Tips & Guides

How to make your own Digital Signage

Are you thinking about introducing digital signs to your workplace? Maybe to replace the posters or notice boards you already use with something multimedia? Or to transform an empty wall or window into a place to share information?
It almost goes without saying that it’s very effective to use moving images and video for communication, whether that’s for advertising or for employee engagement. And there are many practical benefits to going digital, not least, that it’s quicker to update a screen than to print and hang a new poster.

It’s so easy to do that you can actually make your own digital signage solution. There’s a wide range of options, from doing everything yourself, to using some off-the-shelf elements, to getting professional support when a project becomes more complex. Here we take you through the components that you need for digital signage and how to use this as a menu to create a solution that works for you.

How to make digital display board

One of the simplest uses of digital signage is a digital display board, where you’re basically modernising a noticeboard. Maybe the one in the kitchen or staff room that tells your team about the company’s CSR project, away days or local bus routes. Or something visitor-facing in reception that welcomes guests with useful information and could also be impressing them with slick case study videos.

In this situation, you probably need only one or two displays and you could repurpose monitors or TVs that you already own. Then it’s just a case of hooking up the screen to a solution that will feed it your notices, news etc. Let’s look at how you do it.

How to create digital signage

Before you can create your own digital signage, you need to be familiar with all the elements involved. These are:

  • a display or displays,
  • a digital signage player that connects to the display and delivers the content to it,
  • your content,
  • and a digital signage content management system – a platform that controls what content appears on your displays, when it appears and when it’s updated.
Simple PC or TV signage

If you are creating one digital display board as described above, you can have a computer and monitor solution that’s very basic. Your monitor can be the display, the computer can run a digital signage player application and the content management system. You can go even simpler, by setting up a slideshow using your computer’s photo or presentation app.

This set-up is pretty limiting though. For one thing, it relies on having a computer attached to your monitor, which takes up a lot of space and can be difficult to hide or mount if you want signage on a wall rather than on a desk or shelf.

If you do want signage on a wall, a cheap option is to fix a smart TV with a USB on a bracket and run your content from the USB stick. The smart TV is the player and the USB is the content management system, in that it stores your content. However, you need to create one stick per display, and you must physically change sticks to change content, so you’re back to some of the limitations of using posters.

How to make your own Digital Signage

Can you use a DIY for something more sophisticated? If you want to make your own digital signage that you can control remotely, you can look at running it through a mini-computer.

There are loads of powerful but tiny (relatively speaking) mini-computers on the market, some including impressive amounts of storage, that you can easily mount to the back of a TV or monitor to get it online.

This takes care of tooling up your display to act as a signage player, then you need software to tell it what to show and when. You can get open source digital signage content management platforms that let you do this, either with content stored on an SD card or the drive within your mini-computer, or stored in the cloud.

When to use diy signage

So, when can you go it alone and when should you look for more support? These DIY options are effective ways to get started with digital signage, especially if you want to dip your toe in the water, try it out and get some results before rolling out a bigger project. However, once you are ready to go bigger, you should consider investing in a professional solution.

This applies if you want to create digital signage that involves multiple screens, more than one location and if several members of your team will be involved. A specialist digital signage solution will offer you more storage, more security and more support for both you and your content creators/managers.

You’ll know when to move on from DIY because you’ll start to be frustrated by the limitations, whether that’s running out of storage space, having to create templates from scratch or having to rely on community support when problems come up.

We’re here to help with scalable solutions, a team of experts and experience working with companies ranging from start-ups to multi-nationals. Get in touch to see how we can help you reach your digital signage goals.

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