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The Big Players on the OOH Digital Signage Scene as Spend Continues to Rise

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Posted 28th February 2017 at 08:06 AM by DigitalSignage

Lets start by looking at a little bit of context at the current state of the sector. Marketing and promotional campaigns are increasingly looking digital, right? Well yes and No. At the just concluded 14th edition of ISE that took place at the RAI Amsterdam on 7-10 February 2017 the single biggest category of exhibitors was and as you probably rightly guessed digital signage with 495 representations from some of the biggest players in the world. Such is the magnitude and current trend in the sector. At the same time however, research has shown that only 28% of SMEs have some form of digital campaign or engagement with their customers.
With the OOH scene increasingly crowded by vendors/suppliers coupled with a limited market, there is a consolidation of sorts within the sector taking shape with a handful of big players taking a dominant position while many others are seemingly watching on the seams; both suppliers and digital signage customers. Within the wider OOH industry is the lucrative digital advertisement sector thats increasingly becoming a main stay for many of the large corporations and businesses.
While the service itself costs less than it did at the start, in many cases free to users as seen in many blogs and articles end-users invariably need some form of investment in terms of media player and display hardware. Additionally, they will have ongoing costs for content and creative media to be deployed. So for the SME, the sad news is that no network is ultimately free and this explains the stark statistics on poor take up among SMEs.
This is the reason all leading companies such as Signagelive that powers many Food Service/QSR, Retail, Stadiums, Internal Communications and high street displays by PrimeSight, and JCDecaux among others are investing heavily in infrastructure to bolster their presence and positions on the high street and prime locations while others like Scala, DigitalSignage are dominating the corporate sector including business, hotels, schools and the like.

This is Waterloos Latest installation in London by PrimeSight and imposing bright light a great addition to the capitals sight.

JCDecauxUKs latest London installation lights up the nations leading airport in a much insightful and revealing way to strengths of the company as a dominant presence on the OOH digital ad scene. As the worlds biggest outdoor advertising company, whatever JCDecaux feels is what the sector feels and for now, its in buoyant mood with many recent projects lighting up inner cities and hubs with the latest state of the art displays.
Who Would Use digital signage?

Today, every sector has been affected in a nice way by innovations taking place in the Digital signage software sector, be it SMEs, corporate private or public sectors. Some of the common use cases for digital signage include:
Office and Corporate digital signage
Hotel digital signage
Events and Exhibitions digital signage
Healthcare Digital Signage
Restaurant digital signage
Retail and Showrooms digital signage
Real estate digital signage
School and Education digital signage
Oil and Gas Digital Signage
Of course, there are many other use cases for digital signage software that are not listed above. Every day we have new businesses signing up for Enplug with new and exciting ideas for how to use our software.
Open Source, Cloud based, Hosted, FREE or paid service; Which one is right?

There has been a recent emergence of cloud and web based based systems that take out much of the hustle previously experienced with hosted versions. Together with a growing array of open source solutions such as Open Splash and Vodigi among others, these are forcing digital signage upfront costs down. Solutions such as these come with easy to deploy templates with no need for software skills. Users still have to have their own hardware for the digital media to run.
Open Splash: one of the major open source software that works by getting playlist data and media files from a server. Montreals Ayuda Media Systems project, markets itself as a full static and digital solution for OOH media companies. (a platform that is definitely not free). Supporting video walls, screen zoning with overlapping and depth order, and dynamic content, it is designed to be driven by any network-based content management system (CMS). OpenSplash does not have a CMS, and therefore is not a complete signage solution out of the box. The value for resellers and manufacturers comes from using it to build solutions.
Vodigi: while active development of Vodigi is known to have ceased in 2014, the software bills itself as free, open source, and interactive digital signage software solution with all the features for all those that want to promote and advertise products and services. However, active development on the software stopped in 2014.
Rise Vision: has been a main stay on the digital signage scene since 1992. Its today marketed as an open source solution though it would better be seen as a hybrid, reason being that it is different from how the pure open source works. Rise offers a rich and scalable solution with much of its market in the education sector through its dedicated sister company, that carries out much of its business as an integrator. However, The Rise Vision CMS should in general be seen as a robust solution able to service the very large, enterprise networks. There has been a move in recent times to position the solution as a fully free SaaS model, that heavily leveraging Google infrastructure. While the full feature CMS is free to use, users need to get their own web hosting now. Alternatively, they can use RiseVision hosting for $10 a month, per company (not device). Be prepared for in app upsells for such things as widgets or priority support.
Starting as a university project in 2004, Xibo is one of the major out of the box cloud based complete digital signage solutions with both a cloud based content management system (CMS) and choice of Windows or Android signage players. Xibo in the Cloud is the low cost version of the software.
A host of other providers are either split along these categories or offer them as a combination. MediaSignage: a thats Los Angeles based and has been around for years, markets its solution as free but costs money as users go for more sophistication and functionality. It has both hosted and cloud based versions of the software; albeit with limited storage, the latter is offered as free with about 90% of the features of the paid Enterprise version.

