July 28, 2020 by Michelle Bollen

Digital signage in Timberland's experiential store | AVIXA Digital signage communicated Timberland's brand purpose in its first experiential pop-up store.

How much of a sculpture is defined by what it depicts, whether it is marble or jade, or even where it stands? When it comes to creativity, form, content, and context jointly determine the viewer’s experience. In the world of AV, it is not a solitary artist who selects materials, creates content, and curates the result. AV integrators, creative content developers, data analysts, and more all help to create lasting experiences. This comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.

One Vision, Many Languages

Ed King of HighStreet Collective states, “Whenever you get creatives, technicians, and analysts together you are going to have some miscommunication, because, really, they all speak different languages. Collaboration and being open-minded is critical.”

Here are some quick tips from industry professionals on how AV integrators and content developers can work together effectively to maximize ROI for their digital signage clients.

1. Find common ground by focusing on the client's needs.

When either integrators or developers become mono-focused on their own element of a project, they overlook this step. It is vital that everyone on the project understands the client’s vision before jumping to a solution. A client is invested in a technological medium only in so far as it effectively helps them communicate their message, and a client only cares about the content if it aligns with their goal. This conversation must be in human experiential terms, not technological.

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2. Collaborate as a forethought, not an afterthought.

Putting off communication doesn’t resolve differences; it just makes resolution and project success more difficult. Early collaboration between integrators and content developers is key.

The integrators can ensure that the chosen equipment will deliver each of the content experiences the client is expecting. Jim Nista of Almo Pro AV explains, “You hear, ‘content is king,’ but what that really means is that it is the first thing that solves those communication goals. Once you understand what those goals are, and how the creatives are going to implement them, then you can start specifying hardware, software, etc.”

Likewise, content developers can ground their ideas in the reality of available technology. Bryan Meszaros of OpenEye Global explains, “We are not just designing for the screen. We are designing for the space, for the way people are going to be behaving after interaction — or during interaction. Therefore, I am very conscience of understanding what elements are going to be used to comprise that.”

3. Create long-term ROI with dynamic solutions.

When developers and integrators fuse technology and content, they can create uniquely dynamic solutions. Systems can track user interaction and shift content accordingly. Think digital signage that tracks occupancy and then publishes that data, or more complex yet, that tailors in store product lists to the demographic of the customer.

If a system can offer real time adaptation, it takes out the guess work of content strategy. Ed points out, “The best laid plans are great, but as long as it is digital, get in there and test. Refine, refine, refine and you will see success.” Flexible content solutions increase the client’s ROI by keeping content relevant, which in turn benefits both the integrators and developers who made it happen.

RELATED: Solving New Access Control Challenges With Digital Signage

The Angel in the Marble

When integrators and content developers effectively collaborate, they align the medium with the message. In AV or art, when the form and content are well suited, they immerse a viewer in the moment’s excitement and create a truly memorable experience. So, again, how much of a sculpture is defined by what it depicts and what it is made of? As Michelangelo pointed out years ago, the angel is in the marble.

WATCH NEXT: InfoComm 2020 Connected | How AV Integrators Should Be Working With Content Developers to Create Experiences That Maximize Their Clients' Investment
There is often a disconnect between the technology selection and the content displayed on it. Digital Signage Magazine Editor Camille Burch moderates a panel of AV content creators who will answer integrator questions to bridge the gap between technology and content. The result is an experience that will deliver the highest ROI for the customer.

About Michelle Bollen

Michelle Bollen came to AVIXA with a rich background in education and language. She has taught Latin and Graeco-Roman Mythology and has done extensive work in language translation. Michelle joined the Standards Development team and leads the audio task groups. When she's not working, she's tapping her barista skills for her team, working out, or writing young adult novels. You can reach her at mbollen@avixa.org.