- Customer Engagement
POS and CRM: A Powerful Partnership for Business Growth
Forget cash registers and Rolodexes. Today’s point-of-sale solutions double as powerful POS and CRM systems,…Read More >>
Whether you’re using cloud or on-premise digital signage solutions, let’s explore this new way customers 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.
The solution: Digital signage. In fact, digital signage’s use in business is growing rapidly.
Market.us projects the digital signage industry will grow 7.7% over the next decade. And digital signage will play a significant role in:
So how can businesses start with digital signage?
Well, there are two options you have when considering digital signage:
Both options are great for managing your digital signage, but how do you know which would be best for your company? Well, the answer is: “It depends.”
There are many factors that you should consider when determining which option to choose:
Overwhelmed? Don’t worry. We will dive deeper into the difference between cloud-based and onsite digital signage in this guide.
Cloud-based software enables companies to access, manage, edit, and store data via a cloud-based platform.
A few of the best examples of cloud-based software include: Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack or Canva.
A cloud digital signage solution means that you upload your signage content to the web. Additionally, you manage your software through a web platform, and your digital displays then access this content via the web.
There are three main things to know about cloud-based digital signage software:
Here are a few of the best features and benefits of a cloud digital signage solution:
With a cloud-based system, your software will always be up to date. This allows users easy and uninterrupted accessibility. Also, it gives flexibility for multiple users to access the system at the same time.
Cloud-based digital signage systems don’t require good bandwidth or high-speed internet in your store to access and manage the data.
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 for one central location. This could be your company headquarters, your living room, or a beach chair in the Bahamas, anywhere!
When choosing a cloud-based system, the upfront costs are often much lower than those of an onsite system. 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.
Moreover, there is no need to worry about hosting your data or having onsite servers. This, again, helps in lowering costs as you need not invest in keeping your software updated and virus scanners.
You can manage your content in real time. There is no need to worry about hosting your data or having onsite 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.
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 offline mode without interruption. Once the internet is restored, the program will automatically update any changes that were made while offline.
Cloud-based digital signage software is considered to be highly secure. Even though the software is hosted at another location outside your firewall, you will have access to the company’s security infrastructure that could be even more secure than your home-based solutions.
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 buy the displays (typically LCD TVs) and potentially a digital media player.
On-premise software is installed directly on your computer. You might download it from the web or (in the past) purchase a disk version, and then install the software on your computer.
Therefore, all the data will be saved to your computer’s hard drive. In cloud-based software, the data can be used from anywhere; and no software download is required.
Some of the best examples of on-premise software include: Microsoft Office, Adobe (legacy products), e.g. you purchase a version or download of the software and install it directly to your computer’s hard drive.
Note: Many on-premise or legacy software solutions (like Office and Photoshop) are moving to the cloud.
An on-premise digital signage system means that 1) the content is hosted on a computer in the store, and 2) the manager tools can only be accessed by a computer in the store. The displays, therefore, are wired or communicated wirelessly with your server to deliver content.
When using on-prem software, the company has complete ownership of its hardware and software. This gives the company full control, authority, and complete management of its system’s security.
Here are a few of the best benefits of cloud-based digital signage solutions.
Your content and software are only as secure as you choose to make them. All your data is behind your firewall, which can also help integrate your features unique to your business.
You are 100% in control if you choose an onsite digital signage solution. You create your content, manage your data, and maintain your 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.
The onsite digital signage software can easily integrate with other applications based on your requirements.
Some onsite system users also use web-based content management software. These are typically easy to navigate, you can customize based on your needs, and there might be a small monthly subscription fee involved in the process.
They can help manage your content and will allow more users access to make changes and deliver content to multiple locations and screens.
On-premise software isn’t hosted locally. Instead, it is installed in the user’s system. This means there is no dependency on the internet.
Think of it like this: You can continue using Microsoft PowerPoint or Word without internet access; this is a key benefit of an on-premise solution.
With an onsite system, you are choosing to host your content, which means a higher upfront cost and 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.
