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By Alan C. Brawn, Principal, Brawn Consulting

As we review New Year’s resolutions for 2016, it is a safe bet that many reading this article have on their list the desire to expand their footprint and involvement in digital signage or perhaps enter the fray for the first time. But where should they begin?

Even to the casual observer the digital signage industry is a growing market with apparent opportunities that beg to be addressed. The question at hand is just how to approach and then take advantage of these opportunities. One fact of life in digital signage is that over the last decade it has evolved and those early days of low hanging fruit are on the wane. The good news is that new opportunities abound but they now reside in ways that perhaps are not so obvious and have not yet been discovered or even imagined.

It is the “yet to be discovered” and “imagination” parts of digital signage that are intriguing and potentially profitable. Some might call these the unknowns, and this is where the journey begins. As you progress, the process of discovery reveals the unknowns before your very eyes, but the process itself must have some form and function. In the old days if we were traveling to a destination, we required a roadmap — and in modern times a GPS. Both old and new roadmaps serve the function of telling us where we are and where we need to go on our trip and alert us to detours and obstacles along the way.

One of the obstacles that has faced the digital signage industry from the very beginning may seem, to the casual observer, to be fairly simple. After all, there is a screen and some “video” on the screen displaying a message — just how complicated can that be? The answer is clear to those that have put their big toe in the waters of digital signage in a random or, worse yet, haphazard manner, and as they discovered, digital signage is much more complex than it appears on the surface. Not unlike the tip of the iceberg, what you actually see is small in comparison with what lies underneath the surface. This begs the question of how to make sense of it all and where to start the journey.

The Digital Signage Experts Group (full disclosure: of which I am co-director) thinks the best way is to begin with the fundamentals, at the core of which we think are the “7 Key Elements of Digital Signage.” These elements are the umbrella under which each and every digital signage project resides no matter how large or how small. And they are organized in order of complexity, with the understanding that all the elements are critical but in the right order to achieve an end-user’s goals and objectives. Each element interacts and relates to the next in order to complete the bigger digital signage picture.

The 7 Key Elements are:

The 7 Elements fundamentals approach can provide a solid platform and roadmap for success for any journey through the digital signage jungle. And along the way they can act as the North Star of navigation and a continuing point of reference to make sure any digital signage expedition stays on track.

A person may be interested in digital signage hardware, but if they do not understand the business implications, what content will be played, the system design, and the software that will manage it, then they know only part of the story.

Digital signage started out as a medium for retail advertising and has evolved far beyond our original expectations. In the same way an artist must know colors and the details of the medium in which they work, the same is true of digital signage practitioners. If we are going to look beyond the obvious, we must understand the fundamentals. A wise mentor once told me that you must know the rules before you are ready to bend them.

Does your digital signage fall flat? Is your organization ready for a dynamic look? Contact MCC today and let us help give you the digital signage face lift it needs!