Even as the world starts to return to “normal” (or, at least, we’re feeling more of a sense of normalcy now than we did in March — but still social distancing, please), it’s important to keep sharing perspectives and learnings among each other, so that we can take them well beyond the COVID-19 crisis. That was the goal of LAVNCH WEEK’s Digital Signage Day panel today, “Leveraging Digital Signage in Times of Crisis.”
Along with our moderator Helen Kang, conference director at Digital Signage Expo, the panel consisted of five amazing speakers. Here’s who they are, along with some of the great takeaways they gave us today.
- Alisa Pinciotti — Senior Project Manager, Engineering – Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Alisa Pinciotti, senior engineering project manager for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, shared that the panel today really hit on a lot of truths she’s experienced in her role. Pionciotti said, “This strange event with COVID has really sung to the strength of our digital signage system, enabling [us] to get information out not only to our families and patients but to our staff, as well.” Related to the digital signage content their network is currently running (with timely, COVID-focused signage), Pinciotti said, “It’s reminding our staff why we’re here.” Digital signage content is also important in spreading messages of appreciation for those out there on the front lines. Pinciotti adds that it’ll be interesting to see how we get back into our normal lives and if we can hold onto this connected-ness we’re all experiencing and talking about today.
“We’ve quickly noticed the wonderful ability of changing information remotely, because in areas where we don’t have digital signage, we have boots on the ground and paper taped on the wall — which has been one of our goals to avoid.” —Alisa Pinciotti
- Ian Dallimore — VP, Digital Growth & GM, Programmatic – Lamar Advertising Company
As a bit of an optimist, Ian Dallimore shared that this time has helped them reimagine, innovate and pivot. At Lamar, Dallimore says, they’ve taken a step back to focus on communicating with their reps and partners, giving them messages on how they can help their own clients and agencies right now. Dallimore added that he’s seen a lot of excellent hyperlocal marketing too; digital signage plays a massive role in communicating with people who are considered essential and are out on the road. Importantly, in times like these, Dallimore asks, “How do we think about taking care of humans and the jobs that they’re doing to help us get through it?”
“During times like this, more than ever, it’s the people’s space; and the message we convey out to the world … we can impact and change people’s lives just by a simple inspiration.” —Ian Dallimore
- Eric Sherman — SVP, Insights & Analytics – GSTV
Digital signage means a lot of things to a lot of people. For Eric Sherman of SDTV, it means a business relationship with screens in 24,000 fueling stations nationwide (you’ve probably seen some of the content when you’re pumping gas; personally, I like their “word of the day” segments). Sherman said that his company is doing four things differently right now: 1. Working with and supporting more government groups like the CDC, American Red Cross and the Ad Council on coronavirus messaging. 2. Working with advertisers like General Motors and Pepsi, using their campaigns to thank folks who are out and about working. 3. Working with retailers (like GSTV’s network of gas stations) to share the right message with consumers. 4. Working with consumers who are looking for uplifting and fresh content in addition to COVID messaging; for this, GSTV introduced a new segment called #SunnySide with tips and tricks for staying healthy and happy at home. For Sherman and others in digital signage, data has also really become a focal point. Following the crisis, Sherman feels the demand for this granular of data will not go away.
“I’ve never seen so much hunger for information and insight.” —Eric Sherman
- Dileep Varma — Head of Global Product Development and Operations – Outcome Health
Dileep Varma, head of global product development and operations for Outcome Health, says there’s both an upside and a challenge in business right now. “You’re catering an ever-changing playlist,” he says. For instance, while Varma’s company has pivoted strongly to create COVID-specific content, they’re also doubling down on collecting the right types of data, determining levels of foot traffic and more. It’ll be important to understand and make sense of all this data when we come back, Varma adds. How is that experience changing? What does that new experience look like? We can take this data-based experience further, past COVID, he says.
“You’re catering to an ever-changing playlist.” —Dileep Varma
- Georgio Burciaga — CEO & Managing Partner, Global Innovation and Digital Transformation – IGNITE CITIES
George Burciaga, with IGNITE CITIES, works directly with mayors on how to solve critical issues, and they take a human-first approach. He explains that forms of technology (like smart lighting and heat mapping) can support social distancing and help us visualize data around what’s happening and where — then, we can trigger events that can help save lives. We can also use technologies to understand how we support people and spread equity to the most vulnerable. This current time is an opportunity to build, then rebuild, Burciaga explains. From a digital signage perspective, we should be building an experience — an experience that actually delivers a result and has an impact on the way we live. An experience is something you can be a part of, something you can touch. The focal point should be people. Also, it’s not just about digital signs anymore.
“Signage has to do more than project a sign, whether it’s digital or vinyl. It has to be able to trigger an event that supports other things to happen. And the data has to be accurate … not all data is equal.” —Georgio Burciaga
- Helen Kang — Conference Director – Digital Signage Expo
“We’re all in this together. Our world, and our industry, is fighting to keep moving forward …. There are strategic points that are changing behavior, that are making us reimagine opportunities. It just really encourages me, and I hope it does to everybody out there,” Helen concluded.
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