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This is part two of a series analyzing digital signage trends. Click here for part 1, which focuses on indoor digital signage trends.
Digital signage software is often overshadowed by hardware since large bright displays seem far more impressive than a robust software platform. The best digital signage, however, needs a brilliant software package to support a "brilliant" display.
Luckily for end users, digital signage software is continuing to get both simpler to use and smarter, according to Serge Konter, product management at Navori. And as digital signage continues to get smarter, we might begin to see dynamic content move from the fringe to the mainstream.
Simplicity is a key component in any successful digital signage software package because many end users demand it. For example, when Santa Clara University in California was looking for a digital signage package, it obviously wanted one that was reliable and easy to use.
"With our previous system, it would take up to 15 minutes for screens to refresh when new content was uploaded. The information we post about classes and events can now go live with short notice," Nicole Morales, director of digital media technologies, school of engineering, Santa Clara University, said in an email.
Konter argued that digital signage software is rapidly growing easier to manage and easier to scale, as more businesses and organizations are deploying digital signage across multiple locations. Also, end users are increasingly looking for simpler solutions to replace older ones.
"It's increasingly rare that a new customer shows up that is starting from scratch. They typically have a legacy system they need to re-imagine or a modern system that has the pieces in place to scale and quickly train new users. Today's software needs to be intuitive, removing the operational constraints that organizations often faced in the past," Konter said.
Vendors are increasingly developing smarter digital signage solutions. This "intelligence" comes in the form of AI, automatic content creation, mobile interaction, live feeds and more.
Santa Clara University, for example, was able to deliver live social media feeds into its network of 80-displays to better interact with students.
"We can also now securely use outside URLs and integrate live feeds from our different social media networks through the external Tagboard service," Morales said.
One reason that software is getting smarter is that vendors are making it easier for end users to integrate a variety of tools into their software.
"Factors like the lowered costs of hardware and processing and advances in software are empowering digital signage software providers to expand their platforms for easy data integration with tools like Salesforce, MySQL, HubSpot etc.," Lillyan Wamaitha, marketing manager, Mvix, said in an email.
Konter also said more vendors are using APIs and SDKs to enable "broader custom integration opportunities."
All of these tools are part of a larger software "intelligence" trend of reacting to customers/students in real time. Konter said the best software solutions deliver content based "real-life scenarios" instead of just looping content. These solutions use triggers to directly respond to certain outside elements, such as a customer's demographic or location.
Dynamic content is a well-known concept in the digital signage software space, but not everyone is rolling it out yet. In fact, Digital Signage Today sees more stories about potential uses of dynamic content rather than actual end users integrated it into their solutions.
Konter believes that we are seeing a "lag between the innovation and the availability of the feature itself."
However, Konter also argues that it's only a matter of time until tools such as content playback and triggering based on customer interactivity, positioning, demographics and other elements comes to full fruition.
"Digital signage is finally moving away from the static promotional tool to embrace the interactive possibilities that were always inherent," Konter said. "We do believe that this year will bear more of these fruits as organizations learn to use digital signage as an integral part of the broader customer experience."
Image via Istock.com.
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com and BlockchainTechNews.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.www