Before You Buy, Know How to Kick the Tires of a Digital Signage System
There are steps a financial institution should take when considering the integration of digital signage into a financial retail environment. Here's what you should know before you purchase a digital signage system.
Assess and survey sites. A strategic site analysis must be conducted to determine tactical implementation. Determine the quantity and location of the video displays in each location. Consider how to handle viewing range, ambient light and structural challenges for screen mounting. Through this analysis, your strategic digital partner should be able to determine which type of video display is appropriate.
Determine hardware sourcing. Some financial institutions buy digital screens and hardware on their own and only retain a strategic digital partner for installation and management. There are risks in purchasing hardware on your own. First, it eliminates the option for customizing the hardware to your branch environment. Second, issues surrounding the warranty are a common problem.
Find out what infrastructure is needed for setup. Does the digital signage network system work as a stand-alone system with your branches? The network system should be designed to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of the Internet. Low bandwidth requirements should be used to transmit sophisticated graphics to any number of locations and screen designs. Avoid solutions that stream video or rely on large file sizes.
Learn about the end-to-end deployment process. Question who and how the digital network will be installed. What type of testing will be conducted? It's critical to ensure proper content playback and connectivity architecture are in place. Also, develop an installation schedule with your strategic partner.
Evaluate the network's security functionality. Find out how the players connect and what they are connecting to. How secure are the servers? Is the content encrypted? If your system is being controlled by a local controlled Web site, how secure is it? Also, find out how the local control Web site is secured. Ensure that hackers can't intercept data transfers or access your username and password for malicious purposes.
Research monitoring capabilities. Does your vendor have a monitoring system and does it work at the branch level? Do your screens have a self monitoring system to diagnose themselves? Typically, self monitors immediately correct problems that occur and generate a log report. This data and information on connectivity and functionality should be relayed to the digital signage vendor.
Find out what content file formats the digital system supports. A digital system should support these standard files: mpeg1, mpeg2, mp4, avi, wmv, mov, jpg, png, bmp and swf. In addition, your system should be designed to be expandable in order to meet the needs of new player codecs and technology.
Ask if the application has its own proprietary content editing and formatting tools. How many channels of information does it secure? More channels allow you to target specific messages on individual screens throughout your branch. Custom screen formatting for each individual channel should be available. And there should be no limits to the number of content frames that can be displayed on one screen.
Examine the system's scheduling capabilities. It's important to understand how updates and uploads are handled. Digital signage is unique in that it has a fast develop-to-distribute time when it comes to market messaging, but there is more to it than a few clicks on a keyboard. Many firms have processes in place to preload content on a player PC prior to scheduling. In order to maximize network efficiency, content is usually delivered during branch off hours.
Employ a vendor that is experienced. Experience is the key to finding a strategic digital signage partner that is the right fit. The best approach is to find a partner that is not only knowledgeable about digital signage but is also experienced with the industry you work in. This plays an important role when it comes to content, placement and management. Financial industry experts understand what is going to attract members, peak their interest and engage them within the financial services environment.