DSF PRESS RELEASES
Almo Professional AV, a commercial audio/visual distributor, recently expanded its headquarters to support its growth. Much of that growth has come from the hospitality segment.
In fact, hospitality has consistently been one of Almo’s fastest-growing verticals, catalyzed by its acquisition of IAVI in 2016.
“The acquisition essentially doubled our hospitality business and it was the perfect opportunity to combine our strengths in specialized sales, business development and leadership with the goal of expanding the opportunity beyond the guest room TV. We’ve expanded our offerings from primarily in-room entertainment to include guest comfort and conveniences; banquet and meeting spaces; guest experience and revenue drivers; and indoor/outdoor furniture and recreation,” said Apryl Lamberti, Almo’s director of Business Development.
Almo Corporation is the largest independently-owned appliance distributor in the country and has extensive relationships with appliance manufacturers. She said the hospitality division is “breaking the mold” between Almo’s traditional appliance dealers and professional AV dealers and integrators by “cross-pollinating its offerings and infusing hospitality-focused lines.”
The company saw an opportunity in hospitality because of wireless charging and travelers’ reliance on mobile devices and keeping them charged. Almo just entered an exclusive distribution partnership with Nonstop, a new-to-market brand that uses the Qi-Wireless charging platform for its modern, designer-like alarm clocks/charge pads, for example.
“Also, outdoor hotel areas are big. More attention is being spent on designing these areas to be an extension of the hotel and resort’s common spaces, which results in creating memorable guest experiences that help drive loyalty rates,” Lamberti said.
Interestingly, outdoor living has been one of the biggest areas of growth for Almo. The company is also getting ready to launch a commercial contract line of outdoor furniture that will be exclusively distributed by Almo Hospitality.
“For example, last year I stayed at a Renaissance property in Austin. This property was surrounded by plush and rolling landscape and its outdoor area was aptly named ‘The Treehouse’ as it was positioned right among a massive oak tree canopy. This balcony had plenty of outdoor seating: sofas, high-top dining tables, plus an oversized built-in fire pit. Two nights in a row after dinner I checked out The Treehouse and was pleasantly surprised by no less than 10 to 12 hotel guests, none of whom knew each other but who had guitars. I watched complete strangers join together singing folk songs, in The Live Music Capitol of the World. It has been more than a year since I stayed at this property but when I make it back to Austin, you can bet this is where I will book,” Lamberti said.
This example, she adds, underscores why properties that create environments utilizing their actual environments are successful.
“Environments that utilize the surrounding landscape or ways to feature some outdoor fire tables, fountains, lighting, audio, etc. to create spaces unique to that property with a local flair to make a memory sticks with the guest long after they’ve left the property. They are also more likely to write a positive guest review or share their experience on social media, which is a win for the hotel,” she said.
Looking ahead, Jim Nista, senior director of Content Creation Services, said wayfinding, event listings and “go boards” are the biggest opportunities for digital signage in the hospitality segment.
“We frequently get requests for dynamic event screens showing a facility map so guests can find their way to meeting and event spaces,” he said. “For go boards, we do still get requests for local amenities content – although this is decreasing more and more as local businesses change and guests are used to using apps on their phone for recommendations.”
In the hospitality space, the king of content is premise event listings with dynamic maps showing each available room, Nista said.
Almo is currently working on a few case studies with its reseller partners to highlight some of the trends the company is seeing for in-room entertainment and digital signage.
Looking ahead, Nista predicts automation to emerge as a bigger theme in digital signage.
“Automated or easy to update hyper local content is what we get frequent requests for. Guests require relevant local content on information screens – this needs to be easy to update or automatically feed in from data services,” he said.
Lamberti adds that the opportunities are strong for the company and the industry in general.
“In the past 15 or so years, hotels have typically trailed behind the changing consumer market when it comes to technology updates,” she said. “It’s always surprising to me when I hear how many properties are still piping in standard definition content for free-to-guest channels in the guest rooms. From what we’ve seen in the market, the time is ripe for professional AV companies and hospitality-specialized resellers to invest in supporting the specific needs of hoteliers and understanding what their motivations are compared to a typical retailer.”
The time for trailing behind, however, has to come to an end, she adds. AVIXA recently predicted that $3.1 billion will be spent in digital signage in 2019 and consumers interacting with screens is a regularity now.
