If you are in charge of sourcing a digital signage (DS) network in your workplace consisting of dozens or hundreds of locations, you really need to think about the complexity involved before you pull the trigger. Because setting up a large DS network requires many different considerations that you may not have thought about. Let’s take a look at a few:
1. Large networks = complexity
Installing a few DS units is a piece of cake, relatively speaking. But once you get beyond 5 or 10, it gets complicated pretty quickly. Consider the logistics of handling the hardware. If you’re planning a 150-unit install for example, you can’t walk in to Best Buy and get the equipment. You must have solid relationships with distributors, installer teams and people who can configure and coordinate it all. To do this quickly and on time is a huge learning curve where experience really counts.
2. Managing zones and groups
By definition, large installations have different content requirements for different groups. For example, a company may have separate communication requirements for their East and West coast teams, or their manufacturing and distribution locations. Or even sub-grouping like all the cafeterias at just the manufacturing sites. So the DS software must be able to parse the right content out to the correct places, while allowing universal content flow to all locations. Which leads to…
3. Which locations get what content?
You’ll likely have your own, company-specific content, such as KPIs and personnel notices that you need to distribute. However, you’ll also want to communicate the standard issues like morale, teamwork, customer service and safety. Sure, you can generate all that content too, but you should consider buying it as part of your DS system. That will save a LOT of time, allowing you to concentrate on the in-house stuff that only your staff can produce.
4. Who administers what?
With all these locations and groups, you’re going to have a bunch of different people administering them. That can be relatively straightforward, e.g., one administrator to one group, or more complex, where under certain conditions one administrator needs to be in charge of a group of groups. And then you’ll probably want some “super admins” who can post content everywhere or almost everywhere.
5. What happens when location relationships change?
Let’s say your company does an internal restructuring where all the reporting relationships change, necessitating a regrouping of your DS. In other words, the locations don’t physically change, but that Nashville location is now part of the Midwest group instead of the Southern group. You’re going to want to be able to change that relationship quickly and reassign admins if required.
So how do you keep it simple? Don’t try to do it yourself. You have to find an expert DS supplier that does this day-in and day-out, because when you combine all those factors together, it’s completely overwhelming for inexperienced players. When executed correctly, it IS simple because someone else is in charge of all the coordination and details (actually not some ‘one’ but several experienced teams at your chosen supplier).
One more consideration: don’t confuse ease of installation with ease of use, as they’re two very different things. I’ll cover that in my next blog.