Monday, March 15, 2010

Corporate Digital Signage: Panic's Status Board

Ya, sure, I guess you could get some lobby signage to welcome guests and inform employees, but corporate digital signage doesn't always have to be that boring. Portland, OR-based application developer, Panic, certainly doesn't think so.

As a company grows (and gets busier), jotting down important dates, project pipelines, tasks and other business data on a big white board can helpful to get a perspective of where the company's at and where its headed. Its not very "real-time" and a lot of important data that can be helpful to employees is stuck in disparate locations like email programs, CRM's and manager's heads.

The people at Panic solved that problem in an elegant and tech-savvy fashion: The Panic Status Board (pictured above). What started as a simple project status board ended up becoming a hub of information for Panic employees—and they're not done yet.

The Panic Status board is basically a HTML page on their intranet that auto-updates using AJAX and displays the following company information:
  • E-Mail Queue — number of messages / number of days.
  • Project Status
  • Important Countdowns
  • Revenue — comparing yesterday to the day before
  • Live Tri-Met Bus Arrivals
  • The Panic Calendar
  • Employee Twitter Messages
  • Any @Panic Twitter Messages — not moderated ;)

According to their blog, Panic employees really seem to like the implementation of corporate digital signage. The project numbers aren't viewed as management saying "why isn't this done yet?" but more of a "This is where we're at". The board also provides positive reinforcements like substituting a champagne bottle icon when a project goes to zero.

The implementation is very "professional meets DIY". The content, designed in airport schedule-style simplicity, is displayed in portrait on a ultra-thin bezel pro panel: Samsung's 460UXN-2. The page is run in Google Chrome with a lot of programming in PHP. One of the really interesting parts of the design (at least I find) is that it isn't using images (except for icons), the eye-candy is all CSS3 /WebKit.

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