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3 Quick Questions with Tom Nix of Scala

By October 13, 2011 13,559 Comments

Tom nix new for blogDigital Signage Spot caught up with Tom Nix, newly appointed CEO of Scala, to talk about the growing trends in the digital signage industry.

DSS: For an organization just getting started in digital signage, what are their top challenges in deploying a successful strategy?

TN: I think there are three main challenges organizations face in leveraging digital signage in their enterprises.

First and foremost is formulating the content strategy that’s relevant for the organization. For example, if you are a multi-national corporation and have 150 offices worldwide, there are going to be cultural differences that need to be addressed in your communication strategy and unique messaging requirements in local environments. Being able to craft an overall strategy in a complex environment can be a big issue to tackle.

Another challenge we see is creating fresh content on a daily basis. It would be the equivalent of having a television channel that played Seinfeld shows over and over again. Of course, a few people would want to watch that channel every day, but ultimately it’s not going to be effective in communicating to a broad audience. Being able to automate content creation by taking data from various sources and presenting dynamic messages on-the-fly provides information consumers the fresh content they desire.

The third challenge is the integration of digital signage into mobility strategies. I think businesses are really trying to understand the tablet whether it’s an iPad or an Android device. They are wondering how that small sign can integrate with their digital signage strategy, or how does digital signage connect to their mobility strategy. This is an area that is so new; there is no clearly defined path. There are a number of unique requirements and specific needs from an overall efficacy or delivery standpoint that need to be considered.

DSS: Looking deeper into mobile technology, increasingly consumers and employees depend on mobile devices to keep themselves current. Can you speak little bit about the role of mobility and digital signage?

TN: When you look across organizations, you see so many people embracing new mobility platforms in tablet devices and smartphones. These organizations are realizing the importance of mobile devices and want their digital signage systems to extend to these new platforms. Yet many people aren’t quite sure how that mobility works within their company.

A top area of focus needs to be creating meaningful connections between mobile devices and digital signage to really enhance the end user’s experience. Whether that experience is in a retail location where you are using mobile tablets for assisted selling or it’s in a corporate environment where employees are using mobile devices to manage the digital signage system. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to digital signage software implementations. It is more important to understand the unique aspects of the customer needs and deploy a specific solution that makes most sense to the information consumer.

DSS: Now there must be some integration challenges that go hand in hand with the opportunities and many organizations have invested in multiple applications and data sources. What key considerations do they need to make when pulling this information into digital signage strategy?

TN: The goal here should be to help organizations make sense of the huge volumes of data they already maintain. Many companies deploy off-the shelf systems like Salesforce.com to be able to see how their business is doing. These systems exist online on a webpage or on an intranet, and are not always easily accessible to people who should be viewing them regularly. It’s very similar to having a deluge of email. So right now, I probably have 400 emails in my inbox. It’s very difficult to sort through every message and absorb all the information.

We are hearing from customers that they want to take all this information and represent it on a private channel on a screen on the wall. The goal is to create a system that harnesses information from data sources like Salesforce.com or ERP systems, and then broadcast it so people can really get meaningful information in a timely way. Sources like, CNN, Bloomberg, and CNBC provide very broad information. I think people really desire targeted meaningful information which is pushed to them and they don’t have to go digging for it.

Another important element of these systems is dynamism; by which I mean the ability to generate fresh, meaningful and relevant content. By automating content creation, you can leverage dynamic data streams from sources like ERP and CRM systems, which change on the fly as the data from the sources change. This level of automation not only increases efficiency in content creation, it also reduces costs.

Nix will succeed Gerard Bucas, who is retiring after nine years leading the company, effective November 1, 2011. In his new role, Nix will continue to focus on building customer satisfaction and expanding Scala’s role in the evolving global market for digital signage and digital communications solutions.

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