Digital signage is at a point where it has become affordable, easy, and extremely advantageous for all businesses. You’ve done your research and decided to take the digital signage plunge, congratulations, you’re now part of a technological revolution! The next step to take is deciding what and how you want to use and set up your digital signage.
You’re likely asking questions like “what is the best digital signage set up on a budget?” Or maybe something like “what is the best high-end digital signage setup?” Thankfully, this article will help you answer those questions!
This article covers what you will need in order to set up a digital signage display. We have made an effort to cover a range of use cases and price points. We at Doohly want to make digital signage accessible to every business.
Almost every form of digital signage involves a few key components, in particular, a screen, a media player, creatives, and software. All of these components are interchangeable, and specific research should be done for each use case. We have outlined what we believe to be the most effective and easy solutions at each price point.
Before we list the best components at each price point, it is important to understand what each part does. For digital signage, there are three core components, the screen, the media player, and the software.
Alongside these three, there are other optional components that can make up a display, for example, cameras and motion sensors (along with power and internet connections). Understandably, the more components you add, the more expensive the display will end up being.
Digital signage displays require at least one piece of software to function, and that is CMS software. CMS software functions will vary from product to product. Doohly provides a CMS and player software package making operating digital signage easy and doable from anywhere.
The Doohly player software is installed on the media player device, and accessed from any other internet-connected device. CMS software allows campaigns and creatives to be uploaded and managed.
The main function of digital signage CMS software is to enable users to show content on their screens. Doohly has many other features that are easy to access and understand, and if you need more information feel free to contact us or access our help documentation.
In some situations, Doohly may not be the best fit, we recommend doing independent research on other CMS solutions. We’ve endeavoured to make Doohly adaptable and suitable, but some unique situations may require more specific functionality.
Aside from having a CMS solution, there are other pieces of software that you may require. For example, some users may wish to be able to access their media player devices through a remote access tool.
Some users may also wish to monitor the performance of their devices. Both of these situations can be accomplished with the correct software. Prices and compatibility will vary depending on your media player device.
Other than software, there are two major hardware elements of digital signage that all displays will have, the first is the screen. The screen (often referred to as the display) is arguably the most important part of digital signage. Without a screen, all you have is a computer. Screens are available in all shapes, sizes, and resolutions, all of which will affect the price.
The type of screen is an important factor, there are LCD and LED screens and choosing the correct type is important. As with a lot of digital signage situations, the specifics are very important.
In essence LED screens are brighter and can have customised design sizes, but will require additional hardware and structural support. LCD screens are usually cheaper, lighter, and have a range of connectivity standards, but are generally not as bright.
(For more information on LED vs LCD read Insane Impacts blog post)
The type of content and campaigns that you plan on displaying are key factors in the screen hardware choice. Media player hardware choices will also impact the decision of the screen you choose.
Some screens come bundled with media player devices built-in or attached, an all-in-one solution. For digital signage, common forms of this include things like small tablets and self-serve kiosks.
It is important to note that these all-in-one solutions can have limitations on what software is compatible. As such, we advise that you do independent research to ensure that they will suit your needs.
Another piece of the digital signage puzzle is the media player device. This is what is connected to the screen and works with the CMS software to show content when and where it is needed. There’s a range of different media player’s on the market and determining which is best should be done on a case by case basis.
The main things to look for when comparing media players are which operating system they use and how powerful they are. How powerful the media player is determines if it will be able to display your content.
The content that is shown on your digital signage displays is of vital importance. There are many different types of content that can be developed and shown, including images, videos, and dynamic content (HTML Packages). Correct resolution is important, as is ensuring the file format is supported by whatever CMS you choose. The most commonly supported file types are MP4, JPG, PNG, and HTML Packages.
To create these creative you can use a range of different software solutions. Depending on your level of design experience and technical knowledge different products will be of different value to you. You could take advantage of products such as GIMP or the Adobe Creative Cloud. If you’re using Doohly as your CMS solution, you can access and use Canva within Doohly.
Something to consider with digital signage displays is the technical and design skills you have access to. What you can display isn’t limited only by software and hardware, but also by what you’re able to produce.
Things like interactive wayfinding and inventory level measurements need to be built, and creatives need to be designed. These costs cannot be calculated easily as again they must be done on a case-by-case basis.
If dynamic content is being used, or you want to update what content is being played, access to the internet is needed. The final thing to take into account is that digital signage displays need to be powered to work.
A business owner looking to get started with a low-cost, easy-to-set-up digital signage solution. In particular, you want your customers to see available add-on purchases and specials when at the register.
For this situation, a small tablet-sized screen, or even an old computer monitor/TV with a cheap media player would suffice.
A business owner wanting to replace assets such as menu boards and posters with digital signage. Your main goal is to reduce the amount of time spent handwriting menu boards and promotional specials, along with creating a more eye-catching environment for customers.
For a situation like this, large TV-sized screens with dedicated media players and remote access tools would be best suited.
A business owner looking to incorporate digital signage at a large scale, the front counter becoming screens, pillars, and in window displays as well. You want to fully immerse your business and your customers in digital signage.
For a situation like this, large custom-sized LED screens with dedicated media players and remote access tools would be best suited.
There you have it, three different use cases with vastly different needs and budgets. Digital signage can be incorporated into every business, it’s just about how you do it. For help with large-scale rollouts, or even just to speak with one of our digital signage professionals, contact us here.