Serving Up Digital Signage Services

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Bryan Meszaros, founder and COO of South Amboy, N.J.-based OpenEye, a digital signage agency, on the service opportunities:

OFFER FLEXIBLE PACKAGES: We offer content development, IT management, installation and support. We offer strategy consulting, where we put together the know-how with the location. We might not do everything. A software and screen install can be done as one quick hit, $9,000. Or we may spend well over nine months to a year just to get to the pilot.

THREE KINDS OF MAINTENANCE: We take into account the three kinds of maintenance required in a digital signage network. There are network issues, since if the network is not up and running there is no content on the screens. Power issues are also common, since bulbs and screens need to be replaced if they burn out. And there's what we call the human factor. Human beings like to touch things. And if you are putting up a screen, they will touch it.

PROVIDE CONTENT: A successful digital signage network keeps content fresh. We handle content development in-house and offer ongoing creative services to our clients. The retainer fee can be around $100,000 a year. We can handle everything from storyboard development to animation. We offer custom dynamic content, from databases and remote services. This is very common for digital signage in airports.

CONTENT AND STRATEGY ARE KING: Hardware and software are so commoditized that it doesn't make sense to push them on to the customers. Companies generally know how much things cost. While hardware and software would be about 25 percent to 30 percent margins, the rest is evenly divided between content and strategy.

IDENTIFY THE OBJECTIVES: For strategy, we help identify what the objectives are for developing a digital signage network. Once the objective is set, we shape the strategy for achieving those goals. Where should the screens be installed to be the most effective? What kind of media types should be used?

EDUCATE THE CLIENT: When talking about digital signage to prospective customers, we end up re-educating them on how digital signage can be used. Once customers realize it's not about selling and running ads, they are more willing to start thinking about digital signage.

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