Buffalo, NY Buried in Snow – ASI, Buffalo Spared

This screen shot Is of a sign Installed by ASI, Buffalo weathering last week's blizzard - It is not a link to the video.

This screen shot Is of a sign Installed by ASI, Buffalo weathering last week’s blizzard – The Video link doesn’t work.

 

Thanks to all who have expressed concern about the impact of last week’s terrible blizzard on ASI’s team members in Buffalo, New York. Andy Bernatovicz, who is the ASI affiliate in Western New York State reports that the ASI, Buffalo office and manufacturing facility is located in an area outside of the ten-mile wide area near Lake Erie known as “The Knife,” which had up to seven feet of snow dumped on it. Andy reports that just a few inches of snow fell by ASI, Buffalo. However, he was quick to add that the people who were hit were buried in snow and they are still digging out.

Andy shared this screen shot taken from a CNN news story of the storm that was aired on a Buffalo TV station. The screen shot is of a sign from an ASI, Buffalo project that was buried in snow. Andy is most appreciative of everybody’s concern and well wishes for his team. He remains concerned for the well being of others in the Buffalo area that did not fare as well.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

Building Your Brand with Solar Signage

womans-hospital-solar-sign-day

 

womans-hospital-solar-sign-night

 

Brands gain prestige when they reduce their dependence on energy sources that release greenhouse gas emissions. Our last blog post discussed the exponential growth of solar energy as a renewable power source and the viability for its use in the United States. This post explores how solar energy can be harnessed to power your exterior signage. One of the first brand images that people see as they approach your facility is your exterior signage. Therefore, solar signs provide an ideal opportunity to showcase your organization’s dedication to reduce your carbon footprint.  Your green commitment builds your brand beyond your organization’s main business or function.

Benefits Provided By Solar Signage

Besides conserving energy and not having to pay for electricty to power the signs there are a number of benefits that solar signs provide. In areas surrounding your facility that do not have ready sources of electrical power, using solar signage can eliminate trenching costs. Running electrical lines a distance from your electrical power source requires digging as well as laying and burying the lines, which can be very expensive. Selecting solar signage also reduces the disturbance to traffic and pedestrians brought about by trenching. Solar signage provides an opportunity to place multiple signs around your facility in locations that would not otherwise be easy to power.

In addition to aiding wayfinding and branding, solar signage, when used where it is too costly to trench and run electrical power, adds more ambient lighting. People are naturally attracted to well-lighted facilities. Ambient light enhances safety. It results in safer walkways, safer driveways and safer parking lots. Ambient light also makes streets, driveways and parking lots safer to navigate for motorists who do not see as well at night.

The primary benefits of solar signage include:

  • Supports Sustainability Initiatives
  • Valuable Brand Enhancement
  • Operating and Financial Advantages
    • No Monthly electricity costs
    • Rapid Return on Investment (ROI)
    • Often Less Expensive to Install than Conventional Illuminated Signs
    • Low Voltage / Reduced Liability
    • Offset CO2 Emissions – Green Products
    • Immune to Power Outages

The new “look” of solar is quite different from the old image of ginormous photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Much smaller PV solar panels are now used and they can be faced in different directions from the signs themselves so that signs can face in any direction. Solar panels must be located in areas that receive direct sunlight. Solar signs can include large monument or monolith signs, directories with or without maps and signs on buildings. Solar signs can share important emergency preparedness and evacuation information. Solar signs have the added benefit of remaining lighted even when the power grid goes down. Weather events such as bad storms and hurricanes can result in blackouts lasting for hours and sometimes days.

Solar Sign Components

Today’s solar signs are composed of a variety of components. Most obvious are photovoltaic panels, which collect the radiance from the sun and convert it to electricity, batteries, which store the electricity, and LED strips, which light the signs. The brain of solar signs, the power management system, is not as obvious. The power management system is key as it enables the solar sign to adapt to an ever-changing environment. The power management system is essentially a computer inside the solar sign. Power management systems solve challenges including:

  • Seasonal Variances – the amount and length of sunlight changes throughout the year
  • Environmental Variances – every day isn’t sunny
  • Directional Variances – signs aren’t always facing south, shade may vary as well as reflections from buildings and traffic headlights
  • User Requirements – signs are typically lighted seven days a week but the hours may change on different days and at different times of the year

Power management systems are run by software that takes into account all these variables and accounts for contingencies so that solar signage is dependable. Power management systems can be programmed with over forty years of local data to make sure that signs will remain lighted.

