When it comes to digital signage hardware we generally think of a few specific pieces of the whole pie. We generally consider the display, the player, the wiring, the connectivity, and–if required–a measurement device. Simplification of the installation, content creation, and scheduling processes will continue to occur and become increasingly necessary as the industry expands. In many cases, the simplification process means decreasing the number of applicable pieces in an install. One way of doing this is by combining the two most important, most cost-intensive pieces of the deployment: the display and the player. Let’s delve into some of the benefits of combining the display and the player into an all-in-one unit.
1. Easier Maintenance and Support
Some might argue the antithesis of this statement, but I believe all-in-ones are easier for maintenance. Most displays that have the media player built in, give easier access to the motherboard, which is where many problems initiate. And, since the motherboard can be removed more easily from an all-in-one than from a small form-factor player, it only makes sense that fixing the motherboard and it’s components will be easier. And, I guess it goes without saying that since the motherboard is not as restricted to size as a media player would be, you don’t have to pay more for smaller components. You can get more bang for your buck, much like purchasing a tower versus a condensed lappy.
2. More Turnkey
Software and its associated hardware is meant to simplify our lives, not make it more complicated. However, it seems that there are often so many components in a signage installation that it can be overwhelming, especially for a customer who’s not familiar with terms like “signage media player” and “Client Management Software.” While gear heads don’t need whole products, mainstream customers do. As signage continues to simplify and move toward “mom” and “pop” shops, we’ll continue to see digital signage players embedded in the rear of displays. Because the unit is all-in-one, it is “plug-n-play.” Installing a separate media player implies “plug, plug-n-play.” Got it?
3. All-in-Ones are More Secure
You will not have to worry about having a security device for your valuable media player when mounting it to the display. Why? Well because your media player resides with the same encasing as the display, allowing for easy access by those who need to reach the motherboard, and security against those may try stealing the hardware. It’s like having a security device already built in. This can also save money by eliminating the need to purchase a security device for the player.
4. They Can Reduce Costs
This may sound ludicrous, but all-in-one displays can really reduce costs–especially when we are talking about scale. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first, I already innumerated earlier. That is, that the player components are not as restricted to space and thereby can be larger. Larger generally always means cost savings when we are talking about computer hardware. The second way compy+displays save costs was also outlined previously: it is not necessary to purchase additional security mounting devices for your media player. Finally, scale will simply drop the prices even more. Some of the current offerings for all-in-ones are still fairly steep, but as they reach a tipping point, world domination is inevitable.
5. All-in-One Displays Make for a Cleaner Installation
Forget all the wiring that comes from connecting the media player to the display and the media player to the power. You simply plug and go. And, if you integrate the motherboard with a cellular card, much like MediaTile, it’s even more simplified.
I have heard mixed opinions on the integrated/all-in-one digital signage units. It seems there are those who’re bent on their small form-factor compys are all against all-in-one signage display units. Personally, I can see why some are in opposition. Apple would be opposed, of course, since they are still making clams from companies like Nanonation and Helius who provide the mac mini as a digital signage player. But even Apple knows that combining and integrating generally always has great benefits–hence Apple’s hold on the software + hardware combo…But that’s a thought for another day.