Digital Advertising Software – Online "software as a service" At the heart of digital signage

As businesses and consumers transitioned from the World Wide Web to Web 2.0 and now Web 3.0, so did the burgeoning media of digital signage and digital narrow casting. Software as a Service (SaaS) entered the technology lexicon sometime in 2000 to indicate a new business model in which software applications are accessed over the Internet rather than being purchased and run locally. Digital advertising software, the SaaS that powers most digital narrowcast networks, has also made the technological leap to web-based programming.

The benefits of SaaS for businesses have been widely reported. Consider the “old” way of doing things. A company bought the software package, paid license fees, installed the software, bought and installed upgrades, maintained the software (by downloading and installing patches), and contacted technical support when there was a problem.

With SaaS, the company pays a usage fee to access the same software over the Internet, with no installation, no upgrade costs, and no maintenance or troubleshooting. Additionally, there are no upfront costs to purchase software, making it easier for organizations to access the latest and greatest business applications.

As Wikipedia says,[m]all types of software lend themselves well to the SaaS model, where customers may have little interest or skill in software delivery but significant computational needs.” SaaS has taken hold in applications such as CRM, HR, accounting, and email. It is also ideally suited for digital signage.

Application of the SaaS model to digital signage networks

Growing Your Digital Signage, a white paper by Brian Dusho and David Womeldorf, shows how SaaS can streamline the implementation and ongoing development of a digital signage network.

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As companies seek to reach audiences that are increasingly reluctant to use traditional advertising, they have turned to new media such as digital signage. In fact, video ad networks are the fastest growing category of new media advertising.

The potential of these networks is enormous – companies can target niche markets, change news on the fly, and schedule news to appear during specific “parts of the day”.

With all of these capabilities comes increased demands on the software that runs these networks. The end result for users who want richer functionality is a higher cost to purchase the software and hardware needed to run it.

Enter SaaS. As Dusho and Womeldorf point out, SaaS saves users the cost and hassle of repeated upgrades of their digital signage software and hardware:

– Network hardware and software is maintained by the software vendor.

– Users can avoid the bandwidth and hardware costs associated with distributing and storing their content.

– With SaaS, less lead time is required to get a new digital signage project off the ground.

– SaaS agreements include upgrades, so there are no additional costs to ensure the latest version of the software is available.

– SaaS fees are lower than the cost of purchasing software licenses.

SaaS hasn’t always been the preferred choice of IT departments concerned about the security of accessing applications over the internet, but these concerns have been alleviated by newer internet protocols like SSL and TLS.

The bottom line? SaaS in the form of digital signage software has emerged as the preferred software solution tailored for digital signage installations. It offers affordable access to the latest features and functionality without the headaches of frequent software upgrades and hardware troubleshooting.