Solar signage is durable with batteries, LED strips, PV panels and power management systems designed to last many years. LED light panels typically last fifteen years or longer and PV panels are normally warrantied for twenty-five years.

Tax Credits and Rebates

Checkout DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency). It provides information on available federal tax credits, state rebates and utility rebates. There is money out there for use solely on green applications and this website provides useful information to help figure out how you may be able to offset some of the solar signage costs.

Solar signage is a ”no-brainer” when an electric power source isn’t located nearby. Solar signs are an excellent option in many locations to both convey messages and to promote your brand’s green commitment. Once installed solar signs eliminate all energy costs while being dependable in the event of power outages.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

Solar Energy Growth Builds Case for Solar Signage

Solar Energy

 

With the exponential growth of solar energy as a renewable power source the use of solar signage makes a great addition to an organization’s green plan. The high visibility of solar signage aligns your brand with environmental responsibility. This post focuses on the viability and growth of solar energy. The next post will examine exterior signage powered by solar energy.

Solar Energy Dwarfs All Other Sources

Solar energy continues to be the single largest energy source that is the most dependable, the most predictable and the most abundant. Solar energy dwarfs all other sources in comparison with both renewable and non-renewable sources (including total reserves of all the fossil fuels on earth).

 

Annual Global Energy Sources

(Terawatt Hours)

Source

Terawatt Hours

Direct Solar Radiation

350,000,000

Wind

200,000

Ocean / Thermal

100,000

Biofuels

50,000

Tidal / Wave

5,000

1 terawatt hour equals 1 billion kilowatt hours

.

Total Global Non-Renewable Energy Resources

(Terawatt Hours)

Source

Terawatt Hours

Coal

6,000,000

Natural Gas

1,500,000

Uranium 235

1,500,000

Oil

1,000,000

Tar Sands

800,000

Total

10,800,000

1 terawatt hour equals 1 billion kilowatt hours

Source of above data – SunCell by Christopher C Swan, updated by Steve Heckeroth

 

In just a single year more than 32 times as much direct solar radiation, in terms of terawatt hours, reaches the earth than the terawatt hour value of all global non-renewable energy resources combined. Clearly, solar energy will be a key element in future energy supply solutions for the United States.

Rapid Growth in Use of Solar Energy in U.S.

Supply is one side of the equation but what about technology and consumption? In 2008, the U.S. was in the top 10 nations as far as solar energy consumption is concerned but we were towards the bottom of the list. Questions were being asked about solar as to whether solar radiation was as good a source as wind, biofuel, geothermal and tidal and wave alternatives. Some emerging technologies like tidal and wave advances seemed more applicable and appropriate.

Up until 2012 Germany was the single largest adapter of solar energy. This in itself is remarkable because in examining solar coverage viability, Germany is like the state of Alaska in terms of the amount of sunlight coverage. Statistics reported earlier this year show that 39% of Germany’s power consumption was being powered by solar energy.

For the year 2013 the United States grew to become one of the top 3 leaders in the global share of new solar installations. China was in first place, followed by Japan and then the United States. Germany had fallen to 4th place. China remains the leader especially in the use of solar energy for production and manufacturing. China produces approximately 60% of the world’s photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

In 2013 global cumulative PV capacity increased by 37 gigawatts to a total of 135 gigawatts, an increase in production capacity of over 37% in just one year.

How well suited is the United States to capturing direct solar radiation considering how the amount of sunlight available is impacted by weather, seasonality, the angle of the sun, etc.? The good news is that the U.S. is in extraordinary shape to make use of solar energy. In fact, other than Alaska and the northwest tip of the state of Washington, the rest of the U.S. is far better suited to the capturing of solar energy than Germany. Solar is viable not only in the Sun Belt states but throughout the rest of the country including the Northeast, the Midwest, the Plains states and the West.

