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The Many Flavours Of Digital Signage

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And according to vendors like NEC, digital signage and its value is not clearly understood even by some of the larger companies.

Digital Signage, by definition, is an electronic billboard system, used to present dynamic information electronically, on flat panel displays such as LCD, Plasma or DLP Projectors and is helping to merge the industries of advertising networks, point of purchase display merchandising and information signage. 

However, the various digital signage solutions out there for small to medium concerns not only vary in cost from the cheap to the very expensive, but also in the type of service that is delivered.

The three current options include:

1. Digital signage using the now popular Software as a Service (SaaS) model, which cuts out the buying of any hardware or software. So if the SMB has access to the web, they can find and advertise on third party digital signage displays through a reciprocal advertising program. This so-called free digital signage solutions was launched almost two years ago and is common overseas.

2. The Application Service Provider (ASP) model requires the SMB to have a PC and/or LAN with the required number of display monitors. The ASP model then gets the SMB to access a digital signage application via the Internet for a monthly fee.

3.The complete managed digital signage solution where a network operator/systems integrator brings together all the required hardware, software, technologies and services, including the managing of the day-to-day operation of the SMB’s digital signage network. This is the preferred option of many government departments, however it is not so poular within the SMB sector.

 As with most technology offerings, a significant proportion of SMBs would prefer a solution that lies somewhere between the ASP model and the expense of using a complete and managed offering. This then opens up a tantalising hole in the market for the smaller and more adaptable digital signage solution providers.

Moreover, it is apparent that to penetrate the SMB market, technology providers will be at an advantage if they can stick to the following rules:

1.They are able to play the dual role of a one-stop shop and a systems integrator.

2.They can keep down costs by leveraging the SMB’s existing hardware and network infrastructure.

3.They can provide a proof-of-concept pilot that convinces the SMB of the technical and financial viability of the total solution.

4.They can provide the SMB with assistance on dynamic content creation and even the management aspects of the total solution.