Digital Signage is changing the way consumers engage with your business. In today’s digital world it’s easy to get lost in all of the new marketing techniques. Gone are the days of printing promotional flyers and featuring products on large vinyl canvases. So how do you get back on track?
There are two options that you have as a business owner when considering switching to digital signage:
Cloud-based: All content that you or the host creates is managed on a server that is owned by the host and is accessible anywhere.
On-site: The content you create is managed by you on a machine you own, and is only accessible on that machine.
Both of these options are great for managing your digital signage, but how do you know which would be best for your company? Well, that answer is simple: “It depends”.
There are many factors that you should consider when determining which option to choose: How many digital signs are you going to have in your store? How many stores do you have? Do you have an in-house marketing team that can create and manage the content? How much are you willing to fork out as an original investment?
Overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we are going to dive deeper into the difference between cloud-based and on-site digital signage.
Cloud-Based Digital Signage
When choosing a cloud-based system, the upfront costs are often much lower compared to those of an on-site system and you have the ability to manage your content in real-time. There is no need to worry about hosting your data or having on-site servers that you need to keep updated and virus-free. With a cloud-based solution, you won’t need to worry about server updates and maintenance, which translates to lower costs for local IT support.
With a cloud-based system, your software will always be up-to-date. There will be no need for good bandwidth or high-speed internet in your store to access and manage the data. Not to mention, if you have a hiccup in your internet connection you don’t have to worry about your screen going blank. Most companies that offer cloud-hosting back up your content in a playlist cache. The screen will continue to rotate through your content in an offline mode without interruption; once the internet is restored the program will automatically update any changes that were made while offline.
When your content is stored on an external server, it can easily be managed via the internet. This makes it much easier to control your content for multiple sites and screens at one central location. This could be your company headquarters, your living room, on a beach chair in the Bahamas, anywhere!
Remember those upfront costs mentioned earlier? Most cloud-based systems are purchased through a monthly or yearly subscription and can be very reasonable. The only upfront cost to you will be to purchase the displays (which are typically TVs), and some companies will work these costs into your monthly fee if purchased from them.
Now, let’s talk about security. Even though the software is hosted at another location outside of your firewall, you will have access to the company’s security infrastructure that could be even more secure than your own home-based solutions.
- • Easy to install and maintain
- • Low upfront cost to your company, but you will have an ongoing monthly expense
- • No purchasing of an on-site server; all data is hosted in the cloud
- • All software updates and features are managed by the host
- • No need for local IT support or firewall protection
- • Media players will need internet access
- • No limit (for most companies) to the number of displays
- • Great for large or small businesses
On-Site Digital Signage
With an on-site system you are choosing to host your own content, which means a higher upfront cost and a lot more obligations. However, the ongoing costs of choosing this solution are relatively low, since there is no monthly subscription fee. You own everything, from the hardware and software to the displays and media players, it’s all yours!
Owning your own hardware, though, comes with great responsibility. You will need to keep your software up-to-date, rely on your own security personnel, and have local IT support. You will be responsible for applying updates, replacing old equipment (displays, TVs, servers), and all maintenance on this equipment.
Even though you own and maintain all of your own hardware, some on-site system users also use web-based content management software. These are typically fairly easy to navigate and will cost a monthly subscription fee. They can be helpful in managing your content and will allow more users access to make changes and to deliver content to multiple locations and screens.
Your content and software are only as secure as you choose to make it. You are in control of what security software you want to purchase: the good, the better, or the best. All of your data is behind your own personal firewall, which can also help with the integration of your own features unique to your business.
You are 100% in control if you choose an on-site digital signage solution. You create your own content, manage your own data, and maintain your own server, displays, and all other aspects. You don’t have limits on how many displays you can have (depending on how complex your server is) and you won’t have to communicate your needs to another company for interpretation.
- • Easy to start-up
- • Much higher upfront costs, but very little ongoing costs
- • Your data is hosted on your own server that you will need to purchase, add to your network, and maintain
- • You control if and when updates are installed
- • Local IT will be necessary to keep your server and screens working properly and smoothly
- • No limit to the number of screens
- • You will need a secure network and internet connection
Now that we’ve gone over the specifics of both cloud-based and on-site digital signage solutions you should have a better idea of what solution will work best for your company. A cloud-based system may work if you don’t have access to the overhead needed to purchase and maintain your own equipment. A cloud-based solution is easy to use and budget-friendly. An on-site system is great if you don’t mind the original investment and have an in-house IT and marketing team to maintain and design your content.
FasTrax offers an industry-leading cloud-based Digital Signage solution for all industries.
FasTrax Solutions Digital Signage includes a full suite of tools that will simplify your in-store marketing. FTx Digital Signage syncs with FasTrax Solutions’ POS system to update pricing on your digital menus and signs automatically when using the Products Feature. The UpLift customer-facing display educates customers on promotions, enticing them to make impulse purchases at the register.
Use FasTrax digital signs and menus to promote slow-moving products and create awareness for new ones, while simultaneously building store loyalty. Take advantage of sales trends by deploying ads fast, eliminating costly printing time. Broadcast digital ad content across multiple locations from anywhere using the FasTrax Control Center. Schedule your ads days, weeks, months, or even years in advance so you never miss a promotion!
- • Schedule your ads to run automatically using a visual timeline
- • Daypart scheduler to schedule menus or ads for different intervals throughout the day
- • Timeline scheduler allows you to build out months of ads, promos, and menus on autopilot
- • Easily manage mass updates to make changes to all of your digital signs in one click
With FasTrax Digital Signage, there are no contracts. Simply choose a package that suits the needs of your business and pay month to month without any obligation. Schedule a demo to learn how FTx Digital Signage can become your profit-generating powerhouse.