Sign & Digital Graphics

The 2015 LED & EMC Report

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20 • June 2015 • L E D & E M C LED/EMC Control Software What to Look for in EMC Control Software It's critical that sign shops stay abreast of software innovations B y D a v i D R y c y n a David Rycyna is the CEO of Cirrus LED Systems, a manufacturer of EMC-based LED signage modules. S ign companies and manufacturers that are winning bids today in the electronic message center market are increasingly doing it based on the feature set offered by the software their system runs rather than the hardware. Reliable hardware is certainly a must, but in most sales scenarios, that is just the start of the conversation. For sign companies that want to stay competitive in this dynamic and inno- vative field, staying abreast of the latest software innovations is critical to beating out the competition in your next bid. When a sign company installs a display and walks away from the site, its work is done. The job is complete. However the user who just purchased that screen is now bound by the capa- bilities and features of that sign's soft- ware—for upward of a decade. There are a flurry of questions and concerns that the user wants to be assured of. Will it be compatible with their new computer? How are upgrades handled? What if their neighbor gets a new display that can do all sorts of cool things. Can their display handle adding those new feature sets? I'm going to outline what to look for in the LED display software to stay ahead of the competition. What's Available? When it comes to electronic message signs, there are two principal categories of software control systems—PC-based and cloud-based. The first has been around for a long time and is still used by many manu- facturers. It is a PC-based setup where there is an on-site computer connected directly to the display itself, either by wire or using a Wi-Fi connection. The program that connects to the display is installed on-site via a disc or USB dongle and set up to run the display at that loca- tion specifically on a PC. Content is added into the software and scheduled on the display. The pro- gram then compiles data and sends it to the sign in a program package to be run on the screen itself. The advantage of this system is that Internet connections are not required. The disadvantages are that a dedicated PC needs to be purchased or A cloud-based control system also means net- worked content that can be updated in real time.

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