Digital signage software and the changing needs of business during a pandemic

With 46% of UK employees working from home during the ongoing pandemic (according to the Office of National Statistics), digital signage software providers have had to adapt to assist companies to communicate with their teams beyond the digital displays on office walls and meeting rooms.

When the spread of COVID-19 led to a lockdown of UK offices and those employees that were not furloughed were asked to work from home, we spoke with our customers and asked them what would help them maintain a channel of communication beyond the use of email, video meetings and messaging platforms? The most popular response was the ability to replicate the visual experience on their office displays, on the laptops, tablets and mobiles that their employees were using for work, at home.

We took on board the feedback from our customers and rapidly developed a new use case for Signagelive, where publishing digital signage layouts and content to large-format displays could be extended to publish to a web browser, viewable by remote employees on their home working computer and mobile devices.

New product

The resulting product is the Signagelive Broadcast Player which we launched in April at no cost to our customers through to the end of 2020, allowing our customers to communicate with their remote employees without having to find a budget during a period of uncertainty and enforced changes for many businesses.

In addition to launching the Broadcast Player, we created a range of free COVID related images and videos available in our Marketplace that echoed the guidelines being provided by the World Health Organisation and Governments throughout the world. One of our customers who were early adopters of the Broadcast Player to augment their Signagelive digital signage network used for workplace communications was Bespak.

Bespak is a global market leader in the design, development and manufacture of drug delivery devices, providing inhaler, autoinjector and nasal technologies, as well as development and manufacturing services.

At the point of lockdown, Bespak was using Signagelive to broadcast and communicate information to 19 screens across 3 of our UK sites. Signagelive is used to display communications such as health and safety, and quality messages, which are two of the primary communication focus areas as well as giving Bespaks’ employees the chance to display their social messages such as birthdays or the birth of a new baby..

Bespak chose Signagelive because it offered the granular enterprise features they required. They wanted to be able to drill down into user permissions, schedule content and have complete control over layouts and design. Other digital signage platforms they had considered appeared to be easier to get going out of the box initially, but they found that they soon outgrew their capabilities.

Customer response

In an interview with Rhiannon Moore, from the Marketing team at Bespak, she explained how they had used Signagelive to communicate with their employees both in the offices and those working from home.

“What were the reasons for implementing a digital signage network?” 

Using e-mail for mass communication was something that had become heavily relied on within our business, and quite frankly, people were bored with it. Communications sent out via email were often brushed over or dismissed, and people began to stop seeing the information as important. It was clear to us that we needed a new, exciting way of getting our messages across. The digital signage network was part of a whole new host of internal communications methods being introduced across the business. We wanted to ensure there was a way people could receive relevant, inviting content without getting bored or seeing it as unimportant.

“How were these objectives being met previously?”

Communications objectives were mainly being met via email, but this was by no means the most effective way of communication. As previously stated, messages became boring and unimportant fast, often being deleted before being read.

“How did you build a business case internally for Signagelive?”

We ran a proof of concept with a low-cost signage platform to demonstrate why a digital signage platform was required. We then conducted research using case studies and Gartner’s magic quadrant to shortlist three products.   We ran a feature assessment against all three products and scored them. We presented our findings and recommendations to our Operating Board who agreed with our recommendation, set the budget and gave us a “wish list” of features to deliver now and into the future.

“The usability of the platform?”

At first, when you are learning a new piece of software, it can seem complicated and hard to ‘get the hang of’. However, with Signagelive, although we may have faced some hurdles in the very beginning, it soon became easy to use and had very little complication. This is something we find extremely useful as it means signage can be updated quickly and efficiently, without having to spend hours playing with content.

“Did you face any challenges during any part of your project implementation? How were these resolved?”

We did face some challenges along the way, specifically surrounding our templates for content. We use different colour schemes depending on what department/area of the business information is coming from, and to begin with, we made and laid out our own set of templates for them to use.

However, as a couple of weeks went past the feedback on these was average, and we realised we were not happy with them. To resolve this, we brought in the design team from Signagelive and asked them to make a new set of these for us. This set is now used daily on our screens.

“How has business improved since using Signagelive?”

Our communications process has become a lot smoother since using Signagelive. Colleagues are now aware of our process of adding content to screens, and for those working off-site, the Broadcast Player allows us to publish a channel of content that is viewable in a web browser on mobile or laptop instead of sending out communications via site-wide emails.   Across one of our smaller sites, we have also seen a rise in engagement towards communications, with them really enjoying being able to use the screens for their social content such as birthdays and good luck messages.

“What advantages does Signagelive offer?”

The ability to communicate quickly and effectively. You can choose how often your screens refresh, and this means if you have an urgent piece of content that needs to be published instantaneously this is not an issue. As well as this, the ability to be able to choose where certain pieces of content play. One of our sites has nine buildings and not every building wants to see the same content, so being able to tailor this to suit their needs is a big advantage for us.

Overall, Signagelive has given our business the opportunity to become more engaging within our communications and offer us a solution better and more effective than email. It is something that we are enjoying using and will continue to use in the future.

Conclusion

Bespak is an excellent example of how having a well thought through digital signage strategy can lead to effective communication and increased engagement across a workforce, especially during the ongoing pandemic where many of the team are working remotely.

Bespak adopted a rigorous digital signage software selection process and through utilising Signagelive services and embracing available features and products such as the Signagelive Broadcast Player they are now able to communicate quickly and effectively with their workforce whether onsite or at home.

ONS Coronavirus and homeworking in the UK: April 2020

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