Five levels of Digital Signage content
5. Shared Community Tool: Beyond Media
Is there another level beyond digital media?
I think there is. There are not many examples of this now, but I think we will see some soon. At this level, the signage is not just a media, but an important tool of the community.
With Digital Media (level 4), someone is using the media for their own communication purpose, which might be advertising or getting staff on board with the corporate vision.
However, when signage becomes a community tool, the whole community is using it to reach a shared goal.
Imagine signs throughout a very small town, in shops and public areas, perhaps even homes. The tourist information centre in this town takes photos of participating visitors and shares them on the network along with their first names and hometown.
Now as they visit shops in the town, they see their photo and a welcome message. Shop keepers also recognise them and call them by name.
It works the other way too. The latest town happenings are shared on the media. Visitors get an instant insight into what’s happening in the town. They might well recognise some of the shopkeepers who are featured in the town news.
Here the goal is promoting the community and making it accessible to visitors.
Another example might be signage used as a corporate communication media across many company locations. Goals can be tracked and broadcasted on the screen.
It could be an important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) like sales or a CSR initiative such as a company wide effort to save energy.
If you saw a simple graphic several times per day showing the top 3 (and maybe the bottom 3) office locations ranked by how well they were achieving their goal, this would be a great reminder to stay focused on the goal.
This is the power of push information. It’s passive, but it’s there. People will take notice. Trying this with an email or Intranet can work too, but you need people to make the effort to open the email or go to the Intranet.
Digital Signage is not restricted to any one level
It’s important to remember that digital signage doesn’t have to be limited to any one level listed above. It can be attempting any number of them at the same time.
Currently, most signage is still various combinations of the lower three levels. The reason is clear.
Each of these are very easy to understand and have a clear analog alternative that they are emulating if not replacing.
Level four gets messy. This is new territory for us. We have to figure it out as we go along. There is no right answer, but best practices will slowly emerge.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be hard. We can figure out what works for us and make it better as we go along.
Things will get really exciting though as we start to use digital signage as an effective community tool.
Just as our PCs and mobile phones have become indispensable tools of our digital world, I think we will see digital signage play an increasingly important role in the future.
That future will be created by all of us!
Not just the people creating digital signage services like me.
But, also by you.
Maybe you will be involved with put in some signs somewhere.
Maybe you will be involved with deciding what content to run.
Or, maybe you will be one of the many people just walking by and seeing the content.
We all play an important role, and that is the purpose of “Otegaru Signage”, this community. To create the future where signage is a useful and effective tool for businesses and communities.
Whether you are going to putting up more signs, decide what the content will be, or even if you are just using it (and you are already using it, even if you don’t realise it yet).
And, as we’ll see in future posts, some types of digital signage are more suited to this than others.
(Spoiler alert: Otegaru net is fantastic as a community tool)