Digital Signage Monthly Fees & What it Gets You

The dreaded monthly fee;  the chief concern when it comes to digital signage for some.  When it comes to pricing, it isn’t uncommon for this to be the first questions asked, “are there any monthly fees?”  I am not here to tell you that the only viable and true solutions are those that carry monthly fees, not at all.  In fact, there are file management-type systems that should be used for those who make changes “once in a blue moon” or for those with the internal manpower to manage a network and content on a day-to-day basis (although in this situation just keep in mind that companies are not paying a monthly fee but are paying a human being instead- guessing it is more too!).

monthly-feesThe point I am trying to make is that there are a number of buckets that prospective buyers can fall in to.  However, there is a common misconception or lack of education that make people leery of  cloud-based (monthly fee) systems.  It doesn’t help that there are companies that make “NO MONTHLY FEES” one of their primary selling points.  I read that and interpret the following, “OK so I am going to have to pay for training and support every time I need it, I am probably going to be tethered to my system from a single computer on-site, I might even have to spend the money on setting up my own network (for menu boards), and when it comes time for content changes, forget about it.”  On the flip side, the list of benefits are substantial with systems that carry a fee.  Though some people look at them and think “well I am never going to need that”… until they do.

It is important to note that the following benefits of a cloud system are general.  The extent of what you would get from each company would likely differ from one to another.

Access to your screens from any computer in the world with internet access- With a username, password and internet browser you are able to make changes to your screen from anywhere.  A lot of other systems require you to be at the location to make such changes.  Most owner-operators are working the work while the restaurant is open and take the opportunity to decompress and create and schedule content for the coming days, weeks, and months from home in the evening.  Alternatively, you can spend thousands to set up a network to accomplish the same end result.   

A general misconception is that since these solutions are web based is that if a connection is lost the contents discontinue on your screen(s).  Unless an RSS feed is pulled in, there is nothing  in terms of playback that is reliant on the internet.

Unlimited user and technical support- The meter is not running.  A screen has gone black, you’re having trouble getting that image to appear the way you’d like, you need assistance scheduling new content?  These are just some of the examples of what would be covered.

Training whenever you need it-  Specifically in QSR environments, turnover is common.  Rather than having to be concerned with being a trainee turned trainer, the new manager, marketing personnel, partner, whomever, can be turned over to the supplying digital company for training on the system.

Price, menu and promotion changes-  This is pretty self-explanatory.  As long as you’re not looking to redesign and change the entire architecture of your content, these monotonous tasks will be done for you.  ”Raise all my prices a nickel” – Done!

Access to evolving and updated software-  As new features are being added you have them passed along to you.  So you’re not sure how to use them?  That’s OK because remember, you have unlimited user support.  We’ve seen instances of this with new widgets being added and additional templates being designed and introduced.

Unlimited storage- A lot of times you are given a finite amount of storage on certain playback devices.  However with cloud-based systems the storage is  quite often unlimited.  What does this mean for you?  First and foremost you don’t have to worry about managing your available space.  Additionally, you can add as many pictures and videos as you’d like and hold on to existing, but not currently scheduled, content for future use and design inspiration.

Unlimited users on the account- Because the account is online and accessible from anywhere, it makes it easy to create new usernames and passwords for additional users.  Taken further, you are able to permit or restrict as much access you want the new users to have within the system.  For instance, your GM can only remove items if you run out or your designer can only make content changes, whereas an administrator can do anything.

Well there you have it; some of the perks of going with an subscription based system.  It is important to note that if you don’t see yourself making use of such services, then these aren’t the right solutions for you.  But the one thing you can’t do is talk yourself in to that thought just to convince yourself that monthly fees are evil.  If you don’t think that purchasing and USING a system like this wouldn’t increase your sales of a promoted (for example) specialty pizza, then I hate to tell you, your pizza probably isn’t that good.  That is rarely, if ever, the case and if these systems are used in the manner it’s intended the monthly fees are covered ten-fold.

So what about you?  Are you dead-set against monthly fees or do you see the benefit in these types of systems?  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.  Leave a comment below or give us a call at 888-235-2579 | info@origindisplays.com