Digital signage is an excellent tool of mass communication that thrives on content day in, day out. In the past few years, real-time content seems to have gained immense popularity, especially in the digital signage space. It is quite amazing when you think of how the idea of ‘content’ has transformed over the years.
Not many years ago, the general concept of content was some form of pre-defined, pre-cooked, well-thought-out, and often a creativity-infused medium of information dissemination or medium of engagement. Perhaps a brand advertising video or a copywriter’s rhyming catchphrase. The process of producing quality content required a whole lot of time, effort, and human resources. Such content would keep playing on the digital signage displays for days and months until new content was curated and delivered.
Well, things got boring and tedious.
And so technology, like always, presented us with an upgrade: real-time content. But, even after its growing popularity, many people are still confused about the meaning of ‘real-time content’.
So, What is Real-time Content?
Real-time means ‘as it happens‘.
Let’s say you booked an Uber, and the map shows you exactly where your cab is at the moment. That is an example of ‘real-time’ or ‘live’ location status. It means that the information keeps changing and updating minute-by-minute or even second-by-second as the corresponding event keeps happening.
Real-time relays may sometimes lag by a few seconds, yet there is no arguing that real-time content in digital signage is always fresh and relevant to the public.The accuracy of any real-time transmission depends on the software agility and the complexity of the events. Therefore, it is wise to choose a good digital signage software that promises high accuracy.
How Does Real-time Content Work for Digital Signage?
Digital signage software is very versatile. Technology, including digital signage software, has moved past the constrictions and boundaries of individuality. Different software applications and technical solutions can be integrated and made to function in sync with each other. This is how real-time content from various systems can be played on digital signage. The digital signage software can simply keep collecting and updating live information from a third-party system and project the content on a digital signage display.
So, when it comes to playing real-time content in digital signage, technical integrations between the digital signage software and different third-party applications become essential.
In What Ways Can Digital Signage Use Real-time Content?
There are no such categories of real-time content for digital signage. Any form of live interaction can be shown using digital signage.
The following are a few popular types of real-time content for digital signage:
- Social Media Feeds: This is perhaps the most successful example of real-time content in digital signage. With an ever-expanding number of people using social media, brands are eager to promote themselves on social media and interact with the netizens.
Running social media feeds on digital signage acts as a connecting bridge for such brands. It makes the general consumers aware of the brands’ social media presence. On the other hand, it makes the consumers the brand ambassadors. How? Let’s say you put up a digital signage display near a product shelf in your retail store. The digital signage display shows social reviews of your product, coming straight from loyal customers. Imagine the impact it will have on the buyers’ purchasing decisions! A smart move, isn’t it? That’s why many brands are gradually beginning to display real-time content from social media to engage with customers.
Besides positive reviews, your social media profile is also an innovative way to showcase your products. The tiny ‘Likes’ make all the difference. A product with 10K+ likes is bound to persuade your customers to buy it.
- Live Geographical Data: Another type of real-time content which can be relayed through digital signage is geographical data. Real-time geographical information may include:
- Weather: Weather apps keep updating live as well as future weather data. Constant weather information is particularly relevant for the aviation sector, tourism sector, public transport sector, etc. Educational institutions and certain multinational companies can also find live weather updates to be useful.
- Location: Real-time navigation using GPS has made our lives easier. With a few clicks of the thumb, we can simply rely on satellite data to locate a specific address, an individual’s live whereabouts, a vehicle’s live movement status, the traffic congestion on a route, and whatnot. Nowadays, AI-driven technologies are analyzing real-time information and generating algorithm-based recommendations to suggest the fastest commute. These navigation tools can be integrated with digital signage software to display real-time location-based updates of buses, trains, flights, cabs, special VIP convoys, etc.
3. Real-time Operations Status: Digital signage can be also used to monitor real-time workflow status within factories & manufacturing units, call centers, etc. Through API integrations, the digital signage software can pull data from any third-party system (like an organization’s internal system) and broadcast those data through digital signage screens.
For example, BPOs can use digital signage to show the live status of customer service tickets. It can also help the management track the average time required to close a call, thereby aiding in internal quality monitoring drives. Similarly, factories and manufacturing units can show live updates of loading and unloading of goods, real-time status of factory machinery in use, and so on.
Therefore, playing real-time content on digital signage has many productivity-based advantages. For almost any industry, showing these types of real-time contents through digital signage can help to improve workflow as well as inter-departmental coordination.
4. Corporate Applications: The corporate sector benefits tremendously from digital signage solutions. Whether it is for corporate communications or wayfinding, corporate corridors are always furnished with digital signage. But how does real-time content fit into the corporate digital signage scenario? Well, in the corporate dimension, real-time content can be generated from:
- Various productivity applications: Offices heavily rely on various software apps used for collaborative work across departments, floors of buildings, employee teams, etc. Large offices with several departments and conference rooms can update live occupancy status on google spreadsheets. Such real-time content can be broadcast across various floors of the office buildings using digital signage displays. Apps like Google docs, stock market apps, and currency converter apps are some other examples that can generate real-time digital signage content for corporate use.
- Various messaging & communication tools: Most offices use internal communication channels like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet, etc. Long-distance corporate meetings, seminars, training sessions, and podcasts can be streamed in real-time using digital signage.
5. RSS Feeds: RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds include a large variety of information (articles, news, updates, tidbits) that are published by various websites and are continually refreshed. RSS feed can be easily collected from different websites and played on digital signage. RSS feeds are very useful and can draw instant attention as the content is oven-fresh. RSS feeds are particularly useful in educational institutions where students can be made aware of various interesting extra-academic knowledge.
In Conclusion The scope of using real-time content in digital signage is still under-explored. Essentially anything that is happening now can be turned into content with the right kind of digital signage software. And that makes this type of digital signage content more attractive and engaging for people. As more and more technologies integrate, we will be looking into a future where real-time content will be one of the most popular content to be played on digital signage.