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7 Considerations for Recommending the Best Digital Signage Software

28 Mar, 2014

Donna Suen, marketing manager, Ingram Micro, waxes wise for the Digital Signage Connection with recommedations you'll want to heed. According to Ms. Suen:

Digital signage holds enormous potential for businesses in a wide range of verticals. In fact, the global digital signage market is expected to grow at a rate of about 5 percent a year, reaching $17.1 billion in 2017, according to research by IHS Inc.

But an investment in digital signage will only yield the results your customer desires if the entire system is reliable, effective and user-friendly. That's why it's so important to recommend the best-suited technology for each and every project. And that starts with the right digital signage software.

Finding the Right Fit
As a value-added reseller, you realize that every project is different, with its own set of challenges, needs and opportunities. In many cases, this means each customer will require his own customized system of digital signage hardware, software and content.

Like every other component of the system, the software is very important to the success of the entire digital signage deployment, so choose carefully. Of course, you'll want to specify software that's been proven and well-reviewed in the industry. But you also need to carefully consider your customer's specific needs and challenges.

When recommending digital signage software for a new customer, keep these top seven considerations in mind:
1.Purpose of the digital signage. What is your customer hoping to achieve with his new digital signage network? Entertainment for guests, wayfinding for visitors, advertising targeting the general public — or maybe a combination of the three? Remember, the purpose of the signage will drive its content, which will have a big impact on the type of software needed.
2.Content. Content is a big deciding factor when it comes to digital signage software. Simpler content, such as slides of text and small graphics, may only require very basic, template-based software. But as the content becomes more complicated — with moving images, video and sound — your customer will need more robust software with enhanced capabilities.
3.Location and size of the network. Will the customer simply be playing video content at a single store location? Or is he rolling out a signage network to hundreds of stores across the country? Fully understanding the size and scope of the network will help you determine what type of software will best suit your customer's needs, now and into the future.
4.Schedule of content. This can be an easy factor to overlook, but it's also important. You'll recommend much different software for a customer who runs the same content every day for a week than for a customer who needs to schedule unique content based on the day or time.
5.Number of channels. This can also impact the type of software that your customer requires. Be sure to ask him early on whether the content will be repeated on every digital sign in the network or if each sign will broadcast its own unique content.
6.Enterprise or SaaS software. Depending on the customer, you can recommend either enterprise software or Software as a Service (SaaS). Enterprise, or licensed, software is usually the better bet for larger organizations because they often have the support of internal IT experts. This makes it easier for them to integrate the software across their entire business. Meanwhile, smaller companies often appreciate the lower price and simplified management capabilities of SaaS software.
7.Growth plans. Is your customer planning to expand the signage network in the coming years? Or will his initial investment last him for the foreseeable future? For those customers looking to add screens to their network over time, consider specifying more powerful software from the start: That way, they won't have to re-invest once their network grows beyond the capabilities of simpler software.

As a VAR, it's your opportunity (and challenge) is to help customers find the best software for each digital signage deployment. In your experience, where does finding the right software rank in degree of difficulty with a new deployment? What is usually your first step in identifying a good fit for each customer?

Donna Suen is a marketing manager at Ingram Micro, where she specializes in developing and executing comprehensive ProAV/digital signage marketing plans. Her position incorporates all aspects of marketing, including social media, print advertising, digital marketing, training programs and sales awareness. She can be found blogging at im-proav.com/blog or tweeting at twitter.com/IMProAV.

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