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Open Mic: Software Matters

Systems contractors are still learning about and understanding all that digital signage can do. It’s no longer a novelty, but rather, a dynamic medium for information that creates an entertaining, immersive experience—and sometimes a steep learning curve for technicians to brave.

As facilities welcome back employees and visitors, the latest advancements in digital signage and wayfinding technology are rising to meet the demand. Embracing digital signage in a way that benefits business can be overwhelming: No longer is a stagnant screen up to par with visitor expectations. With this in mind, customers are seeking robust solutions that offer user-friendly digital signage and wayfinding experiences. At the same time, AV managers are after partners that provide simple programming, customizable interfaces, and interoperable software. The standard uses of digital signage have shifted dramatically to focus on the visitor, aiming to create a one-of-a-kind experience in a competitive landscape.

Technology is changing fast, and it’s everywhere. Now, visitors and employees alike not only expect that signage will be on-demand for information and wayfinding, but also that it will be responsive and convenient to use. For technicians looking to upgrade existing AV environments with a digital focused experience, the right content management software can be the missing key. Immersive, custom experiences delivered through digital signage applications are immensely valuable for building brand equity and recognition, offering a “wow” factor that historically hasn’t been seen in signage.

Typically, when end users think of touch-based interaction, they picture a single touch screen that they can navigate like a tablet. While a few years ago this technology was innovative, AV manufacturers and integrators have leveled up the experience with new ways to interact. Custom signage with flexible content management platforms is growing in popularity as more companies implement AV technology that will both dazzle with design and provide meaningful information to guests.

With this, displays become full experience centers: from tablet and mobile devices carrying on-demand wayfinding apps to direct LED and video wall designs, experiential design implementations create that immersive experience while reducing reliance on some of the old school tools that typically occupy meeting spaces— whiteboards, “dumb” TVs, and more.

Indoor wayfinding has evolved dramatically from printed signs and maps to interactive kiosks. Now, with smartphones, the paradigm is shifting once more. There are more ways to interact with signage than ever before, from voice commands and gestures to traditional touch methods, and from new implementations like thermal scanning and virtual receptionists to completely connected mobile wayfinding. The AV no longer stops at the point of signage: users can interact, receive feedback, and then take the experience with them on their mobile phone.

Another feature making a splash for AV managers and systems contractors is room booking and hotdesking, which provides a major assist in navigating and planning around facilities. With integrated room scheduling incorporated into wayfinding apps, AV managers can plan for space allocation and accommodate evolving safety measures, offer enhanced capabilities for room booking integration and design, wayfinding for the hoteling and hotdesking features, and more.

AV managers usually don’t want to spend extra time managing software, but they do need a CMS partner that can offer valuable consultation and customized solutions to best fit their needs. One of the most important considerations for implementing new software is compatibility—it’s essential to upgrade systems with software interoperable with the most popular, robust third-party APIs—from Crestron to BrightSign and from Mersive to Intel.

Post-install, the demand for simplicity and customization are in. With new drag and drop layouts and visual filter capabilities at their fingertips, brands can leverage the power of digital signage to communicate, entertain, and streamline navigation across facilities. This allows AV managers to customize the look and feel of every sign, kiosk, and video wall, creating a memorable and lasting experience for visitors, staff, and employees alike.

Digital signage and wayfinding technologies bring people together, communicate important messages, streamline operational costs and resources, and support efficiency. While the visitor experience itself is a highly personal process that managers can never fully control, systems contractors can grow the opportunities to entice and comfort guests with the latest advancements in content management, digital signage, and wayfinding technology.

Tomer Mann is EVP, 22Miles. As a veteran in the digital signage industry for more than ten years, Tomer strives to enhance visual communication consulting services to higher education, hospitality, retail, transportation, government, corporate, venues, healthcare, and other large organizations.

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