Technology companies spend a lot of time throwing spaghetti to the wall to see what sticks. For instance, Apple releases a major iOS update every year to grant users more settings to play around with, all the while distancing itself from other smartphone operating systems. The same goes for digital signage providers. Every year they come up with hundreds of new features to make your content catch a customer’s eye.
However, so much time is invested in marketing these advanced features that we often forget the core features that every good digital signage system needs to have. Let’s face it, finding the perfect digital signage solution can be a daunting task, especially if there are hundreds of features to consider.
Where would you even begin to look? To help narrow down your search, we have compiled six core features of a digital signage solution that you should always watch out for.
1) Easy-to-use interface
When looking for a digital signage solution, ease-of-use should be the first thing on your mind. As a general rule, a specific digital signage system isn’t for you if your employees need days or weeks to learn how to use the software. It’s easy to lose track of your company’s needs when droves of digital signage companies excessively promote advanced features. While this may seem appealing at first, what small- to medium-sized businesses really require is a content management system (CMS) with a friendly user interface.
For instance, drop down menus allow content creators to easily navigate through different projects and find relevant features to edit content. Preloaded templates, images and videos are also valuable features to help companies get started, especially if they don’t have enough of their own material out of the gate. Of course, the user interface should also look clean and modern. When looking for the right digital signage solution, less complicated features mean more value for your company.
2) Content creation and customization options
Using static signs and plain content is the wrong approach if your company is planning to leave a lasting impression on customers. To establish your brand and engage customers, it’s important that your digital content is enticing, customized, and targeted towards the correct demographic. For this reason, your Digital signage solution should have content creation tools, which allow you to fully customize and generate content exactly as you pictured it in your mind. There are several content creation tools that we can talk about, but these are some of the more important features your CMS software should have.
First of all, your CMS needs to have the ability to add text, shapes, additional images and videos to make your signs more dynamic and better able to convey your organization’s message. Secondly, a good CMS should let you transform image frames and text layouts so you can get your Digital Signs to look just the way you like it. Lastly, content creation tools should allow users to add filters and effects to content, eliminating the need for post-production editing.
3) High-quality playback
Although there are plenty of factors that affect viewer interest, the visual effectiveness of the message can directly impact how many people engage with your digital signs. If the content does not match the screen resolution, you end up with pixelated and low quality digital signs that nobody will want to look at. In terms of video, streaming in 144p resolutions may buffer the video quickly, but the downside is a blurry display that causes important information to be missed, leading to a terrible viewer experience and less eyes on your digital signs overall.
Therefore, high definition playback on all your digital signage displays should be non-negotiable. And as there is a greater demand for multiple display setups in various industries, your digital signage solution should have the ability to consistently display high-quality images, videos, and content on multiple screens.
4) Content scheduling
An extremely useful CMS feature is the ability to schedule where and when to display your content. Having a formalized plan and intuitive digital signage software allows you to better disperse your content and deliver the most effective message, at the best time for your audience. Hypothetically, if your business decides to frequently update content at the beginning of the month but tapers off later in the month, viewer count and engagement will gradually drop to zero. Another benefit of content scheduling is it enables your content producers to organize unique content and budget time in advance. Scheduling will take your digital signage content management to the next level.
We’ve all heard about cloud computing and its limitless applications. It cuts down on upfront costs, enables collaboration, and lets you access applications remotely. Combine these benefits with digital signage software, and your organization now has access to multiple screens and digital content from virtually any hotspot. To phrase it another way, you can conveniently control your content outside the office and work on digital signage projects the moment inspiration hits you.
6) Commercial-grade media players
Media players are responsible for broadcasting your content on any digital display system. There are many products out there, but regardless of the brand, you need digital signage hardware that can display content to any monitor with an HDMI and VGA input. That media player also needs to be able to connect to the internet via Ethernet cable or local Wi-Fi. Since downtime is a huge detriment to your business, a media player and a digital signage solution that boasts nearly 100% network uptime is a must so that your message isn’t interrupted by technical difficulties.
The list of features offered by digital signage providers may seem intimidating at first, but there are really only a few key features you have to look out for. And if there’s one takeaway from this, it’s that a digital signage system is no different than digital content – it’s best when it’s simple, easy and uncluttered. When you’re looking for a good digital signage solution, be sure to keep these important features in mind.
Where’s the best place to start shopping for these essential digital signage features? At Mood Media, we make sure that these core basic features are readily available for your company, so you can focus on engaging your customers as effectively as possible.
– Submitted by Jeff Sheerin, Marketing