Posted by Laura Montanari on

When WordPress is a good option for digital signage (and when it’s not)

When WordPress is a good option for digital signage (and when it’s not)

To WordPress or not to WordPress? If you’re facing the same dilemma for your digital signage project, here you might find the answer you’re looking for.

Must have & nice to have in digital signage

digital-signage

Image credits: thinglobal.com

Countless options are available when you have to define the engine for your digital signage platform: depending on what your main goals are, you can choose between a whole range of variables and customization options. Yet, there’s a number of more general rules to follow.

Must have

Screens and station management: a centralised control is crucial to ensure optimal supervision of all the activities on your digital signage platform.

Content distribution over digital signage network: in order to spread your message among the target audience the contents needs to be well distributed throughout the device network with the suitable content distribution tool.

Nice to have

Animation builder: fundamental if you want to develop an appealing and impressive content for your audience.

Separation between content production and content display: good practise to help manage contents development. By separately allocating contents creation and content display to different people (anyone who can handle the task), you don’t have to hire NASA technologists.

Interactivity: an engaging function of digital signage.

When WordPress is a good option

You don’t always need to do things the hard way. Sometimes less is more and the simpler (and cheaper) option could end up being the best solution.

When your editors are not skilled in animation production

images digital signage

Image credits: pexels.com

The official WordPress directories count more than 40,000 plugins and a huge amount of themes, available either for free or upon payment: just imagine how many customization possibilities of your website/digital signage there could be.

With the impressive offer of WordPress tools, imagination will be the only limit to your projects, especially if you (or your digital signage go-to guy or gal) are not exactly a tech/programming/animation production guru.

When your budget is low

budget

Image credit flickr.com

With WordPress, which is a free CMS offering a very large range of free components and plugins, you might not need an astronomical amount of money to build a digital signage project. Even taking into account the eventual need to buy some of the paid-for themes or plugins, the overall count is still in favor of WordPress if you are on a tight budget. No dedicated digital signage hardware is required and can be easily substituted with such small computer devices as Raspberry Pi or Chrome Bit, which are getting more and more affordable and currently ranging between only $50 and $80. Finally, specified tools capable of turning your WordPress website into a digital signage platform are pretty affordable as well, especially when compared to the potential revenue that your business could boost thanks to digital signage opportunities.

When you don’t want to learn a new technology or don’t want to hire  external people

handshake

image credits: pixabay

As it usually happens when you need to integrate a new technology in your business, you’re forced to either invest lots of time, money and energy on training or to hire experts to  handle it for you instead.

Not in case of WordPress. With ca. 27% of the Web running on WordPress with over 500 new sites and over 1.8 million posts being created every single day, chances are that your team already has at least one (or, realistically, several) experienced WordPress user. If not, WordPress has gained it’s impressive 58.9% CMS market share thanks to its user-friendliness. For every new (or experienced, yet curious) user, WordPress offers an efficient support page and an engaged and helpful community forum with useful tips and tricks.

When you want to easily integrate your DS project with your website’s contents

integration

Image credits: pexels.com

An appealing and polished website is essential if you want to be visible (and competitive) on the market.

If your website is already developed in WordPress and has all the  contents you want to display, your digital signage project is (almost) done. You can create and later manage slideshow, images or messages, without breaking a sweat.

When WordPress is not good

Of course, if you want to develop a ground-breaking and astonishing digital signage concept, WordPress might not be the right option.

When you need high level of interaction with hardware

apotek digital signage

Image credit: sixteenine.com

The Swedish pharmacy chain Apotek placed digital totem that made the man on the board cough every time a cigarette smoker passed by, thanks to its built-in smoke sensors. No doubt this “Coughing Billboard” is a case of a brilliant social marketing campaign empowered by digital signage technology.

Needless to say, interactivity like this cannot be sustained by WordPress. So, if you want your digital project to interact with user behaviors, you may need to find another solution.

When you need to sync your contents perfectly across different screens

uniqlo digital signage

Japanese fast fashion retailer Uniqlo heavily uses digital boards in their shops. Image credit: invidis.de.

To impress your customers with multiple screens, you might need to set and manage a complex digital signage network. Unfortunately, a WordPress-based project may not be able to ensure a 100% sync between multiple monitors, which requires instead a different (and more expensive) level of technology.

