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Using Live Data Feeds in your Digital Signage Content

What’s the biggest challenge digital signage content creators face today? Having the time and resources to consistently publish fresh digital signage content.

When your digital signage content goes stale, the audience stops looking. It’s why successful network operators make an effort to keep their screens constantly updated with new, informative content. Keeping screens fresh is a constant battle, and not everyone has the staff on hand to get the work done. The solution is displaying live data feeds on screen and leveraging that same data to automate your content selection processes.

In the digital signage context, data feeds can be used in two different ways:

Data feeds as content or content automation.

What’s a data feed?

Live data refers to the process by which you retrieve updated information from a database. Information is stored on a remote server and the data it contains is constantly updated, hence the term real-time data.

A quick Google search will return many publicly available data feeds. These are mostly RSS or XML feeds created by news organizations, independent blog owners, and other publicly accessible web content.

Then there is information from business intelligence (BI) and other private corporate sources that are stored in proprietary database formats. To use this information on your screens, you must convert the data to a more usable format, like XML.

XML is a common data exchange format that is easy to manipulate and widely supported.

Reach out for guidance or tap into our expertise!

What about multimedia?

Data feeds don’t just include text. Media RSS feeds support images and video content. These types of feeds include links that point to files stored on remote servers. When a typical digital signage player interprets these data feeds, it retrieves the multimedia content from the source and displays it on screen.

This method lets you play a stream of constantly updated media on your screens without having to upload and manage the content yourself.

Corporate Signage Twitter Data Feed Live Cnn Rss

Media RSS is becoming more popular with news organizations and it’s not uncommon to find freely available feeds that include images with news items. This is an excellent source of information that you can use to keep viewers engaged.

Having access to an external source of constantly updated text, images and videos are especially useful for smaller organizations that don’t have access to a full-time creative team.

Content is King! Bring it to Life With QL

Traditional posters and ads need to quickly grab attention and communicate your message, whether for promotion or branding.

Digital signage is a step up. It shows more information in an engaging way, increasing awareness. But, be careful with digital signage. Too much of it can lead to “brain fade,” where viewers lose interest. To avoid this, keep your content fresh and interesting to keep your audience engaged. Update your content regularly to keep it impactful, especially for an audience waiting for a service or product.

Check out NAVORI QL digital signage software. It lets you combine different media and live data on your screens. This creates a dynamic display that informs and entertains your viewers effectively.

Put live data in the driver’s seat

Think about the flight information screens you see at airports, train, and bus stations. These screens mix their content with live data from databases. Automated updates are key here because the information is time-sensitive. This is much more efficient than updating things by hand.

These screens can gather information from different places, like intranets, SharePoint, or specialized databases. The person who sets up the screen layout connects these live data sources so that updates happen automatically.

Also, these screens can show various types of content like news, stock updates, and sports scores, taken from public RSS feeds from CNN, BBC, and others.

QL’s ability to link to many data sources is a big plus for sending specific messages to the right audience.

In queuing systems, Navori stands out too. It can combine real-time messages, ads, and ticket numbers on any screen. This makes an engaging program that keeps viewers interested and makes waiting feel shorter. The content manager can also show ticket numbers in a flexible way, which helps people remember the ads better and enjoy what they’re watching.

What happens when there is a data outage?

A data outage can happen whenever a live data is no longer accessible. Perhaps the feed provider’s database server went offline or there is some other issue that’s preventing your digital signage players from accessing the source. Your screens can be impacted by these external factors so it’s important to know how your digital signage software supports external data.

Each digital signage solution deals with connection issues differently. Some software apps might show empty fields while others remain unaffected. Ideally, your digital signage players should store this data locally to ensure there is always some information shown on screen.

The data may not be current during the outage, but at least your viewers won’t be looking at blank screens. You should always ask your digital signage software vendor if their product supports offline data caching.

