Comprehensive digital signage design, installation and management services.
Comprehensive digital signage design, installation and management services.

What to Know When Shopping for Cloud-Based Digital Signage Software

SaturnVision digital signage software

For marketing leaders, who’re responsible for steering their organisation to success, efficiency is everything. There’s no room for technology that’s time-consuming or doesn’t quite do what’s needed. That’s why choosing the right cloud-based digital signage software is crucial for a business.

Whilst most digital signage content management systems will allow you to create playlists and schedule when your content will appear, there are lots of other factors to consider.  These include the size of your organisation, the integrations and apps you need, the remote management capabilities, the cost, functionality and ease of use.

Our expert gives his tips on getting it right first time.

 

Size of Organisation

The size of your organisation is an important factor to consider because it affects the scalability, complexity and in most cases, the budget of your digital signage project. How many screens, locations, and users you have will determine what your requirements are from a content management platform.

For small businesses with a single site, you may want to look for a simple solution that can handle a few screens and will allow you to program what appears and when, but isn’t going to break the bank.

For medium-sized businesses with multiple sites and displays, you’ll need a more robust and flexible solution.  Look for a solution that offers more features and customisation options.

For large enterprises, you’ll need a comprehensive, powerful and secure solution that is fully scalable and can handle hundreds or even thousands of screens and locations, and will support multiple users and roles. If you have budget available, consider what advanced features and functionalities might be useful, such as integration, analytics and reporting.

 

Ease of Use

No matter how big or small your organisation is or how big your budget is, always look for a solution that empowers your team, rather than hinders it. The more difficult a platform is to use, the less inclined your colleagues will be to spend time on using it.

Look for a user-friendly and intuitive interface that allows you to easily create, edit, and manage your content. Most businesses find drag-and-drop functionality useful, as it allows you to easily add and arrange your content. Check whether there are pre-designed screen layout templates, as these can save time and ensure a professional-looking result. Some providers, like Saturn, will actually help you create you’re a bespoke template to get you off to a good start.

Another valuable feature is the ability to preview content before it’s published and to have visibility over what actually on screen after it’s appeared.

 

Integrations and Apps

There’s a common misconception that the more applications (also called widgets – e.g. weather, news, traffic) that a software platform has, the better it is. If your displays will only ever be used to show something quite specific – e.g. a food menu – none of these features will prove helpful to you. However, if you’re using it for something like internal communications and these widgets are part of a strategy to engage staff and draw attention to business-related content, then it is obviously going to be more important.

If you want to do something clever with your displays, such as integrating data or information stored within third party software into your displays, then you should look for a solution that is easy for software developers to work with. Ask what API integrations are already available and whether custom integration is possible.

 

Remote Management

One of the main advantages of cloud-based digital signage software is the remote management capability. It allows you to access and control your content from anywhere at any time. This means you can update, edit, schedule, and monitor your content without having to be physically present at the location of your screens.

But remote access isn’t just important for managing content, it’s also important to have visibility over your displays for troubleshooting.  When choosing a digital signage platform, look for a solution that offers real-time updates and notifications and/or visibility over the status and performance of your displays.

 

Permissions

Another factor to be aware of the ability to control who can see and do things with your system. Some systems will allow an administrator to set user permissions and decide who can view different types of content and/or publish it. Other platforms won’t give you that ability which can result in mistakes being made, such as content being deleted or published in the wrong place or at the wrong time.

 

Cost and Functionality

It’s important to balance your budget with your needs, so draw up a list of your priorities and rank them in order of importance so you know what features you can compromise on and which you can’t.

Pricing models vary enormously. Some will charge a small flat fee but if you want more than the most basic functionality, you’ll need to pay more. Some providers will charge for the number of users you have, some will charge for library storage. More often than not, both will form part of the charging model.

However, some platforms – like with our own SaturnVision software – have a flat licensing fee which includes all the functionality, and as many users and as much storage as you want. Pricing is based on just paying for a license for each of your media players.

It’s important to look for transparent pricing and compare the pricing based on the functionality you need, rather than just the lowest cost, as you may waste time on looking into platforms that you can’t afford.

 

Technical Support

Image by Andrea Piacquadio

Another factor to consider when shopping for cloud-based digital signage software is the technical support available. This is essential for ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of your digital signage estate.

When choosing cloud-based digital signage software, you should look for a provider that offers plenty of training and technical support. There’s no point having an ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ system that you’re struggling to actually use, so check what help you get with installation, setup, troubleshooting and updates.

If the user support offered by a provider is purely generic, written instructions, it will take you much longer to become adept at using the system (and you may never be 100% confident in using it) so factor this into your decisionmaking.

 

Visibility of Status

Knowing the ‘health’ of your digital signage estate is crucial, especially if you work at a different location. Choose software that provides real-time visibility into the status of your displays.

Some cloud-based content management software will allow you to monitor content playback, device health, and even highlight potential issues proactively – e.g. losing internet connection – so you can troubleshoot issues quickly and easily.

 

Conclusion

By carefully considering these factors, you’ll be well-equipped to select the right cloud-based digital signage software for your business. And remember, a little research goes a long way in finding the perfect match for your business’s needs. There’s also no substitute for personal experience when it comes to software buying. Ask for a free trial or demo so you can test the software and get a feel for how user-friendly it is. That way, you’ll be able to gauge whether it’ll give your business all the tools it needs to be successful with digital signage.

 

If you’d like a demonstration or free trial of our SaturnVision software or to learn more about our technical support service which is software-agnostic, fill in the form below and our friendly sales team will be in touch. 

NB: this article was written with assistance from AI.

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