Digital signage is a powerful tool for businesses, effectively communicating with customers, employees, and other audiences. In recent years, digital signage has become increasingly popular in promoting products, services and brand awareness. One of the most popular platforms for digital signage is Windows. However, as technology evolves, several modern alternatives are now to consider, including Android, Linux, Raspberry PI, Tizen, WebOS and even MacOS. This article will explore the pros and cons of using Windows devices for digital signage and discuss the modern alternatives to help businesses decide whether deploying Windows-based digital signage is worth it in 2023.
Pros of Windows digital signage
One of the key benefits of Windows-based digital signage is that it is widely compatible with various software and hardware. Windows-based computers and tablets are widely available, and many software developers create applications specifically for Windows operating systems. It's generally easy to find software and hardware that will work with your digital signage system.
Another advantage of Windows-based digital signage is that it is highly customizable. You can create your content or use a third-party content management system to manage and update your signs easily. With the ability to customize the look, layout, and information provided, the flexibility allows for displaying important and relevant information to the audience.
It can be integrated with other technologies
You can easily integrate windows-based digital signage with other technologies. For example, it can be combined with other software like customer relationship management (CRM) systems or social media platforms, enabling you to display real-time data and information on your signs easily. It can provide a more dynamic and engaging experience for your audience and help you analyze and track your signs' performance.
Another advantage of using Windows for digital signage is that it is easy to manage remotely. Windows allows for remote access, which enables businesses to manage and update their digital signage content and even hardware settings from anywhere using a web browser.
Remote management with Windows also allows for easy deployment and maintenance. Windows can be configured to automatically update digital signage content, reducing the time needed to edit content manually. IT administrators can also use Windows to remotely monitor and troubleshoot digital signage issues, minimizing the need for on-site visits. Additionally, Windows provides a variety of security features that can be used to protect digital signage content from unauthorized access.
Wide range of software
Another pro of Windows-based digital signage is the availability of software and content creation tools. Many software and tools are available for creating and managing content for your digital signage, and many are specifically designed for use with Windows operating systems. It makes it easy to find software that fits your needs and budget. With Windows-based systems, you can also use Office Suite for creating your presentations, making it more cost-effective for small and medium-sized businesses.
Cons of Windows digital signage
One of the main drawbacks is that it can be more prone to security issues than other options. Windows operating systems have been targeted by hackers, and it's important to protect your digital signage system from potential attacks.
It's challenging to set up and maintain
Another potential issue with Windows-based digital signage is that it can be more difficult to set up and maintain. While many Windows-based systems are designed to be user-friendly, they may still require some technical expertise to install and manage.
One of the main disadvantages is the cost. Windows requires a license for each device, which can be expensive, especially for businesses that need to deploy digital signage on multiple screens. In addition, Windows-based devices are more costly than other options, such as Android-based devices or Raspberry PI.
Alternatives to Windows-based digital signage
One of the main alternatives to Windows for digital signage is Android. Android is an open-source operating system that software developers widely support. Many software options are available for creating and managing digital signage content.
More than it, there are plenty of Android-based hardware options within the market that you can choose for your digital signage project. It can be affordable media players, like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick or Xiaomi Mi Box as well as Android TV displays, such as commercial-grade Sony and Philips or consumer TVs from TCL and Panasonic.
Raspberry Pi is a low-cost and low-power single-board computer that runs Linux and has become a popular choice for digital signage. The main advantage of using Raspberry Pi for digital signage is its cost: Raspberry Pi boards are very inexpensive and consume very little power, making them an ideal choice for deployments where cost is a major concern. Additionally, the Raspberry Pi has a large and active developer community, which means that many software options are available for creating, managing and displaying digital signage content.
Unfortunately, Raspberry Pi for digital signage has hardware limitations. While Raspberry Pi boards are powerful enough for many digital signage tasks, they may not be the best choice for deployments that require high-end hardware. Additionally, not all digital signage hardware vendors support Raspberry Pi, making it difficult to find compatible hardware.
Tizen and webOS
Samsung develops Tizen, primarily targeting smart TVs, while Web OS is used in LG smart TVs and a few other devices. Both systems have specific hardware requirements and are not as flexible as the other alternatives, but they come with manufacturer support and benefits.
However, it's worth noting that Tizen and WebOS have limited software options. While Tizen and WebOS have some software options available, they are not as widely supported as Windows or Android, making it more difficult to find software that meets your specific needs. Additionally, Tizen and WebOS are developed by Samsung and LG correspondingly, so it may not be the best choice for deployments that want to stay neutral regarding hardware vendors.
While Windows is still a viable option for digital signage, modern alternatives like Android, Raspberry PI, Tizen, and WebOS are becoming increasingly popular and cost-effective. Businesses should weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider the specific needs of their digital signage project before making a decision. However, the alternatives will be the most popular choice in the future as they are generally cheaper, do not require OS licenses, and can be installed directly onto screens as a single-chip solution (SoC solution).