Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Store and Forward" -vs- "Store and Pull" for Digital Signage

Many digital signage software providers (Webpavement competitors) will use the term 'store and forward' when describing their respective offerings. It's typically defined by competitors as such:

Competitive Solution Definition:
Store and forward means that all of the playlist files and schedules are assembled at the central location and delivered to the remote players.

Webpavement Solution Definition:
Store and Pull means that all of the playlist files and schedules are assembled at a central location using a web browser and the remote players retrieve (pull) the respective data and files.

Webpavement believes that our competitors statements are true, but are often a misleading statement to the purchasing authority and IT departments. What the store and forward really means is that the digital signage system will 'store and push'.

Store and forward (aka. push) systems are typically desktop grade software packages -- meaning the centralized system is installed on 1 operator's desktop and introduces a single point of failure. Not a data center enterprise grade solution by any means.

Further evidence that store and forward is the wrong approach is the fact that it poses a security threat. Ask the digital signage provider if special firewall ports will need to be opened in the store and forward model.

A system that is designed professionally will employ a store and player pull method that uses port 80 - a port that is already opened on all firewalls. It is a known fact that the more ports that are opened on a firewall - the greater the risk of a security breach.

The last thing you would want to occur on your digital signage network is a hacker posting obscene and inappropriate messages.

Webpavement's Sign Server uses the store and player pull approach. You will be more secure with Webpavement solutions and you will not need to ask your firewall administrator to open additional/special ports.

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