Introducing the 2016 OEG Team

I can’t say there is an easy way to grow an agency, no secret sauce, no short cuts,  just a “roll up the sleeves” mentality and a drive to “creating experiences with a purpose” which keeps it going. Everyone at OpenEye Global shares in that mantra and contributes to the success of the agency.

2016 will mark our 14th year in business, which is quite an achievement. However, if you ask any of us, we are far from being content. There is always something new to discover, new experiences to be had and opportunities to make our clients shine brighter than they had before.

2015 was a great year for us. We welcomed a few new members to the team (Trishia Daniel, Ed Flores & Robert Grevey), formed several new client relationships with the likes of Westfield, Madame Tussauds & Kravet and I was also personally humbled by being nominated for the “40 Under 40” recognition from Design:Retail magazine and my election to the position of VP Board of Directors within SEGD. With that said it’s hard not to be excited for what lays ahead in 2016.

Our growth as an agency has been an exciting adventure. We are truly a collection of big agency refugees who have found a home together and appreciate what it means to work alongside talented professionals in a culture that fuels creativity. To clock in every day and work with amazing brands in the likes of Westfield, Santander & Madame Tussauds is quite humbling.

We are restless, which in our case is a great position. There is no point at which we are ever satisfied and that only drives us to create something that hasn’t been seen before. As we add new members to our team, we discover new skills amongst ourselves that we introduce into our projects. 2016 will see a lot of new ideas, more unique experiences to come and a lot of laughs to be shared amongst ourselves and our clients. Me personally, I’m excited for the ride.

– Bryan Meszaros, Co-Founder & CEO

SEGD Through the Eyes of a Founder

Back in 2008, as OpenEye was completing work on the Smithsonian digital wayfinding project, I had been approached by an organization called SEGD asking to feature the project in their quarterly magazine. It was an honor to be asked but at the same time I felt awkward as I didn’t exactly know who they were or what they stood for. It was that chance opportunity which helped expose me to the SEGD community and put OpenEye on a path to wanting to become more involved.

There were far too many years in which I stayed within our “digital” community, not necessarily ignoring other organizations but becoming too complacent in the industry. Yet at the same time, there was always this curiosity of wanting to learn more about how environments are built and the art behind creating these amazing physical experiences. For the next several years I was on a journey of discovery, learning what I could by attending various SEGD events and even being invited to speak at a “dynamic environments’ workshop. Needless to say that experience was enlightening.

As has always been the case since starting OpenEye, I had to “experiment” with the way I Introduce myself. In ten words or less, creatively describing OpenEye as not just a company “putting screens on the wall” has always been daunting. Getting involved with the SEGD community was a challenge to me, not because I wasn’t confident in what I do, but because I had a tremendous amount of respect towards each member, thus making me ask whether or not I am at their level of creativity. I come from a different background, and as I looked around there was no one from the “digital” sandbox I was comfortable playing in. I felt I needed to re-examine what I do and how that skill-set could blend into the community; a quest for creative acceptance.

It has been amazing to see how my relationship with the SEGD community has evolved. There have been so many great friendships made and countless memories created. SEGD is a community that I have tremendous respect for and one that has helped me improve as not only a digital designer but as the leader of an agency that strives for creative innovation.

Back in 2008, I never would have thought that I would have the opportunity to join the Board of Directors, nor did I expect to be honored with the election to Vice President. The community means a lot to me and to each member of OpenEye who feeds off its energy. We are here to help grow the community and continue to share our experiences. It is important for SEGD to grow and continue to expose young designers to what impact digital can have on the evolution of physical experience.

Cheers to a phenomenal 2016 with this great group!


Bryan Recaps New York Digital Signage Week 2017

Another New York Digital Signage Week in the books. What did we learn? What did we see? Let’s hear what Bryan has to say …

Some Highlights Include:

The room had an amazing energy and the speakers were great including: 

Seeing all the people, the new technology, and the energy makes this week an amazing time

Rounding out the week, we must give some kudos to Adrian and his team from DailyDooh for putting on another great event. Looking forward to what’s in store next year.

