Don’t Boil the Ocean: Integrators Can’t Fear Working with Digital Signage Content Creators

Integrators pride themselves in being one-stop digital signage network shops, but partnerships with content creation firms benefit everyone.

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Are you trying to boil the ocean? Building a digital signage network can be a mammoth undertaking, especially when you’re first getting started, so why would you try to do everything related to it from hardware to software to content creation when you’re better off finding a partner to help you?

“You’re not going to make your own mounts,” says Richard Ventura, VP of strategy at NEC Display and chairman of the Digital Signage Federation.

“You’re not going to make your own screens. Odds are you’re not going to make your own computer. It’s the same thing for content. It’s about building that ecosystem of partners.”

Ventura was joined on a recent CI webinar, “Developing a Strategic Plan for a Digital Signage Network,” by Diversified Digital Media Group’s Jay Leedy and Ken Goldberg, CEO of Real Digital Media.

Integrators take a variety of strategies to content creation, says Leedy, from the run, crawl, walk approach to self-management.

“It’s about understanding what the end client wants to do and what they’re able to do,” he says.

Some customers push their content to Diversified then allow them to handle the deployment, a move that “adds a level of insulation.”

That might be especially important in mission critical applications, including digital menu boards at quick-serve restaurants, where integrators can ensure there’s redundancy built in to the installation, says Leedy.

Goldberg knows most digital signage is part of a viewer’s journey and not usually their destination, so “you want to have a good feel for your viewers. You want to enhance their journey. Digital signage represents a call to action or a place to get information.”

When it comes to digital menu boards, Goldberg likes to see the local franchisee have some leeway to control the content themselves. That way, they can add regional specialties and optional items.

Related: 7 Most Innovative Content Creation Products of 2017: The Best 4K Video Encoders, Podcast Mics and More

“It’s very rare for two stores in the same chain to offer the same things at the same time,” he says. “If you say you have coffee and you don’t, that’s a problem.”

NEC keeps a list of content creation firms handy for integrators to use, says Ventura, and they come in a variety of sizes and price ranges.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small you are,” says Ventura. “It matters about the talent.”

How to Subcontract for Digital Signage Content the Right Way

Having content creation in-house or subcontracting it to another firm “is really a matter of cost effectiveness and your ability to do it,” says Goldberg.

Service level agreements can help to allay any fears about farming out your content creation, he says.

“The onus is on you to plan and the onus is on them to have the resources available. You don’t get three strikes; you usually only get one,” he says.

Whether you can do your own content creation “has to do with your own internal bandwidth,” says Leedy.

Too many integrators try to take on too much when building a digital signage network, says Ventura, and that can often lead to project delays rather than simplifying the process.

“Don’t be afraid to work with other companies,” says Ventura.

“These companies know if the font is going to be too small. They know if the color won’t look right and they know if you have too much motion.”