Accounting for the Future
Any worthwhile endeavor should be well thought out for not only the present circumstances but also with an eye for the future. Technology changes and improves daily! A significant challenge we will address in a bit is throttling network growth at a pace that you can keep up with. Growth will be a certain subject for discussion, I assure you. As time passes and your digital signage network matures and you get settled into a routine, you will undoubtedly question if you need additional personnel to assist in that planned growth of your network. You will also need to factor into your budgetary processes the ongoing cost of doing business, which includes the normal process of equipment attrition, replacement or failure. Stuff wears out, breaks or fails over time. We have had our nearly 100+ installation digital signage network in operation for four years now and have not experienced any significant attrition or failures… but we know that at some point either some piece of equipment will fail or the technology will change enough to warrant a replacement. So, at this point, we have adjusted our budget to reflect some possible normal attrition in our deployed equipment. We also choose which equipment items get replaced based up the length of service it has experienced. As in business accounting… think FIFO. First in, first out! Our oldest equipment will be evaluated for replacement when we consider updating technologies. Due to our campus-wide emergency messaging mandate, we also try to have at least one fully functioning computer / player system in reserve so that if a player goes down due to a component failure or software bug we can hot swap them out in a matter of a few minutes anywhere on our campuses. We immediately pull the failed component into our engineering department shop and begin a diagnostic search for the problem and see if we can get it back into service quickly.
It should be noted that in the event of a problem with a particular deployment of a digital sign, you need to get it lit back up as soon as you can. A digital sign sitting “dark and busted” is not a good calling card for your network. Your network loses credibility if it appears you don’t care enough to keep the network up and running. It is also a liability to you if you have an Emergency Alert feature within your loop of information. If that digital sign is “dark and busted” when an Emergency Alert is issued and someone does not get that important message they could potentially be in danger without knowing it. Do not open yourself up to criticism by leaving “dark and busted” digital signs unattended to for very long. Get them fixed fast!
Normal equipment attrition and replacements costs should be assessed.
Future personnel hires should be considered periodically.
One full back-up system ready and on the shelf in the event of a failure.
Budgets for salaries, self-funded client projects, and centrally funded projects need to be considered annually.