weather app display

When people think about digital signage, they often picture a TV screen divided into sections with different types of content. Dividing digital signage into sections is called zoning, and is usually accomplished using digital signage templates.

The Enplug model is a new approach. Our platform is based on digital signage apps that fill the entire screen and then rotate to show different content.

This article explores this difference and explains why our app-based approach simplifies setup and maintenance, creates more visual engagement, and gives our users more great features.

Enplug App Durations

Setup and Maintenance

Within a template-based digital signage, users are presented with a staggering variety of options. Providers advertise “Thousands of Templates!” and “Drag and drop” interfaces. The reality is that these interfaces are often difficult to learn and time-consuming to use (we’ve tested many of them!). This is why other digital signage companies sometimes require paid training for all new customers.

The initial hurdle of complex setup turns into an ongoing challenge if something breaks or the original signage manager moves on to a new role – the process must then be restarted from scratch.

Bad Zoning example
A more challenging digital signage zoning system.

When we design a new Enplug app, we create it to require as little input as possible from users. For example, Enplug users can show a beautiful scrolling collage of Instagram photos simply by typing in the hashtags they’d like to feature. In one competitor’s template system, it takes 50 clicks and multiple steps just to show a few recent Instagram posts.

Enplug users can quickly set up their apps for each display, which equates to real time savings – especially when deploying digital signage in dozens or hundreds of locations.

Visual Engagement

We live in a world increasingly filled with digital noise. Smartphones, websites, wearables, and digital displays all vie for pieces of our attention. People in charge of setting up digital signage often think the best way to get their audience’s attention is by showing them all the information that could be relevant at once. In fact, the opposite is true: when our brains experience sensory overload, they disengage.

Billboards don’t try to convey multiple messages at once, and digital signage shouldn’t be any different.

With Enplug’s full-screen apps, we work to reduce noise and show only the information that’s essential. This creates a clear, compelling call-to-action that stands out from other solutions on the market.

hotel digital lobby signage

New Features

Imagine the complexity that multiple zoning options creates when new features are built. If a digital signage provider with zoning wants to add a social media app, they need to build the same app to support many different display dimensions: As a primary zone, a sidebar, a footer, and as a ticker. If the signage supports portrait and landscape, that doubles the number of dimensions needed. This multiplies the time required to build new features by the number of zoning options available.

The result of this complexity is that innovative new features are added less often. In addition, the underlying code to support zoning is typically so complex that third-party developers could never understand it well enough to build their own apps on the platform. Most template-based signage options only support a few stock content types: text, images, videos and sometimes options like news and weather.

At Enplug, we were able to launch the industry’s only Open SDK precisely because developers only have to worry about building their apps for two configurations: Landscape, and Portrait. Our partners can create purpose-built apps in our App Market that meet more of users’ needs: live metrics dashboards, TripAdvisor reviews, digital menus, live traffic conditions, and many more.

Still Need Templates?

Sometimes, digital signage just has to show many items on the screen at once.

Digital menus need to use zoning to show all menu items, their prices, and photos. Enplug’s DSMenu App is a great way to build and manage your digital menus from any computer.

Displays in building lobbies can also benefit from templates that show users high-level information like directories and news at a glance. Enplug users can accomplish this by creating their content using a tool like SignageCreator, publishing it as a web page, and inputting the URL into the Webpage App.


Want to learn if our digital signage apps will work for you? Request a demo!