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Choosing an operating system for your digital signage installation is no trivial task. While many things can work reasonably well in the short-term, the long-term perspective tells a different story.
We believe Microsoft Windows IoT will remain the top choice for installations large and small due to its reliability and security across a range of operating system options.
The operating system has an exceptionally long lifecycle, measured in years, not months. Windows 10 IoT is one of, if not the most stable digital signage operating systems on the market. After all, it has become much more affordable in recent years. Putting all these factors together makes the operating system decision for integrators easier.
A legacy of reliability
Launched in 2015, Windows 10 IoT is rooted in quite a long history and legacy of reliability. The operating system was a further development of Windows Embedded. It was launched in the late 1990s and over the next decade developed a solid reputation for stability in purpose-built applications.
Windows applications have been around since the 1980s and are still the standard in app development for PC and enterprise solutions. Applications range from medical to military and gaming to transportation, from autonomous lawn mowers to chicken egg monitoring. Windows 10 IoT dominates digital signage from Times Square to touchscreens.
Windows apps run on any version of the operating system, back to 1.0. So they have many years of development behind them, making Windows applications arguably the most compatible and widely used format in the world.
Similarly, when Microsoft launched Windows 10, they also added a new universal Windows application. The concept was that you could write an app on Windows 10 and it would run on any device, from a handheld to a tablet to a large computer or giant screen.
Support is a key advantage for Windows 10 IoT. Like its predecessors, it has a lifespan of 10-15 years. That significantly dwarfs the 18-24 month lifecycle of other OS options.
Android supporters tend to tout the platform, which powers more than 70 percent of the world’s mobile devices. But that’s part of the problem with the operating system, which was only introduced in 2008: It was designed for mobile – not enterprise applications. It might be ideal for smartphones and TVs, but it’s not a solid enterprise-class solution.
While Android offers benefits like affordability, a comprehensive open-source app library, and compact physical size, it can also cause headaches for digital signage integrators. These vulnerabilities include limited scalability and uncertainty of future support.
When Android users face problems, they are essentially on their own. There is a high possibility that they will spend a reasonable amount of time searching online forums to solve the problem or throw away the device in order to replace it with a new one. This possibility is especially true in the case of on-site support, an area where far more people can raise Windows issues than those of the Android variant.
“We are Microsoft partners. We have great support and we have provided it over a long career in the business. When things go wrong, we’ve found resiliency there and the ability to mitigate that downtime on the customer side through support from Microsoft.” — Jami McGraw, Global Product Manager for Arrow
Minimizing costly inconveniences
With digital signage, automatic, unplanned updates are undesirable. Even manual updates can disrupt the ecosystem, leading to the dreaded blue screen.
Windows 10 IoT minimizes these inconveniences that can be costly. Imagine the millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue if Times Square in New York City went down, or the problems that would arise if Las Vegas’s Cosmopolitan went dark. In essence, Windows 10 IoT lets you keep unwanted updates out.
Compare that to Android, with additional features originally intended for mobile devices. The frequent updates and lack of help in sticky situations can pose problems for integrators who need close to 100% uptime and solid support when things go wrong.
Fair prices according to processor
Windows 10 IoT is purpose-built, designed for one-time use, and is inexpensive to deploy when you consider the cost of the operating system versus the cost of the hardware. Windows 10 IoT licensing has a sliding scale that corresponds to your device’s processing power. The less powerful the processor, the lower the cost and vice versa.
Microsoft’s value-based pricing of processors has made it much more widely available. In addition, no minimum licenses need to be purchased.
Features of Windows IoT Enterprise LTSC
“You get longevity, support, and better pricing.” — Ken Marlin, Supplier Alliance Manager for Arrow
The best for dedicated use
Around 95 percent of digital signage applications run on Windows 10 IoT, and with good reason.
For dedicated devices, Windows 10 IoT is ideal with the following advantages:
- A life cycle of 10 to 15 years
- Advanced locking features to prevent unauthorized updates
- Very competitive prices and no minimum number of licenses to buy
As a simple, scalable and secure solution, it provides a stable environment for your appliances to work reliably in the field for several years.
Given all the benefits of Windows 10 IoT, Seneca has made it the operating system of choice for all of our media players. Contact us and benefit from durable products.
If you are a system integrator, contact us at [email protected].
If you are an OEM and want to build your own Windows IoT appliance, contact Arrow at [email protected].