The Digital Signage Insider

Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Technology and Operations

Published on: 2005-09-26

Kiosk Marketplace has just published the second article in our series about assembling the best team for building and managing a digital signage network.  Here's how the article starts:
In last week's article, I outlined the four core disciplines that digital signage firms should have expertise in.  I also mentioned that I'd be starting this next article with an analysis of the business and finance roles within a digital signage company, but a number of readers requested that I begin with a more technical focus.  Thus, today's article will explore the roles and jobs that make up the Technology and Operations discipline.  Ideally, the individuals doing these jobs should have a background in systems integration, networking, or project management.  A healthy dose of corporate IT exposure wouldn't hurt either.  Responsible for the "digital" aspect of "digital signage," the tech & ops team will need to contend with tasks like:
  • Hardware/software selection and integration
  • Installation
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Ongoing hardware maintenance
  • Technical support
  • Training (remote or on-site)
The above tasks can be roughly divided into two categories, one-time tasks and ongoing tasks.  For the most part (and there are always exceptions), the technology and operations staff will spend a good deal of time prior to a deployment evaluating different hardware and software options and making the various pieces work together.  Additionally, they will need this time to assemble training manuals that explain the importance of the network, how to report problems, how to make suggestions, etc.  After deployment, tech & ops staff can refocus on long-term maintenance of the network, providing technical support and training to help the host location's staff better understand how to effectively utilize the signs. They will also spend some time evaluating the ongoing health and effectiveness of the chosen hardware and software, rolling out changes and upgrades as appropriate.

Of course, deploying large networks of digital signs doesn't just happen overnight.  Even after months of preparation, it will take additional months to install the equipment at each host location and turn up the network.  Consequently, while something like "site installation" is a once-per-site event, deploying a large number of sites can occupy tech & ops staff for quite some time.  Similarly, some of the ongoing tasks listed above might turn into one-time events if you're lucky.  For example, while I typically think of employee training as an ongoing event, stores with excellent management staff and low employee turnover rates can often assume this responsibility after you've trained them only once or twice.
The remainder of the article can be read on the Kiosk Marketplace site.  In the full version, you'll find useful tips on logistics management and organizational techniques, plus a big pre-installation checklist that includes many of the common tasks that need to be accomplished and verified before digital signs can be installed at a retail site.

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