Using digital sign software nowadays simply involves gathering relevant media files to be displayed in designated display terminals, assigning playlist and playback sequences, and real-time monitoring of the display terminals to ensure the ads are being displayed correctly. Due to this functionality, digital sign software is considered to be one form of what is called a content management system.
A content management system (CMS) is defined as an application that allows the editing, organizing, and publication of content from a central interface. The software that powers the digital signs seen everyday is hosted on a central server, allowing the company owning the software to have full control of the content that will be deployed.
Besides digital sign software, there are other examples of content management systems. Media and document servers, whether personal or business-oriented, are considered as a form of CMS, since the organization of files is in full effect. Blogs are another excellent example of CMS, since text, images, and other media that can be embedded can be managed either on the provider’s server or the client’s own server. The ultimate culmination of a CMS is the actual building of a website, where every piece of relevant media can be organized, edited, and then compiled into a series of web pages before they are ready for deployment.
Choosing the best digital sign software also means choosing the best CMS. Therefore, there are some things that a client must consider before getting such software.
First, the client must know what features are relevant to his needs. Many pieces of software that power digital signs have their own media players and organizers, but should they consider getting extra features such as regularly-updated news tickers and the ability to stream TV programs direct from those signs in the foreseeable future? The answer greatly depends on the type of establishment where the whole digital sign CMS is used. For example, a sports bar should grab a digital sign CMS that offers real-time updates on scores in major sports leagues as well as real-time streams of a hotly-anticipated game.
Second, the CMS’s editor must go beyond WYSIWYG. Due to the mixture of media involved, what one sees is not necessarily what one gets. A low-resolution video would look terrible on an HD display. Too much real-time info being displayed in a display kiosk would force readers to squint too hard. Editors must therefore be flexible and accommodating, especially in cases where the same ad must be displayed on different-sized display terminals. The media files to be displayed must also have to be optimized for viewing via their own inclusive editors.
Third, the customers should be the very first persons to listen to when considering optimizing content via a digital sign CMS. “Are the colors too painful on the eyes?” “Is the font so small that many people cannot read important reminders from afar?” “Do the signs use the wrong type of content?” These questions can be answered by the feedback forms the business can provide to the customers.
Fourth, roles and permissions must be greatly considered. To swat off hackers and other unauthorized personnel from posting irrelevant and sometimes sickening content to digital signs, many digital sign CMS’s have permissions that can be assigned to certain persons. One person can edit the content but cannot upload it, and another person can only post content approved by the communications manager.
Finally, versioning can be useful if something is posted by accident and it must be reversed immediately. The person overseeing the digital sign CMS can spot a hacked ticker, undo the changes the hacker made to the ticker, and then impose a form of blocking to prevent the hacker from ever touching the signs again.