3 Content Management System Thoughts

A week or two ago and as I often do, I was perusing the internet doing some digital signage reading.  In doing so I came a across a list of 20 Digital Signage Content Management Systems put together by HigherEdTechDecisions.  The quality and depth of the information they compiled is really good and not overly “techy.”

CMSAs I clicked through the 20 systems, most of them sounded familiar.  Naturally, a lot of the systems shared similarities with a unique feature or two of their own.  Considering our client base, I started to think about how these systems would work for them.  I was able to come up with 3 rambling thoughts.

#1- Most of these companies deal with complicated digital signage where they pull data from multiple sources.  For example, XML data, HTML 5 files, complex video and broadcast networks. They don’t understand signs, they understand hardware manufacturing and software development. Most, if not all, of the high tech features offered by these companies will not be used in 90% of digital signage deployments (at least our core customer). Consider it from the end-user’s perspective regarding to sign management; What is the most challenging part of sign management, whether printed or digital? – design, production and distribution. All of these solutions do a good job at the distribution side, however most seem to lack in the design and “production” side and only a handful offer the personal attention required.

#2- We are a sign company with 20 years experience and over time we’ve learned that whether printing or digital the core requirements are essentially the same.  A customer has an ad space and can fill it with a snap frame, light box, window, billboard, road sign, etc., and they need to get a message on it. The need for design is the result and usually this is customized to the size requirements of the specific space. Most do not design the sign themselves and require a company to do it for them.  Digital does simplify the process in that it standardizes the size so one design can be used across different size screens. This allows for the use of templates.  A good digital platform should make the typical sign process easier by offering tools to eliminate the constant need for custom design.
#3- Our customer base is typically not a one time customer.  If they buy a banner, it’s not usually for one time use. They don’t just advertise a used car sale for a month and never promote anything again. They come back to us on a monthly basis and advertise new promotions. The same goes for our digital customers with the exception that they are armed with the tools to do this on their own.  Again, most content management systems are good at the distribution part of the process but not the management.  A solution should not be difficult for the masses to pull data.  What it should be is a repository for content old and new that can be improved and changed upon within, as well as a vehicle to create new content and schedule it accordingly.
It is important to keep in mind that I am speaking to our core customer base in this post.  Should you have the know-how or the resources of an IT and graphic design professional all of these systems are equipped to deliver what you are looking for.  Personally, I keep circling back to ease-of-use; Even if you had those people in place, wouldn’t you still want it to be “user-friendly.”  Again, it is MY OPINION that involving tech folks in signage sounds kind of silly.
What do you think?  Let us know!  info@origindisplays.com  |  888-235-2579