In terms of new electricity generation capacity in the U.S., between 2012 and 2013 the amount of new power produced by solar nearly tripled in one year. In 2012 solar represented 10% of the new electrical generation capability in service. In 2013 solar had jumped to 29%.

Statistics provided by the Solar Energy Industry Association for the year ending December 31, 2013 are rather astounding:

  • U.S. solar market grew to $13.7 billion in 2013
  • There are nearly 143,000 solar workers in the U.S., a 13.2% increase from 2011 to 2013
  • The U.S. installed 4.75 gigawatts (GW) of new PV installations in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly 15 times the amount installed in 2008 (just 5 years earlier)
  • Total cumulative PV capacity in the U.S. is now at 12.1 GW (capacity was at only 3.9 GW at the end of 2011)
  • There were 140,000 new solar installations in the U.S. in 2013, with 440,000 systems operating at the beginning of 2014
  • More solar has been installed in the past 18 months than in the prior 30 years (mid 2012-2013)
  • An additional 6 GW of new PV installations have been forecasted for 2014
  • The 30% Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been extended through the end of 2016
  • The average PV system price fell by 15% in 2013

Obviously, the outlook for the use of solar energy is rosy and incorporating it as an energy resource throughout the U.S. is only going to become more attractive. My next post will share how solar energy can be used to power your exterior signage.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

Signage Is a Vital Component of Customer Service

Customer Service Directional Signs Edited 092914

 

Customer Service is being emphasized by a growing legion of businesses and organizations. Making certain that the interaction between organizations and their stakeholders has become keenly focused on providing the best experience possible. Customer service training programs abound, as do employer incentives rewarding positive results.

Customers Often Disappointed by Service

Certain industries are perceived as being especially challenged when it comes to service. The travel, utility, insurance and telecommunications industries, amongst others, are often cited as being unresponsive to customer concerns. Today many organizations have customer service representatives available to address customer issues. However, it has become nearly impossible to reach management who can address policy issues. Good luck finding phone numbers and email addresses for management in most organizations.

Several years ago a musician, whose guitar was damaged by baggage handlers, recorded three music videos complaining about the company that broke his guitar refusing to take responsibility for the damage they caused. The musician had been in contact with the company for nine months and they refused to take ownership of the problem. YouTube viewership of the first video shot into the millions in just a matter of days. Bad service has become so rampant that many people lived vicariously through the musician’s ability to stand up to the company’s unwillingness to accept responsibility.

Many organizations have implemented programs focusing on improving customer service. Unfortunately, training corporate staff on the importance of customer service has too often resulted in programs more concerned with their employees than the customers they serve. Programs that seem well intentioned at the corporate level can fall short when improperly implemented in the field.

The Misuse of Customer Surveys

The customer survey is one popular tool that can be misused. Surveys are often presented with the bill at restaurants. It has become the norm to also receive surveys after speaking with a tech support representative, having your car serviced, staying in a hotel, making a major purchase or even after a visit to the dentist. Receipts from grocery stores, home improvement stores and pharmacies invite patrons to complete an online survey. When customer surveys were first introduced they seemed innovative. But when one is asked to complete a survey every time one eats at a restaurant, speaks with tech support, visits a grocery store, pharmacy or other retail establishment customers may feel that the survey is nothing more than window dressing.

Not long ago I had my car repaired. Soon after the work was completed I received a call from the dealership asking about my satisfaction with the repairs. A few days later I received an email from the dealer asking me to complete an online survey followed a week or two later by another email and survey from the car manufacturer. What at first seemed like concern began to feel like harassment.

