Today we can embrace the future of digital signage projects by recommending content delivery via Ethernet-based networks. Gone are the days of sneaker net (delivering USB stick drives to every screen) and expensive digital signage players. There are now many other options for content delivery to ensure that content is kept fresh and current. While it is now possible to embrace a small footprint for dedicated players, stick-based players and slot-based players, the reality is that all of these options fall short of the ability to deliver digital signage content over a customer’s network.
Streaming across multi-cast-enabled networks is a powerful, cost-effective solution to delivering enterprise-level digital signage content. Here are the basics of how it works. (I will go into more detail during the August 17 webcast. [Editor’s Note: See post-article comment, below.])
As an IT/AV digital signage integrator, or if you are acting internally as your own integrator, you will be asked to provide a cost-effective digital signage system that serves the traditional large panel/video wall display target, individuals at their desktops on their work stations and the capability of delivering digital signage to smart devices within the facility. Digital signage via IP provides the flexibility to distribute discrete content to different targeted screens.
Your customer has four to eight distinct groups of people to whom they want to deliver custom messaging. Content to each of these groups will require custom content specific to their needs, in addition to all of the groups that have some content in common, such as HR and corporate leadership. So instead putting players behind every flat panel and trying to find a digital signage solution that can deliver to each individual (possibly as a screen saver), or trying to find some app-based digital signage solution, consider the following option.
Determine the unique number of messages that must be delivered and recommend the purchase of digital signage players (considering your choice of content management system, CMS). Recommend these players be placed in a central rack (call it a digital signage “farm”), and then add IP encoders to attach to the network. Then you will need to provide decoders for the display end points, software decoders for the desktop solution, and do the same for the IOS and Android appliances. Some digital signage players have built in streaming capabilities and external encoders are coming down in price every month. None of this is rocket science, just a very different delivery platform than most have ever considered for digital signage.
You must engage the IT department. And, you must prove to them that this solution will not destroy their network functionality. The network must be multi-cast enabled.
By embracing and implementing this type of digital signage delivery, you are leveraging your digital signage player investment and embracing the path of content delivery of the future. With the right choice of CMS and hardware player, the client can easily change content, make every player unique or every player different to support the unique groups. This solution can also integrate easily with an emergency notification system to provide maximum value impact to your customers.
During the webinar we will go into depth on this design and how it works, provide the questions you will need to ask to bring this solution to reality, and identify the economics and the value proposition in using Ethernet (IP) to distribute digital signage content.
Author Mike White will lead the webinar discussion, “Embracing the Future of Digital Signage Content Distribution via IP Streaming,” when DigitalSignageConnection.com presents its 30-minute webinar on Thursday, August 17 from 2:00–2:30pm EDT. Mike is a member of the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board, which addressed the question of content distribution via PoE last May. Other answers can be viewed at http://www.digitalsignageconnection.com/webinars.