When you need to run HD (or 4K) and long videos

4k display

Image credits: gocodigo.com

Displaying videos is another highly engaging strategy, but the higher the quality and resolution, the more difficult it gets to display them properly. Even though HD and 4K contents could be highly impressive, they will not be supported by the WordPress-run system.

To WordPress or not to WordPress? 

After all, as you’ve seen, this is not such a Hamletic doubt.

With its 51 million downloads count and about 27% of the entire World Wide Web websites running on WordPress, it is the most used Content Management System in the world.

With WordPress as hub-software of your project, building and managing a digital signage platform for your business will be easier than you think.

Posted by Laura Montanari on

From blackboards to digital boards: digital signage for educational institutions

From blackboards to digital boards: digital signage for educational institutions

Digital platform turns out to be an efficient and, implementation-wise, relatively simple system to provide a large range of contents to educational institutions’ stakeholders. The digital boards help increase the resonance of the displayed messages while keeping the audience engaged. Integrating a digital board into scholastic environment is now cheaper than ever, so even smaller institutions can afford it.

1) Welcome messages

welcome messages digital signage

Robins School of Business digital signage. Image courtesy of addictedsignco.com

The first impression counts and a digital signage solution is an effective way for an educational institution to make a powerful first impression: introduce itself and its purpose to those who came for the first time or those who’ve chosen to work or study here, display general information, transmit news and daily announcements, inform about upcoming events or anything else regarding classes and/or behind-the-scenes educators’ work life.

The real benefit is that in a single screen a digital board can display a multitude of information coming from different feeds, which turns out to be the perfect system to display a panoramic view of everything that concern the institution.

2) Wayfinding

wayfinding digital signage

Digital board showing rooms location of the building. Image courtesy of Visix.com

Finding the way is another important need that digital signage solutions cater to. Indeed a digital board strategically placed at a school’s entrance can surely help not only in welcoming guests, but also in guiding them through the building(s).

3) Scheduling

digital-signage-education

Daily schedule details of a typical school day. Image courtesy of Crowntv-us.com

With monitors placed along hallways students and teachers can constantly stay  informed about their schedules, calendars of activities and classes. Digital signage will most likely prove invaluable in case of last-minute cancellations and scheduling changes, especially in case of large and busy organizations.

Also, a calendar widget could be the better way to manage a range of extracurricular activities arranged by affiliated students or staff like job fairs, open days, student club meetings, study groups, conferences, etc.

4) School’s life reminders

reminder digital signage

Image courtesy of DigitalSignageToday.

Digital boards placed along hallways can display practical information concerning daily life on campus such as reminders about important due dates, school rules and safety regulations, upcoming events and much more.

digital signage

Madison High School Hall of Fame. Image courtesy of Dribbble.com

Almost every school or college has its sports team to support and cheer for, and a digital signage platform could also help in keeping students updated on upcoming competitions and score records and keep the fans informed about about championships progress and squad’s individual profiles.

5) Daily menu

menu digital signage

An example of how Freemont Public School managed a digital board showing lunch menu. Courtesy of mvixdigitalsignage.com.

Digital screens are largely employed in the school cafeterias to show menus and meals of the day. Also, since it’s more and more important to be aware of what we eat, digital boards can provide additional information on nutritional composition, food allergies, food origin and other relevant data.

6) Public safety

emergency digital signage

An emergency message example. Image courtesy of fusiondigitalus.com

Digital boards in classrooms, lounges, dining areas and hallways are a good solution in order to guarantee public safety: in the event of an emergency, with a push of a single button (or in one click) all the screens will automatically show emergency alerts and safety instructions such as where the nearby emergency exit is, or how to behave in force majeure circumstances.

7) Collect feedback

digital signage survey

Image courtesy of Nutrislice digital signage

It could be a good idea to use digital kiosks or platforms to receive students’ feedback about practical school life issues, from the quality of food in the canteen to satisfaction with the level of instruction. Such platforms could allow students vote in a quick, simple and, possibly, anonymous manner. This way they can express themselves (anonymously, if the issue is delicate) and feel more involved and engaged into their school’s community.

And above all: improve scholastic experience

As we’ve seen, the uses of digital signage in educational institutions are numerous and diverse and could help deliver the benefits for students, teachers and administrative staff that range from increased engagement, quality of teaching, to improved safety and internal organizational efficiency.