On a recent business trip the hotel clerk at the check-in counter accosted several colleagues and me. After completing our registrations and handing us our room key cards the clerk informed us that after our stay at the hotel we would receive surveys. He asked us to complete the surveys and added that the hotel staff would get in trouble if they received anything less than a 10 out of 10 on every question. One member of our party commented the next day that they had heard similar comments at breakfast. Apparently it was our responsibility as hotel guests to make sure that the hotel received perfect scores. The sentiment behind the survey was admirable. However, the implementation of the hotel chain’s focus on customer service became more about the welfare of the hotel’s employees than the service provided to guests.

Signage is Vital Component of Customer Service

What impact does signage have on service? When you think about it, signage is a vital component of customer service. When visitors, customers, patients, students, suppliers and even staff are in a facility (or a section of a facility) for the first time and they have to get from Point A to Point B they are often disoriented, short on time and on-edge. When the facility’s signage is attractive, easy to read and placed in the right locations it reduces the stress felt by those navigating to their destinations. Including a wayfinding plan produced by signage professionals as part of your signage program is every bit as important as your choice of signage.

Concentrating on the sign design and content is essential  but it is not enough. By focusing on the navigational needs of those visiting your facility people will be able to expend their energy on what it is they are wanting to accomplish while in your facility and not on worrying how they are going to get to where it is they need to go. Furthermore, folks will be able to find their way without having to interrupt your employees in the building for directions. Customer service takes many forms. Genuine customer service is always appreciated.

To learn more about the benefits of wayfinding download our Wayfinding Whitepaper.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

ADA Signage: Intent Is Just as Important as the Letter-of-the-Law

ada-venus-dealertrack-4033

 

Over the years we’ve received many good questions regarding the ADA and signage, particularly with respect to aspects of ADA signage that are not well defined within the ADA, and in some cases not defined at all. In these cases we must still make a responsible interpretation, largely based on the intent of the ADA Standards.

Defendant Didn’t Violate Law But Department of Justice Sided with Plaintiff

Here’s a great recent example, albeit not specific to signage, in which the Department of Justice sided with the plaintiff even though it appeared that the defendant did not directly violate the law:

In January 2014, a blind individual attempted to purchase items using his debit card at a Lucky Brand Jeans store in Miami, Florida.  Most Lucky Brand Jeans stores have POS devices featuring touch screens only, so the devices have no tactile/Braille keys whatsoever.  A blind individual has no choice but to give their PIN number to a third party to enter into the POS device, or simply not use the debit card and submit another form of payment. The blind individual states that Lucky Brand Jeans has violated the ADA by failing to provide him and other blind individuals with the means to independently purchase items using a debit card, including POS devices with tactile key pads.

Lucky Brand Jeans made two interesting arguments against this claim that are not entirely unreasonable. First, they noted that the ADA does not have a specific requirement for POS devices to include tactile key pads. Second, Lucky Brand noted that since blind individuals can purchase items using cash, credit, or by processing their debit card as a credit card, there was no discrimination under the ADA. Ultimately, Lucky Brand’s arguments were not very strong, demonstrating that they did not consider the true intent of the ADA. With both of their arguments they implied that they were willing to live with blind customers not being able to purchase using debit cards.

The DOJ Was Not So Willing

Although POS devices are indeed not addressed in the ADA, an entity conducting a commercial transaction or public accommodation has the responsibility under the ADA to provide effective communication, in this case effective communication that would allow a blind or sight impaired person to interact with a POS device during a debit card transaction, and certainly without having to divulge their PIN to another party, which no one should ever have to do. Effective communication can include special devices that enable access and protect privacy at the same time, and which Lucky Brand Jeans did not provide. The argument for using other payment options didn’t fly with the DOJ either, as debit cards operate differently than credit cards and provide certain benefits over credit cards, so denying that as an option to some people and not others is a bad idea. And what if the customer only has a debit card as a method of payment? The DOJ determined that denying an individual the right to pay for goods with his debit card, when debit cards may be used by other customers, is in fact discriminatory. As of April 2014, the DOJ validated the plaintiff’s claim and will move forward with litigation. The likely outcome is that Lucky Brand will be directed to make the necessary modifications to their POS devices.

