digital signage board

DIY Digital Signage Software vs. Supplier Digital Signage Software

The human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than plain text. Furthermore, visuals get 94% more views than text-based information. As you see, visuals are key to getting your audience’s attention with it reaching 135 million people a week. These statistics and more explain why digital signage is a growing industry.

With digital signage, software plays an important in digital signage as it creates engaging content. Indeed, it provides the central platform for creating, managing, and deploying content for your displays. It’s easy to see why it’s important to ensure you choose the right software for your digital signage system.

When evaluating what digital signage software you want to pair with your screens, there are two options. You can either find a supplier or DIY your software. Yes, DIY has been a growing industry with a simple YouTube or Google search showing you step-by-step instructions. While there are some benefits to DIY, investing in a digital signage software supplier can also be worth your while. Some digital signage experts have built a reputation by providing reliable end-to-end solutions and services, including high-quality digital signage software.

Key Factors to Evaluate

Making an informed decision on which option to choose requires an assessment of several factors, which we’ll discuss further:

  • Cost
  • Installation
  • Features
  • Content Quality
  • Scalability
  • Signage Downtime

DIY vs. Supplier Key Factors

1. Cost

Many small businesses choose DIY digital signage software because of the low-to-no upfront costs. However, they neglect to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO.) This covers the cost of setting up and maintaining the digital signage system, as well as training your staff and all system users. While the cost savings implications of getting free digital signage software may seem apparent, it’s best to look at the bigger picture.

Also, setting up your digital signage solution will require an input of resources. Apart from the initial setup, you will also need to ensure you stay on top of ongoing security for your system.

Some digital signage software suppliers will charge you a little extra in set-up fees. Others will offer the service as a free add-on. In most cases, subscribers using the enterprise version of the software will have to pay for maintenance and support with a monthly or annual subscription, priced according to the service they receive. Therefore, it’s worth noting that most suppliers will offer basic support, at best, for the free version of their digital signage software. 

With DIY digital signage software, you have to figure out the best hardware to run on your software. You have to find out what digital displays and signage players are compatible with the software. However, it will require investing time in research.

Is the software compatible with Android, Chrome OS, Windows, Linux, and more operating systems or just a particular one? In some cases, you may find yourself in the trial-and-error cycle when finding the right fit for your own digital signage system.

On the other hand, a professional digital signage software supplier will often offer you some pre-installed media players. In this case, the pricing covers the plug-and-play combination of the software and hardware you require for your digital signage platform. Where the software vendor doesn’t provide the pre-installed hardware, they may give the best hardware recommendations.

3. Range of Features for Content Management

In reality, you can only do so much with free open source digital signage software. The software’s features and functionality are limited compared to what you get with software from a professional supplier.

With DIY digital signage software, you may be able to create, manage and publish digital signage content, but more often than not, this is only at the basic level. Therefore, the content management system is often less intuitive, and your team will have to put in the time and fulfill content update or change requests.

You want a full-feature, high-performance software that allows you to do some complex scheduling for your playlist. Additionally, you want a solution that comes with an extensive range of templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time you need to create content for your digital signs.

Moreover, you can easily import multimedia content and HTML5 from different sources such as RSS feeds, social media, widgets, and more and embed it into your content for display. To emphasize, the intuitive system makes it easy even for new users to easily manage and display content on the menu boards, kiosks, and other digital displays.

4. Content Quality

Tied to the features available for content management is the quality of content you can expect from your digital signage solution. Look around, and it’s hard to miss that the content on some DIY signage solutions doesn’t look as great as what you’d see on supplier software with powerful CMS. While the DIY signs may do fine with displaying slideshows, animations, and other basic designs, they may not be versatile enough to do as well with embedded content from third-party apps and feeds.

In this case, your team will need to put a lot of time and effort into content creation and management. Unfortunately, the results may not be the best, and the content displayed may not look good or be engaging enough.

However, you can look forward to excellent quality in full HD with professionally designed digital signage software from suppliers. With a diverse library of professionally designed templates and other content creation tools, you will have everything you need to create and manage professionally-looking and engaging content for your displays.

Furthermore, some suppliers will offer professional content design, where trained and experienced digital signage experts will work closely with you to develop designs tailored to your project and brand.

5. Ease of Scaling

Your digital signage needs will undoubtedly change as your business changes. For this reason, scalability is a huge deal and something to keep in mind even as you choose between getting software from the supplier or going for DIY digital signage software.

To repeat, content management is less intuitive with DIY signage solutions. Thus, your team will not have the easiest time trying to scale your digital signage campaign and display your content on more screens.

However, digital signage software from professional suppliers is built for easy scalability. Whether your business spreads across several floors or running a franchise across several locations, you can be sure your digital signage system is up to the task.

In fact, according to a 2020 report, there were 9600 digital billboards installed in the U.S. This isn’t accounting for other forms of digital signs, and going by the market growth trends, the number has definitely expanded.

6. Signage Downtime

You want to ensure there is minimal to no playback interruption. DIY digital signage software may not give you this guarantee, as you may find yourself experiencing downtime, especially following a power outage or a glitch in your Wi-Fi connection. In this case, you may have to restart your system to get back into it. Similarly, your choice of SD card may also affect system performance and lead to undesirable downtime.

On the contrary, supplier digital signage software is more reliable. Under-performance isn’t something you have to worry about. You also get technical support, covering software updates and hardware maintenance to ensure maximum uptime of your system.

A Good Return on Investment

Realistic 3D Dark Grey Logo Mockup Office Wall

On the surface, building your own system with DIY digital signage software and an HDMI-connected raspberry PI may seem like a great option. You get lower upfront costs and more control, but unfortunately, you may not get the desired functionality, versatility, and durability. All this and more is a guarantee with software from the right supplier. The use of digital signage will deliver a 46 % increase in customer satisfaction, so you can look forward to a good return on your investment.

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