A good digital signage pilot lets you test your equipment, processes and content in a small-scale environment before rolling it out across your entire organization. This lowers risks across the board by letting you evaluate your goals and resources in a controlled environment.
A pilot can also increase stakeholder buy-in, since everyone on your team can play a part in the planning, pilot, adjustment and final roll out of the system. By involving people early in the process, you can make them champions for your digital signage system.
Set Your Goals
First, outline the purpose and goals of the pilot. These need to be specific – much more than just “make sure all screens work”. Some ideas for digital signage pilot goals might be:
- Test all system components on the network
- Configure all third-party applications on digital signage system
- Choose layouts and layout schedules for all displays
- Define which types of content work best on specific displays
- Assess content creation, management and scheduling processes
- Evaluate teams and assign user roles and privileges
- Determine effective methods to measure audience engagement
Define the Scope
You’ll need to define the parameters of the pilot. If this is more complex than a few screens, you’ll want to prioritize the various test environments. No matter what the scope, make sure your pilot runs in the most real-world setting possible and for as long as you need to thoroughly evaluate it.
The various items you’ll need to define are:
- Where the pilot will run
- Timeline for pilot, evaluation and adjustment
- List of action items with task owners and deadlines
- Methods and tools for measuring pilot goals
- Techniques to collect stakeholder feedback
- Project management, tracking and collaboration tools
- Documentation methods and storage
- Budget and resources
- Contingency plans
Run the Pilot
You’ll need to work closely with your digital signage provider and IT staff to get your system online. Then you can run your pilot as you defined it in the steps above.
Be sure to let your pilot run for the allotted time before making adjustments. Obviously, if something technical isn’t working, you should fix it right away. But if you change things like processes or content too often, it will be impossible to evaluate success for a single set of variables.
Assess and Adjust
At the end of the pilot, you’ll want to collect data and feedback from all of your stakeholders. You’ll see exactly which of your processes and goals succeeded and which need adjustment. This lets you identify where you should make improvements and where you need to bolster resources for a successful digital signage deployment.
Keep in mind that the pilot might be a success even if it didn’t exactly meet your goals or match your plan. Sometimes, it’s easier to pin down goals and streamline processes after a system has been used in day-to-day operations. To evaluate the pilot, you’ll want to:
- Collect stakeholder feedback
- Analyze the pilot goals and plan
- Compare actual to predicted performance
- Solve gaps in actual vs. predicted
- Fix gaps through adjustments in resources or processes
- Adjust expectations and goals based on results
- Communicate pilot results to stakeholders
- Continue pilot or launch system
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