When it comes to digital signage, did you know that there is a difference between a web-based SaaS Solution, an on-premise server, and a desktop application?


This article will show the basic differences of each method, as well as discuss the benefits and limitations of each platform.




SaaS stands for “Software as a Service.” Content such as images, text, and video are located on servers in another location known as the cloud. Users will login to the website that hosts the software for digital signage content creation, the user administration, and the media player management.


The SaaS model usually has a monthly or annual fee, which will cover the hosting and bandwidth costs, development, support, and maintenance costs.


One of the major benefits of a SaaS solution is the support — basically an outsourced IT department. You have no need to maintain a digital signage server, and are instead renting space on a server that is hosted and supported by a 3rd party. The SaaS can be seen as an operating expense and not a capital expense. This allows you to immediately recognize the cost of the SaaS, instead of capitalizing the cost and writing it off over a period of years.


On-Premise Server


The On-Premise Server is a web-based solution, much like the Saas. One major difference is that you log into – and matinain – a local servier instead of logging into a web portal. The benefit of this system is that you know your total cost up-front, as you are doing the hosting. The up-front fees are more expensive than the SaaS model, but there are no ongoing fees on the back end. The downside of this system is that you are still responsible for maintaining and managing the server.


Desktop Applications


A Desktop Application model is a very user-friendly platform, as it works much like another familiar program, Microsoft Word. The application is placed onto a PC and then launched from the desktop. You create and edit the content locally on your PC, and then upload it to the player. There are several benefits to this model, since you are aware of the total cost up-front, and you have a familiar environment in which to work. Desktop applications are solid, dependable and have been around for quite some time. One of the drawbacks, however, is that desktop platforms are not as flexible as web-based solutions. As a result, it’s not as easy for multiple people to collaborate on the same project from several different locations.