SaaS (for “software as a service”) is a popular service model in digital signage. For around $10 to $20 a month, subscribers gain access to a number of easy-to-use yet powerful digital signage management software to get started in building a digital signage network. Nice and easy for a small business owner or marketing manager, as it comes out of the expense book without becoming a tough purchase decision. Then comes the cost of hardware, which typically runs up to $1,000 for a medium-sized screen and a PC-based player. For many users wanting to give it a try, the hardware investment often becomes show stopper. Fortunately, a number of hardware options are becoming available to make the SaaS ride much smoother.

For a small investment of approximately $200 (equivalent of around $10 a month in a 2-year contract) customers can now get a 10” counter-top, shelf-mountable digital signboard system from IAdea, fully manageable by leading digital signage software options including Scala, SignChannel, signagelive, Oxygen.next (from 42media Group), DigitalSignage.net, etc. The small display is a perfect tool for welcoming visitors at the reception desk and keeping them up-to-date of the latest information. Such systems have been deployed in hotels, corporate offices, retail stores, travel agencies, banks, etc. and proven to be a very cost effective visual communication tool.

Around the similar cost, the customer can also get a palm-size SaaS-companion media appliance that plugs into a low-cost computer monitor and instantly becomes a medium-sized, SaaS-managed digital signage system to sit on a table-top or be mounted on a wall. The media appliances can conveniently mount behind the monitor using standard VESA mounts without cluttering up the reception area. The small form factor of the media appliance makes it very easy to set up such a system without requiring extra spaces or complex mounting construction.

For larger deployments, IAdea also makes available the option to have the media appliances integrated with a medium-sized screen of 15”, 19”, or 24”. To support SaaS providers, IAdea also supports the option to pre-configure each unit with connectivity parameters for the SaaS service so the deployment of the units is a true plug-and-play without requiring any configuration. Now for a low monthly fee, users can get state-of-the-art software bundled with all necessary hardware to brighten up every venue with lively images to welcome the visitors.