Digital Signage, Tips, Product
    September 04, 2018

    Free digital signage: the real cost

    Faced with the numerous actors in the digital communication domain, and confronted with the different prices, that aren’t always justified, it can be tempting to set out yourself to create an on-screen communication tool. Driven by the growing accessibility of numerous technologies, and supported by the growth of the number of cheap professional screens, the idea is certainly attractive. The "Do It Yourself" (DIY) trend has been spreading throughout the world, and in all domains…

    DIY in digital signage, not really a good idea


    Also known as Do It Yourself, DIY is a practice consisting in ignoring a professional solution, to use a “homemade” solution, often made from material and equipment not in the first place foreseen for this use. In the domain of digital signage, this practice requires numerous different skills that can be complex to master, certainly if it’s an extra beside another professional activity.

    Installing a digital signage solution requires technical skills (developing, system, network), but also graphics skills as well as a certain strictness in planning the content. Developing a digital signage solution requires the assurance of the connectivity of the equipment, of its functioning, of the clean creation of content, of their updates, of their broadcast… Ensuring these tasks go well, takes a lot of time, certainly if done on the side of another activity.

    And the continuity of the service?

    To err is human, computing is not always an exact science, and internet is doing its best… Without any doubt, your installation won’t be easy, some problems might be simpler to solve, others less! What will happen when the screens will stop broadcasting? Will you be capable to investigate the incident? Will you be available? And if all the problems don’t just go away by disconnecting and reconnecting: till where will you be able to search? Who will accept to intervene on your installation?
    Let’s face it, your screens will probably stay black.

    And before that, will you be capable of detecting if a screen doesn’t broadcast anymore? Do you steer your equipment from a distance? How do you check if the equipment is connected? How do you investigate a connectivity problem? And how do you solve it?

    Offering a professional digital signage solution necessitates a dedicated team, capable of intervening rapidly, of supervising screens from a distance, and potentially detect problems before they have a visible impact. Professionals working everyday on the problems of digital signage about which you haven’t yet thought. These teams also enrich the platform with numerous features.

    The updating of content

    It isn’t a surprise to anyone: “Content is king”! And rightly so, it’s often the only thing your clients see. The content thus has to be perfect, at the risk of giving of a bad image of the company. However, the production, and update of the content can quickly become difficult if your system is rudimentary. For example, how would you manage the production of content? Do you have graphics skills? Do you have the time to create enough content? Do you have a way to update your content from a distance? Do you often go on-site? Is your “homemade” solution capable of connecting to third party services? Are you capable of automating certain updates? At what frequency can you update your content? If you don’t have the time to create content, will the screens continue to broadcast? Will they be broadcasting obsolete information?

    Professional digital signage solutions offer complementary tools to facilitate the creation of content, include the possibility of integrating third party content (social networks, news…) to automate the update of the content, or offer the full management through an advertising agency for example.

    Financially, any advantages?


    Free digital signage exists! Do you have screens? Do you have a laptop, and a USB key? Well, there you have it! Well, nearly...

    Though it’s true that this option seems cheaper at the installation, even free if you already have the equipment, generally many costs will follow, in terms of time or degrading the company image. Sure, you’ll save a bit on your digital signage costs… but the time spent to make your system work will be time not spent on your business. In the same way you can save on the maintenance costs often billed as an extra to the solution. But are you able to put the system back on its feet when there’s an incident? How long will it take you? And what will be the costs of a non-functioning system on your image? For the installation it’s the same thing, does your solution allow you to easily add new screens to the fleet? Does it allow you to add users to the management system and to manage their access rights? And how much time do you lose with each addition?

    In terms of equipment there can be serious differences as well: you could decide to just put a television or a large screen, if a professional would rather recommend a professional display. Placed in your showcase, in the sun, your television will be invisible, to the contrary of a professional screen. Turned on all the time, it will last only a couple months, this compares to multiple years for professional screens in the same conditions.

    Whether it be to create content, to investigate technical problems, to go on-site or to update the content. All of this takes time and energy that you’re not spending on your business, which is what brings in the money.

    Of course, certain professionals offer a free solution. But here again, the installation and use are reserved for the technical teams. The training and maintenance are however generally billed. In the same way, open-source solutions can be used without professionals, but also require serious technical skills to work well.

    Quite often, it’s better not to cheap out on things in order not to spend more, later.

    In this digital era, transforming your communication becomes a necessity. However, it shouldn’t be neglected, at the risk of substantial funds. Using a professional tool, means benefiting from quality service, support of a professional, and gaining time in using screens, without even talking about the reliability and interesting features. This can all be done while not chipping away time from your business.

    Cenareo offers an affordable, intuitive and extremely simple digital signage solution, whatever your number of screens may be.

    You have a digital signage project, ask for a free demo.

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