Experiential Design Firm Uses Headless CMS For Display Project; “Considerably Easier” Than Traditional Digital Signage Software
August 19, 2022 by Dave Haynes
At least a couple of digital signage CMS firms have gone down the path of offering what they term a headless CMS – the proposition being that customers with in-house developer and creative talent can continue to use their preferred tools for a digital signage project by tapping into the CMS firm’s API.
So instead of backing out of whatever they use and then launching the digital signage CMS to do that work, they just make the media assets and schedules they develop route through the CMS, without ever using expressly logging into and using that digital signage-specific UX.
Here’s compelling evidence from a much-respected interactive experiences firm, Bluecadet in Philly, that headless is indeed a real thing:
This recent Bluecadet project is a great illustration of our thesis that physical spaces and displays can and should be as timely and relevant as the web, writes CEO Josh Goldblum in a Linkedin post.
This lobby wall at the Glick Center at The MetroHealth System (Cleveland, OH) integrates w Sanity.io – a super easy to use, headless CMS that we use on some of our less complex web projects – aka keeping this signage current is ridiculously easy.
It’s designed to make a range of imagery shine – from artwork, day in the life pictures, videos, etc. but moreover keeping the display current isn’t more difficult than putting a slideshow on Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., easier than WordPress or Drupal and considerably easier than traditional digital signage software.
I poked around Sanity but it’s a site aimed at developers, and I was going cross-eyed quickly trying to understand the proposition. Making content production easy, efficient and somewhat seamless all makes a lot of sense.
The one top of mind question for me is whether these kinds of third party tools have any sort of device management tools. Getting content up on screens is one aspect of the work, but keeping the hardware working and healthy, and monitoring their state and what’s on screens minute to minute, is also a big part of networks of any scale or complexity. Device management is, to my mind, a fundamental component of any sizeable digital signage deployment, and even small ones if what’s on-screen just can’t go down … like ever.
UPDATE: Goldblum provided some additional detail on what is supporting the Sanity CMS:
In terms of other applications being used:
Automatic daily reboot via Task Scheduler as well as Bluecadet Launchpad + NodeJS to monitor and deploy exhibit software, RealVNC for remote maintenance, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio 2022, Github Desktop and
Unity for display.
This is a one-off and not a big scaled network, so having these tools as backups and support is fine. A lot of ops people would argue, though, that a scaled-up network with a lot of devices would be more easily managed by one CMS that does indeed have good device management, than a headless CMS set-up like this that requires launching and running all kinds of software applications in parallel to keep the patients breathing comfortably.