By Alan C. Brawn CTS, ISF, ISF‐C, DSCE, DSDE, DSNE, DCME
When we are asked to spend some of our limited time on anything, the natural question revolves around the “value” or need in spending this precious commodity; in short, what in it for us? From a company perspective and individually a career point of view, the answer is really quite simple. In today’s complex world more than ever before, knowledge is strength. He or she who has “it” and knows what to do with “it” will rule the proverbial roost.
In the world of AV/IT digital signage system design and integration, it is not enough to read a spec sheet and think or worse yet, pretend to know. We must truly understand those spec sheets and all the features that a product or service can provide. In addition, we must discern the prime set of benefits from those features, and most critically the subsets of benefits that we can glean from a product or service for ourselves and for our clients. Remember that a benefit is a true benefit only in the eye of the beholder and one size does not fit all especially in digital signage.
In order to reach a true level of understanding a person must understand the basics of any topic before exploring variations on the central them. The “basics” are rarely limited or confined to one manufacturer or a single solution rather they represent core knowledge and concepts inherent in a category. With this goal in mind, the Digital Signage Experts Group and the Digital Signage Certified Expert (DSCE) certification program provides that impartial and agnostic approach to fundamentals from which a person’s knowledge can be expanded to encompass a broader spectrum of solutions. Only then can we see the benefit of one idea or solution over another or one product over a competitor.
It all begins with the foundation and understanding of what makes up digital signage. We must‐
1. Understand the scale and scope of the digital signage industry
2. Examine the disparate parts of the complex digital signage solution
3. Understand basic digital signage system design
4. Understand the fundamentals of displays
5. Understand the fundamentals of networks
6. Explore the types of digital signage software.
7. Explore signal alternatives
8. Understand infrastructure and integration
9. Explore content and content creation
10. Understand business models
11. Understand ROI
12. Understand real value
In the process of the attainment of knowledge, we can actually create better internal and external business relationships. To the first order, we have a clearer understanding of what the client actually wants. We can expand the needs analysis to encompass that broader scope since we are now “armed” with the ammunition of increased knowledge. In the process we will provide more appropriate solutions and ultimately a more clearly defined return on investment. Finally, we will end up establishing a relationship and serving the client more professionally not to mention, in many instances, creating a recurring revenue stream for yourself and your company.
From a personal point of view there are numerous benefits in spending precious time on professional development in general. You will clearly differentiate your company and yourself in the industry standing out from the average performers. Remember the 80/20 rule which states that 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people. Industry recognition and respect is a byproduct of this effort not to mention the monetary rewards earned in the process of career growth.
Last but not least is personal satisfaction. In the world of communication, we tend to become reticent and at times even awkward when we are unprepared or we do not know a significant amount about a given topic on which we are asked to speak. Confidence, clarity and ultimately satisfaction comes with communicating about something that you know. The fact is that we listen to and in most cases even enjoy what knowledgeable people have to say and this certainly holds true for our colleagues and clients as well when they listen to each of us. One of the rewards of time not spent but rather invested in gaining knowledge is personal satisfaction.
In the final analysis, the answer to the question, “Why Spend Time Learning about Digital Signage?” relates directly to what you know, what you do not know, and what you need to know. Being an expert in a few areas is sufficient but knowledge in all areas of digital signage is a must. It is that gaping hole in your knowledge that will come back to haunt you. Think about it and be willing to spend some time filling in those gaps.