Viewing Letter-of-the-Law Not Enough with Ada Signage

Related to signage, we’ve seen the same types of scenarios in which viewing only the letter-of-the-law is not enough. Digital signage is a great example of this lesson. If you search the entire ADA for “Digital Signage” or even “Electronic Signage”, you will find zero results. Nothing. So, digital signage is exempt from the ADA, right? As is the case with POS devices, digital signage is still impacted by the intent of the ADA. First, the “Protruding Objects” section of the ADA also applies to wall-mounted digital displays, such that the digital sign cannot project out from a wall’s surface more than four inches. And second, “Reach Ranges” ensures that wheelchair-bound individuals can access the interactive functions on any wall-mounted operable device, which includes digital displays.

Who would have thought that the Lucky Brand Jeans case was primarily about accessibility to effective communication when it initially appeared to simply be a POS device issue? When reviewing these types of issues, the Department of Justice will always consider if the intent of the ADA was violated. Was an individual denied access to (not limited to) communication, employment, public buildings and transportation that other individuals can access?

As long as we think in these terms when exploring the gray-areas of the ADA as it applies to signage, then our solutions won’t be part of future DOJ litigation updates, and most important we will satisfy the signage and wayfinding needs of all individuals.

 

Andy Levine
Director of Corporate Education

 

Wayfinding – Nationally Renown Forest Park in St. Louis

“One of America’s coolest city parks … and one of the world’s most beautiful city parks.”

—   Travel + Leisure

 

forest park old sign-2-edited forect park old sign-1-edited

Considering the quote and photos above, something just doesn’t jive. Can the quote and photos denote the same park? Both refer to our own Forest Park here in St. Louis. Believe me, Forest Park is a beautiful place. It is the 6th most visited urban park in the U.S. and it is estimated that a quarter of Forest Park’s 13 million annual visitors come from outside the St. Louis area. Even for those who live in St. Louis, who have previously been visitors to Forest Park, the Park’s existing brown navigational signs — intended to be temporary when they were installed years ago —appear confusing and incomplete. Quite frankly, the signs just don’t do the park the justice it deserves. That’s why the folks at Forest Park have embarked on implementing a brand new wayfinding system for the Park.

As a St. Louisan and president of ASI Signage Innovations office located in Downtown St. Louis for over 35 years, I am excited and proud ASI is the implementation partner on this new project that will certainly enhance the Forest Park experience.

So, how did we get to be part of this team?

It started with a Request for Qualification (RFQ) issued by the City of St. Louis in the summer of 2013. In our response to that RFQ, we highlighted our experience implementing exterior campus wayfinding systems for medical centers, major universities and other municipalities. We demonstrated our financial qualifications, provided documentation of our shop drawing process and detailed our staffing levels and production capability. Fortunately, we were short-listed along with another St. Louis company and four out-of-town firms.

Providing Our Proposal

The next step was to provide a proposal for managing the manufacturing and installation of the new wayfinding system, designed by Corbin Design, as well as disposing of the confusing/hideous existing signs. The project entails 239 signs located throughout Forest Park’s 1,371 acres (more than 500 acres larger than New York’s Central Park). Here is a preview of the new sign family.

 

forest park sign preview copy edited

 

We knew, like it or not, that final selection was most likely going to come down to price. It also was going to be dependent upon how well we included Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms on our team. We worked hard in trying to achieve the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) participation goals set by City policy. We believed that being located here in St. Louis, just minutes from Forest Park, would work to our advantage, since the out-of-town firms would be absorbing a lot of travel costs given the hands-on, intensive project management this project required. Ultimately, we felt that to be selected, we would need to be creative in our pricing approach and our outsourcing.

At the public bid opening in October 2013 we listened as the bids were opened and read aloud. Both the good and bad news are that we were low bidder at just over a half a million dollars, but maybe too low with a bit of space between us and the other bidders. Following the opening, we met briefly with a representative from the City Board of Public Service, who asked if we were comfortable with our bid. I swallowed hard and said we were. I knew our pricing strategy and I knew that my team had done a great job scouring the St. Louis metro area and the country sourcing materials and subcontractors.

