When it comes to digital signage content, there is certainly a dearth of good assets available. In addition, we are seeing a huge increase in the number of requests coming from the less than 20 display market. Just what does this mean? It means content creation tools need to be much more easily tailored to the direction where the market is going. Support will not be able to handle a full-enterprise software application for the smaller jokers. Moreover, the smaller installations are generally managed by one person whose focus is neither IT or graphics-centered. Hence, there needs to be greater focus on the ability to create content easily. What better way to do so than by utilizing Microsoft Powerpoint or Apple Keynote as content creation tools.
While there are many software applications in digital media out there than allow for easy content creation, there are fewer who allow for content to be created through more familiar means. I have not met many people who do not have at least some fundamental Powerpoint or Keynote experience. Wait, I quickly recant that. In my last position, there was a company in the same building working on creating a simple digital signage presentation using Powerpoint. He had NEVER used PPT previously and his presentation reeked of it. It was so terrible that when he left the room, my colleagues and I had a good chuckle. Certainly this gentleman was the exception, not the rule. At least I would hope so.
In most circumstances, office managers, receptionists, and the like are those managing small network deployments for offices managing small digital displays. And, in general, individuals in such positions are required to have at least some surface-level understanding of Powerpoint or Keynote. This being the case, it is often wise to utilize something familiar to those who will be managing the small networks. Why? Because training someone on another complex system when only something simple is needed is not necessary in the slightest.
In fact, keeping things simple is the best method in all situations. As software applications move from the IT side of things to something that is more robust and user-friendly, we will continue to see Keynote and Powerpoint as essential elements to the mix. Currently PPT or Keynote, in and of themselves, are probably not robust enough for many of the small deployments out there, but they do get about 80% done of what is needed. For the other 20% there are tools available which allow for adding video, scheduling, and even converting a timed presentation to other file formats like Flash or video.
Some solutions ARE simply PPT, while other, more robust solutions, simply integrate with PPT, giving users the ability to implement PPT along with other content and graphics. As always, it simply depends on the requirements of the specific project. Using PPT and Keynote with digital signage is not new and will continue to be something network operators use to create simple content and graphics for digital display networks.