The decision to purchase technology is a complicated one. As well as price, functionality, service, and return on investment, there are aspects like obsolescence to consider. A laptop, for example, has a lifespan of three to five years. It will likely still be working at the end of that time but will be unable to keep pace with the advance in software.
And that's important. The last thing any school or university wants to do is part with significant sums of money, only to find that the technology is out of date within 12 months. To help you select the right platform, this article explores the questions to ask when selecting a scalable digital solution for use in an education environment.
Do you need a local or cloud solution?
Much depends on the number of displays you plan to use for digital signage. The more screens, the less convenient a local solution will be. IT and administrative resources are limited in educational environments, and they won’t thank you for purchasing a solution that requires them to update dozens of displays individually. Making digital signage available through the cloud means being able to manage and update the displays remotely and in real time. That opens up the possibility of incorporating digital signage into your emergency management plans. At the touch of a button or on a predetermined schedule, you’ll be able to send out messages to the screens most likely to be viewed by your target audience.
Should you purchase touchscreen displays?
Touchscreen displays offer interactivity and a way to measure the performance of messages through the responses they generate. But opt for a touchscreen solution, and you’ll need more than just a digital signage tool. If your school has already invested in touchscreen displays for use in certain environments, then you should be looking at a solution with the software to support them. Likewise, if that’s something you plan to do in the coming years, it would be a wise decision to have that functionality ready to go as soon as it’s required.
Where do you want to use digital signage?
You’ll need to consider where you want messages to display now and in the future. Do you want to only display messages on screens in common areas, like corridors, canteens, and reception? Or is your plan to be able to show them on every screen in the school, including those in the classrooms? The answer will inform your solution. If you do plan to unleash digital signage on every screen in the school, you’ll have total flexibility. But you’ll also need a platform that is device agnostic. Opt for one that focuses only on the common areas, however, and there’s a chance your messages will not reach their intended audience.
What kind of after-sales support is on offer?
In case something goes wrong, you’ll want to make sure the support on offer is sufficient to fix most problems and comes at a price you can afford. So, when you’re considering a solution, don’t just take the hardware into account; it’s only one component of a functioning system.
The software the platform runs on is equally important. Find out about the update cycle and check you will be eligible to receive future versions. Ask how long the software will be supported—once that support ends, there’s a real chance of being left with obsolete hardware. It is worth exploring a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. In the case of products like Vivi, it means you’ll benefit from software upgrades whenever they are released, and that will extend the life of your investment.
What additional functions does the platform offer?
There are plenty of digital signage solutions on the market. Many may well meet your requirements. But it’s essential to find out what else they can do. An investment solely in digital signage may be hard to justify; it can be challenging to articulate the return on investment (ROI). But if it comes with functionality that can solve other problems for the school, you’ll be better able to quantify the benefit.
A tool like Vivi offers digital signage and wireless screen mirroring in the same single product. Opting to use Vivi to run across all your screens not only gives you a wide-reaching digital signage platform but also gives you access to the world’s leading screen mirroring solution and all the benefits it will bring to your school.