Managing a digital signage network of any size can be unnecessarily time consuming if you don’t have the right tools. If your company is using outdated methods to share content (e.g. static content on USB sticks, or unsecured computer terminals), it’s probably time to think about updating your digital signage content management system (CMS).
Today’s cloud-based CMS platforms make creating, sharing and managing content simple. They’re user-friendly which removes a lot of the support burden from IT departments. So if you’re new to digital signage, this post is a great place to start learning about the benefits, and how to pick the right platform for your business.
What Is a Digital Signage CMS?
Digital signage lets you communicate timely, relevant messages to your intended audience in real time or on a schedule. You can publish content to a single screen or to many, depending on who you want to reach.
A CMS is the software you use to control content on your digital signage network. With modern, cloud-based solutions the CMS is where you manage and schedule content to be shared at specific screens, anywhere in the world. Choosing the right CMS will allow you to update your screens and get your message across with ease.
Picking The Right CMS
Not all CMS platforms are created equal. Some have limitations on the types of content you can use and how much content you can upload. It’s important to do some research in order to identify the CMS that is best-suited to meet your company’s unique needs.
While there are several things to consider when searching for a CMS, two things you should focus on are the system’s content management features and its ease of use.
Look for a system that lets users create content in graphic design and layout tools they are already familiar with. This will save time by eliminating the learning curve that comes with new applications.
An efficient CMS will enable you to upload a large variety of content formats—images, video, slides, websites, feeds, and more. It should provide the functionality to lay out screens and kiosks using templates, or let you customize your own.
The most relevant content is also the most engaging. Providing automatic updates of news, weather, stock prices, and social media feeds are great ways to keep your screens populated.
Skykit recently launched an add-on social media feed powered by Seenspire to help customers easily pull in posts from their Instagram, Linkedin or Facebook feeds. This tool is a huge time saver and an easy way to engage your audience while you showcase your brand.
Ease of Use
The CMS you choose will be the portal to your digital signage network. Users will most likely be assigned in every department, so the CMS should be very intuitive and simple to use. Skykit is a great example of a digital signage CMS that simply plugs in and is ready to play.
The tools you use now to create content will integrate seamlessly with Skykit. Once you’re ready to share it’s easy to pre-schedule that content or post it with the click of a button. Look for a CMS that is so easy to use you’ll rarely – if ever – need to call on the IT department for support.
A digital signage solution is made up of three components all working together: the CMS, the media players, and the screens. A media player is the hardware that connects your CMS software to the internet and your digital screens.
Skykit runs on two different platforms—Chrome and Android. These platforms keep your media players secure and up to date.
Give some thought as to how you plan to connect your media player to the internet, since not all of them offer both WiFi and ethernet capabilities. Some commercial monitors are configured as a System on a Chip (SoC) player, meaning there is no external media player to connect. You should consider if this media player-screen bundle could work best for you.
Once you’ve decided on a CMS and media player (or SoC), you should determine which type of screen will work best with your content by identifying two things: where you’ll mount the displays, and what orientation you’ll be using (vertical portrait or horizontal landscape).
Mounting your screen vertically is an effective way to fit more information on a display. While you can connect your media player to any flat screen TV with an HDMI input, you won’t be able to use one vertically.
TVs weren’t designed to be used in portrait mode.
Commercial-grade screens are a good choice because you can choose to mount a screen in either orientation. Where you locate your screen is important as well.
Mounting digital signage in a shop window to show ads is a great way to get people in the door, but with a consumer-grade screen your signage won’t have the brightness necessary to turn heads.