If you think you’re not familiar with digital signage, you probably are but just don’t realize it. It’s hard to go a single day without seeing some kind of digital signage. The mall, restaurants, even theme parks and doctor’s offices are jumping on the bandwagon.
To fully understand how a digital signage system can benefit your ministry, you have to understand what a digital signage system is. At the most basic level, a computer screen showing something like a Power Point presentation qualifies as a signage system. While this makes for a start, what really opens up the possibilities is scheduling content to play at specific times. Power Point and Keynote won’t let you do that so you have to move over to an actual signage solution. When you do that, you get to drop content onto a calendar to play only when you want it to.
Imagine the lobby of a busy church with a 50” LCD opposite the main entrance. On Sunday mornings you could schedule an announcement loop that shows slides advertising upcoming events for the week. There could also be a slide showing the title and scripture reference for that morning’s message. When the service starts, some signage systems will even allow you to show live video so you could have the display switch over and show the camera feed from the auditorium. Then, at the end of the service the display switches to a video with details about the new building program.
Now, imagine expanding this system so that there’s a display or two for the youth area of the building. Maybe another display at the toddler check-in area and finally a display in the young adult hallway. Each of these displays can show content specific to each audience. Show slides about the upcoming youth camp in the youth area, advertise the mission trip to the young adults, and advertise a mom’s-day-out program to the check-in area. Now you’re able to get the most relevant information to the right people where they are.
There are many types of signage systems on the market, each with different features and prices. In the above scenario, you’ll need a four zone signage system. Each display (or group of displays) you want to be able to show independent content on constitutes a zone: the lobby display, the youth area, check-in area, and young adult area. It doesn’t matter how many displays you want per zone, multiple displays are easy to accommodate with distribution amplifiers, but if you want different content on display B than what’s showing on display A, you need two zones.
Creating the content for your signage system can be a fairly straightforward exercise or, if you want more complex animations or actual video footage, a rather involved process. If you’ve been showing announcement slides at the beginning of your service then you already have what it takes to get started. As your system grows, you’ll likely want to come up with a process for submitting announcement requests and decide who does what part of that process. In larger systems you may have an online form to submit a signage request. When that request is submitted it goes to someone to edit or approve the announcement before it is passed on to the person who will actually create the graphic or movie. Smaller systems can be as simple as creating a Power Point graphic and emailing it to the church secretary to be included in the announcement loop.
Think about how you communicate events to your congregation now. Is it effective? Is it efficient? The world is changing and reading through a list of announcements from the pulpit may not be the best way to keep your audience’s attention. Digital signage doesn’t even end with a display hanging on a wall. Post your announcements and events to a church Facebook and Twitter account and you’ll get that important information in front of even more people. If it plugs into a wall it’s digital and if it conveys information it’s signage. Remember that there are many ways to communicate a message and the more ways you communicate that message, the greater the chance it will be remembered.
Give Fowler a call to see how inexpensive it can be to get started with a digital signage system in your church.
Wed, July 21, 2010
by steague filed under