Digital signage is a form of communication that involves using electronic, dynamic displays to send messages to your target audience, whether they’re visitors, clients, or employees. Digital signage solutions allow you to deliver dynamic messages using video, audio, and still or moving images. When you purchase a digital signage solution, you can get it as an integrated product that includes both digital signage software and hardware, or you can get hardware-independent software and configure it on your hardware of choice. Software that is designed to be compatible with different types of hardware allows organizations to select the hardware they prefer and perhaps even combine different types of hardware. On the other hand, proprietary hardware and software solutions tend to be more expensive and limiting.
Hardware is the foundation of any digital signage system. There are a number of different screens available for use with digital signage software. Many organizations use commercial-grade screens because they last longer and are designed to function for an extended period of time. There’s a chance that consumer-grade screens can overheat and fail as digital signs because commercial use is more strenuous than household use. At an airport, for example, digital signs almost never get turned off because airports are open 24/7. Commercial-grade hardware is built with heavy-duty components that are meant to withstand prolonged use and wear and tear. For example, Modulex screens are high-quality, commercial-grade digital signs that are designed to run 24/7. For other organizations, hardware such as tablets is more suitable.
One of the benefits of working with hardware-independent digital signage software is that you have the option of mixing it up and using different types of hardware at the same time. Hardware-independent digital signage software is also future proof in that organizations can change or upgrade their hardware without having to change the software. Generic digital signage software never becomes outdated. An additional benefit of using hardware-independent digital signage software is that you can get local tech support for the hardware you use. It’s better to purchase hardware locally because the support team’s response time will be faster. On the other hand, if you purchase hardware that doesn’t offer local support and there is a technical problem, the support team would have to travel a long way to resolve the issue.
How to Choose the Right Digital Signage Hardware
Commercial-grade flat screens are predominantly used as digital signage displays, but a growing number of organizations use tablets as digital signage displays. Tablets combine a touch screen display, operating system, player, and Wi-Fi capability. They are significantly less expensive than commercial-grade screens of the same size. Windows-based tablets, Android-based tablets, and iPads can be used as digital signs. The advantage of using a well-known system, such as Windows, is that many people are familiar with it and there is more support available. Android-based tablets are the most affordable option, so they are a great choice for organizations on a budget. However, they are not appropriate for organizations that need their digital signs to run 24/7. For example, airports and other facilities that run digital signs around the clock would need to use commercial-grade digital signs.
A benefit of tablets is that people are familiar with them and are comfortable using them. Additionally, tablets offer more privacy than large touch screens. They are ideal for small spaces, like doctors’ offices. Tablets are also useful as digital signs outside of meeting rooms, where they can display meeting schedules and be used to book, cancel, prolong, or shorten meetings. With the right digital signage software, you could integrate your tablets with your meeting room booking software, so both are updated in real-time.
Although commercial-grade versions of tablets aren’t commonly available, you can increase a tablet’s resistance for commercial applications by using mounts and third-party enclosures. When considering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of tablets as digital signs, it’s important to evaluate the cost of such accessories because they could end up costing a lot more than the tablets themselves.
Use Your Favorite Hardware with Add-On Products’ Digital Signage Software
Ariadne and Digital Sign Service easily and effectively manage digital signage. You can use Ariadne to display messages throughout the day and keep staff, visitors, and customers informed. You can also use Ariadne to promote your company’s products and services. Digital Sign Service is digital signage software for meeting room signs that displays meeting room schedules and allows you to book, cancel, prolong, or shorten meetings directly on the touch screens of digital signs. Ariadne and Digital Sign Service are generic, cross-platform solutions, so they enable you to use your favorite hardware.