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How do you manage your company’s digital signage? Do you keep all the necessary hardware and software on-premises, or do you rely on a cloud-based network to handle the digital signage content management system?

On-Premise Solutions

Do it yourself homeownerWith digital signage on your premises, you host your own hardware, you update your own software, and you maintain full control over the entire digital signage system. This makes the upkeep and troubleshooting your responsibility. This is the “homeowner” approach. You bought it, you own it, you fix it.

The downsides to keeping your entire digital signage system on-premises:

  1. The physical hardware dedicated to it is costing you money
  2. The need for experienced technicians in-house to maintain, upgrade, and repair the digital signage server
  3. The up-front costs are high
  4. Hardware upgrades, while rarely needed, can be costly

Should you consider digital signage to be a capital expenditure, buying the entire system at the beginning and retaining ownership throughout its useful life?

With a system on your premises, you have maximum control over deployment. You have a lower cash outlay over time. An on-premise model is more expensive at start-up and installation, but over time it costs less than a cloud-based subscription service.

With an on-premise model, your own company is responsible for all software upgrades, hardware replacement, system maintenance, and equipment servicing. Do you have the talent for that? Do you have the physical plant for that?

While your displays and players themselves must be in-house, does your content management software really need to be in the same building?

Cloud-Based Solutions

The other digital signage model is to use cloud-based servers for the software and control component. The displays and players are still on the premises. The player connects to the cloud-server through an internet connection and to the display via AV cabling.

The cloud-based model for a digital signage content server has been on the market for years. Only with the rise of MS 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud, IT departments at last found a cloud-based paradigm they could trust. Businesses and whole industries saw the benefits of cloud-based solutions, including solutions for digital signage.

Should your company pay every month for your digital signage system as an operating expense, as a subscription?

When content management software is hosted in the cloud, you can reclaim the real estate taken up by content management server hardware. With the cloud-based platform, you no longer concern yourself with upkeep, upgrades, and repairs.

This is the “renter” approach. You own the displays and players, yes, but the server behind them is someone else’s headache.

Time MoneyWith a cloud-based model, you pay a lower cash outlay upfront, but you may spend more over time for monthly access fees. A possible issue: data integration through firewalls can be difficult. You may need more steps to get data integration to go from a local data source to the cloud than you would if the network were entirely in-house.

Making Choices

Look at data, look at budgeting. Consider your company’s comfort level with technology, with allowing the free flow of information to servers, albeit encrypted info, not physically in your possession.

At Unified Technology Systems we know you have many choices in vendors for your digital signage. Yet we also know that we are simply the best at delivering custom solutions to our clients. Please contact us today to see how we can help solve your digital signage dilemma.

Robert White

Author Robert White

In the AV industry and designing, installing, and supporting digital signage installs for more than 15 years. He is a certified 'Digital Signage Expert' and has written articles for 'Sound & Communication Magazine', 'Rave Publications,' and 'Sound & Video Contractor.' Robert has also been a featured speaker for Digital Signage Expo's Integrator Track, and the Infocomm Webinar "Digital Signage: Where's the Easy Button?"

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