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Deciding which Digital Signage solution is right for you.

Deciding which Digital Signage solution is right for you.

Once of the first issues to consider is whether to opt for standalone displays or network solution. When given the choice most entry level users would prefer to use standalone, plug and play displays as they are cheaper and easier to use than any network solution. More experienced or tech savvy users may wish to use a network solution as these are much easier to manage and can be remotely updated and controlled.

According to POPAI a massive 80% of all UK displays are updated weekly or monthly and do not require a live feed of any sort (POPAI Digital Signage Survey 2011), so there is huge market potential for standalone Digital Signage solutions.

Something else often unaddressed is the operational cost of a Digital Signage solution. Network Digital Signage is usually unsuitable for small businesses as they carry with them monthly subscription costs. In addition to this there are some system management costs which must be factored in; the human resource cost of managing a signage network is of course difficult to quantify and therefore often overlooked. Standalone Digital Signage solutions on the other hand are a one-off investment.

It is important that the screens you are buying include mounting solutions for installation, as often they do not. Ease of installation is also an important factor for an end user. Some screens are so simple to install the customer can do it themselves whereas others are far more complex and require specialist assistance.

Inexperienced customers will often believe that the cheapest Digital Signage solution is the most cost effective; this couldn’t be further from the truth. Increasingly distributors and end-users alike are sourcing their displays directly from China in the hope of reducing their unit cost. There are however many issues with purchasing directly from a Chinese manufacturer, predominantly the matter of technical support. Assuming that you complete your transaction without any hiccups and communication is not a problem, there will invariably be a technical issue at some point in the future. No Chinese hardware manufacturer is capable of supporting all of their products globally. It is crucial to make sure that, wherever the screens are purchased from, they have full technical support.

You should also consider future proofing your investment by purchasing screens that can be upgraded from plug and play devices to networkable displays. If your Digital Signage project is initially only small scale then a more cost effective solution of using standalone plug and play displays is appropriate. If the project has the potential to grow substantially, however, then you must consider if the screens can be upgraded so as they can be part of a network.

Thomas Fraser-Bacon is the Marketing Director for Allsee Technologies. His background is in Digital Signage and Product Design.

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