If I Had A Hammer…

Chris Heap

As part of an emerging and ongoing conversation relating to the use of ‘digital signage software as a content creation tool’ – sparked actually by the post Demystifying Digital Signage Software, the Beaver Group have posted the following article up on their blog in which they make a case for defining the creative output before deciding on which software application you select to ensure you choose the right tool for the right job:

The digital signage software marketplace is getting much busier than even a few years ago with quite a few applications around. These days there’s a variety of digital signage software available: some which schedule content for playback, others which schedule as well as incorporating custom design tools.

For basic requirements, there are entry-level applications which schedule the playback of content and rely on standard design packages (such as Flash, Photoshop and After Effects) for their design and on-going development.

For anything more comprehensive there are applications which incorporate design tools and operate as a software platform. The information on the screen can be live, editable and scripted in a variety of ways, in addition to playing normal static or animated content.

Digital signage is a medium in it’s own right – unlike TV, web or print and various applications will mean a variety of options and results with your digital signage. With the right platform, you can accommodate your future requirements and changes, as well as your current ones and if you use it for more than simple content delivery, digital signage becomes a powerful and dynamic medium for your messages.


Beaver Group has been a design agency for over 30 years. We design for print, web sites and digital signage. Whatever medium we’re designing for, we use the right tools for the job and treat each medium with consideration for its own specific requirements.

Think of the web: most websites aren’t created in just Flash. It’s certainly possible, but the website will suffer from poor search engine rankings and indexing (Google can’t interpret Flash). So other specific web tools such as Dreamweaver are used.

Equally, if we’re creating video content, we wont use a digital signage content tool – we’ll use applications like Adobe After Effects, or Premiere.


Digital signage applications provide simple and intuitive access to the more powerful aspects of any well developed and established software platform, with open web APIs and content management. The software accommodates small changes because it can treat each aspect of the content uniquely. If we had to re-render a video or image to accommodate one small change in the content, we’d end up re-doing work and this is a waste of time, as well as money!

We use digital signage software platforms for designing, integrating and building on. We can design templates for content and use the platform to create customised interfaces for customers. The content can be driven from a variety of sources, such as databases and web-feeds. This isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, as it actually reduces the cost of ownership and is a major consideration for many of customers we work with.

Clients like Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline and Showcase Cinemas all required custom integration which went way beyond any “out-of-the-box” or “instant” solution. They needed a software platform which we could develop specific solutions for their business needs – and the flexibility of our chosen application enabled us to do exactly that.

So there’s no mystery or magic about it. We just design good content for digital signage and we use whatever the right tools are for the job. Our clients also understand that digital signage is more than just content playback.

Our advice to the variety of software vendors our there is – don’t fall into the trap of dismissing features of one product, simply because it’s not a feature of your own. Abraham Maslow eloquently summed it up when he said,“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

Article reproduced with kind permission from Beaver Group

One Response to “If I Had A Hammer…”

  1. Henry T Ford Says:

    It says Beaver Group on the shirt but the pants and vest says SCALA ! So preaching about using the best one for the job is definitely meant in a Henry T ford way.

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