Property management teams are constantly getting bombarded with problems. Between service calls, hot/cold complaints, double parked cars, and overflowing package rooms, they have a lot on their plates. So any time they can save some time or prevent yet another (let’s just say it, dumb) question, they embrace it. This is the case when it comes to signage. Signs are one of the easiest ways that managers can prevent confusion and the inevitable call to the management office that comes with it. But even signs can require a lot of work to update. So savvy building owners and property managers are using modern digital signage to help them better communicate important information with little more than a few keystrokes.
Physical signs can take a lot of time, effort, and money to print and deploy. A recent Propmodo report calculates that a building that hosts one event per month can spend as much as $18,600 per year designing and printing signage. Then there are the labor costs to take into consideration. The report estimates that buildings that deploy digital signage with 12 tenant changes and/or announcements every year can save managers around 114 hours per year.
Beyond the work it takes to make signs, there is also the time that digital displays can save managers by cutting down on the amount of questions they get asked by occupants. One of the best ways to do that is by installing a series of digital maps that can help people find their way around the property. “Wayfinding in large buildings is difficult since phones don’t have geopositioning to accurately show where they are,” said Sarah Shank, former head of global innovation at global asset management firm PGIM. Lost people inevitably ask for help, with each instance costing building staff precious time. Cutting down on the need to help people find where they are going has become even more important in post-pandemic office buildings, where workers do not come to the office every day and seldom sit in the same place.
There are various types of digital signage available. The first thing that people often try is using standalone TVs or monitors. These devices can display preloaded images or be connected to a nearby computer. While they may be suitable for a single location that doesn’t require frequent updates, they are insufficient for most property applications. In most cases, buildings require signage in multiple locations, and the time it takes to manually create content and update each sign individually is often too much work for busy teams.
For building owners looking for more advanced digital displays, there are several options available. One popular option is networked digital signage, where multiple screens are connected to a server or cloud-based platform. This allows for centralized content management and scheduling, making it easier to update and control signage across multiple locations simultaneously. Another option is interactive digital signage that incorporates touchscreens or motion sensors to enable user interaction. These displays can provide engaging experiences such as interactive wayfinding maps, product catalogs, or informational kiosks. These advanced types of displays provide building owners with greater flexibility and scalability in deploying effective signage solutions while lowering labor costs.
Reducing the amount of time building staff devotes to updating signage doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in the property manager’s labor force. Most workers play a critical role that can’t be outsourced to a digital display. But cutting down on the time it takes them to complete menial tasks like printing signs and giving directions can help them spend more time doing high-value activities like community management. Digital signage can help on this front too. By displaying all of a building’s activities and events, signs can be an active part in promoting programming. “Digital interaction with tenants is really important, especially in today’s office environment, so any chance you get to do that creates a lot of value for tenants,” Shank said.
Working in a building, large or small, will always come with a long list of things that need to be done every day. But smart, connected digital signage can help reduce the time needed for at least some of those daily activities. Right now many buildings are struggling with decreasing vacancy and increasing expenses, so building owners and managers are working hard to find ways to cut down on costs. Whether you are an overworked building employee, a visitor trying to find your appointment, or an office worker trying to learn about the events happening in your building, digital signs offer a cost-effective solution.
Related Report: Building a Business Case for Digital Signage