“The reality has hit and for the last decade, hotels have relied on interior designers to create environments that captivate guests using color, décor, lighting, textures and other elements of design. However, with the speed at which technology changes, and with how advanced consumers have become, it’s no longer an option for hotels to count on traditional methods of interior design to give guests the feeling of technology incorporated into their world,” Lamberti said. ”If they don’t start deploying digital signage technology and using content to engage guests, guests are going to follow the newer brands and boutique brands that have migrated to incorporating digital screens into their properties and the traditional hotels will start to slip in occupancy rates as millennials quickly approach nearly 50 percent of the workforce.”
There is a Special Angel Watching Over the City of Angels During the Fires
Today, all of us are watching the difficult situation in Los Angeles and other cities in California as the most destructive and deadliest fires in state history seem to grow larger by the minute. Over 50 people have died, over 100 people are missing, and thousands of homes have been destroyed. Firefighters, the Red Cross, and law enforcement are working as hard as they possibly can to save lives and protect property. It’s times like these when incredible stories begin to emerge of people doing unexpected life-saving work that defines public service and serves as wonderful examples of doing good to help others. In many ways, this is what keeps hope alive.
One such story involves the Federation for Internet Alerts (FIA). It may surprise all of us that there is a special angel watching over the City of Angels during these fires, and her name is Angel Babcock. In March of 2012, Angel, her parents and two siblings passed away when her home was flattened by a tornado. Angel was only 20 months old.
I speak about Angel in the present tense because FIA has carried on her memory every day since the day she went to Heaven on March 4, 2012. At the time of Angel’s passing, FIA was early on in developing its technology through a partnership as a secondary AMBER Alert distributor with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. On the day Angel’s story was reported, a FIA volunteer read it and mobilized a team at Conversant to adapt the AMBER Alert technology to serve tornado warnings. It was a remarkable display of passion for Angel. Everyone wanted to channel our sadness in a way that would allow Angel’s memory to live on and save others that might have a chance to reach safety. Maybe it would be different for future Angels. Maybe her legacy could help the City of Angels.
Six years later, Angel’s memory has never been more real to all of us at FIA — as her memory lives on in each alert we serve. It has been a critical force for good as FIA has emerged as the largest global alerting platform for a wide variety of emergency alerts like the 8,257,054 Fire Weather Warnings served to the public in California, including the City of Angels, during the month of November.
Since Project Angel was launched, we have served over 2 billion weather warnings across the United States and Canada.
We could not be prouder of Angel and the spirit she has left behind for all of us to cherish.
The Digital Signage Federation, Board of Directors, FIA Partner
The Digital Signage Federation (DSF) established the Geri Wolff Scholarship Fund in 2014. In 2019, the DSF will award a scholarship for a young woman who is committed to an academic major in an area related to a career in the digital signage industry.
Donations to the Fund are Needed
Donations may be made using the link below. Donations are encouraged as a way for the digital signage industry to help the DSF continue to support this annual scholarship. Donors will be recognized on the DSF site.
About the Scholarship Program
The scholarship program is administered annually by the DSF Scholarship Committee which develops the award criteria, evaluates applications, allocates funding, and determine award amount(s).
The DSF’s Geri Wolff Scholarship is designed to raise the awareness of digital signage as a career choice among qualified young women who are committed to a professional career in computer sciences and related technology and digital design fields. This award is also intended to help broaden employment diversity by encouraging employers to hire qualified women in a variety of IT, design, and media management capacities.
More about the program may be found on the scholarship page.
December 6, 2018 from 6:30-8:30 PM
Join the DSF Board of Directors, past leadership, and industry professionals at this staple DSF event. Four times each year the DSF puts on a regional event in North America for its members.Register
Registration is $15 for Members, End Users, and Integrator companies. Non-Members pay $25.
EB Hotel (near the Miami airport)
4299 NW 36th Street, Miami, Florida, 33166
1. What does your company do?
Brands In Motion bridges the gaps between big billboards and big-data. Our nationwide fleet of digital mobile billboards provide brand marketers with next-level technologies and reach to consumers on-the-go by connecting OOH, event marketing, Internet and Mobile promotions.
Our Digital Mobile Billboards are constructed as initiators for engagement ecosystems that add value to our clients campaigns by delivering high-impact creative digital promotions that provide targeting, real-time analytics and measurement for specific results and ROI calculations.
2. What’s next for your company/the industry?
Brands In Motion exists to transform the mobile billboard business from a low-performing, fragmented services to state-of-the-art media that harnesses a variety of technologies such as AI, autonomous vehicles, mobile applications, Out-Of-Home and L.E.D. technologies to helps brand marketers reach new customers when and where they are most receptive.
