About the sponsor
Introduction A network with many parts
Chapter 1 Content creation
Chapter 2 Content delivery
Industrial- versus consumer-grade displays
Chapter 3 Content management
Chapter 4 Site surveys
Chapter 5 Maintenance and disposal
Digital signage has achieved mainstream acceptance as a medium for advertising, information and entertainment. In 2010, two million media players were sold, and that number is expected to climb to seven million within five years. Retail stores, corporations, airports, bars, restaurants and many more businesses are embracing the technology. However, many businesses make the incorrect assumption that the simple choice to create a digital signage network is the most important step, and the logistics will work themselves out in time.
Installing a digital signage network is not nearly as simple as installing a single piece of signage, allowing it to play and then sitting back and reaping the benefits. Often, a business owner can make the decision to create the network, thinking of it as nothing more than a glorified television set, only to find himself overwhelmed by all of the details he was either unaware of or didn't think were important enough to address prior to installation.
There are many moving parts that go into the establishment of a successful digital signage network, from hardware to content creation and management to site surveys to cabling and mounting and much more. With so many things to consider, it is all too easy for a business to get lost in the tangle of details and feel overwhelmed, making hasty decisions that ultimately doom the network. Smart businesses seek professional guidance to make sure they have accounted for all of the above considerations.
Why is it so important to do so? What's the worst that can happen if a network has a few months or a year's worth of growing pains while it works out the kinks? If a business wants to get a high return on its investment, the network must be installed properly and run smoothly from day one. Every miscalculation costs time and money to repair or correct. For every minute the signage isn't working to its maximum potential, the company is losing dollars, either from lost sales of product or lost advertising space. It is only natural for a business to focus on its own day-to-day operations rather than on learning all the key components of installing and running a digital signage network.
"It's almost impossible for a business owner to think of all of the questions that need to be answered," said Gina Tammo, supplier business manager for industrial displays and digital signage at Phoenix, Ariz.-based Avnet, a distributor of electronic components and technology solutions. "Business owners are focused on what they know – their line of business – and rightfully so. Nobody expects them to be experts in digital signage."
The main considerations are planning the goals of the network, determining the right type of content and the right hardware and software to deliver it, deciding how the content should be managed and updated, getting a site survey and taking care of maintenance and disposal considerations.