Visit a hospital, large company, airport, sports facility or tourist attraction, and it is abundantly clear how important digital signage and messaging is. You use it to easily get where you are going, learn how long you may have to wait, see if there’s something you want to eat, and other helpful information.
Businesses need digital signage that is easy to update, is located in the right place for the right purpose, and is elegant and eye-catching, reflecting well on their brands. In addition to helping the visitor navigate the building and learn about the organization, digital signage can also be an important in-house communication and education tool for employees, from doctors and nurses to employees on a production line. The messaging could save lives — signs could quickly become critical instructions in cases of emergencies. And they can show appreciation: That wall of names that honor an institution’s donors can be updated in real time.
All of this is what DSignage does – and more. The Key Biscayne-based small business, founded in 2005, uses technology to optimize the experience and communications in large facilities.
“We use technologies like applications, touchscreens, large video walls and outdoor video displays to get the messages across. But our ultimate goal as a company is to make sure our clients are digitizing their facilities to make them state of the art to not only optimize communications and enhance the experience for the people who use them but to increase productivity,” said Jose Diaz, founder and president of DSignage.
DSignage is a proud family business. Jose’s wife Karina is director of administration and his son Stefano is director of sales. DSignage has seven full-time employees and growing — it is in the process of hiring three more. It also has a number of subcontractors it calls upon for installations. DSignage is not Jose Diaz’s first business. Previously he ran a successful digital printing company that serviced billboard companies primarily in Latin America.
Siemens is one of DSignage’s largest clients; DSignage support all of the global company’s divisions in the U.S. in Canada as part of the Siemens’ global Digital Engagement Services initiative. “We help them determine where the screens should be, how many there should be, and we provide a platform for them to update and automate their messaging,” Diaz said, while all the time integrating with Siemens’ existing work culture.
What’s more, DSignage recently received Siemens’ Supplier of the Year award. Out of its more than 6,000 suppliers, Siemens selected just 11 for this honor, said Diaz, adding that DSignage also received the award in 2011.
DSignage currently services large corporations like Siemens and hospitals, including those in Baptist Health South Florida, Nicklaus Children’s Health System and Charlotte, NC-based Novant Health, as well as clients in other industries such as retail. In all, its digital signage is in more than 500 locations, Diaz said.
“Our passion is customer service. We bend over backwards for our clients and we go beyond expectations.”
But just like DSignage helps enterprises with their communications, it needed a communications plan of its own. Diaz turned to Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business center within the university’s College of Business, for help with that. Florida SBDC at FIU offers no-cost business consulting to growing small businesses in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Over the last five years, Florida SBDC at FIU’s team of consultants has helped DSignage with several challenges, including its marketing strategy and a communication plan.
That strategy work included rebranding the name about three years ago from Digital Signage Services – a mouthful — to the snappier DSignage. Florida SBDC at FIU business consultants also helped DSignage improve its website (dsignage.net), an ongoing process.
On the financial side, Florida SBDC at FIU consultants assisted DSignage with securing lines of credit and loans and develop bookkeeping practices that allowed DSignage to better track performance in much more detail for each product and service it provides.
“They have become like our board of directors,” said Diaz, “Every time we have an important decision to make we call them and they help us brainstorm and hopefully make the right decisions. It’s been a great program to be a part of and it gives us peace of mind.”
What’s ahead for DSignage? Continuous innovation. That’s because technology is changing so fast and DSignage needs to stay on the cutting edge.
For instance, digital signage is getting smart, really smart, and personal. “Not in an invasive way but in an efficient manner,” Diaz explained. “The content someone may see is all relevant to them.”
For large enterprises, smarter signage could personally welcome each executive as they walk into a meeting, and give a preview of what they will see and who’s in the room. Signage will become smarter in the area of continuous education and get better at engaging and helping people conveniently communicate with their healthcare providers, for instance.
“If a donor is walking by, we want to make sure the donor is thanked for their generosity and support for saving lives,” Diaz said. “When there is a patient on the way to surgery, they could see helpful messaging on the way in. It’s about curating content based on who is around the screen.”