Focused on their core business, retailers—especially quick serve restaurants and convenience stores—are looking for easy and cost-effective ways to manage their signage systems. Having experienced the capabilities and costs involved in refreshing content and managing their systems in conventional ways, some companies are now moving to Cloud-based solutions. An increase in signage industry partnerships is also fueling migration to software-as-a-service (SaaS), as it is expected to help expand the size and reach of the digital signage business.
In a move away from its earlier signage solutions, Slim Chickens recently installed Delphi Display Systems’ Cloud-based CMS for six menu boards at its newest eatery in Fayetteville AR. “We made this decision based on the flexibility a Cloud-based solution would give our company and franchised locations,” said Greg Smart, Co-Founder/Chief Marketing Officer. “At several of our locations, we have used digital menu boards to direct sales of certain products and feature more limited-time offers without the design and production time constraints associated with print media,” noted Smart.
Delphi’s platform consists of enterprise CMS software called Insight Engage, Insight Track drive-thru timing system, Insight Inform wireless communication system and Insight Verify drive-thru order confirmation system. Slim Chickens’ new location features four 46-inch Samsung displays inside and two 46-inch LG flatpanel screens at the drive-thru. Delphi worked with a third-party installer on the interior displays and all the media players. Delphi also designed the content for the six screens, using Slim Chickens’ media assets. UniStructures worked on the bonding and installation of the outdoor LCD panels. In its first-generation signage deployment, Slim Chickens’ CMS was integrated with its MICROS point-of-sale system, but at the new location, the company has opted for POS data integration only at the drive-thru for order confirmation, at press time.
In another recent switch to new solutions, Digital Solutions, a signage network provider, rolled out a pilot with six new Cenique media players running Wondersign on Coda Coffee’s menu boards inside Kaiser Permanente office buildings throughout Colorado. “We are particularly impressed with the ease-of-use and believe this device and software will allow us to install signage anywhere, using only hardware installers, without the need to send a higher level technical resource to complete the connection,” said Scott Davis, Digital Solutions’ Vice President of Business Development.
Digital Solutions has a network of 60 displays; about half feature limited onboard capability and media storage; the others use external media players. “We don’t want our entire network dependent on a single platform; some variety is the right approach, but the mix of an onboard player with a third-party app caused instability,” noted Davis.
“Wondersign’s application is fully HTML5- based to maximize stability. It is able to reload itself automatically to ensure that an automatic download of its latest version, including ‘bug fixes,’ gets distributed to all devices,” Davis explained. “Wondersign has a built-in ‘watchdog’ module to restart the app or the screen if there’s a problem, and intelligent real-time monitoring through the watchdog to detect, identify and solve problems 24/7.”
There are many factors to consider when evaluating SaaS-based solutions. Software with robust feature sets, such as scheduling of default playlists if schedules expire, can help eliminate the possibility of the dreaded blue screen. Data integration with point-of-sale and the client’s other data sources are also important for some applications.
SaaS-based signage systems are a powerful tool for growth, but they may be widening the gap between full solutions providers and signage installers who fail to keep up with the changes. As SaaS-based systems become more widely accepted, including this service in your offering may help you gain new business, and hold on to existing clients.