A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Digital Signage Software & Hardware for your Organization
Digital signage has become an essential tool for businesses to communicate with their audience effectively. Whether you want to display promotions, information, or engage customers, selecting the right digital signage software and hardware is crucial for success. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of making informed decisions to ensure your digital signage project meets your goals.
October 9, 2023
Choosing the right digital signage software and hardware involves careful planning, assessment, and vendor selection. By understanding your needs, budget, and goals, you can create an effective and engaging digital signage system that delivers results for your business and caters to your target audience to achieve your goals. Regular maintenance and adaptation to evolving technology will ensure the long-term success of your digital signage project.
Ready to get started with a complete digital signage system that checks all of your digital signage needs boxes?
1.1 Define Your Objectives
- Determine your primary goals. When you close your eyes, what do you see on your digital signage? Are you looking to inform, entertain, engage, or advertise to your audience?
- Identify your target audience and their preferences. In what ways can you achieve your initial goal of connecting with your audience?
1.2 Determine Your Budget
- Set a realistic budget for both hardware and software. What kind of expectations do you have for signage displays?
- Consider ongoing costs such as content creation, maintenance, and updates. Does the software or hardware that you’re looking into have additional fees aside from initial cost?
1.3 Plan Your Content
- Plan your content strategy, including types of media (images, videos, text, etc.) Will any content need to be outsourced outside your organization?
- Decide on content frequency and scheduling. Are you going to keep the same general content, or have rotating content based on time of day, day of the week, or another parameter?
Section 1: Understanding Your Digital Signage Needs
2.1 Display Screens
- Select the appropriate screen size and type (LED, LCD, OLED). Base this upon your budget and ideal content.
- Consider factors like brightness, resolution, and viewing angle. What location makes sense within your organization for the specific content and audience you’re trying to reach?
- Assess the screen's reliability and warranty. Look into professional displays vs consumer grade displays to avoid common issues with consumer grade displays, such as dead pixels and short lifespan.
2.2 Media Players
- Choose a media player that matches your content and display requirements. Be sure to research different options for different support, such as ensuring a player can keep up with high-quality videos.
- Ensure compatibility with your chosen software. Does the software company you’ve chosen to work with offer players themselves?
- Consider the player's connectivity options (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.). What systems are in place to support any connectivity issues?
- Ensure sufficient power sources and outlets. Will your player need specific wiring or power sources?
Section 2: Digital Signage Hardware Selection
3.1 Content Management System (CMS)
- Choose a user-friendly CMS that aligns with your content strategy. Does the CMS offer content creation within its interface?
- Ensure it supports various media formats and scheduling options. Are you able to upload content created in a third party tool? Can you schedule individual media or content?
- Consider cloud-based vs. on-premises solutions. If the CMS is cloud-based, what level of security is present?
3.2 Remote Management and Monitoring
- Look for software that allows remote updates and monitoring. What systems are in place for monitoring user login and online status?
3.3 Content Creation Tools
- Evaluate built-in content creation tools or integration options. What types of pre-made or integrative content is available?
- Ensure compatibility with your team's skills and needs. Does the CMS offer all of the tools your team needs to effectively create your target content?
3.4 Integration and Compatibility
- Confirm compatibility with your chosen hardware. Ensure that the CMS works with the exact hardware you’ve chosen.
- Assess integration options with third-party applications (e.g., social media feeds, data sources). What options does the CMS support for integrations, and does their support team take feedback for feature or integration requests?
Section 3: Digital Signage Software Selection
4.1 Vendor Reputation and Reviews
- Research vendors and read customer reviews. What does each vendor offer over the other?
- Seek recommendations from industry peers. If you know of an organization with quality digital signage, what vendor do they work with?
4.2 Customer Support and Training
- Evaluate the level of customer support offered. Does the vendor’s support meet your needs?
- Inquire about training and onboarding services. What does the vendor offer for product education?
4.3 Scalability and Future-Proofing
- Consider your future needs and ensure the software and hardware can scale accordingly. What plans does the vendor have in place for updates?
- Inquire about software updates and compatibility with new technologies. What does the vendor offer for ongoing updates and maintenance?
Section 4: Vendor Selection and Support
5.1 Installation and Setup
- Follow manufacturer guidelines for hardware installation, or have professional installation implemented through an A/V vendor.
- Configure software settings and connect to your CMS. Determine if your CMS vendor offers setup support.
5.2 Content Creation and Management
- Develop and schedule your content based on your strategy. What can you implement to support the need for minimal content management?
- Monitor performance and make adjustments as needed. What content works well for your goals, and what doesn’t?
5.3 Ongoing Maintenance
- Regularly update software and firmware. Do updates need to be completed manually, or are they automatic from your CMS and hardware vendor?
- Inspect and clean hardware components as necessary. Determine if your hardware vendor offers a best practices for player care.