Guest Post: Jeffrey Weitzman, Navori
Is all digital signage player software created equal?
Probably 90% of the digital signage player software options on the market are based on interpreted languages, or web-based technologies. As the name implies, these languages can’t be executed directly and must to go through a software interpreter. This method is less expensive to put together, but users end up with player software that has fewer features, and tends to be much less reliable.
Let’s back up a little …
Software plays a major role in every digital signage project. For starters, users need a reliable content management system (CMS) to handle the media and manage what’s playing on each display. Typical CMS software also includes some type of user interface, essentially an end user-facing dashboard that lets people interact with the system.
What’s often overlooked, and just as important as the front-end CMS, is the player software, or what my technical colleagues like to call the “media engine.”
It’s proprietary software that requires a lot of time, resources and working capital to build and support, but the end result is a product that does what it’s supposed to, and that end-users don’t need to worry about.
That investment tends to have tangible benefits. For starters, native players have full access to the graphics processor (GPU), so the performance is usually much better. Native software also makes better use of the hardware’s resources, and the players are inherently more stable.
At Navori, where I work, our native Android and System on Chip software delivers the same features and performance as our Windows product – though the conventional wisdom would be that the Windows version would be superior.
With native software you get a consistent experience across all platforms. This may not matter to someone installing a single display in a sandwich shop, but anyone deploying a large number of screens will certainly look for products that perform in a consistent and predictable way.
Digital signage player software isn’t sexy. There is no user interface to speak of, and once the software’s deployed, it just does its thing. It’s a bit boring, really, but end-users who rely on digital signage understand predictable, reliable and yeah, boring, are good things.
The way we see it, everyone deserves software that will do the job as efficiently, and transparently, as possible.
That’s why native software matters.