Monday, August 29, 2011

Urgent Messaging Timing

The next important component of urgent messaging is timing. By definition urgent implies immediate. In the real world that is not necessary possible or necessary. Demanding on the type of message, and the distribution infrastructure available, one of the following timing methods will be employed:
  • Live
  • Reasonable delay
  • Scheduled
  • Cued
“Live” timing is associated with real-time urgent messaging events, such as, breaking news. It requires a fast operational response to re-configure media players to simultaneously tune to the same media feed.
Pre-planning and testing is necessary to ensure critical network commands will be executed in a predictable manner. It is important to understand what network operations it will take to; bring in a new media feeds, tune all media players or groups of players to the new feed, and command media players to display new information. Which of these steps can be pre-planned? Tested?
Additionally, “live” events require a fast network connection, and preferably a consistent connection to fully ensure no delays in sharing breaking news with targeted sites.
Reasonable Delay
A near real-time event, such as a weather alert or corporate announcement, can be shared with “reasonable delay.” In these cases you may have hours to deliver and share a message. Pre-planning is still important, but the need for a fast network connection is greatly reduced.
A “scheduled” urgent message may take the form of a fire drill or legal notice. These can be setup well in advance and managed as part of the regular network schedule. This requires the least amount of test and pre-planning. Content is sent in the usual manner and schedules are arranged hours or days in advance.
When an urgent message is cued it implies an external trigger activates the start of the message. It can also imply the message itself triggers other events. This would be the case if activation command for specific digital signage is coupled with a contact closure or relay command to:
  • Turn on alarms
  • Activate a recorded message
  • Close/Open curtains
  • Turn XX on/off 
Cued events can be real-time (push a button) or scheduled (network command). They can work alone or in combination with other messaging events.
Ultimately, timing for urgent messages is dependent on what predictable network speeds are available to you. Testing will be an important part of developing a sound urgent messaging strategy that uniquely fits your business organization.
Next issue
(Part 3) Urgent Messaging Delivery
Sending video vs. audio, text or graphics can be a major strain on your network infrastructure. We will explore this topic in the next installment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

(Part 1) Types of Urgent Messaging

Urgent Messaging
Sometimes it is necessary to replace scheduled programming with urgent broadcasts or important messages. Our four part series will discuss urgent broadcasts within private networks, such as retail locations, churches or a campus (our discussion should not to be confused with Emergency Alert Systems - federally controlled communication systems).

(Part 1) Types of Urgent Messaging

The main objective of an urgent message is to share new information in a timely fashion. Television screens offer a dynamic and almost hypnotic vehicle to present new information. Unlike computers, the viewer is not distracted by many applications. Video can be enhanced with text and graphical information – making audio directions clearer.

For this reason, integrating a digital signage solution as part of your private network urgent messaging strategy makes logical sense. In addition, no professional video editing expertise is necessary to create visually appealing layouts.

Here are some Urgent Message Digital Signage examples:

Breaking Live News –The ability to pipe in a live over-the-air, satellite, cable or Internet feed.

Weather Alert / Early Closing Notices – Present timely information and instructions to local viewers.

Corporate Announcement – Share one, undiluted message with employees.

Legal Notices –Let employees know how you want them to handle a situation. Help clients and customers learn facts before word-of-month spreads fiction.

Next issue:  (Part 2) Urgent Messaging Timing

Thursday, June 23, 2011