Digital Signage
in a few words
by Edward Kevbrin - CEO of Eggs TV

Digital Signage in a few words

If you want to remotely control the network of TV displays from your computer or mobile phone - you can use the Digital Signage system. In my today's post, I wouldn't like to go deeper into comparing different platforms and discussing their benefits (I'm sure Google will do it better). My goal is to explain in simple terms and without going into details about what it is and how it works.
For what purposes is
Digital Signage?
  • For remote uploading of ads,
  • For control the translation of files by time and place,
  • For live webcasts from IP cameras,
  • For live webcasts from websites, social networks, blogs,
  • For organizing of navigation through the premises
Digital Signage = software + hardware
All Digital Signage systems have two components: the software (1) and the player (2) from where the playback is performed. It should be said that often the program on the player, also called the player. To avoid confusion, let's call it a "media player". The task of the program is to playback the content that you uploaded to it remotely, with the frequency and sequence that you set up (the "playlist"). Whereupon, the hardware simply playback everything, like some ordinary DVD. In 70% of cases, software developers and hardware vendors are different companies. To "reconcile" them usually ask for the help of a third party - system integrators. These companies are looking for "running" combinations of hardware and software, and then carry out the technical connection.
"Insert, set up, run!" I'll tell you one thing. This never happens.
Indeed, for system operation, it is necessary to connect it. Otherwise, the only thing you'll see is a "black screen". On various websites and exhibitions, I often see words such as "Digital Signage is very simple! It's as easy as plugging in a flash drive. Inserted, once set up and everything always works!" I'll tell you one thing. This never happens. This is advertising software developers.
Ultimately, if everything is easy in the same way, what do system integrators do?

If you need a similar system, then perhaps you want to use it for your business purposes (it's doubtful that you need to control the screen in the kitchen at home) And, probably, you need to connect multiple screens in different rooms. Below are three standard steps.
3 steps to connect Digital Signage:

1. Find a compatible player and media player. As I mentioned, software and hardware vendors are different companies. Therefore, often there is a conflict between the first and second, there is a "black screen" or errors in playback.

2. Connect to image transmission networks. In the jargon they are called "low-current systems". This is all that allows you to connect together the displays and the equipment itself.

3. Connect to image transmission networks. In the jargon they are called "low-current systems". This is all that allows you to connect together the displays and the equipment itself.
So, where the mentioned difficulties are? At each of these steps. Formally, these are only obstacles on the way to the goal and if you want, you can separately go deep into each of them, and these are three separate industries: video production, programming and engineering. It's worth mentioning that in each direction there can be a separate good article, and it will require certain knowledge from the blog's readers. Let's better talk about the reasons people use Digital Signage.
No content - no attention
In fact, it's just advertising and content management systems. Without content, there is no attention of visitors. If you earn on advertising, then your content are promo videos, if you have your own business, it's your own advertising, videos and useful information. By the way, in the world practice the first type of users - DB operators (Digital Bill Boards), the second - DPN operators (Digital Placed Networks). And all of them use 3 different types of content so that the person passing by pays attention to their displays.
3 types of content for Digital Signage systems:

1. Infotainment. It is both information and entertainment. It has no profound meaning, it's created in different formats with an average duration of 30 seconds, short enough for the the translation time: news, weather, traffic jams, social networks, horoscope etc.

2. Background content. This is a good video without storyline, designed to create the desired atmosphere and to attract the viewer's attention for 3 minutes. For example, our video channels.

3. Licensed content. These are long videos with a storyline: sports broadcasts, movies and cartoons. To display such a video, you need the right of public showing.
Really, despite the fact that there are more and more videos on the Internet, working with them is not simplified. Good content, in the same way as before, you need to either shoot or search. In the later case, sometimes, you need to buy it. In Russia, the issue of rights for public showing is not so acute, but gradually the situation is changing. No kidding, public showing of the video downloaded from YouTube is not a good idea. Even if you really liked it. To resolve the issue on the right for public showing, you need to negotiate with its author and sign a license agreement. The cost of such rights is determined by the author himself. Any way, you can always do something at your own peril.
All that glitters is not gold
The Digital Signage industry as of today exists for just over 15 years. During this time, around 50 companies have appeared in the world that render similar services, and the entire world market is estimated for about $ 1.5 billion.

Each system has its own nuances. For example, the free version of FREE Digital Signage is
unstable on the Android system, and when you download and update the content you have a black screen with a download bar. Just imagine that during the update, viewers will look at preloading of the content! And in between video there will be screensavers with the logo of the software company. Open source software like Concerto and OpenSplash is perfect for you if you have a couple of programmers who can work with C++ or alike languages. There's a lot of open source code, and it gives a large space for imagination. Despite the fact that there are free versions, in my opinion it is much more reliable to use paid programs for which specific companies are responsible. As the phrase goes - all that glitters is not gold.
Total: from $ 1000 per sales point
Ultimately, whatever system you choose, you will need to purchase suitable equipment, as well as properly connect and configure it. At the same time, the market has both professional and consumer solutions to both problems. But in any case, you have to be ready for sizeable prices. The market works in this way Standard professional videoplayer of the famous brand costs from 60 000 rubles (from $ 1000) and this despite the fact that in 3-5 months it needs to be updated. In addition to equipment, you will need to buy wires, converters and carry out installation work (traditionally, separate companies is responsible for specific area of work). Therefore, you always have a choice: solve all the problems yourself, or find performers. A lot depends on your budget.
If it's cheap, then is it of poor quality?
Not always. In fact, everything can be done cheaper, faster and without unnecessary worries. In other words, without looking back to the laws of the market and famous brands. The equipment can be rented, and then the costs will be much less. Content can also be purchased much cheaper if it will be used by a large number of companies at the same time. Connecting to old screens and networks will no longer cause inconvenience, if those who do so, have enough experience in engineering. I believe that simplicity is the shape of the future. Thereby, for example, we do not offer equipment, installation or software. We make the basis for creating branded TV and release our clients from the routine tasks of its management, leaving a space for imagination. And the results of their activities, you can see in places throughout Russia.
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