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From big budgets to budget conscious: The true cost of Digital Signage

Digital Signage is an investment. When you decide to install a Digital Signage screen you are investing in delivering messages to your target audience. Whether being used for marketing, or even internal communication, Digital Signage comes at a price. With this particular sector of the AV still increasing in popularity a lot of people are still unaware of the true cost of Digital Signage; so let’s shed some light on the matter.

To start with it is important to say that whether you have a vast amount of money or a tight budget, there is always a solution for you within the Digital Signage market. Having a big budget of course makes things easier and for those with a tight budget it is just about having to become more open minded and realistic about the final result. Like I said there is always a way to get what you desire but the view might be different to what you expected.

Traditionally the Digital Signage setup was that an integrator would source an LCD monitor, a Media Player and CMS software to play their content on the screen. So essentially you ended up with three different products, all from three different suppliers and with three separate costs. It can get pretty complicated with that setup, both in terms of integration and maintenance. That is why there has been a general move in the industry towards all-in-one solutions. Our Android Advertising Display for example has an Android Media Player, a vibrant LCD screen with aluminium bezel and Digital Signage software that allows for updates via a USB; a convenient turnkey solution. There is no escaping the fact that this is a commercially graded premium product so if your budget does not stretch that far of course there is an alternative. Commercial grade Digital Signage Professional Monitors are a much more basic alternative to the all-in-one screen. These generally feature a more basic enclosure and in some cases even have a basic integrated media player but it is around 40% cheaper than its counterpart. However if the desired result is simple USB updates then this can be achieved with a more budget friendly solution.

Plug and Play displays are great if you have a small number of screens and/or locations and don’t mind updating via USB. The key here is to invest in a future proof solution so that if you add more screens to more locations you can upgrade your standalone screens to be networked. Upgrading screens to a network solution though allows you to update Digital Signage screens remotely. It is all about forward thinking. According to Tom at Allsee Technologies Ltd “You can purchase networked screens straight away but if budget is an issue and the project is starting off as small scale then USB updates might be the answer initially”. With Android Advertising Displays it is easy to upgrade the updating method as long as all the networking hardware, such as a Wi-Fi card, is already built in. If you have a Professional Monitor the solution is to purchase a Network Media Player and connect it to the screen. Another point to consider here is that with network solutions there is a usually a subscription cost associated with them regardless of whether you are using a Media Player with a screen or an all-in-one solution. Any reputable Digital Signage provider will have a solution that fulfils your requirements.

The key to understanding the cost of Digital Signage is first of all understand exactly what it is that you require and secondly to understand what the market can offer. As an OEM of Digital Signage products we have a true knowledge and understanding of solutions for all budgets. Touch Screens, for example, are a growing force in Digital Signage solutions as the world becomes more and more interactive based thanks to the explosion in smart phones and tablets. Touch Screens are still a relatively expensive investment. Many of the components are still the same for a Touch Screen as they are for a Signage Screen; Screen, Media Player/Internal PC and CMS software. At the moment Touch CMS software is complicated and expensive which is one of the reasons for the slow uptake of the technology.

For those with bigger budgets the daddy of all Digital Signage products is the LCD Video Wall. A Video Wall is a great product for those with a high cost ceiling as it can scale drastically to huge sizes. For such screens to achieve the ‘seamless’ look they need narrow bezels which can now go as narrow as 3.5mm screen to screen. Video Walls make a huge impact and can create a real wow moment in Digital Signage. For those wanting a wow moment but don’t have the budget some Professional Monitors can double as a cost effective Video Walls if they feature a built-in video matrix processor; this is what makes the display tile over multiple screens. The bezel may be more noticeable on a Video Wall made of monitors but so will the savings in your pocket.

To reiterate once again; whatever the budget for your Digital Signage project there is always a solution. The budget shapes what your solution will actually look like. The true cost of Digital Signage is what you can afford.