I would expect that many sign shops and commercial graphics providers reading Sign & Digital Graphics magazine would view electronic digital signage (EDS) as competition rather than as an opportunity. And some who see it as opportunity may have already expanded their businesses to embrace EDS systems. Of that group, I would expect that some have made it a profitable division within their company, but others, perhaps the majority, have found DS to be painfully difficult.
Going it alone presents a great potential gain, but it also carries the greatest risk. The alternative that has worked for me is to team up with others who have skill sets and experience that I lack. The strategy is simple: find others who have proven skills or resources that you need, and create a synergistic opportunity relationship. That, of course, also sounds simple on the surface and it is a little more difficult to actually do.
- Partnering is certainly not without risk—especially if you don’t check out your sub-contracting choice—but I have found most business owners have integrity and will gladly work with you.
- It is better to have a portion of a pie than no portion whatsoever. There are many within the sign industry who have key relationships with the very clients who also want to engage in electronic digital signage.
- Make sure that you have someone on the team who is extremely IT literate, and make sure that you are proactive with the customer’s IT department.
- Find a champion within your customer’s organization who, as Warren Buffett would say, is willing to have skin in the game relative to the content being provided. If the customer is invested, he will make sure that content is always fresh and pertinent.
- No single electronic digital signage software package will work for every electronic digital signage project. Make sure you do your homework to ensure that you select the right software partner.
- It is imperative that you develop a collection of probing questions that will help you clearly define a tight scope of work. Otherwise you will end up doing lots of unpaid modifications.
- Not all hardware (screens, players, etc.) is capable of supporting a commercial EDS application. Electronic digital signage networks often run 24/7, or 18 hours a day. Many manufactures will not even warranty their product for that duty cycle. Unless the equipment is intended for the application, the heat generated from that duty cycle could kill your hardware.