New Wayfinding Technology, Ordinance Changes Offer Challenges to Managers
By Thomas A. Westerkamp - July 2013 - Maintenance & Operations
From wayfinding and emergency exit signage to lockout/tagout products, equipment labeling and identification, maintenance and engineering managers need to address a range of essential areas in selecting signage and sign-making equipment for their departments and facilities.
In specifying these products and directing their maintenance staffs to produce signs for use in and around institutional and commercial facilities, managers need to consider such issues as digital and web-based signs, proper materials, regulatory compliance, and differing considerations for interior and exterior signage. Such planning brings greater efficiency to the process of purchasing these products.
Digital and web-based signage helps managers bring directions and announcements to life in and around their facilities. In addition to rotating images, this mode of signage offers interchangeable messages at one location for promoting products and services, announcing coming events, posting extracurricular activity results, and displaying maps and directions.
The systems also can support multiple screen kiosks from one computer or network, and special software enables each kiosk to display different messages.
One of the most frequent inside uses for digital signage is wayfinding in health care facilities, malls, retail stores, museums, banks, and lobbies of commercial and government offices and professional buildings. The best locations for these signs are where pedestrian traffic is heaviest at entries and where they are very visible. Common examples include vestibules, lobbies, reception areas, main hallways, meeting and conference rooms, and classrooms. Managers should select the sign's location so it is high enough to give everyone a clear viewing path, as opposed to being forced to look through a crowd of people.
Among the benefits of digital signage are that it can provide instant updates for breaking news, it is cheaper than print for reaching large audiences, the message can be changed instantly throughout the day, and multiple messages can appear simultaneously and in an environmentally friendly way.