There has been a lot of talk about the cloud in recent months across all industries. In fact MediaSignage mediaCLOUD service has seen an exposition in growth and new accounts; mostly because we have an awesome system and because... well the cloud is very popular now.
The “cloud,” or cloud computing, can be an ambiguous term to many. Is it virtualized? “As-a-service” technology? Utility computing? The Internet? The definition of the cloud may change slightly for each company that uses it, but generally, the cloud is a means of taking applications and services and moving them off of the customer premise and onto the Internet or WAN. These applications are maintained by an outside entity and accessible to the user through a web browser, smart phone or other device.
Cloud computing offers a number of benefits, including these (think about how these could benefit your company when it comes to operating a digital signage network):
No on-premise infrastructure – Capital expenditures on IT can send executives running for the hills, but using the cloud means that there is a reduction in the amount of hardware that sits on-site. Digital signage will always require screens and players, but a lot of the back end infrastructure can be eliminated with mediaCLOUD.
Ability to scale easily – Cloud services operate on a metered daily, weekly or monthly fee, usually per user. Which means that as the network grows, the tools used to run it, such as software licenses, channels, etc. can be easily and immediately provisioned through the cloud.
No internal maintenance or security – Since applications in the cloud are managed by third parties, the responsibilities and costs of updates and security is passed off, and the payment for these services is included in the reoccurring fee.
So, you ask, by using the cloud companies can skip buying expensive hardware, always have the latest update and even reduce the number of employees needed to run a network? The model sounds very appealing. Yet many companies have not migrated to cloud-based networks. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle outlines a few reasons why, including security concerns, the abstractness of the technology and having to change from an already-in-place technology platform.
The two biggest issues seem to be security and confusion – what is the cloud? How much does it cost? How will my network integrate with it? Companies can also be skeptical about hosting sensitive content on external servers belonging to outside companies.
Cloud? Isn’t that SaaS?
The truth is, the concept of the cloud has been alive and well in the digital signage industry for some time now. We know it by a different name, Software as a Service, or “Saas.” In my cases these two models of information storage and provision are quite similar.
“Cloud Computing is the processing of data and workflow on the Internet in a shared/multitenant data infrastructure, whereas SaaS is more to do with the commercial mode.
“Cloud computing is an abstracted layer above SaaS, that a SaaS provider may, or may not choose to take advantage of, and if done right the SaaS provider who uses cloud computing can have a variable cost model that allows them to know precisely what one more user or display will cost them.”
Our experts suggest that there are a couple of things that digital signage users can do to take advantage of the mediaCLOUD.
Customers can leverage cloud-based digital signage services by simply having fixed or mobile internet access at each remote location where playback of media is required and also from any point where they wish to administer their network (HQ, off-site, remote works).
Since you’ll no doubt be pulling down a lot of data from the cloud, a strong internet connection is going to be critical. Enterprise cloud users typically use T1, Ethernet and even MPLS networks to access the cloud.
For companies deploying digital signage and looking to leverage the cloud, a cloud-based storage system – aside from storage services offered by your digital signage provider – is imperative.
So there you have it, the mediaCLOUD is as popular as ever, and our future is sure to be in the clouds.