How Smartphones and Tablets are Changing Workplace Communications

Think about how you consume news today versus five years ago.  Chances are you get a lot of it from your phone or tablet.  That means you’re scanning a bunch of headlines or teasers and clicking on only the ones that interest you. The days of reading through an entire book or magazine are fading quickly. Same thing with TV; today we go to Netflix or Hulu and select specific shows we want to watch.  Channel surfing is sailing off into the sunset.

For mainstream media companies this means that the great unbundling is underway.  In my last blog a couple of weeks ago I detailed the $30 billion in value lost by those companies due to this behavior shift.

This shift directly affects how you should be planning your digital signage communications, because those consumers mentioned above are also your employees, and how they consume mainstream media is exactly how they will (attempt) to consume your workplace content. If you’re stuck in the old ways of distributing your important stuff, odds are a lot of it will get ignored.

What to do about this shift in behavior?  Here are a few ideas.

First, start thinking about how to unbundle your workplace communications as outlined in last week’s blog.  Next, think about how your employees are consuming the content and adjust accordingly.

If you’re like most companies, you have to straddle the existing and the new.  Digital signage (DS) on walls is seen by everyone, so it’s good for general purpose, cross-department information. For those addicted to their smartphones and tablets, you need to be going mobile, which can be split into two parts.  First, is sending the exact same information from your DS to the mobile devices, and second is to “narrowcast” the content to individual users, depending on their job function or department.  In either case, you’ll need to be using a software platform that automatically reformats the content and layout for the smaller devices.  That’s very important, as otherwise your people will be trying to read information formatted for a 50” screen on a 4”-8” screen, which gets very annoying very fast.

While this all sounds like a lot of extra work, it’s really not – assuming you have the right software that does this for you.  But even if you have to post the info twice, it’s still worth it, as the world is going mobile and you have no choice but to get on board.

One final advantage for mobile is the device itself, which is capable of anything a desktop can do.  So your employees will be able to interact with the content and be able to rate, save, forward and comment on it.  There are many powerful benefits associated with this behavior that I’ll detail in my next blog.

Frank Kenna III
August 19, 2015

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