The opportunity to gather all tools and apps in one single place is a dream for many leaders and managers. Being able to do so could improve efficiency, productivity and make training of employees much easier. In this article, we will take you through what you need to know when it comes to digital signage integrations.
As Matt Murphy from Menlo Ventures said in an article for TechCrunch on APIs
“The number of SaaS (Software as a Service) applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation around APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been an increase of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.”
The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, such as Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help developers and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms.
In the past 5 years, digital signage software vendors have seen that an increase in customer demand for integrations with their digital signage solutions. Customers want to be able to connect the software with other systems to show relevant data to both customers and employees.
However, this proved to be an uphill battle for many software providers. Opening their solutions to integrate with third parties required many to make fundamental changes to their infrastructure. This posed a financial issue for many companies, where larger chunks of money needed to go into R&D rather than marketing and customer service. The companies that were willing to take this risk have indeed reaped the rewards, moving from centralized and locally hosted solutions towards cloud-based solutions with a framework open to integrations.
Many of the software vendors that did not follow suit ended up bankrupt or have since been acquired by larger corporations who then had to implement these changes. These days, customers can show social media content on their screens, dashboards, and reports from tools such as Power BI, RSS feeds from news outlets, and much more.
Fast and reliable content sharing
Digital signage is ideal for sharing content from different platforms. If your company uses social media to share inspirational or engaging content, you can choose to share the same content on the digital signage displays across all of your locations. There is no need to proofread or input content into a different system, everything can be done automatically.
This reduces the workload of the marketing team and ensures consistency across all channels.
The same applies to sharing content such as reports or KPI dashboards that help employees stay up to date on the team's performance. Simply create the dashboard in Power BI, connect it to your digital signage software and the data will be updated in real-time or at intervals.
The same goes for showing a specific webpage from an intranet, where information such as events and management-related content is shown in a matter of seconds. The power of integrations and API has done wonders when it comes to displaying content. It should be noted that different digital signage software supports different integrations. In some cases, it is included in the license price, in other cases, you may need to pay extra for specific integrations.
Easy user management
One of the responsibilities of the IT department is to manage employee user accounts on all internal systems. A common problem is when an employee leaves an organization. The IT department might remove the email account from the main system, but other systems may still allow the user to log in without authentication to the main system. Users with ill intentions may take advantage of this access to sensitive data or even create havoc in the system by removing important content. A solution to this would be to centralize user management so that changes are reflected in all systems at once.
Our platform, DatabeatOMNI uses third-party user authentication via Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace. One of the benefits of using that type of authentication is that if you delete the user from your Google or Office 365 management portal, you will also delete the user’s access to DatabeatOMNI automatically. This is an important security measure that requires little effort.
The same goes for the arrival of a new employee. You can create the DatabeatOMNI user directly from Office 365 by adding the user to an O365 group giving them access and role - instead of creating multiple accounts on each third-party application and system separately. For the IT department, this means improved security and less time spent on managing users.
Digital signage networks have seen rapid growth across multiple industries over the past few years. Security has always been a crucial factor, but it has mainly focused on the hardware aspect and only in recent years shifted towards the software. Many do not realize the potential consequences of someone hacking into the system. The damage this can do for the brand and corporate image can be detrimental.
With a digital signage system integrated with Office 365 or Google Workspace, you ensure that only those with company accounts have access to your digital signage system. This also allows you to choose which type of data you want to share with who, ensuring that you do not share more information than necessary with the third party. With the help of powerful integrations and flexible frameworks, digital signage software security is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Faster deployment of features and functionality
Software providers make their living by developing software with features and functionalities that make the life of users easier. To increase usage of the software, vendors often add new features and functionalities in the software, which often results in increased efficiency for the end-users.
When using integrations, you can add more features to your application. Features that end-users are familiar with such as showing videos directly from the company's YouTube channel. Having a digital signage software provider that continuously develops these integrations to improve the user experience is optimal. If you are to develop these integrations in-house, it would be costly and more time-consuming as much of the code is provided by a third-party source.
Depending on the size of your company, look for a digital signage solution that provides a vast library of integrations. The more you can do in one single place, the better the user experience.
The world of software changed dramatically for the better when APIs and integrations were introduced. Having the ability to add features that users are familiar with requires less training and reduces the risk of errors being made, not to mention the time saved on having to manually input information yourself.
Digital signage software vendors are not exempt from this change and in 2021, you should be able to expect at least a few ready-to-use integrations when you invest in digital signage software. If the software does not support any integrations today, they probably won’t tomorrow either and you risk ending up spending more money on manual labor than necessary.
To sum up, the only thing you need to know about digital signage integrations is that you should be able to expect your digital signage software to support integrations. To learn more about some of the integrations DatabeatOMNI supports, click here.