Discover why wayfinding and digital signage are becoming increasingly popular
Wayfinding and digital signage are names of creating a digital customer experience in the daily physical world. This application helps users to find a location and targeted information and is often used indoors. In your own home, for example, but especially in stores and buildings. These can be buildings in all sectors, from government buildings to buildings of companies or organizations. The associated software is often installed on interactive kiosks but also on smartphones. These computer programs are increasingly succeeding in displacing the traditional ways of finding a location. You will discover below how this is done.
What exactly is wayfinding and digital signage?
Everyone is familiar with traditional signage. Posters and information boards are examples of this. These are also called static boards because you cannot adjust or supplement them. You can do this with digital signage. In fact, interactive columns, for example, and LCD information screens that can be controlled centrally offer you the option to adjust or supplement information at any time. This ensures that you can make digital signposting and information provision part of your marketing and communication strategy. The term regularly used for this is narrowcasting.
Narrowcasting or 'limited transmission'
The term narrowcasting was introduced to the marketing world around 2005. It means 'limited transmission' and serves as an internet communication tool. It is based on a fragmented use of the content as well as on a distribution mechanism. This makes narrowcasting slightly different from, for example, broadcasting. In this context, information and news are broadcast in a way that makes no distinction between the types of consumers that they want to address. With narrowcasting, on the other hand, specific information and content is distributed to a specific target group. It simply offers the possibility to provide personalized information.
Benefits of narrowcasting systems
Integrated wayfinding and digital signage within a narrowcasting system offers the great advantage that you can only keep track of all your public communication in a building in a single platform. Or around a building. This way you can not only display information about the routes in a smart way, but (possibly simultaneously) display various other types of information. Then you have to think about the latest news, but also traffic information, opening times, daily offerings, important announcements and so on. You are in full control of narrowcasting. Everything you find desirable to communicate can easily be brought to the attention of your intended target group using this method.
Options for adjustments and additions
Another big advantage is that you can adjust and supplement information about a route at any time with digital signage. After all, the use of buildings is dynamic and that is why the flexibility of digital signage is so ideal. Are the lifts currently not working? That is not a problem at all. By using the narrowcasting system and digital signage you can adjust the routes in the building directly. Handwritten and unprofessional A4 pages are a thing of the past. Instead, the new route information is immediately displayed on the information screens. This way, every visitor knows in which direction he or she must go in order to arrive at the right location.
From departments that have been relocated to temporary renovations
In addition to a broken elevator, wayfinding and digital signage also offers the possibility to quickly and easily identify where a particular department has been relocated to. Or what about temporary renovations? Instead of trying to familiarize yourself with all kinds of handwritten or printed paperwork, the visitor experiences the convenience of an information screen. This is also much more sustainable. It is also possible to choose interactive alternatives in addition to LCD screens as information carriers. You should think of information kiosks where, for example, visitors with a 'finger touch' can request the desired information.
All information that is interesting and relevant
Everything that may be of interest to visitors at a certain time can be displayed on an information screen or on interactive alternatives. Suppose someone is in a large shopping mall and is looking for a specific store. Or someone goes on holiday and stands at the airport looking for the gate from which his or her plane leaves. In addition to the information about the route to take, any delays can also be shown here, or the opening times and offers that the specific store has.
Where to start
Companies, government institutions, individuals and organizations interested in narrowcasting solutions in the field of wayfinding and digital signage are best advised by specialists. This always starts with an inventory in and around the building in question. In addition, the expected visitor flows are of course important, as well as the information they are looking for. A plan of approach is drawn up based on this. For example, it looks at which digital information carriers are needed at which specific locations. In addition, an inventory is made of what information must be shown and / or must be available interactively. The hardware and software for this can also best be installed by specialists. The same applies to the implementation of the correct content.
Eye for design
An experienced specialist will also have expertise in the field of graphic design. How is the information displayed on the information screens and interactive information carriers? For example, you can choose to display the relevant building in 2D, but also in 3D. Attention is also paid to the layout. Where and to what extent should the corporate identity of a company, organization or government institution be reflected in the wayfinding and digital signage? All this requires perfect coordination that a specialist with experience and expertise can offer.
Narrowcasting method is now affordable
Not so long ago, many companies, governments and organizations labeled wayfinding and digital signage as too expensive a form of communication. Why? The costs for digital screens and interactive alternatives were too high. This initially ensured that there were few buildings where the narrowcasting method was applied. This has since changed and has become commonplace. This is due to the revolution in the field of LED, LCD and plasma screens. As a result, the narrowcasting method has become much more attractive for many companies, governments and organizations, and you notice that well.
Narrowcasting applied in various sectors
The most diverse sectors today use wayfinding and digital signage. The retail example is a perfect example of this. Digital signposting indicates the shopping routes to be followed, but also special offers and general branding. Or what about the entertainment world? In casinos, for example, narrowcasting creates atmosphere and healthy tension. Another sector where narrowcasting is frequently used is the banking sector. Then you should think of stock price information, also branding and product information.
Applications in the transport sector
In addition to the retail sector, entertainment world and banking sector, narrowcasting is also frequently used in the transport sector. In this sector, wayfinding and digital signage is not only expressed at airports, but also at train stations, for example. Here too, the current information on arrival and departure times is desired by visitors. This can be at a specific gate, platform or trucker stop, but also at the shops and restaurants that are located in the vicinity of the airport or train station. In addition to the information on arrival and departure times, traffic information is in many cases also interesting for visitors as well as the current news.
Healthcare institutions and schools
Other sectors where wayfinding and digital signage are increasingly being used are healthcare institutions and schools. For example, pharmaceutical companies could advertise through digital signage and at the same time provide entertainment in the waiting room. Furthermore, it is often said that young people have the future and digital signage is almost self-evident for this group. The narrowcasting method therefore offers them many new opportunities for interactive communication that are highly topical. In short, it is interesting for almost every sector to further investigate the possibilities of narrowcasting and to implement where relevant.
For internal use
In addition to providing information for visitors, wayfinding and digital signage can certainly also be used very well internally. What should you think about? Messages that increase work ethics, for example, and that encourage performance improvements and the optimization of business processes. For companies that generally make a lot of noise and therefore use an intercom, narrowcasting can also offer a particularly efficient solution. The same applies to the internal provision of safety information, changes in work schedules and the production results achieved. All this information can be communicated very well to the employees with narrowcasting.
A hardware and a software component
The narrowcasting method consists of both a hardware and a software component. It is important that both are deployed correctly and that pitfalls are avoided. For example, suppliers of narrowcasting systems often work with a limited number of brands for the hardware. These are the information screens and the corresponding media players. Usually the choice is limited to one or at most three brands. This is often sufficient, but businesses, governments and organizations must be on their guard. It is therefore important that they are properly informed in advance before they proceed to purchase.
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