Friday, May 31, 2013

Why the Cloud is important to digital signage

Why the Cloud is important to digital signage

Author: V.Thakur

The 'old', pre-cloud model of digital-signage technology is made up of dozens of variations which do not work with other suppliers' software or media players. Cloud-based digital signage, by contrast, is a game-changer – or at least it can be if it's done right.

Why the Cloud is important to digital signage

Why the Cloud is important to digital signage

The idea of combining cloud computing with digital signage is something that's fairly new and is becoming a popular option for companies seeking ways to reduce costs and streamline business processes.
A number of digital-signage companies are already 'moving to the cloud' or already 'in the cloud. What exactly is cloud-based digital signage?

In its simplest form, cloud-based digital signage is based on software that runs on a service provider's computers, outside of your premises or network – 'in the cloud'. Because of this, cloud-based digital-signage software can be upgraded and patched without service interruption. The provider can discover a problem, fix it and deploy the fix to a single system, and it potentially serves millions of users. It can also be readily adapted to support new sources or types of content.

One of the main benefits of this system is that it can be controlled from any internet enabled device. This can also be taken further and displayed on interactive devices, giving the user an element of interaction, where they can play with the advert.

Cloud-based digital signage has the potential to utilize a wider array of media players, and non-proprietary media players in particular and can be adapted to support emerging media-player technology and interface protocols as they develop.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Computing for Digital Signage Networks

Decreased costs
Cloud computing is often less expensive and labor intensive for a business. Companies no longer need to purchase and install expensive software. Software is already installed online remotely, running on the cloud provider's servers. Users can subscribe to virtually unlimited storage just by increasing the monthly fee.

Improvements in flexibility
Cloud computing allows businesses to grow or shrink usage as needed. The inherent structure of a cloud network enables flexibility and allows for precise resource allocation during peak demand or downturns. Associates can access information from home, on the road, from clients' offices or a smartphone. Staff can collaborate on files and documents remotely since documents can be viewed and edited from multiple locations simultaneously.

Increased asset allocation
Due to the quick scalability found from computing in the cloud, organizations can reset provisions and software applications without influencing the rest of the business.


Security and compliance:
A typical barrier for cloud computing adoption is security concerns followed by compliance issues. Another important concern is the ability to achieve compliance with security-related standards. The level of security available for the cloud exceeds most in-house, on premise solutions according to Tim Butler, director at Akeman Solutions Limited, a Hereford, England-based management consultancy and software business that works with advertising, design, marketing, PR, and market research agencies. 'All data can be encrypted both ways, and as with the odd rogue break-in to unsecure digital signage sites, the most the person on site could achieve is the change of one server rather than many.'

Not all cloud systems are the same and the potential customer needs to ask searching questions about flexibility, maturity, openness to the Internet (and dependence on it), and of course security. A good cloud-based digital-signage company should easily be able to provide answers to these. In the cloud-computing environment a true data center offers redundant Internet access, back-up power supply, a secure, virtualized server environment, and robust server hardware.

It's here to stay
Cloud-based digital signage gives a whole new angle to the digital signage market. No doubt the addition of video streaming and internet connectivity will soon be joined by location services and other tricks, making advertising to the masses ever more personalized.

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About the Author
MEX Exhibitions Pvt. Ltd. holds Media Expo that is an international exhibition on Indoor & Outdoor Advertising & Signage Solutions.