Digital Signage Content: Incorporating Live Data

January 11, 2010

How do I get my ______ information onto my digital display in real time?  This question has been around since the dawn of digital signage.  When you are planning to install a large format display one of the first questions is with respect to content and how you can integrate some of the valuable data you are collecting to run and organize your business.

For a call center, this may be call stats stored in a phone switch, for a trading floor this could be live stock quotes and news from a trading terminal, for a hotel this could be event information stored in a database, or for a corporation it may be metrics for sales and service levels.  There are literally hundreds of different places data could be collected and stored.

The first step is identifying what data and more importantly what fields or characteristics of the data you want to display.  After you identify the data then figure out how it is stored and how can you share it.  Data can be mined from things like SQL databases and MS Excel Spreadsheets with a little time and integration.  The easiest information to display is information that can be output as html or simply put - created as a web page that can be set into the content.  Another way is to publish the data as an RSS feed allowing you to accept it and format it onto your display with relative ease.

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There are lots of tricks and nuances to integrating live data.  Your best bet when selecting a digital signage partner is to make sure they have a strong content services team to help you evaluate these sources and figure out the best way to incorporate them.