How can the digital signage industry support so many CMS solutions, and what is the future for our industry relative to CMS solutions?”
The future for our industry relative to CMS solutions
The industry is saturated with CMS suppliers these days. While there are many solid solutions available, there are a lot of “me too suppliers” that really do not offer sustainable long-term offerings. As a result, these will slowly phase themselves out.
The best CMS suppliers who will survive this are the ones that deliver flexible, scalable and effective digital experiences that can meet the ever-evolving needs and objectives of networks and seamlessly connect and engage with customers’ everyday needs and life.
Who will survive?
Some believe that “total solutions suppliers” that offer integration, content management and software all in one have an edge. While this one-stop proposition may seem like a benefit, I can assure you this is not necessarily the case based on years of experience.
Companies who lead on the CMS software side are typically those who are focused in that space. Some suppliers claim to “do it all” but sometimes have inferior software capabilities. Sometimes they leverage third-party software, have it re-skinned and don’t really innovate to develop their own software or provide significant customization or enhancements.
The current CMS Landscape:
Many digital signage software solutions where built for the primary purpose of delivering flat video and very simple content types. While brand messaging is important, the best CMS-software platforms deliver a more sophisticated communications framework — “an intelligent platform.”
Current features of CMS software solutions leading the pack:
- External Data Sources – A solid software platform has the ability to connect to multiple external feeds and information sources that would allow you to pull in data to create “intelligent content.”
- Flexible Permissions – In order to maintain a large network efficiently, the ability to accommodate multiple users and also have the ability to define roles and access levels to various different users and groups is vital.
- Intelligent Playback – the ability to define criteria for the playback of specific media on players without always requiring manual user intervention (smart playlists)
- Cost-Effective Automation – In order to manage a large network of distributed and unique end points, automation of content distribution as opposed to custom or manual end point management can save lots of money. For example the ability to:
- Automate screen sizing
- Automate content messaging/information
- Automate data
- Graphic Data Display – A good CMS solution should also provide the ability to automatically provide visual presentation of real or near real-time data (e.g. charts and graphs). A solid platform would not require manual user intervention.
- WYSIWYG Templates & Playlists – A solid software platform would offer easy-to-use tools for the creation and ongoing update of some content templates.
- Simple Web Interface for User Content Submission – A simple web interface (without coding) that allows users to submit media and text content via a browser should have the following features:
- Interactivity and Wayfinding – The ability to support interactivity and dynamic wayfinding with the system
- Supporting Different Screen Types and Devices – A huge consideration is choosing a solid software solution with the ability to run the same software platform on digital signage screens, touchscreens and tablets can save you so much money and allow for one centralized portal to push content to all screen types.
- Dynamic Content Resolution – the ability to dynamically support multiple resolutions for a specific piece of content (e.g. 1920 x 1080 content will automatically scale up or down depending on screen resolution). This would allow you to save costs in content production
- Powerful Local Data Capability – delivering unique and relevant information based on data (geo location/meta data)
CMS solution providers will continuously evaluate their products in an effort to provide compatibility and support for evolving technology and new methods of content consumption without having to completely re-write their software. The leaders today are future-proofing their CMSs to seamlessly connect with new IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystems and varying device and platform types as they surface and proliferate, providing ongoing updates as they surface. As new visualization methods take off like AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), MR (Mixed Reality), wearable technology and next gen mobile communication, the leaders will constantly be embracing and supporting the way consumers want to stay connected and consume digital experiences.