Tag Archives: IT

Why Retrofitting Digital Signage Saves Big Money

We come across a fair number of customers who already have some kind of electronic LCD’s or Televisions installed in their business. Maybe they use them for information, maybe they use them for entertainment. Either way, at some point, they realized or decided that enhancing the screen into Digital Signage made better business sense than how they are currently being used.

banking

 Banks, Retailers, Hospitals, Schools and Plants are prime locations where TV’s can easily be converted. 

This article is designed to advise such customers who have already invested in some type of LCD or TV screen in the past, that the option to simply retrofit might be a huge savings winner and really help accelerate your company ROI  around Digital Signage.

But first, let’s set the context on why this makes sense.

Business Case:

Most Enterprise and reliable Digital Signage involves three (3) components:

1) Software

2) Hardware

3) Set-Up, Support and Updates

Step 3 is more of a formality and is often blended into the License cost of the software or some professional services fee. But looking at Step 1, we explore the Software; most often represented “as a service”. You purchase or acquire a license to the software which might include some kind of Support, Updates, Hosting and Program Access. In Digital Signage, this is a per unit cost (unit referring to a Media Player / small Pc). Costs can range from .50 cents a day per player up to $4.00.

Next up is Step 2, the Hardware. Once you find a software that you like, feel comfortable with and matches your business goals, it becomes time to look at the capital part of the project. Hardware for Digital Signage usually involves an LCD/LED Screen, a small PC (Media Player in the industry) and some kind of mounting structure (like wall or ceiling). The whole purpose of this article was to demonstrate an excellent way to cut costs in hardware while upgrading or implementing very functional software. Here’s how:

Most Digital Signage companies (at least the top 50 in the world) all have a certain media player they standardize on. It’s been tried and tested. Think of it like car manufacturers. Jaguar doesn’t use Toyota engines and Ford doesn’t use Volkswagen. But they all might have a V6, so the engines are similar. It’s the same for Media Players in the Digital Signage industry. It’s recommended to just stick with what your provider suggests (as long as it’s under $500 USD.. but that’s another Blog!).

That leaves your screen and your mount. In many cases, a customer might have installed a screen in the last 4-5 years. In many cases, the screens have not been overused. They might look a little dated, but otherwise turn on and off perfectly. And that brings us to the heart of the matter. When your company is looking to move forward with Digital Signage, do your best to try and save any existing screens you might have. Don’t be fooled. As long as the TV has an HDMI input and is 1080P,  it should handle any media player that you throw on the back or slide in. The screen itself is usually the highest single item cost, and if the company ego can squeeze a couple more years out of existing screens, you create a real ROI case for yourself.

If you’re not sure about your screen, you have two options: either get a chair and look behind (or take a pic of the model # and google it, or ask a service provider or vendor to make a recommendation.

Obviously any vendor would like to increase the sale with additional hardware and thousands in tv costs. But most software vendors focus on the software, and will (or should) be doing their best to make what you have work. And then, you have the option of replacing screens either as they die, or in small batch sections (either based on geography or department).

In the case of L Squared, we often ship the media players out, have our install team retrofit them to existing screens, connect to the network and are off and running in no time.

If you are not sure how to proceed, or if what advise you should be getting, please reach out to an L Squared rep and one of our Project Managers will always spare a few minutes to discuss anything on your mind.

Stay tuned for our next blog on: How long should I plan before making a decision!

Sales@lsquared.com or Bnacu@lsquared,com

 

Top 10 IT Jobs in 2015

2015’s Top 10 Most Sought After IT Related Jobs

Are you an IT decision maker looking to understand more about current trends and future shifts in the sector? Perhaps you’re in a related field and want to understand if your skills will be in demand in the coming year?

Flagship IT and Operations publication Computerworld recently released their 2015 Forecast survey. The poll gives the low down on priorities and shifts within the IT sector and related job markets for the coming 12 months.

Here’s a look at the 10 IT skills that the 194 IT executives who responded to our survey said will be most in demand heading into 2015.

 

1. Programming/application development

 

  • 48% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 1

 

As was the case last year and the year before that, IT departments are more likely to have job openings for programmers and developers than for any other position.

 

2. Project management

 

  • 35% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 5

 

Demand for project managers jumped four spots up the list this year, and that doesn’t surprise Leon Kappelman, lead researcher for the Society for Information Management’s (SIM) IT Trends Study.

