To meet the communication goals of any organization, comprehensive research needs to be done to select a solution with the right mix of digital signage features.
Digital signage adoption is growing, but there is a huge untapped potential. Combining some essential components with proven best practices & compulsory features will help maximize the chosen digital signage solution to effectively advertise, educate, inform, or entertain an audience.
Digital signage is no longer an option for any business that values communication, it’s now a critical requirement.
Digital signage solutions require multiple modules, often made up of 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.
10 Must-have Digital Signage Features
1. A Commercial-grade Display
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.
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.
Extended manufacturer’s warranties & extras such as A/C, reinforced bezels or switches, & commercial-grade glass all make must-haves for any heavy use digital signage solution.
2. A Digital Signage Media Player
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.
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
This is easily the most important of all digital signage features.
Digital signage software is used to create, edit, and publish the content that the audience is meant to see, interact with or on which to take action.
An integral component of any digital signage solution is the content that is published to a display 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. More on this later.
4. Engaging Content
No matter whether the primary aim is to advertise, educate, inform, or entertain, no digital signage solution can stand on its own without engaging content.
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. It’s been said a million times, but as usual with clichés – they are mostly true – Content is King.
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 without user involvement.
The content is dynamically updated either from a web feed or by way of an API (automatic programming interface).
With the demands for refreshing content becoming more necessary, dynamic content integration is an integral feature that provides increased flexibility for regular, refreshing content updates.
6. Content Scheduling & Workflow Management
The last of the must-have digital signage features is easily accessible content scheduling & workflow management.
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, with different types of media, which is all defined by certain criteria set to deliver the most effective message at the best time to the chosen audience.
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
Monitoring the health of the digital signage network is essential to evaluate how the chosen media players, content management systems, & software are performing.
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, & gauging the performance of network components.
For example, at the most basic level, network reporting can tell digital signage operators how many times a single media asset has been played over a specific time period.
Network reporting can provide detailed information about content assets and playback, content playback, and user management.
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.
9. Multi-screen Support
An effective digital signage system is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Environments where digital signage is being fully utilized are showcasing numerous multi-screen video layouts like video walls, large format LCD television screens, and even movie screen type displays.
One of the most important aspects of ensuring the digital signage solution maximizes multi-screen support is the combination of chosen hardware & software. Operating multiple display screens from one “hub” enables different messages and content to be displayed at different times, and even different locations.
Hardware like commercial grade screens or video displays needs to be compatible with the software chosen to organize and display the content across multiple screens.
10. Multi-user Access
User access control is another must have for any effective digital signage solution.
Individual roles and access to different portions of the digital signage network will enable individuals within the operator’s organization the ability to control the content that is being published. Have 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, and these multi-user roles provide limitations only software with multi-level user access provides