THE IMPORTANCE OF GREAT LED SOFTWARE
Historically, creating content management software for standard resolution screens has been relatively easy. The market is crowded with free and paid software that offer plenty of attractive and complex features to manage the content of monitors, LCDs, plasma, and other standard resolution digital screens. Why is that? LCDs and plasma screens live in close proximity to the software world; people have been using them as monitors for their computers to view images, watch videos, and play games for decades. So their solutions stay up to date with technology. Nevertheless, little to none of this has migrated to their close relatives, the non-standard resolution digital screens, such as LEDs, to great hindrance to the effectiveness of these type of signs.
The dynamics and flexibility of digital signage is one of its main selling points. One display turns into unlimited (and compelling) signs since images and text can be changed rapidly to adjust to current needs. To make this possible, the digital sign is connected to a computer that has a special software that allows users to schedule and manage the screen’s content. The effectiveness of the sign will greatly depend on the software it uses. The highest quality hardware will be ineffective if the content is stale, unattractive, not scheduled properly, or has other playback difficulties.
A well designed content management software with an intuitive interface will encourage more content variation, more testing, regular updates, and better scheduling. Good content design tools will make creating engaging and attractive content easier and cheaper. Reliable playback systems will make sure that the sign displays content 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Poorly developed software will have the opposite results.
With all that said, LED signs are at a clear disadvantage with a few good, inexpensive software options and most solutions stuck in the previous millennium.
To add insult to injury, most LED sign users are convinced that their sign can only work with the poorly designed software that came with the display. When in 99% of the cases, this is not the true. As we mentioned, digital screens (LED signs included) run their content from a computer (in the LED world it is normally called a controller) so any compatible software can be installed to replace the original software. This misunderstanding comes mostly from the Chinese LED manufacturers, whom are led to believe this by the companies that manufacture the control system electronics and provide them with their software.
The sign shop, as the expert and advisor of its customers, should research the best software options and explain them to their customers. A better product will make for a more satisfied customer, less support calls, and more referrals. On the other hand, the sign user should always strive to stay up-to-date with technological advances in order to make the best use of their investment.
Good LED sign software normally costs several thousands of dollars per year, therefore, are inaccessible to the small shop operator. Free solutions, on the other hand, are hard to use and have a number of restrictions and limitations.
The main areas most LED sign software should improve are:
- Accessibility: LED software should be easily accessed from any computer or internet enabled device. There shouldn’t be operating systems or other specific constraining requirements. The best way to ensure this is to have a cloud based software, so anyone with access to the account can perform any necessary task.
- Usability: LED software should be intuitive, with a clean and modern interface and taking advantage of current technological advances.
- Networking: LED software should be web-based, allowing the user to use one cloud account from anywhere to control one or multiple signs.
- Tailored solutions: LED software should offer lots of different possible -and affordable – customizations and options (reports, apps, etc) and allow the user to choose which ones work for their business.
Now is the time for Sign Shops, advertising companies, and LED sign users to realize that the right software does matter! A well designed content management software with an intuitive interface will allow users to maximize their investment and use their sign to its full potential. An affordable solution that is up to the standards with the rest of the digital signage world and the technological advances of our era is not an unreasonable demand but a must in today’s competitive world.
About the Author
Maria spearheads Screenhub’s marketing department. ScreenHub is a free and all inclusive SaaS digital signage content and design management software. This web-based solution allows you to easily create, control and modify the messages on your LED sign from any internet enabled device. For more information visit screenhub.com