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Digital Signposts: Here Come the Big Boards

Apr 22, 2013 10:16 AM

By Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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Recently, business journalist Ryan Tate wrote a fascinating article for Wired magazine describing the growth of large-size office displays found in corporate control rooms. These are screens used as “shared reference points” that allow companies to display and monitor a variety of data feeds such as web traffic, customer support stats, or key performance indicators that can be shared collectively. Tate makes the point that the data coming across these screens “gets everyone on the same page” and “imparts a feeling of importance” to staff. As “big data” becomes more common and leveraged more often in business, displaying and sharing that data effectively has never been more important.

Progressive digital signage software companies have been building sophisticated command and control screen systems for years, but it’s great to get the nod from Wired that the trend is indeed catching on. The “big board” is more than just a display system; it is a tool that allows corporations to take decisive action as soon as the first indication of an issue arises. Furthermore, it confirms what action has been taken and can display if the issue has been resolved successfully. By taking full advantage of standards such as HTML 5, the content of the big board can now easily find its way onto mobile devices and computer desktops, getting everyone on the same page even if they are not physically in front of the big screens.

The key to successfully implementing a command and control screen lies in how effectively the data is presented. Instead of mimicking Excel-like graphs and charts, integrators should consider big, bold dramatic presentations incorporating animations and graphics that are easy to read and offer a strong sense of clarity when thresholds are hit. Screens will often display a variety of important information from multiple departments and business groups. As such it is important to put a design system into place that clearly organizes data ergonomically to help ensure nothing gets missed.

From production output levels to sales data to social media posts, displaying important data content and making it available to team members is an essential part of today’s business environment. Integrators are well positioned to take their digital signage expertise and apply it to this exciting new application.

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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