I am often surprised by many of the requests we receive. Some asking to make an interactive 3D etc. etc. There is no end to the creative imagination of people. Nothing is more practical, in my opinion, than small businesses looking to save money on the components they secure for their signage systems. That is one request, that never strikes me as odd. In fact, I favor it.
One thing that regularly occurs is this. The business owner, in an effort to be cheap, throws up some ad-hoc signage with LCDs, small computers and some form of sneakernet system. They run it for a few years until each of the 20 or so locations are becoming unwieldy to manage. When they contact us, they already have the hardware (albeit outdated) and would just like to do a software-only purchase for their small network.
I’m a big fan of this type of transaction for a couple of reasons. First, we at Deploid don’t have to worry about the issues incident to the hardware. Second, clients love to save money by not having to buy more hardware above what they’ve already invested. Finally, the software purchase option (especially if they’re using their own server) provides greater control on content, security and scalability. Luckily, the option to use your own hardware in a digital signage installation allows for all three.
There are some potential downsides that could get in the way, but many small business owners are used to more sweat equity rather than having to pay for the Cadillac version of a hardware/software combo in one swoop.
- The hardware is too old
- The hardware is too simple (it lacks the horsepower to run full high-definition)
- The hardware is, for some reason, incompatible or has issues when the software is installed
- Connectivity is terrible or the network operator doesn’t understand the system’s capabilities (these are minor issues that can generally be fixed with a little training)
For the most part, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m a big proponent of spending less on the hardware and software (with the provision that it works sufficiently enough) and then spending the bulk of the budget on creating content that will draw people in and cause them to act differently than they would have in the absence of the signs. I mean, isn’t that the whole purpose of installing such a system in the first place?