by Scott Sharon * • 26 Nov 2008
“Digital menu board basics” is a white paper in four parts. You may also want to read Part 1, Part 2 & Part 4. Some of the comments I make in this section are just common sense but in view of the many mistakes I have seen I will mention them. Since the start of the digital signage industry, there have been many companies enter the business and several have filed for bankruptcy and some more than once. As in most new industries, there is a shortage of expertise and many unqualified people are selling digital signage systems, so be careful.
Some of the digital signage suppliers have made little investment to enter the industry and simply contract everything out. If they sub everything out and have no value to add to your project, you will be paying extra and receive delayed and poor service. Be careful with someone that tells you they do everything. Make sure the supplier you choose will be around for a while and can back up their warranties. Also, make sure the warranties are backed up by the original equipment manufacturers and will be honored if your supplier disappears or defaults.
Designing your digital signage system requires the cooperative effort of your marketing department and the IT department. It may be best if driven by marketing with the assistance of the IT department. First, you should understand all the capabilities of a digital system. This may require at least a small test. When you have a good idea of what you want the system to do you can design the system and set up a plan with objectives and goals.
A test is a waste of time and money unless you have a proper plan with clear objectives and a method of measuring success. When you have a good understanding of what you want your system to do then you can design it. Without clear specifications and guidelines in your RFP, the proposals you receive will be so different you can not make accurate cost comparisons and may lead to serious mistakes. If you are not careful the lowest priced system will end up costing the most. If you aren’t sure how to do this it is critical to get unbiased assistance.