3 ways to keep digital signage software within your budget
Many end users approach digital signage adoption carefully, because it is very easy to break the bank. It's easy to sink a lot of cash into an expensive 4K or even a 3-D solution only to realize you don't have much leftover for content creation or software to power that content. When picking up the individual components for your digital signage, such as the software, you need to plan carefully to save money.
There are three key ways you can do this: know what you need, pick features carefully and negotiate carefully.
Know what you need
It is critical before you start your project to know exactly what you need, whether you are a retailer, construction company or hotel, as otherwise you will end up wasting money.
Jon Hutson, marketing and communications director for Vermeer Southeast, a construction equipment provider, said his company determined it needed an intuitive digital signage solution.
Huston said Vermeer was looking for a solution to provide the "ability for user to customize and update design layout, and manage multiple store's signage with an intuitive online interface."
Sean Matthews, president and CEO of Visix, emphasized the importance for end users to define their objectives before purchase, otherwise you might end up with the wrong solution.
"If you invest in a platform that was designed for retail signage and your objective is to create a virtual concierge to assist guests at your hotel, you made a big mistake. Digital signage workflows can be very specific to the vertical markets they serve," Matthews said.
Pick features carefully
Next, you need to carefully consider what features to include in your software package. Feature add-ons can rack up the digital signage bill, and so you need to make sure you actually need those additions.
Matthews offered up cloud content management solutions as an example of a solution that might cost expensive down the road.
"Hosted cloud solutions can save you money up front, but you might not be able to afford the annual subscription if your future budget is reduced. Perpetual license costs and hosted cloud fees converge at about 36 months. After that, you might be paying more for the subscription," Matthews said.
At the same time, using simple solutions like a USB drive to power content might save you some money, but may also cost time as you have to remove the drive each time to update content.
On a simpler level, if you don't need a tool like weather feeds or social media integration, you can always consider a cheaper solution that doesn't include these elements.
Finally, you need to be able to use those old sales tactics to get a better deal. Matthews recommends you negotiate costs directly with your vendor. If you are informed about what competitors are offering you may be able to use that information to gain a better price.
You will need to carefully research digital signage software solutions to get this information. You can use research tools like the Digital Signage Software Comparison Guide which can give you a broad picture of what solutions are out there and how they compare to each other.
At the end of the day, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to make your digital signage successful. You have to make the technology work for you and not the other way around.