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Syndicated live data subscriptions

If your budget supports it, you should seriously consider syndicated data feeds. These are commercial feeds formatted specifically for digital signage use. These types of data feeds have many advantages for business users. There are no additional usage rights to pay and companies sometimes include a service level guarantee, which is an added bonus.

You also get access to technical support services in case you ever run into issues.

Most of these subscriptions are priced monthly per player device and billed annually.

Here are a few popular syndicated content subscription services:

  • Data Call
  • Screenfeed
  • Seenspire

Syndicated content has many advantages over publicly available data feeds which are reflected in the cost of these services.

Data feeds as content

Using data feeds as content makes a lot of sense. They offer a reliable and affordable source of information for your digital signage screens.

Here are some examples:

  • Social media boards (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others).
  • Weather observations and forecasts.
  • The latest sports scores.
  • Business Intelligence dashboards.
  • Airline flight/train scheduling information (FIDS).
  • Interest rates and financial data.
  • Local and national news.
  • Data from business intelligence and other corporate sources.

Having a source of constantly updated information creates better opportunities for viewer engagement.

For example, weather feeds can warn an audience of impending storms, or potentially life-threatening weather. Social media posts help keep shoppers engaged in retail stores. Data from business intelligence sources inform and motivate staff members in a corporate office.

When data feeds are managed and updated by a third party via a subscription, your staff can perform other tasks. You’re no longer dependent on creating and updating your own content. It’s the easiest way to deliver more compelling and attractive content at a relatively low cost.

Using data feeds in your layouts

Digital signage software products use a range of techniques to manage and deliver data feeds, however, most operate in a similar way.

Data feeds are assigned to fields embedded inside a template or ticker layouts. When these layouts are shown on a digital signage screen, each field is populated with updated information from the data feed’s source.

Content automation

Content automation lets you adapt how your media behaves based on your own scenarios.

With content automation or data-driven content, data feeds aren’t used to populate fields in your digital signage templates or tickers. Instead, they are used to activate or trigger other content that has been programmed in your playlists.

Imagine an ad for ice cream desserts that are shown on a restaurant’s screen only when it’s hot outside, or a congratulatory message that is displayed on office screens when sales hit a certain level.

Conditional playback

With conditional content playback, users create rules that determine when certain items can be shown on screen. When the condition is true, the content is activated and plays along with other media on your digital signage screens. If the condition is false, the content is skipped, and the rest of the playlist plays normally.

Conditional trigger

With conditional triggering, the triggered content takes over the screen for as long as the condition is true, displacing the currently scheduled content entirely. This method is used mostly for emergency messaging like evacuation alerts, or to announce jackpot winners in a casino.

Triggered content is meant to attract immediate attention, while conditional playback is used to modify a content program based on real-time conditions.

Benefits of using real-time data feeds

Using digital signage data feeds can offer several benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Up-to-Date Information: These feeds ensure that your screens display current information. This is especially beneficial in places like airports, shopping centers, or event venues, where details often change. You can show live news, weather, stock prices, social media updates, and more, keeping your audience informed with the latest.
  • Customized Content: With data feeds, you can tailor content to fit specific groups or locations. This customization means your digital signs can show messages that resonate with particular demographics or geographic areas, making the content more engaging and relevant.
  • Efficiency through Automation: Integrating data feeds with your digital signage system streamlines content management. This automation means you don’t have to manually update and schedule content. Instead, the system can automatically refresh and organize content based on set rules, saving time and effort, particularly for extensive or widespread signage networks.

In summary, digital signage data feeds are a powerful tool for presenting relevant, current, and captivating content, enhancing viewer engagement, brand awareness, and achieving your desired outcomes.

About Navori Labs

Navori Labs is the leading software engineering firm behind the Navori digital signage software. Navori is a professional-grade CMS solution that supports any type of live data as content for your screens. The software also supports content automation and users can create any types of rules to trigger or activate content based on a data feed’s content.