Digital Signage Technology Choices: Critical Considerations

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Shopping for the right digital signage technology can be fun – or daunting. Our recent post discussed the new opportunity for hospitals offered by newly-affordable digital signage technologies – and the importance of having a content strategy for the information presented by kiosks, wayfinding, status updates and other healthcare facility uses of digital signage. Once your goals and objectives have been established, the next step is to explore the many technology options and the associated implementation and cost implications.   

Remember that the choices you make now go beyond staying within your budget. Choosing the right technology that can be meaningful and useful to your stakeholders is critical to ensuring the effectiveness of your long-term digital signage strategy.

To control the cost of investment and improve ROI, focus on the purpose of the signage: What features are most appropriate for the goals? What elements are essential? With many vendors and options on the market, a careful evaluation is imperative.

Technical considerations include:

  • Audio: Is audio required? If so, should it be transmitted over the digital sign speakers, through patient bed speakers, overhead speakers or with surround sound? What percentage of your audience will need other options if they have difficulty hearing?
  • Control: How will the signage be controlled? Will it be connected to your website server or a content management system to simplify content updates? Controlled by a handheld remote control device or mobile device? Do you need centralized on/off control to save energy?  If clinical staff are updating the information, is there a system in place to ensure HIPAA compliance and accuracy verification?
  • Display monitors and media players: Will you need HDMI connections? Outdoor monitors? Are RFID/RTLS components essential now or to added in the future? Do you anticipate wireless interaction with smartphones, as in a wayfinding GPS? Do you need LCD or plasma screens?
  • Revenue generation: Do you plan to sell advertising around your content? How will you manage the placement, tracking and invoicing processes?
  • Compatibility: Is the technology you’re considering compatible with existing technology throughout the hospital – or does it need to be?  If the system requires significant bandwidth, has that consideration been factored into the facility’s overall use of internet resources?
  • Quality:  A best practice is to invest in high-quality, durable mounts and professional-grade TVs/monitors with serial ports, USB ports, high reliability and locking capability to prevent unauthorized users from changing inputs or channels. If the display device involves a touchscreen, invest in protective coatings that prevent bacteria growth.

As you review options, consider how the signage will be installed and maintained. While some digital signage solutions may be easily implemented and managed by in-house staff, an outside system integrator may be needed to deploy a more complex system.


 

September 3, 2013