Since we started this company in 2006, we’ve watched the dramatic evolution of this industry. As the cost of hardware trends downward and the tools become more readily available, it’s been fantastic to watch digital solutions come within reach of the small to midsize business. To help those companies get started, we put together this list of common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Not Having A Plan For Your Digital Signs
This sounds so simple but is often overlooked. When talking with operators who are looking to get into digital signage, the first task is to establish what content they are going to display on their screens and how it will help their business. Some metrics are more obvious, such as featuring items on a digital menu board but others can be a bit harder to determine, such as corporate communication in offices or informational screens in a waiting room. Make sure you spend the time to identify the business needs that you have and how your signage can meet them.
Choosing the Wrong Digital Signage Software Platform
Figuring out which digital signage software is the right fit for your business can be a daunting task. Most of the companies out there love to show how smart they are with all the latest buzzwords but often tell very little of how their products will fit into your business. At SmarterSign, we like to start with the content and work backwards. First, look at the type of content you want to show. Are you looking to do a simple playlist of videos or a mixture of images, videos and dynamic data? Different platforms excel at different approaches. Once you have the content questions answered, you can then start to determine the hardware and software that is best for playing back that content. The most important thing is that you look at the content management tools before buying. I cannot stress this enough!
Buying Consumer Grade Screens
We hear it all the time, typically from the mom and pop operators.. “I’m going to [insert big box store] to pick up my screens”. STOP! Consumer grade screens have their place, (I have one in my living room) but they typically aren’t the best choice for digital solutions. Why? Commercial grade screens last longer and are designed for near constant use. They are better suited to handle higher temperatures, dust and other environmental factors that can be present. Consumer grade screens may also not have the additional inputs that some media players may utilize (VGA, DVI, RS-232 etc.) Finally, some warranties for consumer screens are void once they are in a place of business.
Not Looking at Your Total Ongoing Cost
The biggest hidden cost that is often overlooked is the cost of creation and updating content. A single design can easily cost several thousand dollars. Once this design is on your display, how is it changed? If you need to call a designer every time you want to make a minor change, that can amount to some significant fees. Even worse is when the content on the screens isn’t current and your digital signs are rendered useless. At SmarterSign, we believe in putting the business user in control of their content by offering a web based content management system that can be used by almost anyone. Updates can be done in seconds without a single call to your designer.
Getting started doesn’t need to be difficult and it doesn’t need to be done alone. Give us a call and we can help guide you through the process and see if SmarterSign is the right fit for you and your business.