Must-Haves for a Digital Signage Content Management System
It’s no secret that we get excited about creating engaging digital signage experiences for customers and employees. However, we recently described why effectively managing your content may be just as important as the content itself. We also described how the success of your digital signage content management plan is highly dependent on the capabilities of your content management system (CMS).
If your digital signage network has grown beyond a few screens in a single location, your content management needs have likely also grown beyond the table stakes a basic CMS can provide. An enterprise-level CMS for a digital signage network should do more than content management, simply because effectively deploying, managing, and optimizing such networks requires more than uploading, storing and transmitting content to the devices. That’s why you need a true digital signage platform, one that excels at content management, then takes it many degrees beyond the basics.
So, what should your next digital signage platform look like? Here are seven core areas of functionality you should look for to maximize the value of your digital signage network and minimize the cost to support and maintain it.
#1 Content Management
While it’s clear that it’s not enough to just upload your content and transmit it to your digital screens, a digital signage platform still has to perform these basic functions well. It should allow you to manage and schedule distribution of your content all from a central location. It should provide flexibility to meet all your scheduling needs, including making last minute changes and scheduling playlists a year or more in advance. And since digital signage can be used for so many purposes and across multiple departments and locations, you need the ability to intelligently tag and segment your content assets according to the audience for each screen and experience. Further, your ideal CMS should scale to accommodate massive amounts of digital content as your organization’s digital signage network grows.
#2 Device Management
As your business grows, so do your needs for digital screens. Besides scaling for sheer size and volume of content required, the platform should easily scale to hundreds and thousands of digital devices across as many locations as your organization has. Even so, a digital signage network, regardless of size, doesn’t provide value when its devices are offline. Your digital signage platform should constantly monitor the health of all your displays and even allow you to address many hardware and configuration issues remotely, right from the console. So even as your network grows, the time and money you spend on on-site maintenance doesn’t have to. Finally, the ideal platform will allow you to leverage a range of media players based on the specific requirements for a given experience, rather than locking you in to a single, proprietary hardware device.
#3 Network Optimization
Yes, you want your digital signage network to be able to scale to accommodate the growth of your organization, but even the largest retailers and corporations don’t have unlimited bandwidth on their network infrastructure. That means your digital signage network must co-exist on the same network as mission critical systems like your POS and other operational systems—without impacting their functionality and reliability. Your digital signage platform should be smart enough to schedule content delivery based on your hours of operation and perform essential configuration updates remotely to keeping things running smoothly. And, for locations with many screens, the digital signage platform should allow you to download content once from the server and then distribute that content via the local network, rather than having every player always download its own content.
#4 Integration Support
Modern digital signage networks don’t exist in a vacuum, even when they are relatively small. But as the network and the applications it is used for grows, you’ll want—no, need—it to integrated seamlessly with internal and external content sources, live feeds, back-office systems, third-party analytics, and enhanced experience solutions. Being able to expand the types and sources of content you provide to your audience—without having to custom code everything to do so—can dramatically enhance the value of your network. It can also make possible digital experiences that might never be possible when constrained to internally created content alone. Selecting the right platform can mean the difference between a marginally useful network and a powerful marketing tool.
#5 Applications Support
Just as the world of available content is expanding, so is the sophistication of our customers and employees when it comes to their experiences. As a result, interactivity is quickly becoming the expectation for digital signage networks. Your digital signage platform should enable (not inhibit) your team to create compelling interactive experiences leveraging standards like HTML5 for kiosks and other multimodal devices, experiences that will engage your audience and keep them coming back for more. It should also support efficient content management by allowing you update the content inside applications, without having to update the application itself.
Does a typical CMS provide feedback as to the performance and effectiveness of the digital signage experiences you’re delivering? Not likely. But your digital signage platform should capture data and analyze it to produce real insights. Insights into how retail customers interact with your content, for example, could be analyzed against sales data in each department to find out what types and versions of content work best for shoppers. As your digital signage network continues to grow and evolve, your platform should provide all the reporting capabilities you need to optimize performance.
#7 Reliable, Scalable Architecture and Support
As you can see, we firmly believe a digital signage platform should not only be an excellent content management system, but it should do far more than content management.
Not surprisingly, we also believe that our ReflectView Digital Signage Platform is the best, most feature-packed platform available. ReflectView has been developed and architected by our in-house team to provide all these capabilities and hundreds of features, reflecting our more than 15 years of dedication to digital signage networks and content delivery. And as of 2020, ReflectView powers more than 400,000 experiences for some of the most admired brands in retail, healthcare, banking, and entertainment.
To find out more about all the capabilities, architecture, and features that deliver on all these “must haves” and more, visit our ReflectView product page or download our product sheet —and see how we can help you manage your content to deliver great experiences as efficiently as possible.