September 23, 2011

Digital Signage Deployment – What Does it Take?

The Challenge – “Doing it Right”
An effective deployment completes on time, on budget and meets the goals of all stakeholders.  In our experience this process hinges on careful planning and effective communication with the customer and our partners.  An ecosystem approach within your organization and external partners is required to keep your focus on the end goal of a successfully operating digital network.

At Reflect, our strategy is to form a partnership that consists of key personnel from our customer as well as our internal team of product experts.  The key elements discussed below describe the implementation activities we undertake to successfully deploy and manage some of the largest digital media networks in the nation including enterprise solutions for retail giants Target, Best Buy, and GameStop.

Initiation and Setup
Plan the work, work the plan.  Initiating a successful digital signage implementation depends on a well-defined foundation and guiding principles. These include developing a schedule, milestones, pilot locations, and management and communication plan.  At the very beginning of deployment planning, everyone should understand the end goals and the requirements for success.

Content Strategy and Development
Content is the key.  Digital media implementations are only as successful as the messaging displayed to your customers.  The strategy needs to focus on what to display and how to create the most impact.  Content development must focus on the process of creating a sustainable and consistent refresh schedule.  How are your various resources going to interact to get the content created, updated, approved and deployed?

Procurement and Deployment of Equipment and Services
Digital Signage deployments are often not managed by companies that have experience with networked digital media systems.  This can be an area of risk for the success of the project.  It is important to work with an experienced and trusted partner for deployment and field services.

Configuration of Software Platform
Digital signage software needs will vary depending on the content strategy and scale of the network.  Once the strategy is determined and hardware needs are defined, you’ll want to implement the software platform and ensure you have the necessary content management, reporting, and network monitoring capabilities enabled.

Pilot and Rollout Deployment Execution
Test your communications and plan.  Piloting allows your organization to test your deployment plans and see your content in action.  Pilot location staffs need to know what’s going on, when it’s happening and what is expected.  Installation teams need to be prepared to install quickly and professionally.  Content creation and update processes are now ready to be put through their paces. Use the results of your pilot to sharpen your focus.  Lessons learned from your pilot will allow you to adjust your content strategy and improve your desired impact as you move from the pilot phase to the “production” phase of your media network.

Pilot and Deployment Measurement
It is hard to understand your results without measurement.  Determine the success of your digital signage deployment by reporting the results on your customers’ behavior and the performance of your software and network.  Make adjustments to processes or refine content as needed, and measure results at defined points during the pilot.  Reflect utilizes traditional and technology-based measurement methods to determine results.   Develop an ongoing reporting and optimization strategy to continually monitor the results and performance of your network.

Covering all The Bases
By leveraging experience from successful digital media networks, we’ve learned that “doing it right” requires a disciplined approach to planning, testing, operating and measuring results. Putting together the right solution for the job is like assembling a puzzle.  Be methodical and use lessons learned as valuable tools for refining and improving your networks.

By Jeff Ueckert, Project Manager, Reflect