Is THAT digital signage?

By September 29, 2009 No Comments

By Andrea Waldin, VP, Marketing, Scala, Inc.

Andrea Waldin

I, of course, pay special attention to all types of signage – particularly digital signage. Sadly, I've spotted some rather lame attempts at the art of digital signage. One struck me as particularly awful and I thought I'd share. In a hotel (that shall remain nameless) in Montreal, the management had made the investment to hang a screen in the lobby. Seems like all hotels have screens in the lobby these days, so that wasn't interesting on it's own. The content on the screen is what shocked me. Here is a mock up of what I saw…


Seriously? I know that lots of people think that PowerPoint works for digital signage, but this was just pathetic. It was a 4×3 slide on a 16×9 screen. Never mind the fact that they used a standard PowerPoint template and didn't even make an attempt to add any movement or graphics at all. It might as well have been a white board.

I applaud the fact that this hotel was forward thinking enough to spend the money on a screen and PC for their lobby, but this is exactly why some digital signage networks fail – no one thought about the content and the content is the whole point of the sign.

This type of "digital signage" is becoming more and more prevalent because people think this is the cheapest way to get started when in reality it's a waste of money. Digital signage companies are offering all kinds of entry level digital signage products. These low end digital signage offerings have the low price point with the necessary functionality. For the same price as this screen+PC+PowerPoint license, this hotel could easily have deployed a cheap digital signage product that would have given them the ability to deliver compelling content.

I'm sure that if this hotel had all the facts, they would have made a wiser investment. I'm also sure that when they understand their options going forward, they will choose a different path. The problem lies in educating the world on what digital signage actually means and how to make the most of it. So that's my goal:  to get the word out on digital signage (because THAT is NOT digital signage).