Regardless of how “good” you are at deploying digital signage, you’ll never fully know what you’re doing right until you’ve royally fouled-up your network. Here are a few sure-fire ways to provide a failed digital signage deployment.
- Provide terrible content. This has always been and will always be number one for several reasons. First, it’s the most overlooked way to screw up your network. Second, it’s the easiest way to fail. Simply not trying hard enough or, in some cases, going cheap on the content when the software/hardware budget could have been more flexible is where network operators miss the boat. Finally, bad content is the most frequent mistake I personally see. The reason bad content fails is because content consumers simply ignore it. If you want people to watch, they have to want to. In order to make it interesting, it needs to be good.
- Run your screens on a sneakernet. Oh the neanderthal method of the sneakernet. We’ve discussed this before. The sneakernet is less flexible and is a complete waste of time, especially if you have to pay someone to deliver the content via an automobile with gas and while paying them on the clock. Foolish.
- Ignore the end-user. Ignoring the end-user is probably a bit too broad as it could include anything from content to scheduling content in the right way, pursuant to what the end user may need, want and desire. Ultimately, ignoring the end user is a lack of segmentation understanding for a particular audience, combined with fundamental digital signage best practices for audience engagement.
- Provide a piss-poor installation. Poor installs still occur, but my personal take is that the frequency of them has dwindled in recent vintage. If there is one way to effectively fail its during the installation stage. Level, tilt, mount, connectivity and player integration (if it’s not an all-in-one deployment) are all considerations and areas available for failure.
- Fail to provide a display manager. Whether you’ve one display or many, ignoring the need for regular management of your “network” is a sure-fire way to invoke the failure gods on your installation. While the system may provide health monitoring alerts and updates, failing to include a manager of the displays will most certainly pose an issue at some point. No network, regardless of the robustness of its components, is subject to 100% up-time connectivity. Murphy’s Law certainly applies here. The number of moving parts in a sign network warrant having at least one watchful eye over the process.
With all the things that can go wrong, it’s amazing things actually go right from time to time. The best analogy I can conjure is the development of the human fetus: so many points in the process are subject to some form of malfunction, deformation and error, but in most cases a child develops unscathed of such maladies. In our case, doing it right requires tacit knowledge and a willingness to put in the man hours.