Overview of Digital Signage Kiosk Software

Digital Signage Kiosk Software Development - ScienceSoft

In software development since 1989, ScienceSoft provides all-round consulting on digital signage software.

The essence of digital signage kiosk solutions

Digital signage presents wayfinding, advertising or informational audio-video content on small kiosk-unit screens or large displays to the wide public. The interactivity of digital signage solutions focuses on digital content navigation and doesn’t involve actions like card reading, cash disbursement, or receipt printing, which distinguishes them from other kiosk solutions. Digital signage supports higher brand awareness, customer engagement and satisfaction, and can replace information desks.

Architecture of digital signage software

Digital signage kiosk solutions usually comprise a client digital signage application, which displays the content users interact with, and controller software, which powers the app’s functionality.

If no user interaction is implied, the client app runs on a non-touch screen LCD/plasma display and is powered by controller software run from mini PCs. A similar architecture can be used in interactive kiosk software solutions, with touch screen devices replacing non-touch displays. If you employ input/output devices with higher processing power (e.g., specific kiosk hardware or PCs and laptops), you can have them run both the app and controller software.

While digital signage solutions function fully independently, two-way communication with a dedicated cloud server is necessary. Thanks to the cloud integration via Web APIs, a digital signage system can send data reports and error logs to the cloud database, be remotely maintained from a cloud-based kiosk management software, as well as updated via a cloud-based CMS.

Architecture of digital signage software - ScienceSoft

Features and functional use cases of digital signage software

Key operational features

Software lockdown

Limiting kiosk functionality to showing only certain content and preventing interaction scenarios that aren’t related to performing kiosk-specific tasks.

Restricted web browsing

Limiting available internet resources in digital signage kiosks with public internet access.

Data logging

Sending user session records and error logs to a cloud database.

Remote maintenance

Helping administrators monitor digital signage software and deploy updates via cloud-based kiosk management software.

Content scheduling

Allowing administrators to set a schedule for content to change automatically.

Non-interactive use cases

Media playback

Playback of slideshows and videos in waiting areas to reduce perceived wait time.

Advertising campaigns

Scheduled advertising messages or special offers to influence customers’ behavior.

Branding information

Display of brand logos to strengthen brand identity.

Navigational information

Display of maps and navigation signs.

Public messages

Display of useful public information, e.g., company business hours, traffic schedule, weather alerts.

Interactive use cases

Product catalog

A digital catalog with product specifications, where users can read customer reviews or even try a product out (like in this solution) right next to a store shelf.

Reference book

A key informational kiosk use case in museums, galleries, and other cultural or entertainment spots, where a self-service signage solution can replace a guide or a static sign plate.

Map viewing

Digital kiosks showing interactive maps that allow users to zoom in and out and select a point of interest to get more information about it.

Sensor-based augmented reality

Automatic content adjustment in response to a customer’s gestures or movements (specific sensor hardware is needed, as described in this project).

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Crucial digital signage kiosk software integrations

Digital signage software integrations - ScienceSoft

Digital signage application + controller software

To power a client app or apps with business logic.

Digital signage + cloud-based management software

To enable maintenance of a digital signage solution.

Digital signage + cloud-based CMS

To allow easy updates and scheduling of digital signage content.

Success factors of digital signage software solutions

Usability and design

Compared to other electronic kiosk systems, digital signage kiosks offer only informational gains to customers and therefore such kiosks can often be ignored. The key objective of digital signage solutions is to pique interest and provide continuous user engagement, and one of the surest ways to achieve this is by providing quality, well-tested UX and eye-appealing UI design of client apps.

Convenience of content management

Digital signage solutions – especially those for advertising purposes – require frequent content update and modification to prevent customers from getting tunnel vision. The process of content management needs to be streamlined and made fast and easy for regular marketers. That’s why digital signage software should provide easy integration with a user-friendly third-party or custom content management system.

Hardware for running controller software

When developing its custom solutions, ScienceSoft usually targets either of the two reliable mini PC options:

Raspberry Pi 4

Description

  • Gigabit LAN adapter, 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, up to 8GB RAM, 1.5GHz Broadcom SoC, 2 micro HDMI ports.
  • Support for 2-display 4K streaming.
  • Out-of-the-box use of MicroSD cards as storage (HDD/SDD storage use requires modifications).
  • Connectivity with Sense HAT device, containing multiple sensors that can enhance digital signage (for instance, enable measuring and displaying current temperature).

BEST FOR

Aspiring digital signage projects that seek affordable and creative solutions; digital signage solutions requiring sensor data.

Pricing

$35+ (Depends on RAM configurations).

Intel NUC Board

Description

  • Gigabit LAN adapter, 2 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0, up to 32GB RAM, Intel Core (i3-5-7) CPU, 2 HDMI 2.0a.
  • Support for multi-display (3+ depending on the board model) 4K streaming.
  • Built-in SATA port, allowing connection to SSD storage.
  • Digital signage is one of the key official use cases.

BEST FOR

Advanced digital signage solutions that use GBs of content or leverage AR technology.

Pricing

$260+ (Depends on RAM/CPU configurations).

Why out-of-the-box solutions don’t always work well for digital signage

Digital signage systems create large networks of diverse devices – LCDs, tablets, mini PCs. Since out-of-the-box kiosk software solutions have predefined compatibility with hardware, you may be forced to go for specific (potentially, the most expensive) devices. By getting custom digital signage software, you avoid any possible integration issues and are free to create a network of the devices you want or can afford.

What's more, UX and UI design of both the client-end and administrator-end apps plays a key role in the solution's success. Configurable tools rarely provide the level of creative freedom necessary for quality UX and UI designs. Custom design, however, is always delivered with a certain audience and their very unique needs and expectations in mind, thus ensuring high customer satisfaction and streamlining administrators’ work.

Custom digital signage software implementation

ScienceSoft offers both consulting on and implementation of custom kiosk software.

Digital signage software consulting

  • Detailed business case.
  • List of digital signage software features and use case scenarios.
  • Development schedule estimates.
  • Architecture blueprints.
  • Detailed plan of integrations with hardware (displays or input/output devices, mini PCs), cloud database and management software.
  • Interactive kiosk design prototype.

Digital signage software development

  • Digital signage software consulting and development project planning.
  • Thorough UX research and usability testing of the client digital signage app.
  • Development and QA of the entire digital signage solution (client app + controller software + kiosk management system with CMS).
  • Deployment and integrations with hardware (displays, input/output devices, mini PCs), database and management software.
  • Continuous digital signage software support and evolution.
About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company, headquartered in McKinney, Texas, US. We develop custom digital signage software to assist businesses in raising customer acquisition and engagement as well as reducing information desk service costs.