There are three types of content tools you should consider when considering a potential digital signage solution. These tools all offer ways to carefully manage your displays to ensure they are as effective as possible. When it comes to digital signage, vendors offer a lot of bells and whistles. It might be something like a display with extra narrow bezels or perhaps a specialized widget for integrating weather information into your displays. However, with all these bells and whistles, it can be difficult to tell what's necessary for your digital signage and what's optional.
A flexible content management solution
The keyword here is "flexible." You want a content management solution that is going to be flexible to your individual needs.
For example, let's say you are running a university digital signage network. You want a CMS that can display different messages depending on the location. So the signs near the sporting arenas should display messages about games whereas displays near the science building should show science events. However, at times you will need to take over all of the displays to show one message, such as during emergencies. So you need a CMS that will be flexible enough to handle all of those tasks.
A good way to tell if a CMS is flexible is to ask for a trial period from your vendor so you can play around with its features and see if it works for you.
The most important part of digital signage is the content, but it is also the most difficult to produce. How can you make sure the content looks right on the display? How can you produce good content without sinking hours and hours into it?
One tool that can help is content templates. These templates can give you a good layout for how you can set up your content from screen to screen.
Many vendors actually offer a huge variety of templates with their software offerings. When picking a software vendor, you should ask them what sort of templates they offer and whether you can see any of them to get a sense of how you can set up your content.
The third tool to consider is remote monitoring. With this tool, you can instantly tell for example if a display is malfunctioning or offline.
Its inevitable displays will crash at times, either through hardware, software, or connection failure. With a remote monitoring tool, you can get a real-time alert if a display has an issue.
Another cool feature to consider is remote turn on/off and updates. With this, you can easily push out software updates without having to visit the display onsite or you can turn off displays that are malfunctioning until someone can arrive to fix them.
Of course, not every deployment will need all of these digital signage content tools. Sometimes, all you need is an LCD screen and a USB drive. However, if you are looking at digital signage, you should at least take a look at these features to see if they are right for you.