As businesses and consumers moved from the WorldWideWeb to Web 2.0 and now Web 3.0, the emerging media of digital signage and digital narrow casting also made the technological leap. Software as a service (SaaS) entered the technology lexicon sometime in the year 2000 in reference to a new business model that saw software applications being accessed over the Internet, as opposed to being purchased and run locally. Digital advertising software, the SaaS that runs most digital narrow cast networks has also made the technological leap to web based programming.
The benefits of SaaS to business have been widely reported. Consider the “old” way of doing things. A business would buy the software package, pay licensing fees, install the software, buy and install upgrades, maintain the software (by downloading and installing patches), and contact tech support when there was a problem.
With SaaS, the business pays a usage fee to access the same software over the Internet, with no installation, no upgrade costs and no maintenance or troubleshooting. What’s more, there are no up-front expenses for purchasing software, which makes it easier for businesses to access the latest and greatest business applications.
As Wikipedia states, “[m]any types of software are well suited to the SaaS model, where customers may have little interest or capability in software deployment, but do have substantial computing needs”. SaaS has gained a foothold in applications like CRM, HR, accounting and email. It is also ideally suited to digital signage.
Applying 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.
As businesses try to reach an audience that is increasingly tuning out traditional advertising, they have turned to new media, like digital signage. In fact, video advertising networks are the fastest growing category of new media advertising.
The potential of these networks is enormous – businesses can target niche markets, change messaging on the fly, and schedule messaging to appear during specific “dayparts”.
With all of these capabilities come increased demands on the software that runs these networks. The end result for users wanting richer functionality is higher costs to buy the software and the hardware required to run it.
Enter SaaS. As Dusho and Womeldorf make clear, SaaS will save users the costs and hassles of repeated upgrades to their digital signage software and hardware:
– Network hardware and software is maintained by the software provider.
– Users can avoid the bandwidth and hardware expenses associated with distributing and storing their content.
– With SaaS there is less lead time required to get a new digital signage project off the ground.
– SaaS agreements include upgrades, so there is no additional cost to ensure the latest version of the software is available.
– SaaS fees are lower than the costs of purchasing software licenses.
SaaS has not always been the preferred choice of IT departments who were nervous about the security of accessing applications over the Internet, but these fears have been alleviated by newer Internet protocols like SSL and TLS.
The bottom line? SaaS in the form of digital advertising software has emerged as the preferred software solution that is tailor-made for digital signage installations. It offers affordable access to the latest features and functionality, without the headaches of frequent software upgrades and hardware troubleshooting.