“If you’re not exhausted, you definitely missed something” – Bryan Meszaros

Looking for more information on our work with Digital Signage? Check out our latest FREE ebook: Digital Signage, Just The Fact


Featured On: Social Slice Podcast

The Big Cheese & The Creative Hustler are at it again, this time as guests on our dear friends podcast, The Social Slice.

We spoke about digital experience, agency life, Pyxel, as well as what to expect coming up during New York Digital Signage Week.

Listen on iTunes

Listen on SoundCloud 

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Google Play

10 Content Challenges to Overcome in Your Digital Signage Network

Although often relegated to the back seat, the process of content creation drives the success of a digital signage program. It is therefore essential to develop a mental map of each component stage, from strategizing and budgeting, through development and optimization, and to address the unique requirements and challenges of each one. With a clear plan in place, potential stall-outs are easily avoided, and obstacles, overcome. What follows is a collection of tips and tricks that we have developed in the course of our experience, and found helpful in navigating some of the difficulties that inevitably accompany a creative undertaking. We here pass them on to you to help better position you for your next endeavor.

Obstacle #1: Project Ownership

The nature of project ownership is critical and, unfortunately, often blurred in understanding. Is the person being said to “own” a project responsible, by definition, for all aspects of its design and production? In a word: no! Rather, they manage and monitor the numerous interlocking parts of the creative engine – the gathering of assets, messaging, design, and approval – each of which is the domain of a different person, or team. This last, the granting of approval, is generally understood, and intended as the concluding step. However, its finality hinges upon the clear delineation and coordination of the preceding steps, without which requests for further changes are far more likely to arise. Changing even one textual element could disrupt the flow, look and feel of the whole product, and force the designer to go back and rework it from the ground up to accommodate the change.

Obstacle #2: Content Strategy

Designers create content within “closed environments;” they alone experience, and interact with their creations during the design process. Yet given that their creations are ultimately destined for display in “open environments” subject to such variables as viewing distance, demographics, audience journey, time of day etc., it’s important to keep in mind that every content piece adhering perfectly to fundamental principles of design in the abstract carries no guarantee of effectiveness when it goes “live.” All these variables, and more, should be researched and applied to your content: type, structure, design, refresh rate etc. as they will deeply impact the audience engagement with, and effectiveness of the intended message.

Obstacle #3: Playlist Strategy

Optimizing your playlist requires the delicate counterbalancing of numerous considerations, all within the framework of your budget and network objectives. Loop length, for example, must be in step with audience dwell time. Make your playlist too long, and it will be a waste of network resources; too short, and you will forfeit network opportunities. Couple dwell time with the return rate of your audience; multiply by an effective frequency of 4-7 (the number of times a viewer needs to be exposed to a message before it is thoroughly communicated); and add to that any wish to day-part, or employ triggers, feeds, or logic that activates different content depending on the time, or viewer body-language or demographics and you will begin to get the measure of what it is to develop a strategic plan that truly capitalizes on the possibilities of digital signage.

Obstacle #4: Gathering Assets

The process of gathering assets is more complicated than the phrase would suggest, as they are not, in fact, necessarily useable simply by virtue of being “digital” – a reality difficult to concede for clients unfamiliar with concepts such as image quality, and display resolution. Fortunately, a little proactive education explaining such fundamentals within the specific context of your plan to develop content for a client (using which editing program, and in which output format) often goes a long way towards bringing about the submission better-quality files, even if they are not all vector graphics, files of 300dpi or more are ideal. Of course, there is always the possibility that there are no usable assets to uncover. Sometimes the image quality of a graphic is too poor, or the asset does not exist in a version that supports editing, requiring you to start from scratch. The bottom line is: avoid assuming anything about your client’s level of knowledge or organization, and be prepared to explain why their idea and/or materials may need to be scrapped or revised.

Obstacle #5: Content Licensing

Content licensing does not abide by the “finders, keepers” rule. Possession of an asset does not necessarily confer the right to display it in a commercial setting, even if it was acquired “for free” – a reality sometimes difficult to accept in a world where side-stepping costs is so often possible. However, several lawsuits over the years have been brought against digital signage companies whose network owners failed to negotiate an agreement (either in the form of a one-time payment, or an ongoing subscription) with the owner of every asset in their playlist. Given the costs incurred by such a lawsuit, it’s essential to address licensing costs early and often, and to ensure that a line item appears in the budget from the very beginning. “But that CNN feed says that it’s free…” Look again at the terms. Free news feeds, and most free or inexpensive weather feeds are available only for non-commercial use.

