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What is a digital signage content management system?


Content management systems (CMS) hold the core framework of every digital signage application. Although they might not get as much recognition, choosing the right content management system could effectively determine the quality of your business or brand advertisements. So, how do we define a digital signage content management system? How can we determine what features are a must? Similarly, we will be comparing the efficiency of a cloud-based CMS to an on-premise content management system. 

What is a digital signage content management system?

Basically, a digital signage content management system refers to the computer software that allows you to create, deploy and manage media content that is projected to a digital signage display. A content management system also allows you to create playlists and transitions using media files, schedule content, and manage multiple digital signage displays regardless of their location. Additionally, it serves as a powerhouse for your digital signage deployment and nothing can be displayed on the screen without going through the CMS. Easy and seamless deployment and scheduling of content are only made possible with a content management system. 

Key features of a content management system

A relatively standard content management system is required to allow a few vital features that it has to be able to execute. When choosing the right digital signage content management system, a side-by-side comparison of products can be useful. However, the big question is “what features do you need to achieve your digital signage goals? Let’s take a look at the key features of a content management system and how it defines your signage applications. 

Create, edit and publish content

The minimum requirements of a content management system include creating content, editing, and easily publishing content as fast as possible. Ease of use in this case is a no-brainer as it basically affords you more time to focus on your marketing strategy and less worry on getting your display signage to work. Tools and technologies that allow you to create content from scratch, edit existing media, save the media and deploy the content at any time with no stress are one of the most important features of a content management system. Layouts, transitions, and media file support all play a role in designing the right content that fits your brand and should be made accessible on your content management software. 

Schedule content

As much as creating and deploying content should be easy, it is important that it is easily scheduled and arranged according to priority and time. Scheduling your digital signage content in advance would help you save time and simplify the process of updating your information and keeping the screens up to date. A content management system should allow you seamlessly map out a playlist and choose when and for how long a particular content should be displayed. This eventually saves time and keeps production running as your digital signage handles its automation. 

Multi-media file support

There are so many media file types and formats which include video, audio, and image files, presentation slides, widgets, and other multimedia content used in display signages. Therefore, choosing the right content management software prioritizes that it supports all the media file types that you might want to use for your digital signage application. Additionally, a CMS that is able to convert file types to a special format that is readable by the media players is also a good feature to consider. This grants you the creative flexibility to be able to create outstanding digital signage content in any supported file format. 

Third-party integrations

Using a content management system that utilizes handy tools like social media integration, weather, news feeds, and Google-enabled applications can effectively improve your signage user experience. You can easily share updated content to your social feeds and display weather and news updates for your audience, which will improve the online experience and quality of your display signage applications. A content management system that is compatible with third-party applications will allow you to deploy interactive display signage with just a few clicks. 

Multi-screen management 

For large businesses that run multiple display signage screens at several locations, it is essential that they can create, schedule and deploy content from a central location to all these various screens connected on the network. A reliable content management system should be able to deliver content across different channels and devices with ease, and one can easily share and schedule different content on individual displays.


Cloud-based vs on-premise digital signage content management software 

Digital signage software plays a vital role in handling the deployment and scheduling of content across various screens. However, as an organization looking to invest in digital signage, the next question is whether to acquire an on-premise or a cloud-based system. It is vital to choose the right one that suits your business and allows smooth and seamless processes. 

Firstly, you might want to consider whether or not you are willing to purchase, install, configure and maintain the system yourself or have an expert handle all these things. When choosing the ideal digital signage software, here is a guide to know how each one works and how to decide.

On-premise content management software 

On-premise digital signage solutions, also known as on-site systems, software that requires the client to set up server infrastructure and install and run the system remotely from the business location. This generally means that for one to run the software, it is required to buy the software and invest in its setup. Asides from costing more money, you will be liable to take on maintenance costs and might require extra training of staff to operate and manage it effectively. 

Cloud-based content management software 

Cloud-based digital signage software is quite the opposite in the sense that its resources are stored on an online server and accessed via the Internet. The client is just required to pay a subscription fee billed annually to gain access to the software, and you’re not liable for the software maintenance or control of the system. Content is deployed remotely to your displays, and you don’t have to worry about maintenance as that will be handled by the experts. Additionally, it costs less to invest in and guarantees the most value. 

How to choose between on-premise and cloud-based digital signage CMS 

Different factors come into play when choosing a suitable digital signage solution; however, here’s what to look out for when you decide:

The size of the organization: The on-premise system will not be a recommended choice if you run a small business and only project to one or two screens, as the installation and maintenance costs might be too high. In this case, cloud-based solutions are preferred for small networks that include only a few screens. 

Available IT resources and personnel: Using on-premise systems requires that you take control of every system management and maintenance. So one might need to hire an IT personnel or tech expert that will be dedicated to handling these operations. On the other hand, with Cloud-based solutions — all you need to do is deploy content while the experts handle the system maintenance. 

Ownership: On-premise systems offer the best choice if you are looking to fully own your signage software and its content. Although, it is vital to mention that it comes at an extra cost. You won’t have to pay recurring subscription fees but might have to pay for support and upgrades. 

1 thought on “What is a digital signage content management system?”

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