Throughout the sales process, I receive question after question regarding software and hardware capabilities and solutions. And, as one might guess, the expertise and knowledge behind the questions I’m asked vary greatly based on the experience. Out of pure curiosity, I started to jot down the questions I was being asked. All in all, I gleaned approximately 50 questions. This list is not meant to be a catchall, but it may be helpful when you approach your digital signage vendor regarding your next project. Here they are in no particular order.
Is it web based? Does it stream or upload to the media player? In other words, does the content reside server side or media player side?
If the server goes down, will the media players still perform?
What type of multicasting capability does it have?
What type(s) of VOD (video-on-demand) solutions do you have?
What type of cache or edge server solutions do you offer?
Are you able to display multiple RSS feeds on the screen?
Can the multiple feeds display more than text or are they limited to text? What about graphics?
What type of warranties are there on your hardware and software?
Can your software incorporate live video streams?
Can you edit live video feeds? (this gets a bit hairy with copyrights, but still a good question to ask)
Does your software and hardware support video wall technology? If so, do you support the third party integration of such an installation?
Do we “own” the server outright? Along the same vein, do we have the server in house or do you host for us, ensuring the server is “always on”?
Am I required to purchase all the hardware or can I pay for a SaaS (software as a service) solution on a monthly basis?
What about rebranding the CSS for white label solutions? What does that entail? What does it cost?
What do I have to do to get a demo and/or trial version of the software and hardware?
What does a demo cost and how long would it last?
Can the demo be rebranded?
What type(s) of software and/or hardware support do you offer?
How does your solution integrate with touchscreen applications?
What if I wanted to start small with the lighter version and then grow it from there?
What type of scalable discounts can I get if my planned deployment is large?
Can updates to your software be done remotely?
Do you have remote control of the screens themselves through an RS232 switch? How much control? Have you tested the RS232 capabilities with different displays?
Are you still in development? What is available now and what will be available in the future?
How quickly can you move my project forward?
What resources do you have to help me with a digital signage pilot project?
What references do you have?
Do you have any government references? What niches have you been dominating with hardware and software sales?
How long have you been in business?
What OS (operating system) are you running on your signage media players?
What OS are you running on your signage server?
How much training is available to me after I purchase?
Are you a true consultant. That is, do you only sell the solution that best fits your method of gaining revenue, or do you truly intend to consult me on the best solution available to fit my needs?
What types of day-parting are available?
What types of security features are built into your products?
What types of audience measurement applications do you have?
Can you explain audience metrics calculations to me succinctly? If not, where do I go to get such information?
How patient are you? In other words, can you wait 8 months while we get the pilot, plan, and people together to make the project work or are you going to be call me twice a week until I get annoyed?
Do you have interactive capabilities? If so, what?
Can you do SMS or RFID integration with the screens?
Can I perform local content insertion?
Do I have to create my own content, or do you provide that service?
If you provide content creation services, what is the cost?
What type of pilot programs have you run in the past? What can you tell me that would be beneficial as I seek to implement such a pilot?
Can you do broadcasting on both a terrestrial network and multicast network?
What type of partnerships do you have for installations?
Is your digital signage software compatible with lenticular lens 3D solutions?
If there is a distinct feature that is either different and/or excels above that of your competition, what is it?
Do you enjoy what you do?
How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll Center of a Tootsie Pop? Sick, I know, but I was close enough to 50 and I needed another question.
When it comes to this industry, novice and experts alike are still learning and discovering. And, if they think they lack the need to keep doing so, they will most likely get run over. A favorite quote of mine in this regard states, “the future is waiting to be seized, and if we do not grasp it firmly, then other hands, more determined and bloody than our own, will wrench it from us and follow a different course.” As such, realize that your signage vendor must walk the walk after talking the talk.
And, as a post script, please feel free to include more questions to this list that may be helpful to those seeking out digital signage solutions. Thanks!