Video: A sign of the digital times
By Jamie Hind, Regional Director APAC at Exterity
Enterprises across Asia are deploying video and digital signage to inform, educate and simply communicate
Communication in the modern workplace has been transformed in the digital age, with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets proliferating in offices and other workspaces. The presence of email and instant messaging has helped teams to rapidly communicate and share content over any IP network. But for most organisations, communication via individual devices has its limits – especially when they want to ensure that employees, stakeholders and visitors actually receive the message – and in a timely manner.
Delivering unified communications to disparate groups – often including clients and external visitors – that are not necessarily on the same digital network has proven to be a major challenge for many organisations. This is particularly true in environments that are open to public visitors, such as bank branches, or the offices of professional services providers such as accountants or solicitors.
Organisations are looking to reach a mixed audience – whether in the company lobby or open offices, in training, meeting and break rooms, or all of the above – to disseminate shared multimedia content in the same physical location. For these tasks, digital signage has found a perfect role, delivering personalised communications to different groups while simultaneously giving modern offices a new tech-savvy and up-to-date look, feel and functionality. The global digital signage market is on track to reach a value of more than US$30bn in the next four to five years, and the Asia-Pacific is projected to grow by 6%.
One key benefit of digital signage is that it is helping to drive targeted communications, including welcome information for visitors, staff updates, event agendas and informal training sessions that can employ a mix of video, audio and supporting imagery – even using a carousel approach to display constantly changing messages on multiple topics. Indeed, digital signage gives the modern office an active and updated form of communication, enabling organisations to reinforce brand and identity while keeping everybody within a location updated and informed – irrespective of whether they have access to the local network.
For many organisations, digital signage starts in the reception area – where visitors are greeted by a customised welcome message on a large LED display and strong brand imagery that mixes graphics, text with live TV or a promotional video – and then continues with screens through their facilities. This system can also enable them to stream high-quality video. For instance, one global professional services and accountancy firm has equipped its offices with a full end-to-end digital signage solution that covers local TV channel distribution, live streams of “town hall” presentations, and internal messaging and comms – all managed from its local headquarters.
The dual use of signage and video enables practical tasks such as video-based training and best practice briefings to be screened for both formal education sessions and to casual areas such as break rooms. One leading car manufacturer, for example, uses digital signage not just for internal comms but for all-important health and safety information, usually delivered in the more engaging form of video. Digital signage can also provide real-time status updates about meeting room availability and events.
The ability to instantly change content, not just on local screens but on every screen within the organisation’s network, means that when a company changes its logo, tagline, or promotional video due to a new marketing push or rebrand, it can ensure everyone across the workforce is updated at the same time by pushing new content to every IP connected digital signage screen, in every location, instantly.
The flexibility of digital signage also extends to the creation and display of dynamic content. For example, in common areas, digital signage can also accommodate real-time data feeds such as weather, sports results, and company or industry sector news. In many instances, players in certain industries simply need to keep everyone on the floor up-to-date on key market developments, such as the international banking and asset management group that uses digital signage to ensure visitors and its own people constantly are up to speed on the latest financial news and share prices.
Some forward-thinking businesses are now using touchscreen systems to help visitors gain information about a business park or a campus – and for finding their way to a specific building or room. This use of interactivity is growing, especially within larger, more spread-out work spaces where these digital systems also have the benefit of offering interfaces in multiple languages to accommodate international visitors.
In the era of connectivity, it is important that businesses are able to inform, educate and communicate clearly with staff, visitors, customers, investors or others – often, all at the same time – and the signs point to video and digital signage being the perfect tools to achieve this.