As we approach the fourth quarter of 2012, I've been busy going through all of our major data sets in preparation for 2013, including the results we've taken from our Digital Signage Sentiment Index, our studies on content creation, and of course, our digital signage pricing surveys. But as I paged through through the 7+ years of accumulated pricing data that we've collected, I realized that it's difficult to put all of that information to good use. While someone already familiar with the industry could probably do a quick search of the WireSpring site and come up with exactly the numbers they need, they might not know how to apply them. And for those folks who aren't as up-to-date on the digital signage ecosystem, I imagine simply finding the right data set could be a challenge. So, I decided to take a day or so, dredge up what I learned when building our LED Billboard Cost Estimator, and put together our brand spankin' new Digital Signage Project Cost Estimator!
Some features and caveats
First, the features. Based on the pricing data we've assembled, we have tried to generate sane estimates for reasonably small to reasonably large projects. This covers all of the major capital costs, and some typical operating expenses like remote management, technical support, and connectivity. We've also expanded from our traditional definition of a digital signage network (e.g. "100 40-inch screens mounted on the wall or suspended from the ceiling") to take smaller screen sizes and different mounting options into consideration. This is all new, so there are probably some bugs that will need to be ironed out. But so far, the preliminary feedback on the cost calculator has been positive enough for us to feel that it's worth making it available on our website.
That said, we do ask that you take the estimates with a grain of salt. And if you have specific questions or believe that some of our numbers are flat-out wrong (or you can think of ways to improve them), I hope you'll either email me (billg at wirespring dot com), or leave a comment in this blog article -- I do actually read them all.
What's in store for the future?
This is definitely a 1.0 version of the cost estimator. I already have plans to include more inputs for things like content creation, staffing and other vital areas that people seem to have difficulty estimating. We also plan to do regular maintenance updates using the data from our annual pricing studies, in order to keep things relevant and up-to-date.
On the output side, we also plan to add more in-depth content to the PDFs that are generated. Right now, we include a few of the more important and useful pricing tidbits from the blog. Over time, we hope to add more detail on the pros and cons of different mounting options, placement recommendations that might affect pricing, various services that could be outsourced or in-housed to save money, and better information about keeping the beast fed with fresh, up-to-date content.
We need your input! What do you think of the cost calculator? Is it useful? Are the numbers reasonable? What would you like to see in the next version? Leave a comment and let us know!