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

You've seen them everywhere. At the mall. While in waiting rooms. On billboards. At your workplace. Digital signage is the hot, new way to communicate your message. And you need one.

But, how do you know what digital signage solution is right for you?

You may have heard the terms "on-premise digital signage" or "cloud-based digital signage." These are two different ways to get your content from source to display. Each comes with its own set of benefits.

Knowing the difference between the two will help you to select the best solution for your needs.

What is on-premise digital signage? An on-premise digital signage solution is designed as an owned system. With this type of system, you host the digital signage software on dedicated internal servers. This gives you full control over your system. You decide when and if updates are made. You are also responsible for maintaining the server associated with it.

What is cloud-based digital signage? A cloud-based digital signage solution is designed as a hosted system. With the help of web-based digital signage software hosted on an external server, the device carries your message to your screens. You may access the digital signage solution via any standard Web browser.


 On-premise solutionCloud-based solution
1. CostMore up-front costs, but you have no subscription or licensing fees thereafter. This model attractive to businesses that prefer capitalized expenses.Low start-up cost with subscription-based model. Can be broken out in monthly increments. This model is more attractive to businesses that prefer operational expenses.
2. Set upDesigned for scalable deployment. E.g., if you are a simple small business you may configure two or three settings. But, if you are a large enterprise you might configure 100 settings that include advanced topologies, security schemes, and policy enforcement. The player side must be given direction on where to find the content manager on the network which also involves an IP address, credentials, and sometimes gateway settings.Designed as plug in and play. The experience with cloud-based technology is similar to Roku®, Google Chromecast, Apple™ TV, or Slingbox®. You just connect a few cables, power it on, and register online. That's it!
3. SupportTroubleshooting ranges depending on the scale of the deployment and the features enabled. Generally businesses with full-time IT resources would be more attracted to this to fulfill business requirements.The same troubleshooting rules apply as with technologies like Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, or Slingbox. E.g., if the player stops working you might have to just power it off and back on. This is attractive to businesses with limited or no IT support.
4. SecurityAs an owned system, the distribution of digital signage content is on your own network or possibly over leased public network spans. This ownership allows better security and policy controls to be in place to protect the content from being intercepted. It also provides an additional layer of security because it is all behind firewall devices. So, even if your login credentials are compromised a hacker cannot get to the content management system to use them.By hosting digital signage in the cloud you knowingly send content into an environment that has security challenges. In many cases digital signage content is designed for public consumption. But, occasionally confidential business data is communicated via digital signage.   In some cases this is not an acceptable risk. Since cloud services stream data to you over public infrastructure, it can be intercepted.
5. Content RequirementsDoes your digital signage require a high level of customization? If so, an on-premise system may be more attractive to you. On-premise systems are designed around scalability. You can make a very simple digital sign; however, most users purchase the sophisticated solution for advanced features. For example, some systems come with touch interactivity, HTML5 support, transitions, transparency, localized customization, streaming video, and a whole host of other advanced features.Perhaps you do not have a designer on staff, and are looking for a more simple solution. Cloud-based systems are designed around a website user experience. Most systems come with simple navigation, drag-and-drop technologies, and widgets. The experience is less complex. For example, some come with pre-built smart playlists, mash-ups, helper applications (widgets), and pre-defined text styles and sizes.

Make an Informed Choice Now that you're able to differentiate between the two, which one fits your needs? Black Box offers on-premise solutions for digital signage – see the iCOMPEL digital signage product line.

Questions Have a question? Black Box has technical experts available to answer all your digital signage questions. Contact an expert today.. Or, comment below.


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