FIRA Barcelona, Gran Vía
1-4 February 2022

RISE CultureAn aspirational figure

Laila Hede Jensen

Laila Hede Jensen is Chief Commercial Officer of ZetaDisplay and a Board Member of the Digital Signage Organisation. She took part in the Reporter Roundtable at the recent RISE Spotlight: Digital Signage – New Solutions for a New Era.

ZetaDisplay is enjoying rapid growth in Europe, with seven acquisitions since 2015 and the recent acquisition of NORDLAND systems in Germany. With the pandemic having a negative impact on many industries, do you think it has created opportunities for the digital signage market?

Digital signage has played a fundamental role throughout the pandemic in helping to keep people safe and informed. In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated digitisation in society.

ZetaDisplay reacted quickly to navigate the pandemic and provide for the new needs of our customers. We introduced a number of new products including entrance control solutions to help ensure Covid safe capacities and share real-time information about the latest safety protocols.

Now that people are starting to return to the high streets and workplaces, the focus is on making them feel comfortable and welcomed through positive, personalised messaging, welcoming them back and the creation of digital experiences.

In terms of growth, which sector do you think will hold the most potential in the wake of the Covid crisis, and why?

I think we will see significant growth in the retail sector. The pandemic has accelerated online versus offline interactions, with most in the last year taking place online, but there is a difference between shopping and buying. Shopping is about the experience and the social aspect of being with friends and finding inspiration.

The digital ecosystem has a huge part to play in fuelling those expectations and helping to create engaging experiences, a positive atmosphere and safe environment. The messaging needs to attract and excite people and it needs to be personalised, making the experience all about the customer.

In public spaces such as across transportation networks, we are seeing a growth as more are embracing digital platforms so they can ensure real-time communications with customers.

Healthcare is another growing area, as up-to-the-minute information and clear wayfinding explanations are such an important aspect of the customer journey.

The role of digital signage is not just about getting back to business, it’s about using digital transformations to propel businesses forward in all sectors.

When it comes to leadership in a male-dominated industry, you cut an aspirational figure for women in AV. As the only female member of DSO, do you think it is important that we have more visibility for women within DS?

Yes, I am a big supporter of the role that women have to play in organisational leadership, in the Nordics I feel that we are leading the way in this area so it seems natural to me.

It’s often said that women take a holistic and balanced view and are great at putting the focus on team spirit and connection with co-workers, but I think those qualities are also driven from other areas of life, such as sports. I’ve been involved in team sports such as handball from a young age and I think a lot of my personal qualities that I bring to the workplace are derived from lessons learnt here as well.

I think it is important to recognise everyone no matter what your job title, acknowledge the role that they have to play and show gratitude by saying thanks!

As well as your position at ZetaDisplay, you are an industry advocate – sitting on panels and speaking at events. In your experience do AV panels and events appeal to a diverse audience, or is there more work to be done?

I think that the rise in online events, especially those that are free, have been an excellent way of making education more accessible in our industry over the last year. Expensive conferences or overseas exhibitions are fantastic networking and learning opportunities, but they are often only attended by senior members of teams. We need to find ways of including more junior members so that they benefit from the connections.

I’d also like to see more mentor programmes so that we can support and nurture the younger generations and attract more people from diverse backgrounds into this incredible industry, which is growing every day.

Congratulations for being recognised in Inavate magazine’s ‘40 under 40’ class of 2020 – an initiative which ISE is proud to sponsor. You’ve achieved so much and still have a long career ahead of you. What message would you give to someone starting their career in AV, who may want to be CCO one day?

To make sure you learn something new every day, seek new knowledge, always have a positive mindset and strive for the stars.

Finally, is there a woman who has inspired you to aim high and achieve your goals?

My Mum, who has sadly passed away. She showed me what it is to have a strong work ethic, working three jobs and often starting at 4:00am. In addition to that, she was the head and the heart of the family, raising four children and organising all the social events to keep our extended family close and connected.

She also encouraged me and my siblings in our pursuit of sport, and dedicated what little spare time she had to driving us to practices, tournaments or race meetings and cheering us on from the sidelines. She didn’t get a proper holiday until we were all 18 but always went that extra mile to encourage and inspire us, and for that I will always be grateful.