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The Long Tail: The Growing Market for Basic Digital Signage

Apr 22, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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Describe the recent RedPost installation at The Bently Reserve conference center in San Francisco’s financial district. Your announcement noted that the facility’ renovation incorporated “advanced building control systems to accurately monitor energy consumption and increase efficiency.” That sounds like a facility that could afford high-end digital signage—yet they chose RedPost.

Bently launched this facility [two weeks ago]. It’s a very green and high-tech conference center. They wanted to customize a sign outside each conference room. They didn’t want to use paper, but wanted it to look good and fit into the space. They bought six signs to start with. They just have one poster on each sign, but it will change depending on who’s using each room for what. They have other properties and want to add more signs at the conference center. This is a test for them. What was actually neat about it was, the day before their launch, their designer had created a web page. We just pointed the signs to the web page and it worked. Our solution makes it very easy for Bently to use the tools and knowledge that they have with their in-house design staff.

The Bently Reserve could afford whatever kind of technology they wanted, but they didn’t need something fancy—just a simple system. We’re finding that’s quite common.

Is there an opportunity for AV systems integrators to implement RedPost digital signage?

There’s a need for people who can install signs, set up networks, get everything working—and as we get into larger installations, we’re going to need partners to work with. We have talked about reselling arrangements, but we want to be pretty transparent about what the customer is paying for.

What guidance do you give your customers about the content they should use on basic digital signage installations?

It’s a big issue. People try to put too much on their signs. For example, we’re working with Purdue University on an installation. They said we want to put this kind of announcement on this sign, and if we want to do more, we should get another sign. We think that approach is exactly right. We say use 20 words or less and put posters up for 8 seconds. The most effective signs have a good visual, really good simple information, then information on how to get more information.

Many signs are split into zones—some software allows you to set up 23 different zones. But as an audience, we see so much information that we filter out. So our approach is to try to communicate more with less words. It correlates to simple Google ads that are more effective than banner ads because there’s less distraction.

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