Let’s start, by directly referring to the question in the title – any Android digital signage ‘freak’ (like me) will immediately shout- Yes! But of course – this is the whole concept. The digital signage, especially it is based on Android, must be highly dynamic. Otherwise, let’s save the money, the effort and simply stick a disk-on-key every now and then to refresh the presented creative and that is it. Why do I need the software, the hardware, the knowledge, and the creativity? Well, that is true, the main advantages of Android digital signage is the ability to use a strong CMS, to easily control the signage content, for a business at any size, and dynamically change the content responding to business needs at almost real-time, but life, as always is more complicated than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ ….
So why do we need a sophisticated and robust off-line capabilities for Android based digital signage? Let’s take a business case: a project of digital signage for a company that provides transpiration services, deploying several thousands of tablets in taxis and mini buses. This project is not simple, and apart from choosing a digital signage service provider (Android, what else is there? 😉 implementing the CMS knowledge, setting the company procedures, the customer must decide what is more important for him – the project cost? or keeping it ‘always online’?
The difference can reach to up 20% of the project set up cost, and 25% of the ongoing spent (SIMM card and cellular line per device). The trade of between, ‘always on’ and ‘partially on’ is a business decision, varies between, countries, cultures, companies and mainly derived from the ability and need to dynamically change the presented content. The thumb rule is 4. If the business will require changing the digital signage content more than 4 times a day, the customer should seriously consider the ‘always on’ solutions. If it is 4 or less, the off line capabilities should be the perfect solution.
Working offline means, in a nutshell, that the current playlist will continue running, until the device is reaching a stable network and the content gets refreshed. In our example, the content should be refreshed when the bus/taxi reaches the station and the device can be connected to a Wi-Fi stable connection. The offline mode should be sophisticated enough to handle security demands and to follow several guidelines (like partial update, slow network, etc.).
As I mentioned at the very beginning, the answer for the offline mode for Android digital signage is not the one that pops up in your head at first thought. For transportation, the off line ability is critical! But not only – network failures happen everywhere and nothing is worse for digital signage than a ‘black screen’, offline robust solutions should avoid these scenarios.