Ask the Board – March 27, 2017 | MARGOT MYERS


How do you test emergency notification functionality on large-scale digital signage networks?”

The first consideration is whether all displays on the network are connected to one central location. Some networks start with one content management software package and other pieces of the network are added over time, some with a different CMS. For emergency alerts, it’s important to be able to override regular programming from a central location and put the same message on every screen in the network, not just those that are compatible with one type of CMS or another.

Second, emergency messaging needs to be consistent across multiple channels. If there is an active shooter alert on a college campus, the ideal situation is to broadcast text messages, emails and digital content (all containing the same information) simultaneously to students, faculty and staff.

Most large facilities with widespread digital signage networks – such as hospitals, colleges, airports, and hotels – also have emergency preparedness plans that include regular staff drills and system tests. The digital signage network needs to be part of that plan and needs to be tested regularly to ensure that everything is still working properly.

Most Americans are used to the Emergency Alert System messages that broadcasters are required to run. Broadcasting a similar “This is a test of the Acme University Emergency Alert System” message on a digital signage network at least twice a year (or more frequently) is an important part of being prepared for an actual emergency.

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Director, Global Marketing & Communications
The Platt Retail Institute

Industry Consultants Council

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