Obstacle #6: Creative Budgeting

Talking money is like talking politics: everyone has an opinion, and no one is right. The question of budget must therefore be addressed both early in the development process, and regularly throughout the lifecycle of a project, for content carries a cost not only to create, but to maintain. The viewing frequency, and relationship it bears with its physical context give it a limited shelf-life, and while you would ideally have a surplus of content from which to chose, and/or assets with an automated feature, the project will, in fact, require ongoing programming, editing and management. True, most CMS (content management systems) now support advance scheduling, but someone still needs to oversee that task. The success or failure of a digital signage project therefore will depend on the project owners ability to accurately and creatively manage the fixed initial costs and variable ongoing costs to collect, license, and schedule content assets all powered by the most costly line item: human capital.

Obstacle #7: Stretching the Dollars

Were money not an obstacle, we would all simply hire ABC or Lucasfilm to build out our playlists, and keep them fresh. But money is an obstacle. Budgetary constraints come into play for everyone at some point. That is why I am a proponent of building playlists with an eye to maximizing value, as opposed to maxing-out one’s resources. This can be done in a variety of ways, including investing up-front in custom templates; reusing assets that your company originally used elsewhere; leveraging user-generated, and data-driven content; strategically recycling content; and outsourcing parts of your playlist to licensed feeds or competitively priced creative agencies.


Creating Brand Experiences With Digital Signage

Brands not adapting to the ‘era of experience’ will be left behind in 2018.

A bold statement, but the realities on the other side of that statement are even harsher. It goes without saying that the most successful companies don’t just create a brand identity, they create an adaptable brand experience.

As 2017 quickly turns into 2018, brands of all sizes are going to be auditing their current marketing and branding initiatives and looking to see where immediate improvements can be made and where long-time investments can help move the needle.

One investment brands are making to enhance brand experience is in digital signage. Digital signage is a massive industry expected to be worth over 32 billion by 2023 and as with all rapidly growing technology, brands need to be ready to adapt. TechCrunch said it best,

“A global arms race is underway”

Brands are no longer competing to be the first to simply adopt the latest technology, they are now competing to use the new technology to create the best digital experience for their customers.

For brands, digital signage is an easy-to-adapt and quick-to-launch way to create digital experiences. These digital experiences not only catch consumer’s attention, they foster engagement and interaction with a brand. And these consumer-brand interactions are the first stop toward a fully immersive digital experience.

Traditionally, digital experiences referred to customer’s interaction with a brand online. These interactions have evolved from websites to social media to mobile – but what’s next?

Creating immersive and adaptable brand experiences don’t just happen online. Sure, so much of our shopping preferences come from online ads and content, but thinking it starts and ends there is lazy. Don’t believe me?

Why are 9 out of 10 of the top retailers in 2017 brick and mortar locations?

Brick and mortar locations, while reinventing themselves almost daily, will never be absolute. We will never live in a world where we can’t say “I’m just going to run to the store for a bit.” What brands need to realize is just like the internet made us reevaluate our marketing and advertising spend and mix; eCommerce is making us reevaluate our digital and physical mix.

This is where digital signage comes into play.

Digital signage is a tool that allows marketing content to be displayed on digital screens in retail locations. The content on these screens can range from sales promotions to videos, even to social media hashtag walls.

Plus, with remote content management and scheduling, brands can control dozens of screens seamlessly from one computer. Digital signage is a way to start creating digital experience immediately.

As an extension to your brand, digital signage inside your physical location is able to adaptively showcase key brand messaging and visuals to help further channel your customer down your sales or customer funnel. The best brands, like Santander Bank for example, leverages digital signage for that very reason as well as other such as

– New creative is inexpensive to create: When compared with billboards or traditional print, digital signage is much more cost effective.

– Minimize wait times while running time-sensitive ads: Imagine being able to have a captive audience where you’re able to serve them ads they are specifically looking for.

– Reduce costs, increase profits: From cutting down on paper and administrative tasks to being able to run promotions and specials, the business case surrounding digital signage is extremely strong.

