Digital signage has grown at such a swift pace that the industry has had a challenging time defining any true standards. This was admittedly a frustration for many attendees at the Digital Signage Expo in the spring.

One company, TechLink Services, is working to bring more consistency to the space through the development of real-time project management tools and in-depth training and certification opportunities for technicians. TechLink’s’ core business manages digital signage deployments, kiosks, structured cabling, electrical installation and network deployment. On top of those services, the company recently added more comprehensive solutions, including managed services and content management implementation, to better serve the digital signage market.

“We are solving the ‘disparate’ problem in our industry. Over the past couple of years, we recognized that everyone was taking a data entry approach, but we wanted to be a project management, turnkey operation,” said Ron Zippi, EVP of Business Development at TechLink Services.

“So, we acquired Blue Ridge Solutions, the software development company that developed our in-house CRM app, SIMPL, and our iOS and Android app, MOBI.  Now we can integrate that software into our customers, immediately train our technicians, and provide both with portal access while technicians are actually on the job site.”

Dunkin’ Donuts utilized TechLink’s installation and deployment services for its digital menu boards.

As buyers look to add a digital signage program, they may not always have the geographic spread to manage extended networks, especially when it comes to physical assets. Therefore, companies like TechLink Services are increasingly adding services to fill this resource gap.

“Everyone seems to be in reactive mode trying to keep up with the quickly changing technologies. What we’ve done is look ahead. Not only do these services make it more consistent, but they get deployment done immediately,” Zippi said.

Offering a service that allows companies to partner with a deployment team is also more cost-effective, Zippi said, because it provides more efficiency.

“We developed a way to reduce cost without diminishing the product. The API software we developed is more accurate and faster, and we can integrate that software to be able to handle all of the data entry for the customer, rather than typing in that information at every site,” he said.

The TechLink team helped with this video wall.

This integration has resulted in fewer trips to customer sites and faster completion of installation, according to Zippi.

“We wanted to develop the future of a faster response. Therefore, when work orders are entered, our technicians are in GPS and we know where they are. We are speeding up response times without charging expedited charges,” he said. “The software also allows us to make changes in the portal on the fly.”

“All of our customers are looking for automation and integration. Launching services is a painful, long process for them. So anytime they can dive into integration, it’s a huge value-add for them,” Zippi said.

Training and certification

TechLink Services has also directed more resources toward improving the technical knowledge of its installers by launching a recruitment and training division. The focus is on technical and product-specific training certifications and the development of videos for on-demand education. Project management teams have been created to focus on industry-specific technologies.

“The training program has been a boon. We created installation videos for our customers, and our technicians can view these at any time. We can also require technicians to take courses and pass a test. They can’t take on the work until they pass the test. We can even tell if they stopped midway and guessed. We see this as a process to develop more accuracy and detail on the job,” Zippi said.

The training component has also helped create some industry standards so many are craving.

A video wall at Gap.

“With this training, we’re setting the stage that you have to have some qualification in this industry. We have to start setting some standards,” Zippi said. “You need forward-thinking companies to help establish this industry as it moves into the future and we want to be setting some of those big ideas.”

TechLink Services was recently named to the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing U.S. Companies for the third consecutive year. TechLink’s leaders attribute this growth to the new interactive portal and mobile apps and the personnel training and certification division. For more information, contact Zippi.