Following the City’s review of our bid submission and approval of our DBE subcontractors, we were issued a contract in early March with 6 months to complete the work. The fun and hard work were about to begin.

I’ll share our experiences navigating through the implementation process in a future blog post.

 

 

Mike Gessel
President, ASI Missouri / Kansas


mike head shot edited

Case Studies Build Sales By Showcasing Solutions Not Just Products

 

The architectural signage industry contains a multitude of companies that sell a huge variety of signs. Focusing solely on products available, however, is not the way to differentiate our signage from that sold by our competitors. What sets us apart is that ASI provides solutions, not just products.

Expertise is As Important As Products

Clients who purchase signage are looking for far more than products. They are seeking expertise in selecting not only the right signs to meet their needs but guidance from signage experts who can effectively develop the right messages, have wayfinding expertise, possess ADA compliancy knowledge, can promote their brand and who are experts in message dispersal to both external and internal audiences. Prospects are seeking professionals who have experience, creativity and unique solutions tailored to their needs. Case studies are the tool that assures prospective clients that we are the experts who can best meet their needs.

Signage is not a tangible commodity. Sure, sales consultants can show sign samples galore but what message should go on them? Which signs will work best for a prospect’s various needs? Where should signs be placed and how many are needed? Should clients consider digital signage? How should signs blend in with the client’s architectural design? What experience does our company have with companies and organizations like theirs, within their industry? These are the kinds of questions that potential clients are asking themselves even if they don’t share such questions with a sales consultant.

Prospects Want to Know “What Can You Do For Me?”

It is no secret that word-of-mouth is the most impactful marketing tool when marketing to consumers. Social Media Revolution videos on YouTube tout that “78% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertising.” Word-of-mouth is also important in B2B marketing in general and architectural signage in particular. Case studies are a powerful tool that shares the experiences and solutions of existing clients.  Case studies provide the insight and confidence that prospects seek. They show that our products, but equally important, our services based upon over 45 years of experience and expertise in working with other clients in their field, have produced exceptional results. Case studies showcase tangible results that answer the main question in the minds of prospects, which is, “What can you do for me?”

Case Studies Highlight Results That Provide Credibility and Build Sales

Case studies convey ASI’s expertise in getting to know the needs of our clients, developing just the right solutions to meet their unique needs and implementing the solutions. The results are strong enough for those clients to allow ASI to feature their solutions in case studies in a large variety of industries from healthcare to education, hospitality, corporate, libraries, cultural institutions and many other segments. The success stories provided in the case studies provide credence to the expertise shared by sales consultants.

Developing case studies also enables ASI to get better at what we do. They reengage us with our current customers. As we develop the case studies we tap into clients’ knowledge of what was most important in the development of their signage solutions. We incorporate that knowledge into future initiatives that help us better serve the needs of clients.

Knowledgeable sales consultants who detail product options and services provided are crucial to the sales process. Case studies, however, are the icing on the cake that provides credibility to what the sales consultants are recommending. Case studies enable sales consultants to build stronger relationships. Through sharing concrete results, case studies result in clients focusing more on results and not just costs and they also foster ASI’s reputation as an architectural signage industry leader. Case studies build trust and they build sales.

 

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

Benefits of Sole Source Provider for Digital Signage

Digital  Directory Womans Hospital - Benefits Sole Source 052014

This is the second post in a multi-part series sharing insights from a conversation I had with Andy Shevak, ASI’s Manager of Digital Signage. Andy points out that Digital Signage is a rapidly changing and expanding industry. Andy stressed the major benefits of purchasing digital signage through a sole source provider like ASI.

Sole Source Provider Handles All Facets of Digital Signage Program

There are many facets to implementing a digital signage program including screen selection, computer hardware, software, installation and content creation. Then there is the importance of service support for screens, computer hardware and software when needed. If a client deals with different vendors that cover different aspects of their digital signage program, especially with large deployments, it is often difficult to know who to call for assistance and how one part of the system may impact another part requiring multiple experts to be called in for support. By dealing with a sole source supplier whenever a client has a question they immediately know who to contact to have a question answered or a challenge addressed.