Digital signage is also a flexible tool that can be used to create relevant experience in a variety of industries.

For banks, such as Santander, digital signage can bring digital experiences into your waiting area with content such as personal finance tips, money trivia and promotions for credit card reward programs. However, for beauty retailers such as Redken, the same digital signage tool can be used in-stores to display content such as product demo videos, ingredient information, and top Instagram posts.

The applications of digital signage are almost endless but the common goal is the same: create a digital experience. And these digital experiences created with digital signage can and will translate into memorable brand experiences.

In conclusion, creating memorable experiences is the future of branding. While campaigns may come and go, experiences can live forever in the mind of your customers. To build these experiences, brands need to employ technology like digital signage to create digital experiences. In-store digital experiences will have higher engagement and customer satisfaction than traditional ads and signage. And once customers are more engaged, they are more likely to have a positive brand experience.

Contact us to find out more information about digital signage and how your brand can begin your digital experience strategy.

Co-Authored by: Rebecca DowdenDirector of Marketing at CrownTV & Steven PicanzaDirector of Marketing at OpenEyeGlobal.

Originally posted on 9/27/17 on the CrownTV blog.

Understanding Digital Signage Technology from RFP to Installation

As an end-user, sourcing a digital signage firm can often be a drawn-out and confusing process. We understand many issues can arise from ownership of the project to discussion on content types, entering the digital signage world can be like opening a modern-day Pandora’s box.

New to digital signage? You’re in luck because barrier to entry has never been lower. Essentially, digital signage is the application of installing a network of video screens inside a specific location (indoor or outdoor) to promote specific advertising, messaging, or brand visuals.

With technology advancing at its current rate, digital signage has drastically evolved over the past 20 years to include a whole sub-set of applications and potential users. Often, you’ll see digital signage inside major transportations hubs like airports, bus stations and train stations, as well as sporting venues.

Recently though, you’ll see digital signage also making an appearance inside retail brick and mortars, supermarkets and big box, universities and places of higher education, healthcare facilities, corporate centers and essentially any building or area where information needs to get communicated on a massive scale.

Creating a Digital Signage Plan

Whereas past digital signage programs were clunky and expensive, today’s digital signage programs are nimble, affordable, and extremely efficient, allowing for almost immediate installation.

What shouldn’t be immediate is the strategy of the program. By thinking through your audience personas, messaging and brand guidelines as well connecting the dots from omni-channel to your customer journey, the strategy where your digital signage program falls needs to be fully throughout and scrutinized from every angle.

When crafting your digital signage strategy, it’s best to recognize your specific needs when it comes to hardware and software requirements as well. There are many options for the different types of applications from indoor to outdoor, LED to LCD, as well as different types of CMS systems.

Do you need it on Android? iOS? Native to your internal system or open source? How many locations are you managing? What are the geographic locations? How many pieces of content?

Again, the goal of a digital signage program is going to vary from company to company, but regardless of your KPI’s, it must be managed and applied in a very smart and strategic manner. It shouldn’t be an afterthought, but weaved into the fabric of the brand and marketing strategy.

The Value of a Digital Signage System

Digital signage has countless capabilities and applications across many different verticals and industries. Before, where you might just place a screen on the wall and hope your customer glanced at the message, we now approach digital signage from a very strategic and omni-channel perspective.

The term omni-channel isn’t new, but only recently has it been fully-realized with digital touchpoints as a mainstay in every corporations’ strategy. This means that all your “digital dots” are connected and conversing with each other.

Of course, it is a lot easier than it sounds. Often, corporations understand the necessity of digital but lack a true understanding on how to implement and optimize the technology, especially digital signage.

Thinking of digital signage as more than just screens on a wall, corporations can leverage the might of the screen in many ways.

