Signage of the times

Innovation in business can come in small packages. In fact, one person’s tech-trash can literally turn into another’s tech-treasure.


After enjoying the Christmas break, and enjoying and enjoying, I dropped back into the office to pick up my mail.


Apart from the drama of the missing accounts file, I found something new on the rubbish table. Yes, we have a rubbish table. It could normally be described as limbo for books. If you don’t want a book, you chuck it on the table. If it’s still there in a couple of weeks, you chuck it in the bin.


Anyway, something new on the table this week; a digital photo frame. It was an older model, a Kaiser Baas with a 5.6 inch screen. I couldn’t resist, so I took it home to have a play.


Turns out the size combined with the resolution makes it pretty crappy for looking at pictures. No wonder it got chucked out. What should I do with it then?


I did what I normally do with problems and stared at it for a while, vaguely hoping an idea would pop into my head. And a solution eventually came to me (as I was loathe to chuck out a perfectly good piece of technology).


Out with Photoshop, and quick snip and chop and I have three small slides.

  1. A Churchill Club logo.
  2. The title of an event.
  3. Instructions on what to do if you are not registered.


I then loaded these slides into the digital photo frame and turned it on.


Voila, instant digital signage for a fraction of the cost. The photo frame now cycles through the three messages. Welcome to the club, tonight’s program is blah, blah, blah, and please see Brendan if you’re not registered.


Although the small size and resolution of the screen didn’t really lend itself to photos, it was fine for a logo and lettering. After patting myself on the back, I noticed that the digital photo will also run small movie files and has sound. So next step will be building a little animation in as well.


A quick check around indicates you can get a new 15 inch frame from Harris Technology for $499, but on eBay the prices seem to be under $200.


Now if you can’t afford to put a bit of digital signage in your reception area at that price, there is something seriously wrong with your business.



Brendan Lewis is the founder of two IT service firms, Edion and Verve IT, and executive director of the Churchill Club.

To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.



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