How Digital Signage For Venues Can Revive Live Events

Oct 7, 2020 | COVID-19 Solutions, Leisure

Reuben Staples-Burton

Reuben Staples-Burton

Live events, once the jewel in the crown of British culture have been abandoned over the course of 2020. But not without reason. The safety of those attending events has to be a priority. Through careful planning, it’s possible for venues to reopen their doors. This will need to be done in a sensible and measured manner that respects the needs of staff and punters. Digital signage for venues should form an integral part of these plans. Informing attendees of appropriate behaviour at live events is imperative to them being safe and enjoying their time.

1) Covid-19 Digital SIgnage for Concert Venues.

The government confirmed that live music venues may stay open past 10 pm if events begin before 10 pm. The incentive for bands and artists to perform for their beloved fans has therefore intensified. It remains the case that venues continue a seated policy with music lovers sat with a maximum group of 6; this still can provide a much-needed flicker of excitement to what could be a bleak and dreary winter.

Live music forms a vital part of the night-time economy. This brings with it some risks. Concert attendees may feel inclined to indulge in the drinking of alcohol. And who can blame them? However, this may cause them to become negligent in their responsibilities to public health. The solution: well-placed in-venue signage that coherently communicates the expectations the venue has of their guests.

Digital signage for venues will equate to them being more likely to adhere to the rules, more likely to carry on spending money, and less likely to be a hassle for security. This could be large bright screens instructing concertgoers to ‘stay seated’, or to ‘wear masks’ when leaving and arriving or heading to the toilet, or even a screen instructing how to sign in for track and trace. These displays can easily show a playlist. One idea could be the screen cycling through the necessary messages throughout the evening. This ensures maximum coverage of each message.

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2) Covid-19 Digital Signage For Sports Venues.

The re-opening of sports venues has proven problematic. The Government’s initial intention was for crowds to return from the 1st of October. However, the Prime Minister has revealed it may be another 6 months before this dream becomes a reality. Suggestions for how venues do eventually re-open vary from capping attendances to 3,000, wearing masks at your seats, wearing masks to and from your seats, sitting two seats away from other fans, or even staggered arrivals.

What is clear that every stadium, arena, or venue has a different design, transport links, and local COVID infection rate. Therefore, venues should be able to present bespoke cases for re-opening. Therefore, it is important measures adopted by venues can cut through the noise and deploy clear messages. If the venue insists all fans wear masks in their seats then it is important they know that.

Bright digital displays can ensure there is no confusion as to how they should be behaving in the stadium. Furthermore, screens can be updated as and when government messages change.

3) Bringing Back The Theatres.

It’s no secret that theatres have taken a hit throughout the pandemic. Recently a representative of one of London’s top theatres appropriately described theatre, rather than being optional as “fundamental”. There is an understated mental impact of the closure of theatres. Not only on the freelance workers dependent on theatre for income but also audiences who saw theatre as a pillar of the community. The mass suppression of expression will be detrimental to Britain’s ability to brave this difficult period with vigor and determination. Technology that enables theatres to resume their operation could prove the difference in people’s motivation throughout the pandemic. It could also mean the business is ‘viable’ going forwards, if able to stay open and employ its staff for at least a third of their former hours.

Digital signage for venues can explain new seating arrangements, when wear masks, and when to sanitise their hands. In the government’s COVID-19 risk assessment it suggests that further action to control the risks ought to include “signage and ways to communicate to non-employees what they need to do to maintain social distancing”. The risk assessment also suggests “signs to remind people to wash and sanitise hands and not touch their faces”.

A digital screen situated in the right place can prove a valuable addition to a theatre in this regard. Rather than littering the building with a sea of different traditional print posters; a well designed digital display can succinctly and engagingly deliver all the necessary information in a manner in keeping with the unique character of the venue. These benefits would prove more influential if due to COVID, productions have had to adopt alternative spaces or even go outdoors, where wayfinding might be an issue.

4) Digital Signage for Conference Rooms.

With business largely being conducted over zoom, conference calls feel closer to home. If asked last year, it’s highly unlikely event organisers would have predicted the excel centre turning in to a hospital. However, it’s not only the entertainment industry missing out on being able to host live events. In fact any businesses rely on being able to reach their clients through conferences, trade shows, and expositions. The knock-on effect of not being able to host these events is huge and touches individuals and families from a range of sectors across the country.

The ‘All Secure Standard’ created by the ‘Association of Event Organisers (AEO)’ emphasises the need to eliminate handshakes. It also suggests that on-site signage is used to reinforce this alongside social distancing and hygiene. They stress that UK government advice is to provide handwashing facilities and to wash hands regularly with accompanying signage. The AEO also advises that “signage should include common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as communicated by the appropriate medical and health authorities as well as actions to take if necessary”. With so much to tackle pertaining to signage, digital displays can provide some uniformity to proceedings. Well placed signage across the venue delivering the same messages in a playlist are sure to cement the messages in the minds of professionals attending the event.

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5) Multi-Functional Venues Internal Communications.

Many venues fulfill a variety of functions. Multi-functional venues have all the stresses above but also have to consider how they deliver bespoke messages to their different audiences. Digital signage scheduling enables content for displays to be planned well in advance and do not need to be updated on the day. They just have to be scheduled for a certain time and date. For instance, I could schedule my playlist for the football fans that are coming for a 3 pm kickoff on Saturday, but schedule my playlist for the trade show happening in the stadium at 10 am on Monday from the same laptop using the same software.

Internal communications are also very important with multi-functional events. With a higher turnover of staff and individuals who may be needed to carry out the different functions of the venue. To this end, digital signage for venues can ensure staff are wearing the appropriate PPE, wiping down surfaces, and adhering to social distancing measures. This will enhance their own safety and others’.

Whether using screens to display a QR code on entry for attendees to scan, for wayfinding, or for vital public health messages; it is still important to note that the screens can still be used for promotional activity to keep businesses going through this difficult time. Digital signage for venues can keep live events up and running through the pandemic. Crowds evoke images of chaos and disorder, the only chance we have of bringing structure to live events is if the expectations we have of one another are effectively communicated. Digital signage is a proven effective method of communication.

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