How to use digital signage
With digital signage projects there’s a thin line between failure and success. Why is that?
To better answer this question, we must go back to digital signage’s origins.
In the beginning, there was the internet…
You could say digital signage truly came into its own when computers began communicating with each other. Practically overnight, the internet became the backbone for entire digital signage networks. It was now possible to send content across vast distances and display the results on TVs.
At first, content management systems were little more than file transfer software that shuttled content to each media player. In those early days, CMS with built-in content creation tools were essentially non-existent, so folks basically relied on Photoshop, and PowerPoint. In most cases, content was limited to static images and crude animations, but the seed was planted and networks began to grow.
Early digital signage software products were clunky and difficult to manage. In fact, software user interfaces were downright cryptic so learning curves were vey steep. It wasn’t unusual to spend weeks on training courses just to be productive. In the end, you needed to be an engineer just to keep the software running.
It’s no surprise we refer to this period as digital signage’s dark ages.
This might explain why digital signage had a bad reputation for costing too much and not delivering sufficient results. Content creators, and administrators dreaded using these products because they were designed for technical users.
Digital signage roll-outs were expensive and difficult to implement. Running your typical digital signage network required an army of industry experts, technicians and creative specialists.
To make matters worse, digital signage hardware was big, heavy, and unreliable. See why Navori QL is the most reliable software.
So, what changed?
Serious software publishers, like Navori Labs, quickly identified the key pain points.
- Inefficient content updates.
- Unreliable media player software.
- Underperforming servers.
- Complex user interfaces.
- Lack of content development tools.
- Limited features.
- Difficulty in implementing software updates.
- Lack of support for very large networks.
They developed software that resolved each of these issues, and then kept improving their products over time. It’s why today’s digital signage software is more reliable and easier to use then ever before.
The modern CMS lets anyone manage large deployments with ease. It’s what digital signage should have been from the beginning.
Digital signage is constantly evolving
Modern digital signage solutions operate on a wide range of hardware. Displays can span the side of a building, or fit in the palm of your hands. Today’s digital signage can be used in more and more locations. It’s why you find displays in taxis and busses, next to conference room entrances and in office lobbies, in automobile dealerships, at your local bank, and at your neighborhood convenience store.
Digital signage is now everywhere, so the real question is… Where can’t you use digital signage?
Savvy entrepreneurs are constantly coming up with more creative ways to deploy, and exploit digital signage. It’s why we have touch screen displays, iBeacons and RFID powered signs that react to the audience, instead of static playlist driven content.
Based on current trends, it’s safe to say digital signage’s future is interactive, engaging and empowering.
Find out more about the latest Navori QL innovations.
The right way to implement digital signage
Do you want to take advantage of everything digital signage can offer?
You’ll need a robust and scalable software platform, like Navori QL.
QL offers significant advantages over other digital signage products:
- A simple and efficient user interface that anyone can use.
- Easy access for a range of users, from the technical to the creative.
- Supports an unlimited number of users with access to multiple levels of content and players
- Restrict access to specific groups and levels, effectively isolating users within their own private work area.
- Administrators have full control over what users can see, and do on the system.
- Easily scalable. Supports content delivery networks and server fail-over.
- Supports all popular media formats including images, video, HTML/HTML5, streaming content, live data from RSS/XML, Google Calendar, and social media feeds like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- User editable data that is constantly updated with no programming required.
- Compatible with a range of technologies including Windows PCs, Android media players and tablets, System on Chip displays (SoC) from the best-known manufacturers: EloTouch, Samsung (Tizen), Panasonic and Philips.
- Software that can be extended using application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs). Processes can be automated, and content can be triggered remotely even using a smartphone app.
We’ve come a long way since the simple traveller information displays in train stations, and airports. Today’s digital signage is truly rewarding for those who think outside the box. Take for example, automation…
Modern CMS software like Navori QL can be extended far beyond their current form. You can automate any task using the QL Server SDK, and entirely bypass the software’s user interface.
The QL Server SDK lets our software communicate with external applications and proprietary software to upload new media, and perform any user action based on machine interaction (change the content in playlists, remove content in the library, add or remove meta-tags, etc.).
Managing a digital signage network used to be complicated, and time intensive. It required a lot of knowledgeable staff. Automation is changing all of that. We’re now in the era of machine-to-machine (M2M), and the Internet of Things (IoT) where computers and software interact with each other to automate processes that previously required human intervention.
Navori engineers provided QL with the ability to interact with external devices and processes. The QL Server SDK has all the features required to interface with M2M and IoT applications. While QL continues to evolve and add new features over time, it’s already future-proof.
The days of manually adding content, or changing playlists is over. Now, your QL Server powered digital signage network can perform all these tasks based on sales volumes, temperature, overstocks, and more. There is no need for someone to effect any changes, QL simply receives instructions based on an external database or program and executes it.
This level of automation is critical for large display networks, and the results are measurable. When you automate your digital signage programming, you lower your operating costs (OPEX) and increase your key performance indicators (KPI). This is the next big trend in digital signage.
The secret to success
There are no shortcuts to success. Like any business endeavor, digital signage requires a mix of technology, planning and creative content to fulfill it’s promise. The type of content may change based on your application, but the key is quality. Poor content can sink any good project, regardless of the software’s sophistication, or the technology behind the screens. Without great content, the audience has no reason to look at your displays. It’s the foundation, the bedrock of any digital signage project.
You already have great content? Great! It’s time to pick your technology carefully. A bad choice here can sink your network. Remember, content drives everything. Your displays. Your media players. Your servers, and your storage.
Will you be playing a lot of video content? Then make sure you have sufficient storage on your server, and your media players. Thinking of interactive apps? Pick a solid touch screen technology. Look at companies that have been around for a long time. They are doing something right. Considering system on chip (SoC) displays to save time and money? Nice! Stick with name brand products and look for on-site replacement warranty. If a display goes bad, you will want it replaced quickly and professionally (at no extra cost).
Your CMS software choice should support the widest possible range of content types, and media player hardware. You want a solution that will give you choices. Navori QL should be on your shortlist as it supports the most popular media formats and hardware platforms. You can play content using the hardware of your choice and you can even mix together different products without any restrictions.
Selecting Navori QL as the backbone of your digital signage network is a wise choice. It means you can face today’s challenges, and you’re ready for the future.