Buying Digital Signage Online Is About As Rock-Solid As Jello
April 28, 2014 by Dave Haynes
Somehow or other I bumped into a link for a SIIG digital signage player, as listed on Staples’ Canadian online store.
First, I thought, who is SIIG?
Then I thought, Staples sells digital signage???
SIIG is a Fremont, California device manufacturer that’s into all kinds of things, and has a streamer device it touts as a digital signage player.
Staples is an office products company that will sell you just about anything you could vaguely relate to an office. However, this is the only digital signage item, and it costs $750. So I’m thinking they’re not flying off the virtual shelves.
It also got me thinking and wondering, how easy or hard is it to buy digital signage online? I’ve had chats with many people who have suggested this whole thing should be as easy as buying a book online or a shrink-wrapped pack of whatever at a big box. Well sure … maybe. But it’s not happening so far. At least not up here in dog sled country (seriously, it’s April 28 and I had to wear a winter coat today *&*&^%#@!!!!!).
I checked Tiger Direct, which moves a lot of electronics. The site has a digital signage splash page, and all of three listings – for panels.
Then we have CDW, a big, more business-focused electronics etailer. Search under digital signage, and you get 103 results.
But what a spotty bunch. HP has the most stuff, but that’s panels and mounts and a digital signage player – an i5 desktop PC – that costs north of $1,000. Good luck with that one, as well.
Signagelive is one of two software companies selling services on CDW, as it does in the US. It’s actually pretty good, in a we used as much as they gave us kind of way.
Then there is Scala – which appears to be at the mercy of the way these big online e-commerce and SKU management systems work. I can buy a SCALA 1 CAL NW SIZE 1-9 for $160 and get it in 3-6 business days. But what the hell is it???
Same goes for the other listings. Who would buy that???
It’s all displays (including TVs), mounts and video distribution stuff at Best Buy.
Then, finally, is the flea market/swamp/labyrinth that is Amazon when you use a broad term like digital signage. 500+ items. There are book you will have never heard of, books that look more like software offers, stuff that no longer exists (Cisco) and all kinds of free things that the Android guys list there, because they list everywhere that might drive curious clicks to the real sites.
I buy a lot of stuff via Amazon, like most people, but I really don’t see too many end-users getting started here. Heaven help them if they do.
So … you can buy damn near anything online, including all the bits and pieces you’d need for a digital signage network. But the activity is about as far removed from one-stop shopping as you could possibly imagine.
One day there will be a market for this stuff. The problem, though, is that getting the right content management system, players and displays is not like looking for the most suitable USB 3.0 hub or crosscut shredder. You can list it as a SKU in these systems, sure. But making informed decisions off what these systems give you is most cases very tough.