“How often does a digital signage network need to be updated in terms of hardware or software?”
There are many factors to consider when it comes to updates of hardware and software. I feel it starts with the initial implementation of a strategy. When first starting, the sticker price can cause sticker shock, and less expensive alternatives often might be chosen to simply put the burden on someone else down the road. Or, you can bite the bullet and overbuy a little to start out knowing that you will grow into it.
You are going to pay one way or another, and in the end, you might even pay more if you start with a weaker system. Let’s say you did the right thing and put the proper system in place from the start. You will still need to plan for periodic upgrades in your capital and expense budgets. New software is continually being developed along with more robust hardware.
Whoever is leading the project needs to be perfectly clear that this is not a one-time cost. There will be re-accruing purchases. If you are not lured into having the newest and shiniest toy, you can probably get a fair amount of time with the original equipment. It also makes sense to look at other opportunities for dated hardware and software, meaning identifying future use for it.
Not all applications need the most current technology. In summary, don’t be too stingy when making the initial purchase. As the saying goes, you can pay now or pay later.