News / Blog

Digital signage on the cloud: a unique type of SaaS

Digital Signage on the Cloud - SaaS

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about cloud and SaaS platforms? Server farms, big-time traffic, high churn rates, and no hardware, perhaps? It’s difficult to avoid such stereotypes. Well, digital signage is a different story.

What is that story? Cloud digital signage platforms have a few characteristics that makes them unique compared to the typical SaaS. And everything comes from one distinct trait; 95% of the perceived value is robust content playback on a screen.

Let’s discuss the implications of this statement.

Scaling technology

A cloud-based digital signage platform scales by players, not by users of the management panel. Why? Because users log into the service just to make changes.

There may be 10,000 paying users on a service but only 10 using it simultaneously. There’s no need for huge clusters of application servers, sharding or partitioning. All you need is one large application server to handle thousands of parallel users. That’s a lot less infrastructure to cater for.

Of course, things like scalable storage and efficient bi-directional communication with devices are a must. But they are available to make your life easier as external cloud services.

Reliability and downtime

For a ‘typical’ SaaS solution, your main goal is to minimize your web app’s downtime. For a digital signage platform, it’s the player’s downtime you need to minimize. Reliability is needed on what’s important – playback.

The web dashboard part of a digital signage platform doesn’t need an SLA. Nor a disaster site at different regions. If it’s down for 1 hour, very few people will notice, even less will complain; they’ll simply check in later. But, if all the players are down, within five minutes, all hell will break loose.

This means that you get an extremely simple infrastructure, but you have to be much more careful with specific parts of the software, namely the player part.

Lifetime value (LTV) and churn

Digital signage involves physical installation of hardware, and possibly displays. Once it works, and a customer is happy, they won’t switch easily. They may consider doing so if the cost is substantially lower. But still, it’s difficult to do so. And that’s because they continuously receive 95% of the value they are paying for; trouble-free playback.

This leads to a longer customer lifetime, and a lower churn rate. When we were doing pricing exercises for Yodeck, we anticipated an average customer lifetime of 30-36 months and low churn rate. So far, we think we were right, but only time will actually validate this assumption for our case.

Cloud SaaS and hardware can mix

Users just want to get some content on their screen(s). Thus, digital signage inherently also deals with hardware.

SaaS hardware

There are platforms that leave it up to the user to get the necessary hardware, whether it’s an Android box, a Smart TV, or a PC. Providing a “pure-SaaS” (that is, software-only) digital signage platform throws a curve ball at the users to solve the hardware riddle.

Let’s be serious. Providing the required hardware is essential. Most solutions provide options for purchasing hardware, either proprietary or not.

With Yodeck, we solved this by:

  1. Using the Raspberry Pi hardware platform,
  2. Automating a back-to-back ordering process
  3. Drop-shipping directly from our regional suppliers to our customers

This gave us a flexibility edge, but also disengaged us from the hardware supply chain. Units are delivered provisioned, pre-configured and ready to be used. They never come through us.

So, while we do directly provide hardware, we never actually ‘deal’ with it. Oh, did I mention that we give it for free?

Digital signage on the cloud: a unique type of SaaS was last modified: August 9th, 2017 by Vangelis Mihalopoulos

Blog Posts

17 Aug, 2017 Are digital menu boards as tasty as they look?

Mmmm, digital menu boards. It looks almost too good to be true. So mouth-watering. You can’t stop looking at it. That lightly toasted bun sandwiched between a succulent, perfectly-grilled burger. The melting cheese has you in a trance as you watch it slowly dribbling down the sides. Read more

Digital Menu Boads
03 Aug, 2017 Security and digital signage: better safe than sorry

Security. It can often be a dirty word, but not where digital signage is concerned. In fact, we can’t think of something more important than making sure your solution is safe. Read more

Fort Knox level Security in Digital Signage
20 Jul, 2017 Software update: Three is the magic number

It’s that time again people. Yes, our new software update is here!

Read more

Overlay Video feature
12 Jul, 2017 Digital Signage without a Player: The good, the bad and the ugly

Running digital signage on a Smart TV without a player. Can it be done? The good [news] is that yes it can. The bad? There is a downside. The ugly? Read on to learn all about that part. Read more

The good, the bad and the ugly
28 Jun, 2017 Small business and digital signage

Digital signage in small business, you say? If you are a small business owner, you’re probably constantly on the lookout for something which can give you a competitive edge. Read more

Small business and Digital Signage