7 Digital Signage Questions to Ask Yourself

As you begin to think about digital signage for your company or personal business there are certain questions that you should be armed with prior to picking up the phone.  These type of questions should help guide you to solutions that would be ideal for your situation.  Now that you have these questions in your back-pocket you may feel good heading in to a conversation or demo with a digital company’s sales rep.  Well, there is good news and bad news regarding this for most.  The good being that you are prepared to push back and uncover information that would not otherwise be revealed.  The bad being that most people go in to these conversations without doing a personal or internal audit.

QuestionsWhat I am getting at is that it is good to have pointed questions prepared but you can not lose sight of the fact that most (decent) salespeople will have questions for you as well.  Conversely, there are those salespeople who focus on features and benefits and will try to force you (a square peg) in to their solution (a round hole).  To be ready for the former and able to avoid the latter, there are seven questions you should ask yourself before engaging with anybody.

1- What are your plans for the screens? This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself; a question that could be taken a few different ways.  Consider that you are going to have a blank canvas to work on, what do you want that to become?  If it is just a still image, then there is no reason to call a digital company.  In another light, where are the screens going?  What messages are you looking to get across?  In your perfect scenario, what is the impact you’re looking to make with them?  The follow-up questions around this topic are numerous and come out naturally.  Take your time and answer as many as you can.

2- How frequently will you be changing the contents of the screen? Many digital signage companies leverage the ease of use of their system as a main selling point- “Making changes is a breeze!”  But what if you don’t need frequent changes?  Refer to question #1 and then ask yourself this question again.  Take in to account what you’re looking to accomplish and put that against your need for changes.  Some companies will handle changes on an as-needed basis and other, again, will show you what they have and it’s a “take it or leave it” proposition.

3- What kind of access do you want to your screens and content? You don’t have to be married to any particular way when contemplating this question however you may have a way that would work best for you.  A lot of systems are moving to a cloud-based approach which grants you access from any computer with internet, anywhere in the world.  Other include setting up your own network, tying directly to a computer onsite and to a lesser degree, some will provide “managed services” so you don’t have any access at all.  All of these come with their own pros and cons.

4- How involved do you want to be in the maintenance of your system once up and running? There are companies that are very transactional meaning that the sale is made, you shake hands and the goods are turned over to you.  From this point support is sporadic at best.  The same can be said for design; some offer, some don’t.  Some will offer templates that you have to purchase, but not much in the way of explaining  how to use them.  On the other end of the spectrum, you can have an all-encompassing, fully supported system.  A lot of time the answer is determined by the capabilities and expertise you either have on staff or close to you.

5- Why digital? Similar to, but unlike question #1 this is to be asked to make sure that digital is the correct approach for what you are trying to accomplish.  We receive calls simply because someone saw it and thought “it looked cool.”  I am not disparaging these folks because, heck, it does look cool.  Digital serves its purpose in a variety of roles, but it isn’t for every role.  For example, we did some stadium work and our client was contemplating a screen to list their All-American athletes.  Sure we could of introduced some cool images and videos of past honorees, but there would be essentially ZERO return on investment.  Further to the point, they’ve had only three All-Americans in the last 7 years meaning changes would be very infrequent.  You tell me, what makes sense here?  A thousand plus bucks on a screen, media player and design, or a $150 snap-frame and poster?  So when we ask “why digital,” what we’re really asking is “why digital here… or here… or here?”  Keep in mind that most of the time there is a good reason for it.

6- What does your lay of the land look like? Remember, it isn’t as easy as ordering some screens and popping them up on the wall.  There are a laundry list of considerations you need to keep in mind.  These include, but are not limited to the following:
- available space?
- do you have power in the appropriate space, can you get it there?
- if setting up a network in a large facility, are there data lines in place?
- installing on the wall and/or from the ceiling?
- where is the internet access point?
- are their security requirements that have to be considered
- (not the land but…) do you have the people in place to set some or all of the above up?

7- What is your budget? Pretty straight forward, what do you have to spend on this project?  The only thing I will emphasize on this matter is that no digital signage company can drive prices down on the screens, mounts and cables.  These are the most transparent items in the industry thanks to Google.  I bring this up because out-of-the-shoot you should know that for you average screen size (42″) you’re looking at $400 for a consumer grade screen (NOT RECOMMENDED) and $800+ for commercial grade.  So if you want a 2 screen digital system for $1000, be prepared to use USB playback and brush up on your design skills.

By asking yourself these questions and delving in to the answers you’ll be much better equipped to shorten your search.

What other questions do you think might be helpful to ask yourself ahead of time?  Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or email us at info@origindisplays.com  |  888-235-2579