One of the greatest challenges within local government is how to effectively communicate to the public in a way that keeps them informed, engaged and connected.
One of the greatest challenges within local government is how to effectively communicate to the public in a way that keeps them informed, engaged and connected. Digital signage, once a novel, high-cost option, has evolved to become one of the most effective tools in the toolkit to help municipalities and local government services bring information to the public.
The use cases for digital signs for government, municipalities and special office locations like DMVs are compelling, with some serving people in unexpected ways. Let’s break them down.
Networked, digital signage helps bring people together, serving as a community’s connective thread. From the DMV to police stations, rec halls to city halls, and across libraries, parks and camps, keeping your city connected across all government locations creates a more confident, unified community.
Within a government setting, effectively informing people on a need-to-know basis stimulates engagement and establishes trust. Digital signage clearly points people on where they need to go, how to apply for services, informs on when deadlines and events are near, and often why municipal policies exist. This breeds credibility and gets everyone on the same page to cooperate for the greater good of the community. For employees, it removes the burden of ensuring that important information is noticed by everyone. With digital signage, the messaging can be everywhere.
This becomes even more important for specific use cases such as informing people where they are in a waiting queue (setting expectations), guiding them through buildings (removing confusion), informing them of upcoming events (getting the public involved) and reminding them of special city operations like road closures and reconstruction of roadways.
Government buildings tend to be larger, with both employees and visitors coming in and out of them often, so directories and wayfinding maps become great tools to help them navigate the building. When you provide self-service applications like this, you create an environment where visitors feel welcomed throughout your facility.
Keeping people safe is paramount and there needs to be protocols in place to help people leave the building in a safe manner if an emergency arises. Digital signage can integrate with your emergency system and alert people with critical information in real time while simultaneously sending emergency messaging to all displays.
There are many challenges when informing and engaging with front line teams. They are often stressed, time-starved and juggling both people and situations. Digital signage can boost employee morale and engagement by instantly creating collaboration spaces and entertain, inform and communicate to them on break-room signage. It also serves to put success and innovation on display for all to see and celebrate.
While digital signage in government has all the above benefits, the ‘network effect’ it creates offers the strongest community impact. A robust digital signage network grounded from city hall can reach everyone with consistent local information while also making it site-specific for places like parks and recreation, police, fire, license offices, libraries and even schools.
You can cast an even wider net to further connect the people who serve your community along with those who live in it. It creates a sense of confidence that whenever people need information, they will have access to it. Like an informational heartbeat, they will learn to turn to it for the fastest, easiest way to maximize whatever moment they are in, and wherever in your municipality that they may be.
Choosing the right technology is critical when deploying a digital signage network. Even the most seasoned network administrators don’t know the intricacies of deploying content management servers and media players. The best choice today is to select a vendor that has a cloud-hosted solution that can securely deploy media players to your site. Made sure your IT team is comfortable and confident managing those devices on your network. Furthermore, verify the CMS vendor is implementing end-to-end security. Ongoing penetration tests and vulnerability monitoring will ensure secure operations for your deployment.
Regarding content, consider how you will create and update it (easy software is key) and how to keep it fresh, diverse and attention getting. To make it more successful, get everyone on the team involved in the process, but make sure to select a system that makes it easy to manage the workflow. To make collaboration a breeze, look for a solution that lets you specify review and approval permissions by team members while giving the administrator unilateral control.
Government digital signage content is typically split into two categories: employee-facing and public-facing. The information is going to be different for each audience. Be very strategic about the split in messaging so that you keep people clear and on track with the appropriate information.
A final best practice is to ensure that the vendors you evaluate have technologies, policies and procedures in place to secure your data. For Carousel Cloud, we implement several safeguards within the application, infrastructure, and our organization to protect client data. We offer strong access control options to limit access to and within the application itself, which is critical for security. We also ensure that data is encrypted both in transit and at rest using industry best practices.
Digital signage can serve as powerful communication tool between the people who serve your community and the people who live there. The more places you install digital signage, the more value it creates for the people that live, work, play around it. This adds up to a more productive, happy place to live, work and, ultimately, thrive.
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