If You Don’t Really Do Device Management, You Don’t Really Do Digital Signage

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I was on a call recently with a guy from one of the more well-established companies in the digital signage software market, and as we wrapped up, he of course asked what I thought.

Really good, as expected, I said, but maybe the device management was a little threadbare compared to some others I’d seen.

That threw him off, so I went on to explain how for years I’ve seen systems that allow operators to get down to the most granular level to see what’s happening in the field. At Digital View, where I worked several years ago, the software was written with the idea that the networked players were Mars explorers – so you needed all kinds of remote diagnostics and tools to monitor and fix them remotely, because that’s a field service trip you were not going to make.

I took that approach to heart, and remote device monitoring and management remains¬†one of the biggest filters I use when I am helping clients sort through the scores of competing software offers out there. If your platform can’t give you much of an idea of what’s happening with the devices in the field, or provide ways to easily get at those devices and remedy issues, you’re not really in the game.

Vendors also seem to be taking this to heart – possibly because the user base is getting smarter and some buyers are now into network refresh cycles, having already had three to five years with one platform and now really understanding what’s important.

Just this week we’ve seen Signagelive debut its visual dashboard, and the Swiss firm SpinetiX has announced something called Cockpit, which is all about device management.

Drag and drop user interfaces and pretty icons are all very nice, but I’d take a butt-ugly management tool over a design-centric platform that doesn’t do a hell of a lot beyond scheduling and distribution.

cockpit

 

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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4 Comments

  • Dave Taylor says:

    Great Topic.

    What I have been looking for is a software that I can monitor all my devices say per location. For a typical video wall installation I have the following.

    Mac Video Player running Sedna, Extron Switcher and an Aurora Waci or Extron Control system.

    What would be great is if I could have a console that lets me drill down to location then show if all devices are on line. Then have the option from that page to either Remote into the Mac or go to the webpage for the Waci or Extron controller, also if there is a camera on the wall.

    This would help me hand off a lot of the troubleshooting over to the HelpDesk.

    I would also like to use the same interface for my conference rooms.

    • Dave Haynes says:

      There are third party companies/products like Esprida, Simtrol and SiteRemote that might do the business for you. I don’t know them well enough to definitively say. I know some guys use things like Log Me In or even VNC.

  • Jeremy Gavin says:

    Hit the nail on the head. That one aspect tells you a lot about the software. Those that have device management have put a lot of thought into their solution, and they undoubtably have experience which has shown them this is useful… thus you can expect they have done the same thing with many other features/requirements with the software.

    With so many options, this is a great way to cut the options in half (or less). Much like playing “Guess Who?” with my daughter, if you know the questions to ask up front, success comes easier. So far I’m on a 5 match winning streak.

  • Adam Duffy says:

    Dave, Thought I’d chime in to say that Enplug launched because of the device/player network management VS. curation/content scheduling software battle! When you combine Enplug, Inc. awarded app market content management with enterprise control you have what Frost & Sullivan calls 2015 New Product Innovation of the year.

    Enplug created the 1st app market approach to easy curation. Enplug developed an internal client tool to manage hundreds of clients and thousands of screens. Of course capability, usability, function, and from had to be nothing less than stellar. Enplug’s own internal system is now available for enterprise management.

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