There is more good news when it comes to digital signage and the evolution of this increasingly pervasive technology: with the introduction of device-agnostic digital signage software, taking full advantage of digital signage is becoming more affordable and accessible than ever.
In the past, incorporating digital signage into a building or public space required users to shop around for media players and seek out hardware providers that met all of their specific needs. With the advent of device-agnostic digital signage software, however, this model is poised to change; this new technology provides an ideal solution for existing digital signage users to expand their network and allows new users to adopt the technology at an affordable price.
What is Device-Agnostic Digital Signage?
Essentially, this open-source software solution allows businesses to download digital content management software to a third-party digital signage player and make any internet connected device and screen into a functional digital signage network. For example, Chrome OS devices can be equipped with digital signage CMS software and provide a secure platform for designing, managing and displaying digital content.
Businesses no longer have to worry about the financial or time investments typically involved with media players. Chrome technology can provide the same level of reliable performance and security, on a cheaper, more flexible platform. This signals a notable shift from a focus on the hardware components of a digital signage network to the software aspects.
The ability to download digital signage software to third-party devices gives users more freedom of choice when it comes to providers. It also opens the door for smaller enterprises to start implementing digital signage and experience the benefits of this technology.
Is Device-Agnostic Digital Signage the Right Choice?
First, it is essential to understand the advantages of device-agnostic digital signage and the alternatives on the market. Device-agnostic digital signage software solution is designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems without requiring any adaptations. Other products on the market are known as closed-source or proprietary, which means that businesses purchase a device and software that can only be used in combination with each other.
To better understand the distinction, here are some things to consider :
Advantages of Device-Agnostic Solutions
Device-agnostic solutions break the bind that the digital signage market once had on consumers, and gives them options to explore the software platform they prefer while using their own devices to run it.
This capability has impacts on enterprises of all sizes; small businesses don’t need to worry as much about a financial barrier to adoption, as third-party players are often cheaper, while large organizations can budget for projects on a bigger scale.
One of the biggest advantages, however, is the ease of setup. With many proprietary players, users must wait for the media player to ship to them, then they have to spend lots of time and resources on installing the devices and making sure they run smoothly.
By bringing in a third-party player, businesses can pick up a media player from a store and simply run the software on the device via an internet browser. The time of installation is nearly halved this way.
Disadvantages of Device-Agnostic Solutions
Although bringing in a third-party player makes installation a breeze, there is a risk that any support issues may be more difficult to navigate. Keep in mind that software developers optimize their programs for their proprietary players, and certain third-party hardware may not work as effectively because of this. It’s important to do research before any purchase to ensure that the desired software has been tested for the hardware of choice.
Some businesses also avoid third-party solutions because of security concerns. Third-party solutions may not go through as much security testing or quality assurance tests as a proprietary device, so it is essential to understand the security implications of open-source solutions and ensure that there are some safeguards in place.
Advantages of Proprietary Solutions
For smaller businesses who may not have an extensive staff of experts, closed software offers both customer and technical support. Instead of relying on internal resources to troubleshoot problems, businesses can contact their provider and receive help. For those who aren’t technologically savvy and don’t have the time, money or desire to develop these skills, quick access to service can be invaluable.
Closed software also relies on a more controlled environment for development that improves security. Changes and updates are peer-reviewed and audited to prevent any bugs and identify weaknesses before they can be exploited.
Disadvantages of Proprietary Software
However, proprietary solutions don’t offer the same flexibility that open-source solutions do. You’re locked into using whatever features are provided by the developer, even if you’d prefer to use a different program.
It’s easy to think about the open-source vs proprietary debate by looking at the differences between Microsoft and Apple products. Apple makes high-quality, user-friendly devices, but they limit customers to using their own approved software. Microsoft, on the other hand, gives its users a base platform to add their own software and customize their experience the way they want.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice. It all comes down to how much a business wants to spend upfront to get the digital signage network running, what kind of in-house support resources they have and what their strategies are for ongoing growth.
The Future of Device-Agnostic Digital Signage
There is no denying that the future of open-source solutions and device-agnostic digital signage software looks bright. As more developers and companies recognize the potential of this technology, they are working to eliminate any disadvantage. In fact, the market is producing more flexible, secure and usable solutions than ever before and the bar continues to be raised with each iteration.
The more people begin to adopt open-source technology, the better it will become as the network of users and developers continues to expand. As a result, device-agnostic digital signage will not only offer a more affordable solution from a hardware standpoint; it will also provide more innovation, usability, and flexibility than proprietary software solutions. This translates into more businesses being able to take advantage of and expands their digital signage networks and efforts.
The pace of development in the digital signage realm is impressive, and that continues to be true when it comes to computing hardware, displays, and software. Often, advancements also translate into more cost-effective options. It is reassuring to see that the goals aren’t just to expand capabilities, but also make technology more accessible so that more people can reap the benefits and small businesses can stay competitive in ever-expanding markets.