What are your top three takeaways from a digital signage overhaul?
Is your digital signage system old or not working as expected? Are you planning a complete or partial overhaul? If so, it is important to specify the goals or takeaways you expect from this change and/or improvement. Recently, my company went through its own digital signage overhaul, targeting everything from the infrastructure and back office to end-points. My company’s takeaways were to limit the resources needed to support the system. This included personnel, time and break/fix support.
When we began our system overhaul, we already had more than 200 displays in place, each one controlled by a PC. While we wanted to expand our presence each year, we did not have the personnel resources to maintain this many PC-based systems, especially since they spanned multiple states and time zones. Reducing this number was paramount to our objective.
After much research and testing of many options in the digital signage realm, the decision was made to implement an IPTV solution. This would allow the reduction of the PC/display solution by replacing the PCs with a set top box (STB). We deployed an additional server in our back office infrastructure to facilitate the use of a multicast network to stream from the remaining PCs, which we now refer to as channels, to the STB endpoints. The PCs now send a signal to an encoder before streaming to the various endpoints. This allows streaming from one device to many as opposed to hundreds of one-to-one devices. The additional server employed allows quick, simultaneous pushing of the channel or channels to the STBs.
The end results have reduced more than 200 PCs/display combinations to 13 PC-based channels. In addition, another 75 end-points have now been added. This has greatly increased our corporate communications digital signage network. It also has allowed our limited personnel resources to monitor and maintain our expanded solution much more easily.