 

3. Help desk/technical support

 

  • 30% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 2

 

IT leaders say they still have a growing need for help desk and technical support staffers because ongoing projects expand the list of devices and applications that their departments must support.

 

4. Security/compliance governance

 

  • 28% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 7

 

Executives and board members are willing to spend more money on security because security breaches are making headlines these days. SIM’s research shows that IT departments are beefing up their security ranks; security ranked seventh on the organization’s list of most significant IT investments for 2014.

 

5. Web development

 

  • 28% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: Not ranked

 

Matt Leighton, director of recruitment at Mondo, a tech staffing agency, says that Web development expertise is one of the hardest skill sets to find. “The influx of demand has not been met with the talent readily available — there is a gap in terms of what the companies want to do and the talent that is out there to execute these initiatives,” he says.

 

6. Database administration

 

  • 26% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 6

 

Database administration is a tried-and-true IT role — one that’s always needed in any organization. But the buzz around big data is what’s driving much of today’s demand for people with this skill. “You’ve got the ability to crunch massive amounts of data, but you still need to understand how your database has been put together,” says Terry Erdle, executive vice president for certifications and learning at CompTIA, a wireless industry trade group.

 

7. Business intelligence/analytics

 

  • 24% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 8

 

Respondents to the Computerworld Forecast survey who said they plan to add IT positions in the next 12 months listed BI/analytics expertise as the skill set they expect to have the hardest time finding.

 

8. Mobile applications and device management

 

  • 24% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 4

 

IT executives are trying to keep up with demand for mobile apps from employees who bring their own devices to work. This has seen a trend of hiring new people and training existing staff members who are interested in learning about mobile app development and device management.

 

9. Networking

 

  • 22% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 3

 

According to the recent Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report, 57% of U.S. technology executives said network administration tops the list of skills needed in their organizations.

 

10. Big data

 

  • 20% of respondents said they plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months.
  • Last year’s ranking: No. 11

 

In its September 2014 report titled “Fastest-Growing Tech Skills,”Dice reported that the number of postings related to big data on its IT jobs site grew 56% year over year. Moreover, the company noted that demand for big data expertise cuts across a number of industries, helping to boost not only demand for people with the right skills, but pay as well. “Data balloons every day, and therefore the amount of information we need to sift through to get at the real nuggets of value is exponentially bigger than it was a year ago,” says HMS’s Nustad. “And the executive team’s awareness that the data brings value has created this surge in demand.”

 

Computerworld Survey Offers Glance at 2015 IT Job Market

Computerworld’s recently released 2015 Forecast survey has offered key insights into the priorities and shifts within the IT sector and related job markets for the coming 12 months.

The poll asked 194 top IT executives across the USA about their strategic plans and expectations for 2015.

24% of the respondents said that their companies plan to add more IT employees in the year ahead. While down from 32% and 33% in the previous two years, the fact that a number of employers still anticipate growth indicates that the prospects for expansion in the IT ranks are good.

The types of technical skills in high demand are those needed for enterprises in expansion mode, suggesting that organizations are continuing to invest in their IT infrastructures.

“There are large initiatives [underway], and you have to have the people to get those done,” says Jason Hayman, market research manager at TEKsystems, an IT staffing and consulting firm.

Good IT Professionals in USA are Hard to Recruit

The unemployment rate for IT professionals was just under 3% in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And given that figure, many CIOs say they realize that finding talent will be a tough and time-consuming endeavor.

As enterprise vice president and CIO at HMS, Nustad is trying to fill a number of positions – including a Project Manager and Enterprise Architects. She says she has expanded the search nationwide, but it’s still taking months to find people for some positions.

“Our access to free-agent talent, it just doesn’t exist,” she says. “You’re gently poaching from others, and protecting your turf.”

According to Robert Half Technology’s Hiring Index survey, 61% of CIOs believe it’s very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals. The CIOs also reported that they expect to encounter the most difficulty filling positions in application development, networking and security. “There is certainly a supply-demand imbalance in some IT specialties,” says RHT executive director John Reed.

Hiring Important but Not a Priority

On the other hand, when asked about business priorities for the coming 12 months, only 20% of the respondents to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast survey said that they consider attracting new talent a business priority. It ranked 10th on a list of 11 priorities for the upcoming year.

Some recruiters suggest that many hiring managers may be stuck in a recession-era mindset, thinking that experienced talent is easier to come by than it really is.

Read the full findings in itnews.com