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Digital Signposts: Corporate Communications: Internal Data as Live Data

Dec 12, 2011 9:34 AM, by Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

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The use of live data has become a very familiar feature of digital signage. We are used to seeing data feeds such as weather, news, sports, or market information. For companies using digital signage as a corporate communications tool, however, they may not fully appreciate that they can take advantage of their own internal data in much the same way-presenting information on their network as eye-catching graphics with a true broadcast look.

There are many ways to present data on-screen but the need for design clarity and consistency is very important. If too much information appears on-screen or if the most important content is “buried”, the presentation will fail. Taking a lesson from the broadcast television industry is a good start. Notice how CNBC, CNN, and others display data content. Aside from tickers, full-frame graphics are typically big, bold, and iconic, and allow viewers to grasp the information instantly.

One attractive solution to leverage data-visualization is the use of dashboards. Dashboards are collections of live data that come from internal databases or sources such as SharePoint or even Excel documents. This content can be such things as sales statistics, key targets, productivity stats, or inventory levels. In such an application, it is common to use animation to place emphasis on important points.

Furthermore, by adding interactivity, companies can take dashboards one step further by allowing employees to easily compare statistics. For example, a user could use a dashboard to call up and compare stats from the previous quarter or compare with other office locations in different parts of the world. These features dramatically push corporate communications forward and provide a far more engaging experience of the digital signage network.

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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