Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media " />

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Digital Signposts: Digital Signage Meets Big Data

Sep 23, 2013 10:27 AM, By Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

-Leonardo Da Vinci

One of the recurring themes in this column is how digital signage can help alleviate communications clutter within the corporate enterprise. Busy employees and executives everywhere are inundated with web and Intranet content, emails, social media, and most scary of all: big data. Vast amounts of data are constantly being pulled from numerous sources, analyzed, dissected, reformatted, and distributed. Making sense out of this ocean of data is incredibly challenging, and the time available for examining countless spreadsheets and graphs to find actionable nuggets of information has become scarce. Enter the realtime infographic; the ideal combination of data and design that quickly and concisely gets to the point, simplifies the presentation, and tells the story behind the data with exceptional clarity.

Traditional infographics typically use iconic imagery associated with key indicators to convey a trend, something new, or to describe a process or chronology. This is the basis of visual communications, but if we add realtime numbers coming from a database into an infographic, the design takes on an exciting live capability. Viewers can see events unfolding in realtime, not after the fact. Business rules can be added to change the color of graphics, sound alarms, or send alerts when thresholds are met. Viewers can process developments instantly and take action immediately.

Digital signage is the ideal medium for the distribution of live infographics to all devices. Good design and animation is the key to moving away from traditional static spreadsheets and pie charts. Viewers become more engaged with data content that is bold, succinct, and ultimately reveals the most important storylines lurking behind the numbers. Integrators working with corporate clients need to understand the enormous challenges and the opportunities presented by big data. Solutions must be sought out that help put big data into context and reveal intrinsic business value for all stakeholders.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at

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