3. Why did you join the DSF?
To share our vision, passion and service with an industry that embraces new technologies and fosters innovation.
4. How may fellow DSF members reach you? Please use your primary public contact.
Fellow DSF members can contact me directly. Bret@BrandsInMotion.com, 702-835-2034
1. What does your company do?
We want to revolutionize the way people connect for business by providing the latest collaboration technologies, with solutions designed by experienced engineers, designers and technicians.
In over 30 years of growth, we have been at the forefront of videoconferencing adoption across the country, and have developed expertise in providing visual communications to corporate, health, education and government sectors. Our resources and industry knowledge are constantly expanding – which allows us to provide all solutions
Our company culture is reflected in our service. We prize close teamwork and a family-like environment, and base our customer interactions on the same principles. Above all, we value integrity, respect, creativity and a team approach.
2. What’s next for your company/the industry?
As video is becoming the standard for advertising and branding, we are now making a push within the world of digital signage.
With the intention, of offering a full turn key solution.
From initial concept design of the required system to the integration, and content management, CBCI Telecom will be able to guide organizations throughout the entire process, that will offer a complete ROI, and ROO for the digital signage deployment..
3. Why did you join the DSF?
I wanted to make sure that my education and visibility continues to grow within the world of digital signage.. At DSE 2018 I attended, and received my DSEG certification.
It is my hopes that being a memeber of DSF will culminate in me being the leader of digital signage integration within Canada.
4. How may fellow DSF members reach you?
Digital Signage Federation (DSF) Chairman Richard Ventura and Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) President Bryan Meszaros had an opportunity to sit for a discussion about digital technology and experiental design. The episode, moderated by SEGD Chief Executive Office, Clive Roux, also included information about SEGD and DSF activities during New York City Digital Sigange Week.
You may have already heard that long-time digital signage industry consultant Lyle Bunn passed away last Tuesday, Oct. 9 from colon cancer. If you knew Lyle you also know that he was not only professionally generous, but also kind-hearted and a gentleman whose first reaction was to befriend all those with whom he came in contact. Lyle was the first ever official member of the DSF when the organization incorporated in 2010.
So it is not surprising that Lyle wanted his friends in the industry to know that it was “His great joy to be able to make such contributions to the industry, touching many individuals and organizations, since the inception of the digital signage industry. His final wish was for the industry’s ongoing success.”
Digital Signage Federation Chairman Richard Ventura said, “With Lyle’s passingI am reminded of the fragility of life and how short a time we are all really here. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Lyle, both as a person and as a member of our industry. He was ubiquitous in our industry, insatiable in his desire to learn and teach, and genuine in his enthusiasm and gentle manner. He will be missed and he will be remembered. On behalf of the leadership and members of the DSF, our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Know that services to celebrate Lyle’s life will be held at 1pm on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Brighton Fellowship Christian Reform Church, 204 Main Street, Brighton, Ontario. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent in Lyle’s name either to the Canadian Cancer Society or to the American Cancer Society.
With special thanks to Geri Wolff for this contribution.
The DSF is committed to be an open organization directed by members, for members. The DSF Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations on the DSF Website for a two year Board of Director’s term from January 1, 2019 – December 30, 2021. DSF members may nominate themselves or an associate within the industry. Nominations close on November 1, 2018.
Candidates must be:
- Employed by a DSF Member
- Willing to serve for a term from January 1, 2019 – December 30, 2021
- Capable of active involvement on the board and in leading initiatives with other volunteers
- Able to attend three board meetings per year
- Committed to the growth of our industry, people, and the effectiveness of the DSF
Candidates will be vetted by the Nominating Committee and a slate of nominees will be presented to the membership in November 2018 for election. If you have questions, please contact Brian Gorg, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How a Content Management System Can Yield Effective Corporate Communication
The key to employee engagement is effective communication. But “communication” is no longer black and white. It has morphed into a massive vortex of rapid-moving tidbits available via numerous channels.
Communication is pushed, pulled, shared in real time and at times superfluous. But this poses a problem when considering effective communication is the key to cultivating employee engagement.
The DSF recently had an opportunity to learn how one member, RMG Networks, is trying to cut through the noise with its new platform, Korbyt.
Jerry Rosen, Senior Vice President, Global Chief Marketing and Creative Officer of RMG Networks, said effective corporate employee communication can be enabled by converging technology, strategy and content.
