When predictable is good

Predictable can be both good and bad when it comes to digital signage.

It’s bad when the content on the screen, as well as the layout and programming approach, looks much like everything else out there. To have impact, a network needs the stopping power of strong creative and an overall look that is anything but predictable.

But when it comes to operating a digital signage network, predictable warms the hearts of IT, deployment and operations people.

Ask anyone who has started and ran digital signage networks from the early stages, and they will be happy to relate all the mistakes made – among them a big decision to use consumer grade PCs. The problem, they’ll say, was that these PCs were anything but predictable. Continue reading

Tablets are great, but probably not as digital signage devices

The release of a new batch of tablet devices by online sales giant Amazon has raised, once again, excited discussions about using low-cost consumer devices as digital signage appliances.

The idea comes up almost entirely because of cost and form factor. First it was the Apple iPad. Then it was the Samsung tablet. Then the other Android operating system tablets that started popping up. Now it’s the $199 USD Amazon Kindle Fire.

Within an hour of the announcement, the first questions started popping up in social media, asking whether the Fire could do the digital signage job on the shelf-edges and countertops of the retail and public spaces world.

In the most basic terms, sure they can. A handful of digital signage software companies have stripped down versions of their technology that can get a scheduled set of stills and videos running on devices as elemental as WiFi-enabled digital photo frames.

But there are some big caveats that need to be considered before a retailer or network operator goes down the path of using devices, built with specific uses in mind, for something very different.
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