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Digital Signage Puts the Spotlight on Data

smart digital signage, digital signage network, digital signage software

We’ve all benefited from digital signage, from navigating our way through a transportation hub to discovering new products in retail, to staying up to date in the workplace. But these applications only scratch the surface of what’s possible.

For example, at one school, cutting-edge technology not only saved thousands of dollars, it improved student culture. Rather than investing in a traditional scoreboard, administrators installed digital signage and handed the controls to tech-savvy students.

And instead of simply posting points, they leveraged additional data to turn game stats into engaging content, lighting up the screen and motivating the crowd and players. The result was a special bond between two isolated groups—jocks and computer geeks—creating camaraderie on and off the field.

Organizations of all types can be creative with external data—tying in news headlines, weather, traffic, and market information to drive engagement and value. The uses are limited only by the imagination.

Light Up Your Data

“We believe there’s tremendous opportunity for organizations to capture value in the data that they already have. They spend billions of dollars every year gathering data, storing it, and backing it up,” says Doug Bannister, founder and CTO of Omnivex Corporation, manufacturer of Omnivex Moxie Digital Signage Solution.

But only a very small percentage is used to drive value to the bottom line. An abundance of insights is left untapped in silos that could be used to increase engagement, reduce costs, or increase revenue. Digital signage can break down silos and make data useful.

Bannister, whose background is in engineering, launched his company in 1991, providing bank call center agents with real-time stock exchange information. Over the past 30 years, he’s seen the capabilities of digital signs explode and has been part of the transformation.

He likens their possibilities to an ability to combine filing cabinets of different departments, such as sales, HR, shipping and receiving, production, and marketing. For example, manufacturing facilities can post sales metrics in real time, letting employees know if the company is on target with its goals. Retailers can leverage marketing data, using signs to welcome loyalty car rental members and direct them to their vehicles without requiring check-in.

“The Moxie #DigitalSignage platform can be used in hundreds of different applications. We drive entire #airports on it, we drive #StockExchanges with it, we drive #universities with it.” –@dbannister, CTO of @Omnivex via @insightdottech

Digital Signage Increases Engagement

One of the possibilities is improving communication. For example, a university in Alberta, Canada, uses the Moxie software to drive digital screens across campus, posting activities happening around campus and live streaming sporting events for students who can’t make it to the game.

“When the president of the university was dedicating a new building with the media there, they suddenly realized they were missing students,” says Bannister. “The guy in charge of the signs took care of it, posting a message offering free food. And 15 minutes later, they had 2,000 kids for the photo op.”

Smart Digital Signage Improves Safety

Signs can serve more serious functions, such as displaying emergency messages that are improved by connecting the software to sensors in the digital-signage network. For example, a drug company that uses ammonia in its manufacturing process installed the Omnivex Moxie solution at a plant.

“Ammonia spills are big problems,” says Bannister. “If you have a leak and need to clear out the place, the nearest door isn’t necessarily the safest if it’s downwind.”

Signage can connect to edge technology that pulls in wind speed and direction data to determine the best exit route. During normal operations, the signs can display general manufacturing updates. When an alarm is pulled, the signs instantly switch to emergency mode, displaying exit instructions on screens throughout the facility.

The Technology Inside Digital-Signage Software

Smart digital signage is powered by Omnivex Moxie software, a low-code distributed platform that can be installed on-premises or in the cloud. Users can choose from several data connectors such as SQL links for tapping into databases and IO links for IoT sensors, connectors, and relays. Data is pushed in real time with no refresh needed.

“Our competitors tend to come at signage from a graphics or broadcast standpoint, focusing on making a pretty picture,” says Bannister. “We always start with the data. Once you have the data, the connections, and you have it secure, you then say, ‘How do we make it look great?’”

Moxie displays and digital-signage software are built on Intel® processor-driven PCs running Windows. “Intel is the foundation of who we are and the solutions that we deliver to our customers,” says Bannister. “The Moxie platform can be used in hundreds of different applications. We drive entire airports on it, we drive stock exchanges with it, we drive universities with it.”

Systems integrators can use solutions like Omnivex Moxie to grow their businesses. Omnivex is a partner-first company. Instead of selling screens, ads, or content, it focuses on making the platform that enables its partners to do those things.

Omnivex’s digital practice team supports partners by training them on its software and assisting with technical support and sales calls, providing demonstrations, configuration, architecture questions, and product sample applications.

Every organization has data that’s meant to be used—and it can improve lives.

“We would all agree that our lives are better because of the introduction of the automobile, the telephone, and electricity,” Bannister says. “I would argue that our lives will be better because of today’s emerging technologies. Our mission is to connect people with data from artificial intelligence and machine learning. As engineer, I find all the possibilities fascinating and something to watch.”

About the Author

Stephanie Vozza is a business writer who specializes in retail, technology, and finance. In 2006, she launched her own eCommerce brand and sold it five years later to FranklinCovey Products. Stephanie has written for companies that include Intel, Epson, Oracle, Smartsheet, Wells Fargo, First Citizens Bank, and Mastercard. She's a regular contributor to Fast Company where she covers leadership, careers, and technology. Stephanie's byline has also appeared in Forbes, Inc., Parade, Entrepreneur, and SUCCESS magazines.

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