• Nikki Ault

Don't Judge Digital Signage By It's Cover

Have you ever played the ice breaker game, 2 Truths and A Lie?

To give a quick explanation, while getting to know someone, they give you 3 statements about their life; 2 being truths and one being a lie. You have to figure out which one is the lie.

When you've just met someone it can be awfully difficult trying to decipher which statement is the lie, especially if the person was creative in their statements. Our mind registers who we think a person is and what they may have done in their lifetime based on only what we see standing in front of us.

The fun of this game is finding out that there is usually a lot more beneath surface level. We often have many misconceptions about a person.

The same thing happens in the digital signage world. You've heard one thing, or read an article, or only researched a top layer of information about digital signage, and you want to believe it all, however there is only some truth to it and a lot more beneath surface level.

A lot of the things you think are true at first glance about digital signage, are often misconceptions.

Like what, you might ask.

It's Too Expensive!

"The hardware, the software, the installation, the technology, and the content design...it's all going to cost me way too much."

Lucky for you, the cost of digital signage has come down tremendously over the years. Let's break it down to each piece for your project.

Hardware. This typically means the display and media player that you will need to get your project going. The cost of these are one time costs and offer pretty great manufacturer's warranties. They usually offer extended warranties as well so that you can have peace of mind ahead of something potentially going wrong.

More exciting, now some of the commercial grade displays come with media players built in them, called system on chip (SoC) displays. This could save you in the long run.

As Signagelive points out, "with the advent of Cloud Computing and System on Chip hardware, such as Android player devices and Smart Signage Displays; the costs of deploying and managing a digital signage network has been reduced by as much as 50%."

There are also options for leasing hardware which can help with the initial burden of upfront costs.

Software. Utilizing cloud-based software options is the most cost-efficient way to go. With this you pay per license needed, and usually on an annual or monthly basis. Some CMS companies even offer free trial licenses and one on one demos so you can take a look into their software before you make the leap.

Most softwares come with so many "bonuses" it's hard to go wrong. Things like templates, add-ons, widgets, unlimited updates, unlimited support, and an easy to use interface make a content management software, like Signagelive, a homerun.

Also, higher volume will in turn lower the pricing per license.

Shipping/Installation. These are fees associated no matter what and honestly, where you don't necessarily want to skimp. Shipping is what it is. You are having big ticket items delivered to you, and that's going to cost. You would most likely prefer to pay a shipping company to deliver these items to you knowing they have a reputation for scheduled, on time deliveries and low breakage rates, rather than ask your Uncle Bob in his '74 pickup to do you a favor for free.

This is the same for installation. Find savings where you can, but understand that having your product installed correctly is going to save you so much time in the end.

Digital signage is a technology and has a lot of involved pieces and parts, such as cabling, networks, electricity, screens, players, etc. You want someone with knowledge, experience, and skill to install it right the first time and not damage your stuff along the way.

These fees are not going to make or break your digital signage project, so just be aware of them and prepare within your budget and there won't be any surprises. Working with a digital signage integrator, someone who can take you from concept to install to management of your system, will be the key to ensuring you aren't overpaying for these line items.

Design/Content Management. The cost of your software includes your content management system. The cost associated with content design and management can be one absorbed in-house or you can hire it out.

Your digital signage integrator can help you best decide which direction will benefit your needs and your budget. Monthly payment options are available and the amount of help you require will help define where it fits in your budget.

The Technology is Too Complicated!

The best thing about purchasing a software or CMS that is user friendly, is that it is exactly that.

With Signagelive, you are provided with a layout designer, message manager, screen feeds, and data integration options that help you create and include content that your audience actually wants to see, and that isn't rocket science to create and publish.

Technology doesn't have to be difficult if you are given the proper training and support system. Your digital signage integrator can provide training on your software and perform demonstrations for you to make it as easy as conducting a phone call on your iPhone. And basic training for use, is included in your purchase.

Live webinars, recorded trainings, support pages, troubleshooting, etc., all of these types of trainings exist to empower you to create and publish your own content.

And if worst comes to worst, most integrators have a team that can even do the content work for you if you truly would rather not. This comes at an extra cost, but takes the duty off someone within your office allowing you to focus on your own business.

I Can Just Use The Consumer TV In My Office, Right?

In some cases, yes. Honestly it totally depends on the type of content you want to run and if you are a bit of a risk taker to be ok voided warranties and the such.

I said What? Voided warranties? Unfortunately, the moment you place a consumer TV into a commercial setting, your warranty in most cases becomes voided.

Consumer TV's are meant to only run a few hours a day, with lower brightness, and are not meant to be used for commercial signage.

Check out the chart used in our blog, Adding An Extended Warranty To Commercial Displays: Yes or No?, for the major differences between consumer grade and commercial grade displays.

It may save you a few dollars at the beginning, but cutting corners could cost you a heck of a lot more later down the line.

Digital Signage Won't Work For My Industry!

So you've heard digital signage only works in retail spaces and quick service restaurants huh?

This is one of the bigger misconceptions about digital signage, you think it won't work for you and your industry/company/business/etc.

Guess what? It can, and it does.

The options are endless when it comes to digital signage and the kind of industry it works in. If you have a message that you want to convey to an audience; whether it be to inform, educate, entertain, inspire, or influence; digital signage can do it.

Some of the major players that use it include retail and quick service restaurants, yes, but so do so many more.

Industries such as healthcare, education, corporate (internal use and for their customers), large venues such as sports arenas and convention centers, co-working spaces, car dealerships, malls, salons and spas, transportation venues such as airports and bus stations, and hospitality.

Discussing the possibilities for your solution with an integrator such as Coffman Media can help you come up with all the creative ways to get your message across and how to do so with a solid return on investment. By conducting a free Needs Assessment, you will quickly see just what digital signage can do for you!

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