A Newcomers Introduction to Digital Signage
We recently hired a new employee who had very limited knowledge of Digital Signage and the Digital Signage Software industry in general. One month into her new role, we asked her to explain what she now believes Digital Signage to be. Her answer is below:
Understanding the basics of Digital Signage Software
I am very new to the world of digital signage, one month in to be precise. In the beginning, I was a little overwhelmed with all the information, I didn’t truly even know what digital signage was. After a while, I realized digital signage is everywhere and I recognized its importance of it. It’s used in places I have never thought of, for example, the menu board in a fast-food restaurant, flight arrival, and departures information in an airport, the entertainment in an elevator, the machine where I buy movie tickets, the screens in a hotel or in an office lobby or the interactive map in a mall to find my favorite store.
Even the small displays in front of a meeting room showing its availability, that’s digital signage! The possibilities are endless and maybe that’s the challenge of digital signage because, in my opinion, all businesses can and should use it. Because it enables you to display the right content to the right person at the right time.
Let’s start with a quick definition of the difference between software and hardware:
- Software is a digital infrastructure that enables the creation, management, and deploy and play of content.
- Hardware is a tangible, physical component (a screen, a media player).
What you need to get started are a screen and media player (hardware) and digital signage software. Initially, using digital signage seems like an obvious choice for businesses because:
- You can monitor what’s being played on your screen and easily program everything from HQ.
- You don’t need to think of printing materials, validating previews, and shipment, now everything is digitalized. It’s more ecological too and more interactive. You are not limited to one visual. You can show as many visuals and videos as you want.
- You are flexible, you can update any visual at any time with just one click of the mouse.
Ok, now you are aware of the advantages of digital software. The next question is “how”? Which software do I use? Is it easy to use? Should I get free or paid software? What are my options? What are other things I need to consider?
To simplify, what makes software different from others are the features and the options/ add-ons. Indeed, you could find free digital signage software online, but it will offer very few options and will likely be unreliable. What you also need to consider is the ease of use. Do my team and I need to be IT experts to use it or not? Often, if you have purchased something that is complicated, you will never use it or you will need to spend hours in training that most people find long and boring.
Let’s take a concrete example:
You run a coffee shop. You display your basic menu image on a screen. But with an advanced Content Management System (CMS), it’s like a dashboard to manage your content and playlists where you can also manage and configure many other things:
- Upload, manage and display your content and determine when you want to show it.
- Advertise a cold beverage when it’s hot outside or a hot beverage when it’s warm using a live weather feed. All of this is done automatically depending on the temperature outside.
- A product is not being displayed when it’s out of stock, all because you integrated stock management data into the CMS.
- Manage everything/ every visual displayed from a distance and apply it to all your different locations.
- Your staff has still the ability to make changes from a desktop or mobile device. Because you don’t need to install an app, the CMS is available from a mobile phone as well.
- You can display your live social media feeds; customers can see their contribution in real-time.
All of this and many functionalities are possible with advanced digital signage software. What you need to look for is an intuitive, easy-to-use CMS. No need to be a super techy, geeky person to know how to use QL Digital Signage Software from Navori. It’s been designed by our in-house engineers with non-tech-savvy end-users in mind.
Digital Signage Hosting model? What?
So, perhaps you have decided on your needs: an “advanced” digital signage software that is still easy to use. The next question that’s going to pop up is pricing and hosting models. Wait, what’s a hosting model? You need to choose if you subscribe to a monthly cloud-based plan or manage your own server on-premises. What’s the difference?
It’s simple, let me explain it to you:
|Hosting model||Cloud (SaaS)||On-Premise|
|Price||You “rent” the license and server access and pay a rental fee per month||You “buy” the license and host your own server, meaning it’s yours, but the price is higher initially vs. renting or subscribing on a monthly basis.|
|For whom||Businesses with no IT department.
Built-in to the price, you typically have IT support and maintenance and you don’t need your own server to host the license.
Little upfront investment.
|Companies with lots of security requirements (ex: banks, government agencies, etc.). But also with technical staff to handle all IT questions and own equipment to operate the software (backend, database, and media player software).|
Coming back to our example, the coffee shop. I would suggest a cloud-based or SaaS solution, as no one needs to get involved in provider or server questions. Navori is providing regular and automatic software updates, so you don’t need to do anything. You only need quick training on how to use the CMS.
I would recommend the same to a fitness center. With digital signage, you can promote the latest classes, share any updates and events, promotions, but also some exercises. It’s a great tool to motivate your clients with engaging content.
I need hardware AND software.
The last thing you might need is a media player (unless you are using a system-on-chip display). Depending on your screen type, you may need to buy media player hardware that you connect to your screen with an HDMI cable to display content. Navori developed its own Android-based media player, the Stix 3700. What differentiates Navori’s software and hardware is that both are manufactured in-house by our engineers. This enables us to optimize and have control over everything.
Ok, now you know what digital signage is. You have chosen your digital signage software provider and your hosting model. You are equipped with some type of display, hardware if needed, and CMS software. You had your training. You are now ready to go! Your creativity is the limit. You will be able to offer wayfinding, messaging, marketing, and outdoor advertising to your audiences whatever your business is. It’s a tool that influences customer behavior and decision-making, while engaging and enhancing the viewer’s experience.
About Navori Labs
Navori Labs, a Swiss software innovator, delivers premium digital signage and AI-driven marketing analytics solutions to businesses and organizations worldwide.
What differentiates our software is the fact it’s developed by our own team of engineers. For the last 20 years, Navori Labs has steadily invested in research and development. This lets us bring to market unique products that outperform other software solutions. It’s also why we back our products with professional maintenance contracts and support services.
We pay a lot of attention to our software’s simplicity, user-friendliness, and ease of use. Our software is designed for non-technical users, under the expert guidance of our in-house artistic director.