Get An Digital Signage Systems Integrator.
You’ve probably bought or leased a car at some point in your life and gone through the confusion, angst and frustration of dealing with a wide variety of sales people and of assessing vehicles in your price range that all looked and worked the same.
Now multiply your buying options and your sales encounters by 10 or more; that will give you a somewhat terrifying sense of what it can be like for a person charged with putting a digital signage network together for a company or organization.
While there are only a few dozen car manufacturers, there are at least 100 digital signage software companies with products that do the same thing and they all market themselves as the best, the fastest and the easiest.
Then there are dozens of flat panel display options, scores of media players and a constantly shifting landscape for operating systems and technology enhancements like interactive and mobile.
Often, the person charged with making sense of it all goes to a trade show to build up knowledge. They fly home from the show three days later, dazed and utterly confused.
Some fight through it and make decisions. Some seek re-assignment. And the smart ones get a systems integrator to help sort it all out.
OK, What’s That?
A digital signage systems integrator – or solutions provider – is a company that specializes in helping its clients think through, plan and execute an optimal set-up for the tasks at hand.
Often, they’re a single source solution that can handle everything from working with clients to putting substance to an idea or aspiration and taking them all the way through to deployment, management and ongoing monitoring.
Systems integrators often have specialties. There are local, regional, national and multinational companies that have digital signage specialty practices. The most suitable are those that lead with signage and don’t just include that term in a laundry list of everything from surveillance systems to videoconferencing.
Why Get Help?
An experienced integrator will filter a lot of the marketplace noise and narrow down the options based both on what a client needs and what they know about the options and the companies selling them. Integrators are usually interested in doing much more than selling “stuff” to the clients, making some margin and moving on. Their business is also about recurring revenue from providing outsourced services.
In other words, the larger, better systems integrators will take on the work the client doesn’t know how to do, and doesn’t want to do. Usually, it’s not only the better and easier way to go for end-users but it saves money.
Here are some of the key arguments for integrators:
A systems integrator often provides a turnkey solution with all of the services to get a client’s network up and then keep it running. That means end-users don’t have to do all the legwork of finding the right screen manufacturer, software company, media player manufacturer, mount, cabling company, connectivity, installation and so on. It also means they don’t have to worry about making it all work together.
Systems integrators don’t usually manufacture hardware or develop software. Working with an integrator that leverages multiple platforms means end users are not being steered to requirements that just happen to align with what an integrator sells. A great systems integrator will put together the solutions that fits the need. You want to be wary of a company that has just one software option because it may suit that company’s commercial and operating needs far more than your network’s needs.
A software company or local solutions provider can probably pull the pieces together to get a decidedly local project up and running. The problem comes when projects grow in scale and scope. If you have a large project, a lot of locations to support or just don’t have the team to implement your solution, you’ll appreciate the scalability of a nationwide integrator. Most integrators offer project management by formally trained project managers who guide everything from procure through installation. They keep projects on the rails and ensure the resources are there to deal with the challenges of rapid growth and installations that are no longer just across town.
Digital signage is more than just hardware and software. Having the services available to manage and maintain your solution is critical; it gives you the flexibility of operating your solution internally and relying on the experts to manage everything or sourcing out only what you need. The biggest one: creative. Many companies say they have creative resources, but few have them in-house and even fewer have people in place with creative director on their business card. If you are looking for a solutions provider that offers creative, have a look at their portfolio and ask to meet the team.
Digital signage doesn’t, at first glance, look terribly complicated. It’s screens fed by computers, connected over the internet, right?
But there are a lot of moving parts, and many nuances that make getting it all right a big challenge. Getting it wrong can cost a lot of money, waste a lot of time and cause a lot frustration for everyone involved.
There are people and companies out there who wake up in the morning thinking about this stuff. They can get you to the right decisions and make your project thrive. Contact us with any questions.