“What are effective cost-reduction strategies that can be employed with digital signage to keep your capital investment and maintenance low?”
This is a good question, and one that we all struggle with, as signage projects can get very costly very quickly.
From our perspective, we’ve always tried to keep our maintenance costs low by having in-house experts trained to solve the problems of both hardware and software, so not having to rely on contractors/consultants to handle the day-to-day maintenance of any of our signage units. Alternatively, you can contract with a larger national support group, and have them handle your day-to-day. If you do not have dedicated signage/IT staff, this can save you those costs and potentially gain you access to a full team of people/skillsets.
As for the initial capital investment, there are several ways to save, though they are not always recommended. Most products from the display side can be sourced through Chinese/other foreign manufacturers, and you can dramatically lower your costs, but there are major caveats there. You have to truly know what you are asking for, have it well documented, and have a trust factor in the business relationship as these are not the major manufacturers you would normally think of. You may also have problems in the future regarding support, as they’re not local, or even replacement parts, unless you’ve ordered enough to cover the lifespan of whatever signage you’ve purchased. So there are definitely ways to lower your initial capital investment, but at the cost of the reputation, support, and quality of the larger known players in the market. Sometimes that support is invaluable to your project/installation, and you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by going with the reputable organizations out there.
Whether or not that is worthwhile to you is highly dependent on what you determine matters most.