Stays on Top of Latest Trends and Products

A sole source provider uses their industry expertise and connections to stay on top of which digital vendors are providing the optimal hardware, software, etc. with the best quality, up-to-date capabilities, most reliability and best warranties. As an example, ASI is currently utilizing Samsung screens. The screens were selected not only for their state-of-the-art functionality. They have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours, which is 5 to 7 years in most installations. The Samsung screens ASI installs come with a 3-year onsite repair or replace warranty. Screens are expensive to repair so the screens are engineered to not break, limiting downtime of a client’s digital signage. Choosing the right partners to provide the best solution for clients enables the sole source provider to take all the work out of designing, implementing and maintaining your digital signage solution.

Software Is Engine That Drive Digital Signage

As with digital screens and computer hardware, software tools continue to evolve. Software has become much more intuitive and easier to use. A critical feature for software that drives digital screens is having the ability to serve a variety of different functions. Wayfinding is a core function that is critical to many digital signage installations as is providing marketing information promoting goods and services. Many installations require menuboard listings for cafeterias and communications with staff locally and around the globe, which are important functions as well.

Andy describes the software as the engine that drives digital signage. He utilizes several suppliers depending upon the complexity of the functions and size of the installation. The most sophisticated software isn’t needed for many applications. However, rapidly evolving, cutting edge applications such as gesture control, voice control and facial recognition require highly sophisticated software capabilities.

Digital Signage Works In Concert with Interior and Exterior Architectural Signage

Digital Signage works in concert with architectural signage especially in wayfinding programs and particularly in large facilities such as those found in healthcare and higher education that often involve multiple buildings with multiple floors and long hallways. Directing many people through facilities over long distances can easily be confusing, if not overwhelming. The combination of digital signage and interior and exterior architectural signage takes the complexity out of wayfinding with their messaging complimenting each other, thus reducing the stress felt by those navigating their way through unfamiliar territory.

ASI, being a sole source supplier in the architectural and digital signage industry, is able to blend our knowledge of signage with our amassed collection of digital providers to make the selection, design, implementation, servicing and training aspects of a digital signage solution as easy as possible for our clients.

 

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

Don’t Scrimp on Signage When Building Your Brand

Brand Edited Revised 042914

Architectural signage plays a number of critical roles for your organization. Wayfinding is an obvious role as properly designed and deployed signage assists customers, visitors, suppliers and others get from point A to point B at your facility as effortlessly as possible while eliminating the need to ask others for directions. Equally important signage should enhance your brand.  To ensure that your brand equity receives the value that it deserves, do not scrimp on your signage.

Signage Should Promote Your Brand

Signage should not just reflect an organization’s brand it should promote it. When people come to your facility, whether it is their first time or their 100th, your signage is typically the first representation of you brand they see. Your signage is as much a representation of your brand as your television and radio spots, print and online ads and your website. Your facility only gets to make a first impression once. It is crucial that your signage makes that first impression a good one.

Recently, a large condominium complex in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex went through major reimaging of their interior common areas to modernize their appearance thus helping to maintain property values competitive with other desirable condominiums located nearby. A large special assessment was levied on the owners of the condos so that the reimage could be substantial enough to make a difference. Several million dollars were spent on the reimaging.

The condominium’s lobbies were completely remodeled, carpeting was replaced along with furniture in all the common areas on all floors and new artwork was obtained for the lobbies and all of the elevator landings. Wainscoting was removed and new light fixtures were installed on every floor. All of the common areas were repainted.

New wayfinding signage throughout the condominium interiors was replaced to coordinate with the reimage design. However, the signage didn’t portray the same quality as the rest of the updates. Yes, the signs did coordinate in style. However, they weren’t even the same quality as the dated signs being replaced. The signage didn’t portray the same prestige and appeal that the rest of the reimage achieved for the complex. The signs included the logo for the Condominium. Rather than enhancing the brand the signs actually cheapened it.

