t care?” That’s so important, because being here in Florida after being in Georgia where we went wide open very quickly, I’m seeing inaction. There is a percentage of people who don’t care at all about the health and welfare of others, and if you want your business to thrive and if we’re selling into people who need people to come back into their spaces and be comfortable working there, you have to mitigate those fears.

SB: Last question: You talked a little bit about this too — like what’s going to happen in the new norm. I feel like the new normal is something that people keep bringing up, so I guess my question is: Is there a new normal? Our industry is always changing; I see that it’s changing faster than it normally would because of extenuating circumstances — but is this a new normal or is it just a change that we would have eventually reached anyway?

LDT: I love what you just said, because do you know what I think the new normal is? Agility. We have to be able to spring. Who would have thought a month ago that we were in yet another new normal based on all the terrible things that have been going on? Every normal is changing. Being flexible is the new normal …. It may get better, and then it may get worse again, and it may become critical …. We may also have physical safety to bring on. So, we have to be thinking about ecosystems that can flex, and I’m thinking of modular parts and pieces — modular solutions so that our integrator community can say, “OK, so what are your challenges and what modular pieces can I put together?”

Catch Laura Davis-Taylor at LAVNCH WEEK 2.0 on Friday, June 26; her keynote on Digital Signage Day will offer a full version of the topics we discussed today. Register here, and visit rave.pub/LAVNCHweek2 to learn all about LAVNCH WEEK.