7 Questions to Ask Your Digital Signage Provider
Use cases for digital signage cross all market boundaries. Retailers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, airports, museums, banks and many other organizations have discovered the value of dynamic, interactive displays for wayfinding, announcements, event schedules and more. Analysts say it has become a $20 billion industry with rising demand expected to drive continued growth over the next five years.
As more companies develop a digital signage strategy, they must navigate an increasingly crowded marketplace to evaluate solutions and providers. Here are a few questions you should ask vendors and providers to help assess your options:
- Will my existing network support my digital signage strategy? Signage systems have significant bandwidth requirements that can disrupt or slow the performance of other business applications if your network isn’t up to the task. Delivery over WAN connections to remote or branch locations requires special considerations. A vendor with specific expertise in networking and cabling can help ensure robust connectivity for every device.
- What kind of software do I need? A content management system (CMS) that makes it easy to create templates and edit, schedule and manage content is an essential component of your digital signage solution. Look for a cloud-based, enterprise class platform with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and automatic location and monitoring of individual displays. Best-in-class systems will provide dynamic schedule options based upon time of day and other metrics.
- Can you help with our content strategy? Effective digital signage requires a continual stream of relevant content that can be quickly updated, modified and rotated. If you need to offload some of that burden, make sure you’re working with a provider that offers content strategy, conceptual development, design and production services. The provider should be able to coordinate with your creative team to program and schedule content based upon your specific needs and objectives.
- Does the solution support real-time data integration? In addition to creating original content, most organizations want to use data from a variety of sources. Ask if your solution can handle live feeds from social media, calendar apps, point-of-sales systems and other applications. It should also allow you to import a wide range of data types such as text, images, videos and audio. If the solution doesn’t offer native support, ask if your vendor offers custom data integration services.
- What kind of displays do we need? The answer will depend on how you plan to use signage and where you plan to place your displays. At minimum, you’ll need commercial-grade flat panels that are designed for around-the-clock usage. Outdoor displays require specialized hardware that resists moisture, dust, extreme temperatures and even insects.
- Can we push messages to other screens? Some solutions expand they ways you can reach your audience. Along with your flat-screen monitors, many signage applications now allow you to push your messaging to smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and web pages.
- Can you help with maintenance? Like any technology, digital signage requires ongoing maintenance of all components. Software must be periodically updated, and displays must be cleaned to keep dust from accumulating on screens and clogging data ports. Hardware and wiring must be regularly inspected for damage or loose connections. This may be more than some organizations want to take on, so ask your vendor about maintenance, monitoring and support contracts.
If you are considering a digital signage solution for your business, give us a call. We have a long track record of delivering dynamic signage solutions to customers in a wide range of industries, and a deep understanding of the technology and the benefits it can deliver. We’d be happy to answer any of your questions.
IV DicksonChief Innovation Officer
With digital signage, it’s important to begin with the end in mind, then address each phase of the digital signage ecosystem – and lifecycle – to achieve the network operator’s goals. Understanding the motivations for an organization makes it possible to pair them with the right technology at the right time.Get to know IV
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