Signage Should Promote Your Brand

Signage is an investment in your brand. It is important when choosing signage to make certain that besides making sure your signage accomplishes the goals of assisting employees, visitors, suppliers, and others who navigate your facility and sharing important information that it also enhances your brand. Scrimping on signage quality will detract from your brand rather than build it.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

What to Do Before Meeting with a Digital Signage Consultant

Andy Shevak, Manager of Digital Signage

Andy Shevak, Manager of Digital Signage

 

I recently sat down with Andy Shevak, ASI’s Manager of Digital Signage, to have a conversation about the field of digital signage and how its technology and uses are expanding dramatically. We spoke about a variety of topics including the role that digital signage sales consultants should serve in working with clients and how clients, who are considering digital signage solutions, can benefit from determining their needs prior to speaking with a digital signage provider.

Andy Shevak, who has been with ASI since 2010, has an extensive digital background having worked as a buyer of consumer electronics for several top consumer electronics retailers. He has developed a network of partners over the years, which has enabled ASI to deploy best in class digital signage solutions for our clients. This is the first of several posts that will share Andy’s insights into the evolving technology, uses and deployment of digital signage.

Create List of Digital Signage Functions

Digital signage continues to evolve and the number of clients wanting to include digital signage as part of their signage solutions is expanding rapidly. Before meeting with a sales consultant Andy recommends that clients create a list of functions they want digital signage to accomplish within their organization. What are their digital signage goals? Digital signage has a wide variety of uses from communicating information to employees throughout their facility (and in some cases throughout facilities located around the world) to providing information to customers, visitors, students, suppliers and others.

Digital Signage Communicates Internally with Employees

Digital signage is an impactful way to communicate with employees in one location or many locations worldwide. Historically, such communications have been shared via printed (sometimes even handwritten) signs displayed in a variety of ways from memos posted in break rooms to flyers taped by elevators to posters shown on easels in hallways and other public spaces. Printed employee messages often are not professional in appearance, take time to produce and post, and often are taken down inadvertently and frequently not removed when they are no longer needed. Furthermore, it is difficult to maintain consistency and control over messages within one and between multiple locations.

Communicating with employees via digital signage has many benefits. Once messages are developed they can be deployed and viewed by employees within minutes. Employees housed in one location or spread worldwide can see exactly the same information at the same time, controlled from one point of origin. Systems can also be developed that allow some messages to be seen system wide as well as other messages being developed to appear in a region and/or a single location allowing combined central, regional and local message control.

Digital Signage Communicates Externally with Customers and Others

Digital signage is an equally powerful communication tool to reach an organization’s customers, visitors, suppliers, students, etc. Digital Signage is all about promoting an organization’s brand. It has to look and feel like the brand and communicate what a client wants to communicate in the manner the client wants to communicate it. Therefore, no two digital signage solutions will be exactly the same. A successful sales consultant should become entrenched in their client’s organization to ensure the development of a digital solution that accomplishes exactly what their client wants.

Digital Signage works in concert with architectural interior and exterior signage benefiting from the incorporation of the same aesthetic. Digital Sales consultants who work for a digital signage provider that also has extensive experience in standard interior and exterior architectural signage regularly work closely with architects and designers to make this happen.

Determine Types of Messages Your Digital Signage Will Deliver

As clients develop their list of their digital signage objectives, Andy recommended that besides addressing sign functions clients should also define the types of messages the signage needs to address both internally with employees and with their external audience. Digital signage utilization opportunities are vast ranging from cafeteria menu boards, wayfinding, and campus wide internal messages (such as parking lot construction updates, holiday celebrations and critical human resources announcements) to information tying in with advertising and marketing promotions. The uses for digital signage are only limited by one’s imagination with new uses constantly developing.

The more clients think through their digital signage goals prior to meeting with a digital signage consultant the better clients will be able to express their digital signage needs. Andy added that the sale of digital signage is very much a consultative sale with deployments ranging from basic to exotic and everything in between. Once consultants understand their client’s needs consultants will then be able to recommend the optimal digital signage solutions to meet their client’s goals.

 

John Selig
Marketing Manager

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