A Hybrid Approach for Digital Signage
Broadcast International is a leading provider of rich media content delivery solutions, including IP , digital satellite, Internet streaming and other types of wired/wireless network distribution. At the core of the Broadcast International network is its patented, multi-codec video compression technology, CodecSys. This next-generation solution for the digital signage marketplace dramatically reduces the bandwidth requirements on high bit rate video content. By integrating satellite, terrestrial and IP -based networks, Broadcast International unifies the strength of each platform to provide universal access and coverage in support of interactive displays across the globe.
DevicePort (formerly Walsh Wireless, Digital Signage division), founded in 2002, is a systems integrator focusing on 3G/4G wireless technology solutions. DevicePort helps companies design, engineer, deploy and manage wireless infrastructure specific to digital signage networks, kiosk networks, POS, ATM, mobile vehicle solutions, satellite back channel and wire line backup. Its growing list of Fortune 500 and SMB customers is a testament to the company’s ability to help customers at any stage of their wireless deployment to ensure success.
One of the most logical placements for digital signage networks is in financial institutions. The fierce competition between banks vying for business owners, investors and home buyers looking for a mortgage means many are turning to digital signage to get their service and brand messaging in front of their customers. Digital signage is a perfect way to reinforce marketing strategy, promote service offerings and tout community involvement and sponsorships — all critical to attracting and retaining loyal customers.
Key to maximizing the benefits of a digital signage network is central control, where someone in the company headquarters can instantly update digital signage messaging for every location. If that network isn’t reliable, however, digital signage can end up harming an institution’s brand instead of helping.
One of the top financial institutions in the country was facing just that problem. On any given day, the institution’s digital signage network was running only about 60 percent of the time.
After a year-long RFP process, Broadcast International was awarded a multiyear contract to revamp the digital signage network in more than 2,000 of the institution’s branches.
The existing network, which had been in place for several years, consisted of thousands of individual terrestrial network connections contracted with a hodgepodge of telecommunications providers.
“When we took the network over, our days were literally spent trying to manage hundreds of sites that would be down and not able to receive new content,” said Burt Jepson, vice president of operations for Broadcast International.
With help from DevicePort, Broadcast International installed a hybrid satellite/cellular network to manage content for those 2,000 branches.
“We installed an entirely new content delivery network, media player hardware and software in those 2,000 locations in roughly 120 days from start to finish,” Jepson said.
“We would have never been able to accomplish that if we had to try to procure, arrange and otherwise coordinate with new third-party telcos to come in and do installations of terrestrial DSLs and wired systems,” he said. “The idea that our whole system was wireless on both the satellite side and the cellular back channels made the implementation go so smoothly and efficiently.”
Because digital signage networks aren’t on the radar screen of most telecommunication companies, it would have been time consuming for Broadcast International to negotiate contracts for each of the 2,000 locations the company was upgrading. Most of the individual placements operate on the Sprint network, and that’s where DevicePort stepped in.
“DevicePort has really cultivated the expertise around bringing wireless technologies to the digital signage industry,” Jepson said. “As an emerging new market area for cellular carriers, there weren’t a lot of people in these organizations who have the expertise to understand how to put all the pieces together. DevicePort was really a huge advocate for us in negotiating the entire project.”
Of the three main areas of improvement Broadcast International was able to achieve, the first came in the form of network uptime. Since Broadcast International took over management of the institution’s network, reliability has risen from 60 percent to more than 98 percent, Jepson said.
Not only does the hybrid satellite/ cellular setup allow Broadcast International to instantly push content to every branch, it also allows Broadcast International to monitor the status of the network to troubleshoot devices.
“We really made an impact on this network’s effectiveness, and as a result, we’ve received extremely high supplier ratings from our client,” Jepson said. “The results have been so successful that we’re expanding the network into an additional 700 sites.”
More importantly, Broadcast International was able to lower operating costs substantially. Owing to security concerns, the institution required a separate network for digital signage. Prior to the retrofit, it was costing the client $125 per month or more, per location, for connectivity.
“The bank was focused on reducing cost and improving reliability,” Jepson said. “Because we were able to design and build something we could scale much more easily than a point-to-point network using traditional DSL, we were able to reduce their spend substantially. That’s certainly one of the things that helped us win the RFP.”
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