The Advantages of Web-based Digital Signage

Advantages of web-based digital signage

In a previous blog on what web-based digital signage is and why it is the more promising architecture for the future of digital signage, we concluded with a summary of the key advantages of web-based digital signage:

  • More content sources and the choices will continue to get better
  • In addition, it provides unparalleled content control and scheduling capabilities. That will continue to evolve
  • And it provides a single CMS across all screen sizes and resolutions
  • Finally, it delivers hardware independence for players and screens: Windows, Linux, Chromebox, Android, SoC

In this blog, we will expand on these advantages and how they compare to traditional player-based signage solutions.

More Content:

The first of the advantages of web-based digital signage is that a web-based CMS supports almost any content type.  Any kind of content is easily added to your digital sign canvas.  In other words, the content which is generated by any of your favorite content creation tools.

For example, PowerPoint, or Adobe’s suite of products (AfterEffects or InDesign).  Likewise, dynamic content, live content, or almost any image or video file format. 

In addition, content from sources that need some type of integration. For example Oauth, RESTful API, or web-service API integration interfaces. Similarly, integration to the enterprise platforms which make up the fabric of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure.  For instance, telephony platforms from Amazon, Avaya, Cisco or Genesys, or office platforms like O365 or Exchange.  The integration options are limitless.

And the content sources keep growing. The older player-based architecture just can’t keep up.  

New Content Sources

For instance, DIY (Do It Yourself) design tools like Canva, Crello, or PosterMyWall are popping up all over the web.  They offer 100s of 1,000s of design templates collectively. They are based on implementations of HTML canvas technology.  With a true web-based digital signage platform these DIY design platforms can be integrated directly into the signage platform.  

Most importantly, the 1,000s of design templates, their customers use for email headers, Facebook, Instagram, posters, and many other digital and print forms, are easily included in your digital signage content.  One of the key benefits is that your digital designs look similar and feel in sync across all digital marketing channels. 

Integrated HTML Editors

With an integrated editor in a web-based signage platform, it is easy to select, import, customize, and instantly publish the content from the design templates directly into the signage platform.  So, an integrated HTML canvas editor in a digital signage solution gives you the best possibilities for templates.  Easy design customization. And signage content control.

On the other hand, the alternative is to download and then upload an image or video file.  Which is OK to do a couple of times. But when it becomes a regular process, or you need to update the content quickly in the signage platform, the integrated editor is the only way to go.  Ultimately, the download-upload process is one of the first things users get frustrated with.

A web-based digital signage platform works with more content types, in better ways, every day

Unparalleled Content Control and Scheduling:

A web-based signage platform offers more options for content control and scheduling than any other platform architecture. As a result, whether you are managing 10 screens in one location, dozens of screens across several locations, or a global network of displays, control is simpler.

What makes this possible is the ability of a web-architecture to instantly bring in a new content stream without requiring any pre-downloading of content.  And although this may sound simple, the instantaneous nature of a web-based signage architecture manifests in a number of powerful ways that can change how you design and control content play.  

Instantaneously Changing Content Play

Web-based signage platforms can build-in tools and processes:

  • That instantly switch content streams
  • And, will trigger content streams (switching caused by systems which are not part of the digital signage platform but have an interface to it)
  • In addition, it pulls in local information from the cookies of a player’s browser
  • And most importantly, it will integrate or split URL streams in a variety of ways. For example, it will merge the content stream of a URL within a URL

These capabilities are controlled from the server head-end.  And there is no need to have control at the client end. 

As a result, control is truly unique in the industry.  For example, Nested Content – like a Russian doll.  In the same vein, On-Top, or Over-Programming of content for urgent messaging or brief interruption of the content stream. And finally, modules like Advanced Emergency Management.

You have the ability to allocate control of the content on the screen in a variety of ways between central and distributed control. For example, head office and regions or branches.

Scheduling of content can be as granular as you like.  Each piece of content on the screen and during the play of the Show can be precisely scheduled.  As our customers like to say when they schedule content to play months in advance, they just “set & forget”, and know it will play.

A web-based digital signage platform scales with deep capabilities and across as wide a network as required.

