Digital Signage Resources

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How to Successfully Deploy Digital Signage to Multiple Sites

When planning your Digital Signage deployment, it is strongly recommended that you consider using an experienced installation team to help you plan as well as conduct the installation. Please use this document as a guide when planning your deployment only. There are many challenges in deployment that is specific to each environment that needs to be carefully considered before conducting the installation. We’ll cover some of the general things you need to be aware of to catch most issues early so you can minimize the impact of potential problems.

Challenges in deployment often happens from lack of communication and understanding of the installation sites. We are assuming that you have already selected all the hardware and software and have a content strategy prepared before proceeding with deployment planning. Please note, your mounting options may need to change once you finish this plan.

Step 1: Selecting local contact

The first thing you want to do is select a person at each of your sites. This person needs to have intimate knowledge of the facility, its security and safety policies, it’s electrical and data wiring plans and the actual construction of the buildings. This is especially important if you will be doing electrical and data wiring.

Even if the person does not have the answers, it should be someone you can hold accountable for getting the answers you need and co-ordinating activity that needs to happen on-site.

Educate this person on the project, what needs to happen at his/her site and how it will happen. Armed with this information, this person can help solve a lot of problems for you in the future.

Start an excel file to document the locations and its local contact. You want to know their email address, the site address, and their hours of operation, this contact’s work hours and their cell phone number. It is also a good idea to have a secondary contact, in case this person is not available for some reason.

Other things to find out for the site:

  • Do they require union workers to perform the work?
  • Any special requirements? Need to work off duty hours or cannot use noisy equipment Ie. A school where classes are in session or a hospital where they are dealing with patience with ear problems.

Step 2: Selecting mounting locations

Once you have a local contact and he/she is up to speed on the project. You will need to co-ordinate with this person to select all the locations where Digital Signage will be installed. The person responsible for selecting the location may be someone else, but work with your contact to ensure that this contact is aware of where the screens will be mounted. Have the local contact document the locations with some useful identifier. Ie. North Wall of Cafetaria in 77 RivittDr. Add this information to you excel file.

Step 3: Site Survey

Schedule site survey. This is a critical step in the deployment process and mandatory to ensure a smooth and effortless deployment. The site survey should be conducted by the same team that will do the installation. If you are getting different people to do electrical and data, it is a good idea to select contractors that have worked in those buildings before.

Document for each site as much information as you can. You should know the size, weight, model number of the screen you will be using. Put this information into the excel file as well. This information is necessary to select the mount and determine if the mounting surface is strong enough to handle the screen and mount.

At the site survey, what you want to make sure is:

  • Have the site survey team identify, with a removable adhesive like electrical tape, the location of where the data and electrical outlet needs to be. This will ensure that the installation team can mount the screen to hide the electrical and data outlets for an aesthetically pleasing Digital Signage install.
  • Ensure that the mounting surface can support the weight of whatever screen will go in that place. If the surface cannot support it, this is the time to get the installation team to suggest a plan such as re-enforcing the surface with ply wood, or going with a ceiling or floor mount. Document this into the excel file, it may require adjustments to your hardware costs.
  • If there are safety requirements, training, equipment etc. that is required for the site, get it out of the way during the site survey and ensure you meet the requirements when the team comes back to do the install.
  • Ensure that any additional equipment necessary such as lifts or scaffolding is identified and document to ensure it is available for the install. These add cost and time to the deployment.
  • Ensure that there is no asbestos issues. In some cases you may need hazmat suites, wet drilling or even quarantine tents setup to ensure you meet regulation for working with asbestos.
  • Ensure the mount you selected is still ok for the environment, if not, document and adjust your hardware. Some mounting methods and hardware will add cost and time. Changing from wall mount to ceiling may require additional equipment like a lift.
  • If you are using a wireless method to connect to the Digital Signage server, ensure the wireless signal in the place where the screen is to be installed is available and strong.

Step 4: Prepare to Schedule Installation

Before you start the scheduling of installation at each location, you should ensure the following:

  • Ensure that data and power outlets are installed and tested. If the data port needs to connect to a server somewhere, ensure that necessary firewall rules are set and that the node is active and able to reach the server. Installers often do not have enough technical knowledge to troubleshoot network issues so this should be done well before they arrive. You may need to stagger the installation and start scheduling before the outlets are actually installed, if this is the case then make sure you give 1 week between when you are promised the data and power will be ready and when you schedule installation. The one week will provide you with sufficient time to take care of any issues with the power data install.
  • All media players, mounting hardware, additional installation equipment, cabling and accessories required for each location should be ready. If not, understand when they will be and adjust your schedule accordingly. All necessary hardware should be either shipped to the local contact or sent out with the installation team. In either case, it should be ready 1 week before install.
  • Media players are setup for each location and marked with the location identifier.
  • Create a one or two page instruction set for the installers at each location. If there are any special instructions then this is the place to put it. If you are getting a local signoff on the installation, include this with the local signoff document and send it out with the installers.

Step 5: Schedule Installations

Once you have step one to four completed, you are ready to schedule. The scheduling of the installation requires step one to four because we want to ensure that we are able to do the install with one visit instead of coming back multiple times due to some unforseen challenges or equipment wasn’t ready etc.

Make sure you understand when the required equipment will be ready and with that schedule the installation of the hardware at the respective sites. Keep in mind, you will need the operating hours of each site, and the work schedule of the local contact to ensure no conflicts.

Once you have the window when the installer will be on-site, ensure that the local contact is aware of the date, the name of the installer and the installer’s mobile number. It is a good idea to send a reminder to the local contact a day before the install date. Ensure that the installer and the local contact has your contact information as well so they can reach you in case there are any issues.

The installers should update you of the completion of the work or any complication.

When the work is successfully completed, ensure the media player is connected to the server.

Step 6: Completion

Once the installation is completed, send an email to all the local contacts to inform them of the status as well as other stakeholders.

Ensure all media players are online and operational. If training has not been already completed, this is a good time to make sure that is done also.