Cloud-based digital signage is a step in the right direction if you’re looking for an easy-to-use and scalable solution for your business. This article will help you understand the advantages of opting for this technology and will give you examples of how to use it properly.
The 21st century is all about the internet. And the internet has its perks. One of such perks is the ability to delegate all network and server-related tasks to a cloud. That’s exactly what’s happening with cloud digital signage software. Simply speaking, you’re forgetting about all the IT stuff in order to have more time focusing on the actual marketing side of the signage technology.
What is cloud-based digital signage? The definition.
So, cloud-based digital signage is a technology that allows access to digital signage services (like content distribution, storage and maintenance) without direct active management by the user.
Usually, cloud-based solutions work as SaaS (software-as-a-service) meaning that all the complicated IT stuff will be handled by the provider of such a service. By IT stuff I mean:
- server management
- network issues
- data hosting
- system maintenance
A relatively new phenomenon dating back to the aughts, cloud digital signage has proven to be a gamechanger for businesses because of its flexibility and versatility. Before, if a company wanted to implement digital signage it should have initiated a sophisticated process of installation of physical digital signage. That meant that in order to start showing content on the screens you had to set up an IT department, buy all the necessary equipment, have your own server and pray that it all works to not have to deal with the slow support. Times have changed and fortunately, the rise of the cloud gave us a new solution.
What are the advantages of cloud digital signage solutions?
Sacred simplicity. Every average internet user can deploy a digital signage network. Easy-peasy. For the most solutions out on the market, you will just need a screen, one of the streaming players and an internet connection. You download the app, link the screen and that’s really it when it comes to installation.
It’s important to say that there’s still another option out there. A so-called on-site digital signage. Its main difference is that all the operations are managed locally (thus “on-site” name). While it has some advantages if you’d like to control every aspect of your content distribution and manage it too, for the most part, it’s burdensome, slow, expensive and so so old school. Also, you will have to worry about the servers, the network and security yourself. That, in turn, means substantial spending on an IT team that has to oversee the whole venture.
With the cloud, it all comes down to a solution (which is usually an app) and managing everything through the virtual Dashboard. No cables, no HR nightmares, no headaches about the server vulnerability.
It is a really great option if you’re running a network of screens in different locations. With a cloud-based solution, you can manage every screen from the comfort of one location choosing what to show and when. This fact makes it much easier for you to plan ahead with your marketing strategy, manage communications and show alerts.
Let’s say you’re running a retail store with multiple locations across the country. To create a digital signage network you first need to choose the right solution. After choosing the one that runs on a cloud you will connect all your screens across all your retail spaces to the multimedia streaming devices (Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV Stick) and link them using the app’s interface.
If your marketing department is in Baltimore then it will be a primary location for your digital signage management. Many solutions allow remote management so basically, you will be able to access the whole network at any place in the world. That’s a great feature when you’re on the move. Also, it gives you a chance to easily delegate digital signage tasks to members of your team.
How much does cloud digital signage cost?
It always depends. Businesses differ, solutions different and at the end of the day, it all comes down to knowing exactly what you need and finding the right signage partner for you to realize it with.
When we look at the to cloud solutions, they usually work on a subscription-based principle. That means that you will pay monthly or yearly for access to their infrastructure. Also, many companies use per-screen price metrics.
That’s why it’s important to understand how you will use digital signage and how many screens you will need for that.
Signage technology and restaurants are a perfect match. Digital menus can make your proposition more appealing and increase sales. The indoor and outdoor screens can enhance the atmosphere and improve branding. However, it’s essential to ‘feel the room’. For example, it makes sense to put many screens in a futuristic burger joint filled with music and cheer. Screens on the walls will be a great addition and digital menu boards will look neat. However, if it’s a classically designed Italian 4 table ristorante, putting a screen in the middle of a room may be a little bit far-fetched. Instead, you can give out the small digital menus without screaming content delivery.
Basically, what I’m saying here is that you should know your audience, your space and how to use all the capabilities of digital signage. If you don’t do the homework beforehand you risk spending more (or less) on a solution you don’t need. Nobody wants that, right? So do your research.
How to choose the right cloud-based digital signage
Software choice may be quite tricky as there are many actors involved and the lingo is similar. Still, it’s important to go with your gut and listen to what the industry and customers are saying. Again, digital signage solutions may work for some and be completely useless for others. Or there may be a great feature that worked perfectly for another business and will never work for yours.
In order to choose the signage software that will be the best fit for your business follow these steps:
- Do a background check on a company. Is it legit, what are the customers saying, what are the reviews?
- Know exactly what features you need and look out just for that
- Check out the company website, is it relatable?
- Check out the media articles about the company, how visible in the industry it is?
Following these steps will help you find your match (and I’m talking about the digital signage of course).