One CMS, One Platform:  

Digital signs are an important communication channel, but they aren’t the only type of screen you will find in an organization. Similarly, room booking panels, tablet-sized screens outside meeting rooms, are commonplace in organizations.  And, video walls in lobbies, control centers, and other large venues are more popular than ever.  Further, different types of kiosks for wayfinding or other uses are frequently part of the digital landscape in organizations.  Likewise, in-meeting-room signage is starting to become another way for corporate communications to message employees.

Manage Content on All Screen Types with One Platform

Each of these digital screen categories is typically an island of technology.  They are not part of a single platform to be managed collectively.

A single CMS (Content Management System for signage), means that you can manage the content on all those different types of digital screens using one CMS.  The alternative, which is most common in today’s corporate environment, is to have a separate CMS and platform, for each of those screen categories.  

A single platform means that you not only have a common CMS for all the screen types, but the management of all the screens can be done using a single platform.  

Significant ROI In a Single CMS Signage Platform

There are a number of significant benefits which can be realized if all those different screen types could be collectively managed on a single platform and with a single CMS:

  1. First, IT only certifies one platform for security and integration within the corporate IT fabric
  2. Second, solution maintenance is greatly reduced
  3. And, licensing cost is reduced
  4. Further, back-end management of users, admin, what content plays where and when, and who controls it is simplified
  5. In addition, content is created and managed on all screen types, sizes and resolutions
  6. In the same vein, this allows the use of any of the CMS capabilities on any of the screen types. For example, scrolling messages or weather on your room panels, or room information on your digital signs
  7. As a result, it is easier to learn to use
  8. And finally, is the ability to use advanced emergency management across all the screen types. Use all the digital displays as part of a unified emergency management system, not just the digital signs 

A web-based signage platform makes it easy to move to a single CMS to create and manage all the content on all the different types of screens, including kiosk content which is HTML or flash-based. For example, an HTML wayfinding app can be developed independently, but simply managed within a web-based signage platform.

And having a single, web-based signage platform to manage all the digital displays across an organization, allows you to play and manage the content on any type of player as long as it supports a browser.  

Which brings us to the final item in the list of advantages of web-based signage platforms.

Hardware Independence:

With a web-based signage platform, you have the most freedom to select the players (PCs) and screens you want to use.  

The CMS will work with any size or resolution screen and the platform can manage almost any type of player which can run a full-function browser – Android, Chromebox, Linux, Windows, or even the display screens which have the System on a Chip (SoC), e.g. Samsung.  And you will be able to mix the player types if you want to.

This flexibility allows you to easily extend your signage platform to things like in-room systems like Zoom, Mersive, Cisco, or Crestron.  All of these vendors have browser-based, in-room devices that support a URL for signage, but older models for some of these vendors which are not browser-based, will not support in-room signage.

Freedom from Hardware Restrictions

To clarify, liberation is great, but be careful to select:

  1. Hardware which is built reliably or you will spend more of your time managing the unreliability, and:
  2. A player which is robust enough to handle the processing load of the content you plan to run on it.  

Let’s take a Raspberry PI as an example.  

Some of our customers use Raspberry PIs to play their digital signage content.  However, they have found that some Raspberry PIs run great all the time, but others overheat and must be reset once a week.  Low-cost hardware does not always cool properly and you end up spending more time managing these devices than you save buying a lower-priced player.  

Secondly, a Raspberry PI will work well with simple content, images, and some dynamic content. But, if you want to play two 4K videos on your screens at the same time, you need to get a processor that can handle that workload.

Commercial Player Benefits

We recommend commercial players that are designed for the always-on environment of corporate digital signage.  

Whatever players you decide on, do some testing first to make sure they can perform to expectations. In short, reliability and the smooth play of your content are critical to your success.

The advantages of Web-based digital signage are considerable.  And those advantages will continue to compound positively for web-based digital signage architectures.  Conversely, the traditional player-based digital signage platforms’ shortcomings will also compound in the other direction.  They will struggle to maintain and keep up with the pace of development of web-based technologies.

Advantages of Web-based Digital Signage – Why Limit the Possibilities?

If you do not want to limit your signage capabilities, you need a Swiss army knife-like, digital media signage platform solution which:

Display5 has all the capabilities listed above.  A true, web-based, small business or enterprise-class, platform.  

A true, web-based, small business or enterprise-class, platform.  Why not give it a try?  Sign up for a free 14-day trial today.

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