There are four commonly used software components to any given digital signage solution: software that resides on a media player (or inside a display); content management/distribution software; device management software and content creation software.
Media Player Software:
The media player software is used to play back media files, utilising both the CPU and GPU on the computer the software resides on. Different media players support various types of media through codecs, which decode digital files such as images, videos, web pages and IPTV screens, and presents them visually on digital signs. The more advanced software will save these media files on the internal storage, ensuring uninterrupted playback in case of loss of internet connectivity, or outage as opposed to a streaming solution which relies on persistent internet connectivity to work.
Advanced features include:
The reporting on each individual media through what is called “proof of play”
The reporting of the health and status of the media player itself
The ability to interrupt what’s playing on the screen for applications such as emergency
The ability to synchronise content across different media players, to create large,
Content Management/Distribution Software:
In digital signage most software companies call themselves a Content Management System. CMS companies typically offer the ability of a User Interface – UI, which allows users to upload and organise content, organise the content into a playback methodology or playlists, create rules and conditions around playback, and distribute the content to a media player or groups of media players.
While many features are standard across the industry, there are a number of key differences between vendors in the way that they manage content. The most important distinction is where the software is installed and managed, which directly impacts functionality, security and business models.
Device Management Software:
The uploading, managing and distributing of content is only one part of running a digital signage network. If you’re looking at deploying multiple screens across various and different locations, it will be critical to your success to be able to manage the network remotely 24/7. The best device management platforms provide tools that collect information on the devices, report that data and are able to take action.
Some of the best device management software will ensure the successful download and playback of media assets, gathering the playback data from media player software Checking on the health status of the media player: free disk space, memory usage, temperature, network status, etc. Similar to above, check on the status of the screen the media player is either attached to or embedded in Capturing screenshots of what a media player is playing to ensure everything is working as expected Updating components of the system: software updates for media players and firmware updates for screens Taking action against information on the network, for example turning the screen on and off, rebooting the device, etc. Create alerts around information on the network through email communication or access into third-party management consoles through APIs Content Creation Software
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