Scalas one of many installations
The feature Mvix: software on the other hand is cloud-hosted software solution offered free with no subscription fees. The trick with Mvix is the signage players that users have to purchase for a one-time, upfront fee the comes bundled with the web-based software. Price bands start from $259. Mvix has no limits on storage and software widgets and features vary across systems.
Other cloud based solutions include Pickcel based in Bangalore, India thats free for up to two displays after which users pay $15/month per node; Yodeck CMS built around the Raspberry Pi. Users of Yodeck get unlimited accounts for free for a single device after which they pay $8/month or any additional units. Video Sign Player: based in New York and solutions company Show+Tell have and Apple TV store based free, simple signage player that is available as an app off the Apple TV store. Others are doPublicity: based in Fremont, California and ScreenHub: both free, SaaS-based digital signage platforms that are built around a responsive, HTML5-driven web apps. Another notable is LubeStudio a latest entrant to the scene that offers its solution as a SaaS web app.
Hosted Digital signage versions include BrightSign: a highly respected solution for making ultra-reliable media play-out boxes though these come at a premium; Ce labs which similarly to BrightSign, markets high-reliability media players for signage applications, and bundles free management software. Digital Recall based in Melbourne, Australia is another thats been around since 2006. This solution is marketed as free application for Windows purchased as one-time license, though now has a commercial cloud version.
Other digital signage software is today bundled with manufactures such as LG SuperSign TV, NEC Digital Signage Software, Philips SmartCMS, Samsung MagicInfo, Sharp SDSS and a host of others. There is a mixed bag when it comes to what manufactures offer in terms of price, capabilities and features as their digital signage solutions. While for example NEC offers its paid version on its displays as a downloadable version, Philips is a free Signage that similarly runs exclusively on its displays to manage digital signage content. LGs versions are either commercial free CMS, or just be a web page. SuperSign is an entry level solution and WebOS is a web app run off a url.
On the other hand, Samsungs MagicInfo and Sharps solutions come as versatile software packages with capability for program creation, registration, scheduling and distribution of pre-scheduled information on Samsung Display Solutions products for the former and Sharp PN series LCD monitors for the latter.
We see therefore that on one hand we have the open source software packages that are primarily developed by and supported by the open source community. On the other, we have pure commercial players while manufactures are also well in play in this sector. Using them requires users to download the software, install it on own servers (new or re-purposed), and self-managing it. This can mean that users have to have specialized skills to download, install, maintain and design media to be deployed for both hardware and software involved.
The Benefits of Digital Signage

Benefits of digital signage to its customer is twofold; firstly, are the benefits to the company that engages the solution and secondly to the end user. Both have varied benefits of using digital signage not least
1. Updating content is quick, easy and costs nothing with digital signage as opposed to traditional signage.
2. Efficiency in being able to update the displays with up to date content instantly saving resources and time for the business much to the benefit of the end user.
3. Digital signage is an easy way to inform the end users with fresh, relevant content, be it for corporate internal communications, businesses using it for their customers/guests or public entities engaging with the wider public.
4. Digital signage software can be used to enhance the customer/guest experience by embedding engaging content like videos and more with promotion or marketing campaigns at the same time.
5. The capabilities of digital signage in helping bring all elements of a brand together such social media pages or website, into the physical world for guests to see is unmatched. This is more so for split site locations that will see the exact same content even across countries.
6. Increasingly, digital signage is seen as a highly effective medium for advertising, promotions and marketing.