  1. Building Brand Equity – This includes having brand and lifestyle content playing while connecting with the customer on a top-funnel, non-sales way.
  2. Strategic Corporate Communications – This includes having signage to communicate core company messaging and values, updates and news, as well as showcasing the brand in a corporate setting at their HQ or corporate center.
  3. Push relevant sales messaging and advertising to customers – This includes what most people think of when they hear digital signage; advertising and promotions. When done right, and with the audience top of mind, this application can effectively get the right messaging out at the right time to the right persona, thus channeling your audience down the sales funnel into a state of conversion.
  4. Leverage as an HR / employee communications hub – Your back of house is a tremendous opportunity to engage with your employees and build company and corporate culture. From an HR perspective, utilizing digital signage allows you to message your staff in an engaging manner and bring forth important information, which ultimately trickles down to your overall customer experience.

Utilizing digital signage to do more than just push out a message will allow you to look at the investment made in a different light. It isn’t so much about advertising and promotions as it is utilizing it as a native part of your communications strategy, like a website, social media and PR announcements.

Return on Investment

For most, when deciding if digital signage is a worthy investment, questions usually arise on what the ROI is and whether it’s truly an investment or a disguised expense.

But year after year, statistics are continuing to show that companies who make use of digital signage as part of their marketing and communication strategy see steady growth and can direct their growth back to messaging, creative, and content that was relevant and efficient to leverage.

When pitching digital signage to decision makers, it’s extremely important to understand how the benefits and its importance to the organization out-weigh the costs involved. Considering that digital signage is not a one-time purchase, as there are costs involved beyond the initial cost, it’s best to look at the initial installation and cost of goods as well as the reoccurring costs and how that might be wrapped up into an SLA (service level agreement).

The true cost of digital signage doesn’t have to be astronomical nor does it have to disrupt major areas of the corporation.

The initial cost to set a strategy and install the program makes up only a small part of the greater corporate communications strategy with it becoming a much higher value to the organization in the long run because the profitable possibilities are endless.

The cost of a digital sign is a significant business investment but the possibilities to turn a profit are endless. With so much value a digital signage program can bring, it cannot simply be labeled as a mere business purchase. It is a strategic investment that pays off in the long-run, year after year.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “For businesses that choose to enhance their signage with an electronic message display, the owners typically see an increase in business of 15% to 150%.”

With statistics and testimonials clearly stating that digital signage is an investment into the future of your organization, it should not be classified as an expense, but a long-term, high return on investment.

Writing a Digital Signage Technology RFP

When looking to create an RFP for digital signage, first do your homework and identify the firms that not only have experience doing this, but also who are on top of the trends and active within the industry.

There needs to be specific goals, benchmarks, and KPI’s associated with the project. By setting these expectations, and determining the department, not departments, with whom own the project, you can hopefully alleviate some of the on-going pain-points many brands have with installing and maintaining their digital signage program.

When determining a budget, there should be careful consideration given to the on-going maintenance of the hardware and software as well as the general upkeep on content, creative and data & analytics.

By separating it between an initial installation cost and an SLA (service level agreement), you’ll be able to successfully manage the expenditure and make accounting happy. Remember, digital signage is an investment and not an expense. In the long-run, the ROI produced by having a sound digital signage program is exponentially higher than not having one.

The goal is to give the firm handling the program the opportunity to truly optimize your program and remain efficient and effective for a longer period. Digital signage is NOT a one-off project. It’s a customer nurturing strategy that takes just that; nurturing.

As an agency, integrators should approach projects from an agnostic point of view. From the very first conversations with the end-user, they should be in a state of discovery. By presenting an extremely thorough Digital Needs Assessment (DNA), integrators are able to document all technological, networking, and physical environment insights so they can seamlessly integrate screen to place.

Ensuring you give proper time for a discovery/on-boarding process is imperative. Be careful not to fall for any of those “just slap it on the wall and it’ll be fine” type of digital signage companies. With the barrier to entry extremely low today, the only thing that separates the novice with the professional is experience.

When rounding out your RFP, ensure you are mentioning content. For a digital signage program to truly be effective, the content must speak to the customer on their terms, no matter what part of the customer or sales journey they’re in. This also includes the different types of content you have available and that you want to produce including video, photo, webpages, news/weather, static or dynamic content.

Here are some questions you should be asking yourself if you’re writing a digital signage RFP:

The Installation Process

Installing digital signage is NOT as easy as just slapping it on the wall and plugging it in. There are many details that must be addressed and a true installation workflow and strategy should be leveraged.

It’s best to say to leave the installing for the professionals. They are just that; professional.

