Monday, April 18, 2022

What is Digital Signage?

Author
Manuel Astudillo
@manast

If you are new to the concept of Digital signage you may wonder what it is all about.

Broadly speaking, digital signage refers to displaying information on a digital screen, instead of the traditional paper signs or billboards. It is a very broad industry that covers a wide range of uses, from advertising to information and entertainment. It can be used with outdoors as well as indoor screens. It can use specialized hardware and software or just a simple TV with a USB stick. It can be screens showing static content, or dynamic, where users can interact with the content in different ways.

The hype around digital signage comes from the fact that it provides many advantages compared to traditional signage. For instance it is much easier to display information, and it is much easier to control the content, which saves both time and money. It is also an efficient way to attract customers attention, since you can show animations, widgets, videos, and in some cases even play audio. Furthermore, it looks more modern and professional than the traditional signs.

It is a huge, growing market.

If you are planing to enter the digital signage market, there is probably no better moment to start than now. The global market size was valued at $17.23 billion dolar in 2018, and is projected to reach 32.12 billion by 2026 [1].

However, it is also a very fragmented market with a lot of competition, and every signage project usualy depends on a lot of moving parts that need to work well together in order to be successful.

How to deliver digital signage

In order to deliver a succesfull digital signage project, you need to have a good understanding of all the parts included in a digital signage installation.

It all starts usually with the hardware, which is the physical device that will be used to display the content. This is normally a LED display, however depending on the requirements and the budget there are many options. For example, if the display is indoor but is going to be facing the street, you will need a very bright screen, at least 1500nits (NIT is a unit of luminance as candela per square meter), which are much more expensive than a LED display for indoor use facing the inside, where around 350nits is the typical brightness.

Besides the display, a so called "player" is also needed. This piece of hardware will run the software that actually plays the desired content on the screen. Some displays include the player hardware, in other cases the player is a separate device.

Finally a software to run the player as well as a content management system (CMS) is needed. This two pieces of software make possible to display any content on the screen. A sofisticated CMS will allow you to create complex playlists with many different layouts and animations. It should also allow you to schedule the content so it is played at the right time.

Supporting digital signage

It is a matter of life that things break, and this is no different for digital signage. After an installation is complete, there will be a need for support. Even the most expensive devices will fail sometimes, but there are many other sources of failures, such as software issues, cables, internet connection issues, device wear out, etc.

One of the most common problems that arise on digital signage networks for example, is the lack of connectivity, meaning that the player looses internet connection with the content management service. When this happens most players are able to play the current content, however they will not be able to play new content.

Therefore all installations require a support agreement, so that these issues can be resolved quickly when they happen.

How can we help?

Castmill provides services for digital signage that can help you succeeding in your digital signage endevours. We provide a complete software solution as a service, for players as well as content management. We also provide custom template development and custom integrations, as well as second line support. Please contact us and let us know what are your needs and how we can help you.

Castmill is an easy to use and powerful digital signage platform. Check the demos to see what it is capable of and why not, give it a try for free.
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