Digital Signage as a central Piece in the Marketing & Promotional Mix

Delivering a successful and consistent marketing mix is something many companies have grappled with in the recent past as consumers tastes and shopping habits continue to evolve and sadly will continue to. The emergence of the OOH advertisement has been a great revelation to many marketing and promotion agencies too. Some new entire sectors and businesses have emerged such as in retail of display equipment and creative design.
Not to mention that OOH advertising can be a comparatively challenging prospect in both time, money and other resources. But creating and sticking to a realistic marketing and promotion campaigns mix where OOH Ads is integral for businesses across the board is undoubtedly something many businesses are increasingly seeing as the future.

Lets face it, the needs of the modern consumer have moved; gone are the days of the boring tick box nature of segmented marketing strategies and restricted shopping experiences. Appreciably, many businesses still by and large base their strategies on these outdated models of looking at a customer one of slapping around any sort of media in the hope that somehow users will be appeased. Today, we stand at the crossroads of experiential marketing where inherent ideals that define us as humans that were preconditioned to watch visual media are what underpin modern efficient and effective campaigns.
Talking effective is ClearChannels (Storm Brand) Canary Wharf installation thats so effective it not only reaches major traffic flow along Aspen Way, but also appeals to traffic coming from East London towards the Docklands, City and Central London, as well as the vast residences of the vibrant Tower Hamlets area
Visual media stands out as a proven means to boosting traffic to your business sites or special offer pages or indeed delivering a sustained brand awareness campaign thats effective yet engaging. Todays consumer is a round the clock consumer who according to Gayatri Patel, eBays Director of Global Data infrastructure wants to be in control at all times. Digital Signage is one giant step towards reaching out to customers and keeping them engaged round the clock.
The savvy business managers have already jumped the queue in understanding this inherent virtue in delivering successful campaigns choosing to stay ahead in the game. They understand that for todays consumer digital signage is powerful in breaking down previous barriers between shopping channels. So they invest in empowering the consumer in a uniform way and engage him every step of the way says Sahal Laher, Brooks Brothers Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
For the SME business owner without the luxury of dedicated specialist teams, most business shores fall on a few shoulders which may impede on development of a successful marketing campaign. In a recent survey, 55% of small business owners one of the top business concerns identified was the lack of time to carry out everything to ensure a successful business strategy. Its clear a picture will speak a thousand words then imagine what a few pictures with some words and better a video with words that you can tailor to show at a time of your choice will do to your businessbetter still, imagine an interactive digital signage that engages the customer, helping you develop up to date and relevant bespoke offers on time
Tips for businesses for Creating effective digital media marketing campaigns

1.0. Consistency

It all comes down to consistency in delivering the right content at the right time. Consistency builds brands and this exactly what Tesla, Apple, Google, Coolblue do day in day out. The modern consumer is more complex and old ideals of market segmentation dont work any longer. With the advent of experiential marketing, consumers are increasingly looking for that take home experience. To deliver it requires understanding your customers on a personal level and deliver that consistent offer that represent your brands ideals. Digital Signage is great at building consistency via scheduling and artificial intelligence capabilities and best of all, these sorts of campaigns dont have to blow out the budget.
2.0. Tailored Service

