Connected Spaces: bringing it all together

Large displays in office

Written by David Hart, Co-Founder of ScreenCloud, Codegent & Tepilo

We have a problem: our most important data is locked away, so most people can’t see it. The solution? Public screens.

Investment in innovation is increasing. Fast. In a recent report by Accenture, of the top 1,000 global companies almost 1/3rd of them are increasing their investment by at least 50%. Yet, for those companies increasing their innovation investment significantly, the majority of them are underperforming their industry peers. Why is this?

Well, according to Alison Kennedy, Senior Managing Director Accenture Strategy:

Too many companies see ‘innovation’ as something abstract from solving real problems and creating real value. As a result, too much time and investment is spent on efforts at the periphery that have no link to value — and the opportunity to create true change within the companies is missed, once again.

This really hits home for us at ScreenCloud: all organisations have data, but when it has to be so closely guarded, the result is only a handful of people can ever get any value from it. But, public screens are a perfect way to surface the right data in the right way, making that information much more useful to the company as a whole.

Technical silos

Almost every organisation has technology embedded into their working structure: their CRM, HR system, calendar, cloud storage, accounting systems. And as the growth of SaaS continues unabated, we will only see this becoming more prevalent.

But too often these systems operate in silos: the only people really benefiting from the HR system are the people who work in HR. And any insights there are only provided if someone requests them. It’s assumed that if there is any important info that needs to get out there it will be communicated via email or word of mouth.

But all this data sat in silos only available to the few and waiting to be discovered by the many, leads to a toxic environment of:

“No one asked me / No one told me”

The application of screens to unlock value

In the lobby, in offices, in meeting rooms, screens are everywhere. The trouble is, they aren’t really being used properly. They’re either playing Sky News on mute or blank. And if they are playing anything remotely relevant to the company in which they are placed, it’s often tired content on an infinite loop that everyone is bored of looking at.

By applying business logic, information can be surfaced automatically and in response to triggers that make sense in that space (some examples later).

And by putting some thought into the types of content that is surfaced as well as when and where it appears, the physical space adapts to be relevant to the people who are using it.

What’s more, if it stays fresh, people will absorb that information passively. As opposed to something that’s sent via email that is immediately ignored in the fight for attention in the bulging mailboxes that we all deal with on a daily basis.

As 3M told us:

At 3M we have lots of updates happening internally all of the time and it’s very difficult for us to conduct a meeting every time to announce something. We might send an email with information but our scientists already have hundreds of emails in their inbox. Our idea was to find a system where we could publish a message and everyone at the same time would see that message across three office locations

Fast-growth companies share three things, according to the research

Accenture identified which of the companies investing in innovation were seeing the fastest rates of growth and whether they shared anything when it came to the application of their investments. Turns out there were three things that they were all:

  1. Change-orientated: meaning that any innovation was structured to significantly change the way the organisation worked, rather than tinkering at the edges. And investment was seen as something that was there to create company-wide benefits rather than small incremental improvements.
  2. Outcome-led: where organisations think of innovation that supports their longer-term objectives, rather than solving short-term ‘nice-to-haves’. The most successful companies make sure that the initiatives support their North Star Metric. Many successful companies use screens to visualise and communicate their objectives and values in an ongoing and consistent way.
  3. Disruption-minded: recognising that disrupting work practice and industry norms, even their own, can give businesses an edge. Where companies can make it easier to innovate but also for that innovation to become a reality faster, then they are winning out against their competition.

Liberating data from the silos

The smarter companies are lifting the data out of the silos, using rules-based logic to combine it with other data, then using screens to make it visible. Here are some great examples (we’ve had to anonymise them, but they are all real):

  1. The advertising agency using a meeting room booking system to improve its lobby experience

Phone displaying meeting room bookings

In itself, replacing a paper-based meeting room system with a digital one is kind of cool, but not exactly revolutionary. In many ways, it could be argued that if you are replacing paper with an app it’s actually less convenient for the users because walking up to a meeting room and scribbling their name on a sheet is quicker than finding the app and filling in some form fields.

But if you can apply some rules-based logic to the systems and knowledge they already have within the agency, that simple act of booking a meeting room can automatically trigger a series of other events in the physical environment.

For example, by making a booking, we know the names of the people coming and the time they should be arriving, so we can show a simple welcome message on the desk in reception when they are signing in.


But we know more than just their names: we also know their email addresses. With a simple look-up tool we can determine the industry they work with and cross-reference that with any case studies that are also tagged with the same type and show those in the lobby before and after the meeting. This means that they get a much more relevant experience than they would get if they were sat there watching CNN on mute.

2. The High Street Bank looking to drive value through employee training

A large High Street Bank have identified that innovation had to support their company-wide North Star Metric of customer satisfaction. An important way to achieve that was through having well-trained talent within the business.

They recognised that just sending staff an email with a list of courses they could attend, or listing them on an intranet that nobody looked at, wasn’t going to cut it. The problem with email is that it’s too busy: and the problem with most intranets is that people only go there when they are actively looking to find something.

Instead, they sought to unlock the value within their data by surfacing it in a way that would cut through the noise and register with the staff they were looking to influence.

They used public screens to surface information about training courses that were available, as well as social proof in the form of testimonials from previous attendees.

scree with information

They also made heroes of staff who were contributing the most to their objective of delivering best in class customer service, by publicly acknowledging their achievements.

3. The major mobile phone company looking to reinvent the retail experience

A major mobile phone company is changing the physical retail experience in the US. Their vision of the future includes till-less stores and a highly-knowledgeable sales teams.

Leaderboards and regional sales comparisons provide a clear message about what the company values.

Leaderboards and regional sales comparisons provide a clear message about what the company values.

All of this is supported by screens in the back office that representatives see as they are getting ready to start their shifts, or taking a coffee break.

The screens replace tired old white boards and Post-It notes, and can pull through regional sales stats in real-time, “meet-the-team” introductions to new staff who have joined recently, customer feedback, staff incentives, updates on product promotions, as well as count-downs to new product-launches. All managed centrally and updated dynamically.

Originally posted here

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