There’s a Japanese concept called kaizen – this is continuous improvement, change for the better, now sometimes referred to as “The Toyota Way”. There’s flow kaizen, which is improving materials and information, and there’s process kaizen, which is improving work areas and individual workflows – the way someone actually performs their tasks. With a dynamic system like digital signage, there should always be a process of continuous tweaking and improving going on in all areas of the deployment. But sometimes you just get busy and start doing things by rote – the same things done the same way, and tiny errors or inefficiencies start accumulating. Eventually, they can add up to an actual problem. Sweeping away the detritus, the unnecessary and ineffective, is what the whole idea of a spring cleaning is really about, and we can apply this principle to streamline digital signage.
As the weather changes and the days get longer, people start to see their environment a little differently. Of course, doing a content refresh to keep your digital signage messages looking new and inviting is important, but so is what you do behind the scenes. Imagine a new person is coming in soon to start helping with digital signage content creation and scheduling – what can you do to make that person’s life easier?
First off, clean out those old playlists. Sure, messages drop out of rotation on the screens once they expire, but those assets still hang around in your software until someone goes in and deletes them. You may be surprised by what you find when taking a look under the hood – some organizations have hundreds of outdated messages just sitting there, taking up space. Okay, it’s digital space, so it’s not really a space issue – but boy is that confusing to have to sift through. Creating and scheduling playlists is so easy with most software that it’s actually faster to just make a new one from scratch, rather than sift through 400 old messages. If you aren’t using them, why keep them? They may be small files, but they actually do take up some space and use some processing power.
When it comes to memory-heavy items, you should examine your assets library. Video and image files are often pretty big, so it really behooves you to get rid of ones you don’t need anymore. Maybe you have an extensive library of high-quality images, useful for any kind of message, but think about where you store them. Try cloud storage (which can also allow people in various locations to access the same files, rather than five people each having a locally-stored copy of the same image) or put seldom used ones on an external hard drive. If you have 13 different sizes or versions of the same image, choose the top two and then delete or archive the rest. The same goes for sound files, if you use any.
What about your policies – are they up to date? Are they too wordy? Are there items on there that no longer apply to how you’re using your digital signage? Can people access them easily? Is there anything that can be deleted, or should be added?
Then there are user accounts. If someone no longer works for the organization, or no longer touches the digital signage system in their duties, delete their account. Only people who are currently authorized and actively working with your digital signage need to be on there.
Switching up passwords is not a bad idea either. This ensures that only authorized people have access to your system. Experts suggest doing this every six months, but even once a year can help make sure that things stay nice and secure.
If you integrate with social media accounts, you might also want to go through those feeds and clean out old, outdated posts and tweets. Apps like Instaport allow you to locally archive pictures and videos from Instagram, so you still have access to them but they aren’t sitting there cluttering up your feed. Tools such as Facebook Cleaner and Tweet Deleter make it easy to get rid of old posts, or schedule them to automatically delete after a certain amount of time.
Then we come to the nuts and bolts of your digital signage system – the software and hardware. Make sure these have all been updated with the newest releases, versions and drivers. If your hardware is getting old, make sure it still meets the minimum specs for optimal performance. Getting a support subscription from vendors can make this a very simple task.
And refreshing your training is not a bad idea either. Software companies are constantly improving their offerings, and there’s a pretty good chance that there’s a cool new feature that can save you time and effort. At the very least, go to you providers’ website and social pages to check out what’s new and what’s coming up in their production roadmap.
These are all ways to get a little kaizen in your professional life. It might take a bit of time this once to get everything optimized, but then it’s really not difficult to keep on top of things, always making sure that your processes and workflows are sleek and efficient. This will reduce the workload on you and your team in the long run and make it easier to integrate any new personnel into the current system flow.