The first major milestone of any digital signage program should be a discovery phase where the firm and company can put together goals, KPI’s as well as conduct site surveys and do a content audit.

This will determine the strategy moving forward and is one of the most important aspects of a digital signage program. This including crafting the proper technical documentations, communications strategy, and workflows.

Depending on the size and scope of the program, the time to strategize, install and train will vary.

As an example, this is a real-life example from a 25-location retail financial brand. (Will vary based on complexity of the solution):

This of course is considering a minor (<10%) of time being taken up by issues that are not accounted for. This can include networking and connectivity issues. Shipping delays of the hardware/software, and any gaps in time with installation, training, and development, which can derail the project.

During installation, it’s best to ensure all teams are aware of the strategy and direction and that there is signoff where it is required. Considering there are many different teams that could be involved at any time (IT, Marketing, Operations, Facilities), it is recommended the company determine one point of contact to manage and own the project.

Our Top Points to Not Overlook for Installation:

Once the program is installed, there should be a training session schedule put together with access to a knowledge base of videos and FAQ for further documentation. This will allow local issues to be maintained effectively and efficiently without having to rely 100% on the help desk or an outside resource.

[Originally posted on MyTechDecisions 9/12/2017]

The Big Cheese Says Cheese

This past March, CEO & Founder Bryan Meszaros (aka, the big cheese) had the awesome opportunity to sit down with DSE and talk digital signage, the show, and the impact it has on businesses dealing with digital transformation.

Check out the video below for more!

If you have questions or want to reach out to the team, contact us here!


3 Weeks + 3 Shows = 10 Things We Learned

It’s hard to believe that July 4th is only a few days away! What happened to June?

We certainly lost track of time bouncing around the country for the most of the month but as most of you will agree, it’s better to be busy this just sitting on the shore in Jersey!

Since we attended ICX in Dallas, SEGD Conference in Miami, and InfoComm in Orlando, we figured we’d gather our thoughts and let you know what we’re seeing.

ICX Summit 2017

1. Without gathering, measuring and applying data findings, the success of a project greatly diminishes
2. “Analytics are critical to both offering a personalized experience and for measuring if the content is reaching the right audience” – Christine Rice, Intel Corp
3. “Not only do retailers need to provide great digital products and services, but must have the processes, skill-set and discipline in place to continually evolve them in line with evolving customer expectations” – Ken Moy, Subway

SEGD Conference 2017

4. With Bryan Meszaros poised to become the next SEGD President, this will be the first time in the history of the organization that the president will be from a Digital Experience Agency.
5. The conference in Miami was once again a celebration of design, bringing together those practitioners who work on connecting people to place.
6. One of the more fascinating talks was given by New Jersey native Lance Wyman, who is most recognized for the Mexico 68 Olympic Games Design and for setting the bar on graphic design & branding.

InfoComm 2017

7. This year’s InfoComm was the largest on record with 39 percent being first-time visitors and 41 percent of attendees identified as technology managers and end users. For us, this translates into opportunities to make new friends while looking at our industry from a different perspective.
8. Integrators are looking at more than just technology, they are looking for the “value add” from their relationship. Meaning, what more can the brand offer them to help win business?
9. LED taking center stage. We all know the quality is there, but now we are seeing LED display manufacturers understanding the importance of creativity including the new LG Transparent LED Film Display (model LAT300MT1). It offers eye-catching digital content and information while interacting seamlessly with its surrounding environment.


#10 The OpenEye Global brand is being perceived across multiple verticals and industries. It’s true, we are slowly but surely putting the Global in OpenEye Global.

Interested in connecting with the team and learning more about how digital experiences can help elevate your business and brand? Contact us here!

Summer Jams 2017

If you didn’t already know, we have some talented musicians and artists on staff. Creativity seems to run in our veins, and any opportunity to showcase our diverse group, you know we’re all over it.

This past May, we hosted “Cover Fridays”, where employees would play, record and share their rendition of a cover song every week.

And WOW! What a response.

Since we had enough songs to fill up an album, we thought it’d be a great idea to actually put one out (well, in a digital version at least).

Check out our Summer Jams 2017 on Soundcloud and let us know your thoughts!

We think it’s a great way to start off summer.