As you all already know, Adobe’s Flash platform can be a pretty useful technology for the digital signage world. Light-weight “movies”…check. Ability to integrate dynamic data…check. Ability to create interactive experiences…check. Large and easy to find pool of talent to design/program it…check. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its drawbacks (e.g. its inefficient and CPU-heavy, especially at today’s higher resolutions) but the list of benefits is long.
For those that animate with Actionscript (the proprietary Flash programming language) instead of the timeline, our programmers found a useful class package that make animating “tweens” a breeze. The Tweener code pack’s main goals are simplicity, flexibility and modularity. The syntax allows you to tween any numeric property of any object of any class, not just specific properties of Flash’s built-in Classes. Ever want to animate a blur or glow filter? Tweener makes filter properties as easy to tween as the x-position or width of a movie clip.
A study conducted by Futuresource Consulting of 100 digital signage projects in Europe found that almost 10% of them failed while another 10% were only partially successful. So what does this say about digital signage, the product Mirada Media’s pushing? Should we give up and our clients stop their digital signage initiatives? The answer is a big, emphatic NO!
I can’t help but say “I told you so” in regards to the role of digital signage integrators when reading that Futuresource Consulting’s research found that poorly-implemented digital sigange initiatives were : 1) too complex, 2) didn’t have clear goals, and 3) didn’t know how content and the mix could achieve their goals.
The managers of failing digital signage initiatives were dealing with up to 8 individual parties to get their project off the ground and keep it running. After hearing that its easy to see why an integrator can simplify and straighten that mess by being the main party to deal with whether its for dealing with software support, hardware warranties or network management. In our French blog post on the three rules to a success digital signage deployment, we stress that a digital signage vendor should be a digital signage partner. Technologies and your communication goals may change but a partner will always remain to take care of your needs.
Digital signage can be a great communications tool as long as you know what you want to do with it and how you’re going to do it. The number one pitfall when starting a digital signage project is neglecting to set clear goals. Developing a detailed communication plan, goals and ROI will help keep you focused and allow you to evaluate your actions and results.
Closely related to your communication goal is the content. The phrase “content is king” became popular with the internet explosion and Google’s search engine dominance. When the content is relevant, well written and popular, your website shows up in the listings. The same is true with digital signage. What one must remember is that every medium has its method. Ads for print are different than those on billboards. One of the first rules of digital signage ads is the KISS approach: Keep it simple stupid. Keep your eye on the prize when designing content; focus on the message you want your audience to receive. Sure, you want your ads to look nice and take advantage of the benefits of digital, but your audience is usually fleeting so you have to strike a balance between getting your message across and shifting eyeballs towards the screen.