Owning your hardware means you can perform maintenance checks based on your requirements.
Remember: You will be responsible for replacing and maintaining your old equipment (displays, TVs, servers).
While performing your maintenance check, keep these things in mind:
When talking about scalability, there are a few questions that need to be considered:
How do you decide whether you need an on-premise or cloud digital signage solution?
Although both have pros and cons, it all comes down to your business. Here are some of the factors you should consider:
If the answer to the below questions is YES, choose on-premise digital signage:
If the answer to the below questions is YES, choose cloud digital signage:
Both systems can scale, but, ultimately, scalability requirements are much different. Think about these factors:
If you are open to investing in additional software, are comfortable with higher upfront costs, and expanding your server space, you can opt for on-premise software.
If you want to scale your business without worrying about the above points, opt for cloud-based digital signage software (as all your data is stored online).
The most fundamental difference between on-premise and cloud-based software is that:
What are your connectivity requirements?
If your working structure requires less network dependency, you can choose on-prem software. This way, you can continue working without disruption, while cloud-based digital signage software requires an around-the-clock network.
Setting up on-premise software can be time-consuming, tedious, and requires on-going maintenance. Moreover, the maintenance responsibility is borne by the company itself.
While cloud-based digital signage software is readily available, it has less installation time, and the service provider performs maintenance.
So, if you want an immediate solution and less dependency on security and maintenance, always choose cloud-based software.
|Cloud-Based Digital Signage
|On-Premise digital signage
|Hosted on remote servers with accessibility through internet
|Installed and operated on local servers or hardware
|Initial costs are lower; can be purchased on subscriptions; there is NO infrastructure cost (aside from displays and players)
|Higher upfront costs; require hardware and infrastructure investment
|A cloud server digital signage system has infinite scalability; just add more displays and features
|Scope of scalability may be limited as you will have to incur additional funds to expand and buy new hardware
|As it runs on the internet, you access remotely from anywhere in the world
|You need to be available on the premises to access the data
|As all the data is stored on the cloud; this may raise security concerns
|The data is stored onsite, thus reducing the chance of theft or security concerns
|Being a cloud server, it is highly dependent on the internet connectivity
|There is less internet dependency, and you can work without the internet too
|Quick and easy integration with other software, such as POS systems, thus increasing efficiency
|There may be a requirement for custom integration as it may not support all software
|Maintenance and Update
|Entirely managed by the service provider. Thus, they regularly keep updating the software
|Dependency on the in-house IT staff for regular maintenance and updates
Now that we’ve gone over the specifics of cloud-based and onsite 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 equipment. A cloud-based solution is easy to use and budget-friendly.
An onsite system is great if you don’t mind the initial investment and have an in-house IT and marketing team to maintain and design your content.
Either way, here are some factors to consider when choosing the best digital signage software for your needs:
Once you have understood your business requirements, you can choose between on-premise software and cloud-based digital signage software. Consider these points:
Adequate training and onboarding can reduce errors and improve the efficiency of your digital signage operations. Consider these points:
Digital signage requires continuous optimization and updates to stay in line with the current trends. It is NOT a one-time setup. While implementing digital signage content, consider these points:
FTx Digital Signage syncs with the FTx 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 FTx 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 FTx Control Center. Schedule your ads days, weeks, months, or years in advance so you never miss a promotion!
You have complete control over your digital ad and promo scheduling:
With FTx 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.
Cloud-based digital signage software works entirely on a remote server and can be accessed only with the internet. On the other hand, on-premise digital signage software requires hardware, is located onsite, and internet is not required to run and manage it.
It entirely depends on the company’s requirements. But cloud-based software has more potential due to:
Start by understanding your business requirements and expectations from the software. Before investing in either of them, consider these points:
What are the costs associated with cloud-based digital signage?
If you are a POS subscriber, an FTx Digital Signage add-on ranges from $10/POS to $50/POS, depending on your plan.
Learn more about this topic. See these related posts on the FTx POS blog.
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