“I look at corporate communications through a lens of internal marketing and advertising,” Rosen said.
That may be a natural fit for the former advertising executive. He has helped drive RMG’s consultative approach, helping customers define engagement and facilitating employee connection.
“We focus our customers on personalization,” Rosen said. “We create engagement and try to help our customers create or identify inflection points where messaging can be done at the right time, to the right people, in a rotation of content that impacts them.”
The ultimate goal is employee retention and engagement. The core technology used by RMG in its approach is the Korbyt management platform. RMG has been developing its own methods and nomenclature around employee behavior and use those resources to help customers plan how messaging is distributed and scheduled. One of those ways is by embracing the unchangeable fact that employees use their mobile devices.
Personalizing the message
While discussing how to put out relative and effective messaging content, Rosen said that digital signage content often lags behind the pace of the enterprise.
“That is one advantage of a system that integrates mobile into the messaging. We reversed the technology road map starting with mobile personalization. Increasingly growing remote workforce has created the demand for personalize content employees can access anywhere, anytime. Is based on mobile content threaded through the desktop and onto signage,” he said.
There is a governance process surrounding the multi-direction dissemination and creation of content. This involves a process of legislating policy for proper and relevant content, monitoring content and curating it for appropriate use.
“The goal is to filter content but encourage honest dialogue. Corporate (communication departments) can push key messaging but should allow group content sharing. This need for content means that employee generated items such as pictures, videos and storytelling are organic fields for continuous fresh and relevant content.” Rosen said.
One challenge with communication in a digital signage environment has been audio. Video with audio is better applied to 1:1 devices like computers and mobile devices. Short videos without audio on public video displays can encourage employees to see the longer videos on desktops and mobile devices. One type of video content which proved to have success was messaging from corporate leaders. RMG piloted CEO videos with this approach and through analytics discovered that the average length of a CEO video should be less than 60 seconds when applied to non-crisis or urgent business messaging. The pilot was based on non-crisis, non-urgent event sharing.
“These videos can be very effective in messaging but require the right context,” Rosen said. “We’re able to see real-time performance metrics including who opened, saw, and watched these videos by department.” Those metrics in turn help the enterprise understand what most interests their employees.
The corporate communications professional
The accelerated growth of the use of video means the role of the corporate communication professional requires multidisciplinary skills. The challenges they face and variety of communication medium at their disposal mean that internal communication professionals now have omni-channel responsibilities, Rosen said.
Internal communications is a growing hiring category for many companies. RMG is seeing some enterprise customers assign ‘beat reporters’ or designated content contributors. These focused contributors feed the voice of their region or department into corporate communications via employee spotlights, anniversaries, recognition, and other newsworthy items which build the corporate culture.
Using corporate communications to help move employees from passivity to engagement can be supported by digital signage messaging. “The objective is to move employees from ‘I don’t know’ to ‘I know what’s going on and still don’t care’ and finally to ‘I know and I care!’ That’s the key – move from ‘get heard’ to ‘get change’” Rosen said.
Internal communications benchmark study
This year, RMG, along with Ragan Communications, has published an internal communications benchmark study that includes over 300 full responses from stakeholder involved in employee communication.
Key findings from the study include:
• Employee engagement is notoriously hard to measure, which poses a challenge for both HR and communications teams. Technology – such as self-service and pulse feedback tools – is enabling employers to communicate in new ways to establish a more holistic employee engagement approach. It is important to understand how to best use these technologies to drive engagement and choose the right platform(s) that aligns with your business goals. A content management system, for example, enables individuals to publish content across multiple channels.
• To enable powerful internal communications, the ability to receive real-time feedback can allow an ability to gain insights about your employees. Knowing what percentage of employees accessed the content, how many people watched the video, if it was accessed across all departments, etc., can help better enable communication across the organization.
• It is important for employees to feel compelled to act on the messaging they are receiving from internal communications. This can be done by applying user segments for tagged content to create personalized messaging. With Korbyt, for example, these tags can include roles, channels, teams, departments and more. Employees want to see content that will impact them directly, therefore employers need to be able to easily share content that is specific and relevant.
• Having a scalable CMS platform can better enable employers to create, manage and deploy content across a variety of endpoints, including mobile apps. The key to messaging is that they are consistent and consumable. As the study notes, CMS platforms can be a gateway to creating a truly interactive employee experience.