Digital signage media can be a great way to deliver a bespoke experience to customers. Simply identifying the needs of your consumers and tailoring your campaign can reap more benefits than having to print tens of thousands of flyers for example saying the exact same thing to every potential customer. Scalas interactive changing room facility is one of the many innovations within the sector geared towards helping businesses deliver bespoke experiences to their customers for example.
Another example is in scheduling which can mean for food and drink establishments delivering more bespoke menus tailored for the time of day for example for midday or breakfast trade; offers will appear for the right customer and viewership. And the same goes for a last minute offer or a flash sale as a result of over ordering. Messages can be better tailored with digital visual media in that way ensuring huge savings on costs and print turnarounds. Any adjustments to any offering can be delivered immediately without unnecessary delays.
3.0. Engaging Content

One of the finest benefits of visual media is its increasing capabilities in user engagement. Whether that be via social tools or interactive solutions, its clear consumers today feel the need for immersion in campaigns to be in on it in some way. To do this can be for example by sharing a short morning clip in the office or indeed helpful and relevant information alongside the digital media message or perhaps gathering feedback it should still remain part of the marketing strategy. Its important to remember that todays consumer is resentful of outright hard-core/aggressive marketing forms so its important to engage through such things as providing useful information that helps inform or adds some other value to the user. The more businesses invest in understanding their customers, as individuals, the better tailored campaigns will be, which ultimately can ensure loyalty to brands.
The more ways there is to engage customers, the more ideas are generated from those interactions helping reinforce corporate decision making. A watchful eye on competition, industry news and trends, as well as the topics that are top of mind for customers, should in turn help send timely digital media updates.
4.0. Savvy and Creative

Its important that you discover and know your savvy best when starting out with a digital signage campaign. With a number of visual media vendors with varying services on offer, there is the choice but so is the risk of engaging the wrong vendor for the right needs of the business. Thankfully, costs overall are continuing to plummet but its still critical that the right solution is identified that works best for the resources at the companys disposal not least time and money. It then all comes down to how creative the business and the decision makers are in arriving at the right choice. With the correct choices, this can determine how successful visual media marketing campaign can be.
Its important to remember not to stretch too thin while reaching out too wide with the campaign. Once the digital signage/media is produced, its time to focus on the one or two channels where your customers are most active to deliver it. This gives an opportunity to really get to know the customers so engaging content can be refined to help create that bespoke offer.
Opportunities around major activities, milestones, or indeed traditional holidays, such as festive seasons, have been seen to be great opportunities for companies to get creative by highlighting these milestones in visual media screens.
5.0. Integrated Campaign

Scalas Restaurant installation
To reach the widest possible audience with the least amount of effort, it is essential that you create an integrated marketing campaign. Essentially, this comes down to intelligently mapping out the content and offers that your customers will find most valuable in terms of their interests and needs and marrying these ideas in a visual yet inspiring way. Customers visiting food and drink operation should expect the self-service kiosk to deliver the same experience as in-store menus, online promotions, commercials, whether that be prices, look or otherwise.
6.0. Targeted Campaign

Equipped with creative designs full of ideas, content, can be amplified with a consistent delivery across channels including social media platforms. Content can sometimes require that its tweaked for relevance, tone and style of the particular channel varying it as and when needed to deliver variety and custom messages. Interactive kiosks today are great at creating the unique user experiences depending on situation.
HD imagery or videos for food and drink operations for example can be a great way to deliver those stunning and visually appealing campaigns to get customers engaged. Email newsletters are another avenue to hammer the point home highlighting how digital media in the company operations is set to make things better for customers. Digital Signage in this case can include any interviews, menu ideas, video of the head chef carrying out some cooking demos in an insightful way that engages the users, plus a host of so many other ideas.
These hosts of ideas while not conclusive will strike a familiar cord with many. If these characteristics do in some ways describe you or your customers, we would like to hear from you. We would also like to hear from those that want to know more about how our panel of retail technologists and the current methods used in data and analytics to meet the needs of today's consumer. All the same, please drop us an email if you have some spare time.
Big thanks to the team at LubeStudio for sharing their top tips with us today! Lubestudio is a new SaaS web based digital signage solution that helps businesses streamline their communication/brand campaign in a visual way.
Be sure to leave a comment if you found this post helpful or if you need any advice on your wedding food and catering.
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