Digital Signage Buyer’s guide – latest Update 26.10.2020
This digital signage buyer’s guide covers everything you need to know about buying Digital Signage service for your workplace. The guide also includes six quick tips for you.
The topics that we cover in this guide are:
- Start with your Business Drivers & Objectives
- Pay attention to the content
- The media players
- Digital Signage Software – Workplace Digital Signage
- Digital Signage Software pricing
Start with your Business Drivers & Objectives
TIP #1 Have a plan
Kind of obvious yes, but surprisingly this bit still is being by-passed waaay to often. The best and the right place to start with is your business case.
The business drivers go hand in hand with your content strategy. Content strategy replies to questions such as:
- What are our goals and business drivers for using digital signage in internal communication?
- Who is our audience?
- Wow can we identify the right target audience groups?
- What is relevant content to each group?
- Who updates the content and could we connect to the tools we already use?
We have written a separate step by step guide to help you to plan your content strategy for digital signage.
Click here to read more and download our free template to use in planning.
Digital Signage Buyer’s guide – Pay attention to the Content
TIP #2 Although content strategy covers a lot regarding content, we provide some ground rules regarding good content.
- Content is related to your business drivers i.e Health & Safety -> then show the trend of the near miss data or the amount of accident free days. Or share the latest news across different business units -> display the daily company wide news directly from your intranet.
- Content is relevant to your target audience. Identify the different target audience groups.
- With digital signage you can target your communication in a way that the relevant local content to specific audiences can be set with a higher weight compared to general information as an example.
- Content is up to date
- We cannot emphasise the importance of keeping the content up to date enough. But not to worry, as content updates can be 100% automated with various apps. Apps can connect right with those relevant business systems and data sources.
- Some of the different Content types
- Animated data visualizations – advanced Digital Signage platforms have integrations and apps (self service and/or custom built) for different data visualizations. Data driven content is highly demanded as it is very effective.
- Text and images are the main types of content to used around workplace.
- Brand videos are used in some cases +Social media apps as an example consist of text, images and/or video clips.
Typically videos are mostly used in the lobby areas, where visitors meet the content.
Text, images and data visualisations are the main content types used in internal communications.
Digital Signage Buyer’s guide – The Media Players
A media player is a small computer that connects to digital signage service and updates the content on the screen according to the given settings.
Roughly put the mostly used media players in workplace digital signage can be divided into two categories: The ones that support HD image quality and the ones that support 4K.
Setting up the media player is easy. Typically they come pre-configured and are ready to play your content out of the box. You just need to connect one to power source, to your display and to network (using WIFI or LAN cable). A media player can be placed on a flat surface or can be mounted i.e behind the screen.
It is important to remember that all the HW needs around the offices to be managed remotely. This can include the right security policies and lock downs, along with OS updates and remote trouble shooting capabilities.
The price of a standard media player varies according to the manufacturer, but a 300 – 900 eur budget for a quality media player (HD) is a good rule of thumb.
Digital Signage Software – Workplace Digital Signage
The platforms have typically been called Content Management Systems (CMS) for digital signage. Nowadays the modern platforms are not so much about content management anymore, but more likely content automation platforms.
Using these services you will set the structure for automated content updates and then can forget about it for a while.
Software (platform) is one of the most important pieces of your solution. Digital Signage platform needs to be able to scale as your needs grow. You might also like to read more about
Workplace Communication Future Trends.
The software is the wrong place to save money, as it will cost you much more later on.
Keep on reading below to find out why:
One of the key functions of digital signage platform is the ability to integrate to different applications for the being able to pull and update the relevant content to target audiences.
Integrations pull relevant content from various business systems such as Intranet, Social Media, CRM or Media / PR monitoring applications.
This makes automated content updates possible and life so much easier for the HR or Communication team that is looking over this media.
Avoid this risk for failure:
The number one reason why customers have previously failed with digital signage in the workplace has been the laborious manual content management. You can not rely on updating all content manually. It is impossible to stay relevant with just manual updates.
The most advanced digital signage platforms are now cloud based. They do not require any in-house installations and can scale according to your needs serving the needed amount of displays.
TIP #3When choosing the right software for your needs, ask these questions:
Is the service built for workplace communication?How do we make sure the content is up to date -> how much content update automation do we need, can the service provide us that?How well does the system integrate with the needed office applications i.e Our Intranet, Social Media, Press Releases, KPI dashboards?Future needs – How does the service develop further when our needs grow?
Digital Signage software pricing
TIP #4 Remember to Include the platform and content apps into your budget.
It is good to recognise that typically the pricing can come in many forms:
- Some services provide just the platform, but not content.
- In some cases the services include the platform and content apps – that makes it easier for the company using the service.
So, remember to include content apps and the platform into your pricing to avoid any surprises later on.
Pay-As-You-Go vs. License based
Roughly put there are three types of pricing models available for digital signage:
- Licenses for 12, 24 or even 36 mths. This is how it has been for a while, but might not be the most flexible solution anymore.
- Subscription based model – pay per month Subscription fees give you more flexibility to scale up or down.
- Consumption based model – pay per day
- Consumption based pricing is the most modern pricing model that gives you the full transparency and flexibility according to the actual usage.
- This pricing model is also the most risk free and scalable from the customer’s point of view.
- As an example if a department with a few digital signage displays is moving and not using the service for a while, they will not be charged for the service during that period of time that the displays (media players) are offline.
Digital Signage needs a network to connect to the cloud. There are not that many restrictions or requirements regarding the network, when we are talking about cloud based modern digital signage services; An access to public internet is required (tcp/443 (https).
TIP #5 Digital Signage media players can be placed into a separate network from the company wide area networks. This can makes life easier for everybody, including IT department.
Displays along with the content are the most visible part of digital signage services. There are a few points good to consider when choosing the right display for your needs.
Professional displays have been built for continuous usage. However digital signage displays in workplace do not necessarily need to be on 24/7, thus saving energy and environment. This can also save money when buying the display – you can go with 16/7 operation
Screen technology is developing fast and the prices are declining as we go. 4K screens offer fantastic image quality, but you need to keep in mind that your digital signage software, content and player need to support 4K for you to benefit from the solution.
Manufacturers provide remote display management solutions for companies to make sure the display setup and configurations are in line. Displays also receive software updates like any other computer. Updates can also be managed centrally with the right tools.
Some of the largest manufacturers for professional display solutions are Samsung, LG, NEC Panasonic and Planar.
Turn your existing displays to Digital Signage display
TIP #6 You can turn basically any (modern) display to be a digital signage display using a media player. The media player can be connected to the displays using HDMI input. This can save you money as companies tend to have existing displays already at hand.
For further reading you might like:
Top 3 tips to effective workplace digital signage content strategy
Workplace Digital Signage for Internal Communications
Digital Signage for Production Facilities