Digital signage solutions are everywhere from advertising billboards at the mall, to screens in offices displaying important company information. Digital Signage buying decisions are no longer a simple matter. It is now more complex than just picking an LCD display and determining how you want it to hang on the wall.
Here are a few components that can help you make more informed decisions on your next purchase.
1. Selecting the right digital signage screen
As always what works for one person may not work for another. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right digital signage display including pricing, durability, and more. Here are a couple of different screen types, and the best scenario to use each;
Tablet or iPads: These user-friendly multimedia touch screens work best when viewers are close to the screen. For example, these digital signs are perfect outside a meeting room, in an elevator, or next to a product in a supermarket.
Monitors: These digital displays are best if you are looking to display anything that is between 17 and 32 inches. If you need something larger you are better off getting something TV-like.
Non-smart TVs: While these are cost-effective large screens, they do have limitations.
Consumer TVs: These displays are recommended only for personal use. This means they are designed for less display time. At most, they can run for 8 hours a day. If you use these screens 24/7 they will lose quality over time, degrading the customer experience.
Commercial TVs: The biggest reason to buy a commercial screen is that they are specifically designed for long use periods. They are designed for 24/7 playlists.
2. Choosing the best digital signage player
A media player or device connected to a monitor is what makes the monitor capable of using digital signage software. Here are the different types of media players:
Consumer Media Players: These are designed for home use not to withstand 24/7 use. If in a commercial setting, the digital signage can get damaged or stop working altogether. Consumer media players are typically made from plastic which makes the cost cheaper. Options for mounting are also limited.
Commercial Media Players: These are designed to operate for long periods of time without getting damaged. Commercial media players also have faster processing power and can handle more dynamic content like 4K videos.
Industrial Media Players: These have the same level of computing, but the key difference from the commercial options is the extra features that help withstand the environment. Industrial media players are built with metal to protect the hardware inside from moisture, dust, heat, and cold.
3. Understanding media player performance
You want whatever you are displaying to run smoothly and without interruption. The performance of your device is a big part of that. When it comes to performance here is what to look for:
SOC/CPU (System On Chip/Processor): The SOC is responsible for much of the heavy lifting and processing power.
GPU (Graphics Processing Units): The CPU is responsible for the graphing processing power. You also will want to look for things like video decoding, video output, HDMI, and support for HDR.
Storage Drive: It is important to note that your storage drive will need enough space for caching media. In general, you want to get 8GB to 16GB.
RAM (Random Access Memory): RAM is needed to keep general user experience running at a high level.
4. What you need for interactive digital content
Interactive content requires one to roll their sleeves up and put forth a bit of work to bring to life. Network administrators or owners will need to secure hardware capable of powering such interactive content (see media players above), and also digital signage software to connect everything together for the content to run flawlessly.
A content management system with an open API will most always be the best choice for nearly all interactive digital signage projects. However, it is important to confirm the solution is also secure and reliable. Digital signage applications without security can become targets for tampering by hackers, so it’s truly important you take the extra steps to ensure your functionality is secured.
Finally, the digital signage platform needs content to be interacted with. This dynamic content takes respective forms, highly dependent on the nature of the digital signage solution selected. Interactive billboards or video walls, for instance, are likely going to showcase interactive content provided by a media buyer or advertiser looking to place a specific marketing or promotional campaign for their larger customers.
With indoor displays like wayfinding kiosks or digital menu boards, interactive content is likely a concern to be handled by the network owners themselves. This isn’t to say that the content must be created in-house or that you’re out of luck. A number of digital signage content providers specialize in providing all-in-one content or templates that can be tailored to your specific needs.
5. Installation & Support
It is critical you find an installer that offers care and maintenance for the digital signage products that you install. Support through a help desk and network of local installation technicians is important to have at your fingertips should you need it. Quality installation work and managing the manufacturers’ warranty fulfillment, as needed, will be crucial for the digital hardware. An installation is not only a commitment to ensure that your digital signage solution performs to specifications, but also delivers an exceptional ROI.
Post-deployment of your digital signage is a continuing process to keep a close eye on. Your signage installer/integrator/partner should continuously provide IT-related technical support and training to the digital signage end user.
It is often expected that the customer will eventually be held responsible for coordinating with the appropriate tech support teams for device management, so a lot of hand-holding is needed in order to walk before you run with your application.
Choosing the best digital signage solution and getting it to work properly is all about understanding the needs. The days of digital signage only being available to a few are now over. With Keyser, we can assist you with picking the right hardware and get it up and running.
We look forward to seeing what decision you make and are here to help you on the way. If you are looking for some help or advice on anything you read here or want to discuss in more detail, you can reach us at [email protected]