If we look back on the History of Digital Signage And We try to study the evolution in this very dynamic industry we can see that even from that Digital Signage solutions for specific large organizations (Airports, large transportation hubs, Banks) was always a complicated implementation. I would like to explore the evolution of Digital Signage systems for Small and Medium businesses.
The old VCR (Remember?) started the Digital Signage Industry for Small and Medium businesses. It was a bit primitive, but hey, it worked. A business had set up few screens with VCRs, presenting previously designed creative (Movies or picture slides). The next stage was DVD Players, instead of VCRs.
The penetration of Personal Computers to every business and household, together with the reduction of PC prices, led most of these businesses to use PC and screen instead of DVD players, and Power Point presentations instead of high cost DVD productions. Up till this stage in the evolution – it was still DIY (Do It Yourself). The business manager called a bunch of technicians, they installed the Screens and from then on, he operated it. No special hardware, no licenses. But something was missing… How will the business update the content? Some used ‘memory sticks, and just went from screen to screen and updated it. Some used complicated and somewhat improvised connection solutions (i.e. LogMeIn).
The penetration of Broadband together with Modern Digital Signage Software releases brought the implementation to a different level – Dynamic (Remote controlled screens), fully equipped (Advanced features offered by Digital Signage Software providers) BUT Complicated to implement and maintain. This was no longer DIY – you have to call someone… The screen installation remains the easy part, but the players, Servers, Connectivity, Software training and set up demanded the professionals to reach the premises, to install, configure, train and provide ongoing support. The Digital Signage became a business for professionals and by that – much less appealing to Budget challenged SMBs.
We are now entering a new era. As the Broadband becomes even more available (and cheaper), the Hardware prices are dropping, the old Digital Signage Software is replaced with modern SaaS, Combined with the newly introduced Android based boxes (that provide the required CPU and network connection – We are back to Do It Yourself. The small business which has its own IT (or external IT services) can order these ‘Off-The-Shelf’ components (Screen, Android box, Wi-Fi,) use SaaS Digital Signage, and with no servers, trucks, technicians and even system integrators start building campaigns, schedule and broadcast!
System integrators’ life also becomes simpler, as these can offer more complicated services (Like taking ownership on the Campaign), with significant reduced TCO.
What is now left to do? Go online, Find your favorite Digital Signage SaaS, purchase the required ingredients – and Start you own Digital Signage network, this time – Do It Yourself!