Assessing Your Digital Signage System: Part 1

December 8, 2023
4 min read
digital signage system

This is the first of three articles on how to determine if it’s time to upgrade your digital signage system brought to you by Alpha VP and Digital Signage Expert, Lance Hutchinson.

The series also includes Assessing the Performance of Digital Signage Core System Components: Part 2 and Understanding Digital Signage Technology Stacks and Integration Techniques: Part 3.

Inevitably the time will come when every legacy digital signage system needs an upgrade to stay ahead of wear and tear, maximize efficiency, or maintain functionality as technology standards evolve. Knowing precisely when to pull the trigger on an upgrade – or deciding how extensive an upgrade may be required – isn’t always clear, however.

Assessing Your Digital Signage System: Part 1 - Alpha

Proceed methodically, assess accurately

If you’re unsure whether it’s time to upgrade or replace your legacy digital signage system, follow these recommendations offered by Alpha Vice President Lance Hutchinson, a 33-year industry veteran known for his expertise in digital signage. “A thorough assessment of your digital signage system will help you determine what to replace or how to extend the life of your system components,” says Lance. “The key is to proceed methodically and assess your digital signage system’s working status from every angle.”

1. Analyze the performance of the system

You may already have noted issues such as slow loading times, display issues, or system crashes. Now take a step further and try to identify any recurring problems or error messages that may indicate hardware or software issues.

2. Review your maintenance logs

Look for past repairs, upgrades, or component replacements. This information can provide insights into the overall health and lifespan of the system.

3. Consider the age of your digital signage devices

Older gear is more prone to failure and may lack compatibility with newer software or features. Research the expected lifespan of specific devices or components to assess their remaining useful life.

4. Check for software updates

Outdated software may have security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues with newer content formats or features. Upgrading the software can sometimes breathe new life into a legacy digital signage system without the need for replacing hardware.

5. Assess hardware capabilities

Compare the specs with the requirements of the latest software or content you plan to use. If the current hardware lacks the necessary capabilities, upgrading or replacing the devices might be necessary to ensure optimal performance.

6. Consider evolving needs

Consider factors such as scalability, content management capabilities, interactive features, and support for emerging technologies like AI or IoT. If the current system falls short, it may be time to invest in newer technology.

7. Evaluate Long-Term Benefits vs Short Term Costs

Consider factors like the price of new hardware, installation costs, potential savings from improved energy efficiency, and the impact on productivity or customer engagement. Determine whether the long-term gains outweigh the upfront investment.

8. Consult with digital signage experts, IT pros or vendors. 

If you’re uncertain about the assessment or decision-making process, experts may be able to provide insights, recommendations, and assistance in evaluating the system and determining the best course of action.

By taking these actions, end-users can make informed decisions about whether to replace or extend the life of their digital signage system based on its performance, age, capabilities, evolving needs, and cost-effectiveness.

Be proactive to ensure continuity of operation in your digital signage system

“Your digital signage system is too important to leave to chance,” says Lance. “Periodic assessments will enable you to address performance issues before they threaten to shut down the entire system,” says Lance.

Understanding the nature of the digital signage system issue(s) you need to address, and how best to tackle it, isn’t a challenge you have to tackle alone. Talk to your technology partner about the options available to you. “Every issue has an answer,” advises Lance, “and the right partner won’t just identify the cause of your digital signage system’s performance issues, they’ll recommend the best way forward.”

Read the next article in this series: Assessing the Performance of Digital Signage Core System Components: Part 2. Then complete your exploration by reading Understanding Digital Signage Technology Stacks and Integration Techniques: Part 3.


FAQs

When should I upgrade my digital signage system?

A digital signage system should be upgraded before wear-and-tear, changing technology standards, or its operators’ evolving requirements lead to equipment failure or performance shortfalls. Often an operator will notice signs of performance failure or an uptick in repairs. Security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues with new content formats and features may fuel the discussion. In some cases, staff turnover leaves operators without the internal knowledge necessary to run a legacy digital signage system, or a change in ownership creates a situation in which two different systems need to be consolidated. It may be the case that no red flags have yet appeared, but your system is nearing the end of its stated life and you want to budget for a scheduled replacement.

How can I determine if an upgrade to my digital signage system is necessary?

It’s not always easy to know when to pull the trigger on an upgrade to your digital signage system. That’s why it’s important to conduct an assessment of your legacy system to determine what to replace or how to extend the life of your system components. It involves analyzing the performance of your legacy system, reviewing maintenance logs, considering the age of your devices and more. A methodical approach to this challenge will allow you to proceed with optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness while ensuring continuity in your digital signage system’s performance.

Should I consult a digital signage systems expert to help determine when to upgrade my digital signage system?

If you’re uncertain about the assessment or decision-making process, experts may be able to provide insights, recommendations, and assistance in evaluating your digital signage system and determining the best course of action. “Every issue has an answer. The right partner won’t just identify the cause of your digital signage system’s performance issues, they’ll recommend the best way forward,” says Alpha Vice President Lance Hutchinson, a 33-year industry veteran renowned for his expertise in digital signage. The important thing is to address digital signage performance issues proactively before they threaten to shut down the entire system. “When it comes to digital signage,” adds Lance, “operational continuity is essential, and a systematic, proactive approach to analyzing and maintaining the working status of your system will ensure smooth performance over time.”

Evan Davis
Evan Davis
Marketing Manager at Alpha