To meet the communication goals of any organization, comprehensive research needs to be done to select a solution. The goal is to have the right mix of digital signage features. Examples of digital signage can help make sense of the features and what they can offer an organization.
Digital signage usage is growing. In other words, more and more industries are implementing the technology. Above all, there is still so much untapped potential. Combining some essential components with proven best practices and compulsory features will help maximize the chosen digital signage solution to effectively advertise, educate, inform, or entertain an audience in 2021.
Digital signage is no longer an option for any business that values communication, it’s now a critical requirement for effective advertisements.
Digital signage solutions require multiple modules. Content design and management, media player(s) and a myriad of different add-on components.
- So how do operators drive the utmost effectiveness from their chosen digital signage solution?
- What are some of the best practices – or must-haves – for an effective digital signage solution?
Let’s answer those questions by identifying and discussing ten of the digital signage features every solution must have along with examples of each.
10 Must-have Digital Signage Features with Examples
1. A Commercial-grade Display
Firstly, the actual display screen needs to be considered. Commercial-grade displays offer more durable hardware as compared to consumer-grade screens more common in homes. Also, commercial-grade screens offer more inputs for external device connection & interoperability. For instance, is it a touch screen or not?
The stronger housings, glass, & consoles also offer enhanced durability along with the heavy-duty hardware needed for screens that are operable 12-15 hours per day – and sometimes more. Therefore extended manufacturer’s warranties & extras such as A/C, reinforced bezels or switches, and commercial-grade glass all make must-haves for any heavy use digital signage solution. Another thing to consider when deciding on which digital screens to use is the orientation of the screens. Will it be portrait or landscape?
2. A Digital Signage Media Player
Secondly, the media player needs to be considered after the screen. A digital signage player also referred to as a “media player” is a small device that is used to broadcast content on any digital display system. This is an example of a digital signage player.
At the pace technology advances, operators must update their digital media players regularly to improve system performance, expand functionality and provide new tools to reach & interact with the chosen audience.
3. Easy to Use Software
Furthermore the ease of software use is important. This is easily the most important of all digital signage features. Since struggling with the software can be such a time consuming process. It should be easy to use and quick to implement.
Content is an integral component of any digital signage solution. The content is the actual display that is supposed to keep the audience informed and engaged. Making this system easy to use by different levels of user roles will be integral to its successful management.
4. Engaging Content
Determining what the primary aim of digital signage is key. Is it to advertise, educate, inform, or entertain? Once you have determined your aim for digital signage you can start working on engaging content. For example, this is content you might see in a corporate setting targeted towards employees:
An effective digital signage system needs to first grab the attention of the audience. Then keep their attention long enough to consume the message and take the desired action. Content is King. It’s been said a million times, but as usual with clichés it is still mostly true for digital sign displays.
5. Dynamic Content Integrations
Dynamic content integrations make the digital signage solution effective in delivering relevant & engaging content in a timely, engaging, easily duplicable fashion. The integrations allow operators to update the on-screen content in real-time without user involvement. For example, in a retail store setting it’s important to update content with relevant discounts and coupons:
The content is dynamically updated either from a web feed or by way of an API (automatic programming interface). Refreshing content is becoming more necessary. Dynamic content integration is an integral feature that provides increased flexibility for regular, refreshing content updates. Digital signage software allows the user to add things like social media accounts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and widgets to their display. Another important question to consider regarding your digital content, is it interactive content or not?
6. Content Scheduling & Workflow Management
The last of the must-have digital signage features is easily accessible content scheduling & workflow management. The goal is to save time and work most efficiently.
The objective is to deliver the desired message to the correct audience at the best time. Options such as rule-based scheduling allow users to automatically deliver dynamic content. Operators can deliver content at different times and with different types of media. Templates can help simplify this process. Delivering the most effective message at the best time to the chosen audience could be the requirement.
Workflow management enables multiple users to easily update, schedule & edit content displayed. Seamless workflow management is essential to offering multiple users the control to deliver an organized yet dynamic digital signage solution. The ability to effectively schedule content by way of a regularly updated feed provides operators with the capability to dynamically manage messaging in conjunction with an uncomplicated workflow automation system.
7. Network Monitoring & Reporting
It also allows end-users to see what content, at which times, is performing best. This is essential to optimizing the messaging, refining the content schedule, and gauging the performance of network components.
For example, network reporting can be helpful. It can tell digital signage operators how many times a single media asset has been played over a specific time period. This is a very basic example of monitoring.
Network reporting can provide detailed information about content assets and playback and user management.
Interoperability is all about how the hardware and software interact. On the other hand if the hardware is not compatible with the software, there is no digital signage solution – only a problem. Anyone who has ever set up a home computer network understands the importance of having compatible components.
To ensure interoperability among hardware, software, and media players, operators must seek out the most universal platforms from which to broadcast their digital displays. For example, you would want to acquire a screen which has a wide range of compatibility across different media player options.
9. Multi-Screen Support
An effective digital signage system is not a one-size-fits-all solution. So, some solutions will include one screen where others include many.
Environments where digital signage is being fully utilized are showcasing numerous multi-screen video layouts. These include video walls, large format LCD television screens, and even movie screen type displays.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring the digital signage platform maximizes multi-screen support is the combination of chosen hardware & software. Operating multiple display screens from one “hub” is important. These hubs or dashboards can enable different messages and content to be displayed at different times of the day, and even different physical locations.
Hardware compatibility is something to consider. It needs to be compatible with the software. The software helps to organize and display the content across multiple screens. Hardware refers to commercial grade screens or video displays.
10. Multi-user Access
User access control is another must have for any effective digital signage solution. This might not be a priority for most but can become a really big inconvenience.
Individual roles and access to different portions of the digital signage network can be set up and monitored. This will enable individuals within the operator’s organization the ability to control the content from anywhere that is being published. Having access levels assigned to individuals or groups within the organization is essential, especially as the operator looks to scale their digital display network.
Scaling up requires more division of roles within the system. These multi-user roles provide limitations only software with multi-level user access provides. In conclusion these are the 10 features to consider when choosing a digital signage solution and examples of each feature.