What is a CMS and why do you need one?

A Content Management System (CMS) sounds important, but unless you know what it is and what it can do, it can be hard to see its value.

The fact is, when it comes to displays, a Content Management System is critical. It might not be more important than the LED wall or screen it feeds into, but it is arguably just as important. Afterall, what’s the use in having a spectacular LED wall or videowall without the right content to show on it?

What is a CMS?

The clue is in the name: A Content Management System (CMS) manages, controls, organises, schedules and reports on all of your content – including videos, images, text and presentations. But there’s more. A CMS is not only your ultimate content organisation tool, it’s also an intuitive and even intelligent operator. In short – an intelligent CMS often knows when and where to post your content better than you do.

A CMS can pull from your chosen newsfeeds, content streams and data sources. The system can then update its content stream when certain pre-assigned conditions present themselves or a trigger occurs, which could be anything from a change in the temperature to a movement in front of the screen.

They can be located on a local or internal server, but most CMSs are cloud-based. The system and content can be hosted on your own servers for full control, or hosted by the CMS supplier for ease of installation and greater support. Most cloud-based Content Management Systems operate on a monthly subscription basis, in return for easy-to-use tools and the ability to manage content remotely.

A content management system will include all or some of the following services:

Content Management Services


When do you need a CMS and why?

Every display, whether it’s a large LED wall or screen, has to have some form of media playback. It could be as simple as looping a video or creating a more complex dashboard with RSS feeds and interactive features.

Take, for example, an online and physical retailer. In-store they have various digital displays and a large format LED wall. Online and on their website there are numerous videos and model images. They have thousands of pieces of content and want continuity across their online and in store presence. They also want all of their campaigns and seasonal content to remain consistent. All this can be achieved with a CMS and carefully selected hardware to create an eye-catching and synchronised experience customers won’t forget.

Types of Content Management System

We’ve already touched on cloud-based CMSs, but choosing the right CMS really comes down to your project specifications. We can offer impartial advice about which CMS will suit your needs.

Cloud-based CMS – all online

The most common type of CMS. A cloud-based CMS is for simpler but robust applications where screens display looping video playlists and allow features such as video wall mode for two or more screens to be synchronised. Its use will usually be on a cost-effective monthly subscription and enable remote access online for a number of users.

Server-based CMS – for internal operations

A CMS for complex mission critical operations where multiple windows and features display on screen from several feeds and inputs.

CMS media players

Signage Creator

Our CMS and Digital Signage Platform solutions come with a creator option to create engaging content and signs to populate the CMS. Use an easy-to-use editor, including the ability to create content to match your brand messaging.

Features of a signage creator

  • Build content with easy-to-use tools
  • Drag & drop text, images, shapes and video easily with snap-to functions.
  • Build and publish in one software space to avoid double-handling content.

CMS Integration

If you have existing hardware or software, it is possible to integrate a new CMS with your current set up. We are able to help you to create a bespoke CMS, integrate CMS into your current systems and utilise existing content.

  • We can create bespoke programs to sync with existing software etc. or embedded links
  • We provide CMS training and ongoing support in using your content management system to  help you manage your content
  • We can integrate a new CMS with an existing Media Player or other existing hardware
  • Our CMS partners can enable your content to point to other dashboards, data and feeds – integrating existing content with your original content

Data Security and Content Management

The primary concern for your CMS is data security. Most Content Management Systems account for the risk in data losses, and include a data security policy in their software as well as a secure network in which to run the software, https.

Want to discuss your content management system options? Contact us today to speak to our specialist content management team.  

The AV Retail Wave: From Online to AV

There was a time when every brand needed to exist online.

It was critical to have an online presence and to stop relying on the traditional physical store, and of course it’s still important to “be online”.

But, as Smart AV pointed out in their blog “How Retail Brands are Killing it With AV”, the e-commerce space has become oversaturated, and brands have started to turn back to the bricks-and-mortar store once again, but not in a traditional way.

Instead of a traditional store, brands have started to combine their digital presence with their physical presence and invest in AV, including LED videowalls, intuitive content management systems and digital signage in order to attract more attention in the retail space.

Using Retail AV To Create Experiences

These all-new super-stores focus on providing customers with an “experience”. It’s about more than just what you buy, it’s where you buy it.

Customers who visit these “connected” and “impactful” stores experience more than shopping, they engage with physical energy and innovation of the brand – giving it the potential to go “viral”.

The Guardian has also noticed the trend, labelling these store-hungry brands who want to move away from the restrictions of Google as “evolved retailers”– and it’s clear they have seen a boost in sales as a result.

Here are three examples of brands who have made the move from online investment to investing in AV for their new store:

  1. Installing LED videowalls for Missguided

Missguided started as an entirely online brand. They built up an online presence to rival any fashion retailer. However, the brand started to recognise that they had reached their peak capacity online when it came to customer experience, and decided to invest in two physical super-stores to not only promote their clothing, but to also establish their brand as an experience.  

The brand established their first mesmerising spaces in the Bluewater department store and Stratford’s Westfield, and used AV to set their store experience apart. They wanted to display up-to-date and on-brand messaging across the physical space, as well as create interactive elements for their customers.   

After installing impact-ready LED videowalls the brand still needed to update the content and manage it to reflect their online persona. We helped Missguided to select a content management system that is easy-to-use and offered sync-able functionality, ideal for managing their multiple stores and screens.

The effect was an immersive experience for customers from the moment they step into the store, with a 46sqm LED “selfie” to instantly attract attention, a 7.5m x 1.5m LED wall behind the till and full digital signage content management system to allow the brand complete flexibility and organisation with their content. As a result, Missguided can keep their videowalls as up-to-date as their online presence.

Missguided Bluewater

  1. Digital install for Boden

Boden also saw a boost in their sales and brand awareness when they invested in their first ever physical store on Chelsea’s fashionable King’s Road. With a catalogue and online presence already established, the brand wanted to start a new chapter in their retail journey and decided to utilise the physical environment to boost their brand.

The Boden team cleverly brought their online success in-store by working with our expert tech team to create their digital presence in store. With the use of an integrated content management system, we installed a range of large format and interactive screens to display content, including a mirror overlay concept screen that triggers animation when a child stands in front of it – a fun way to keep families entertained while shopping.

The screens were all implemented to align with Boden’s store design and theme, which included vintage-style picture frames and large mirrors. The result was an immersive effect for its customers and an “experience” to remember.  


  1. Fitting AV in a challenging retail space

TK Maxx took over a large and challenging retail space in a prime location in Munich, Germany, after its previous owners failed to make a profit from the location. The enormous space needed something special to transform it from an ordinary store to a 21st-century digital experience.

The focal point of the shop was a large stairwell in the main atrium that needed something to take it to the next level. After production meetings with the client, we designed and fitted a 52.5sqm high-resolution LED wall at a 3.9mm pixel pitch to fill this unusual space. The careful choice of pixel pitch and screen size enabled customers to view the content from up-close and far away without compromising on quality, and gave TK Maxx the impact they were looking for.


Be part of the retail AV wave

We have years of experience working with the best retail brands to supply the best results. Our team of experts take your idea from the drawing board, creating renders, CAD and DWG drawings, and turn it into a reality. We have access to a global network of suppliers, technicians and integration consultants to design, plan and install your AV vision and a project management team to run your entire project start to finish. 

Contact one of our expert consultants today for a quote for your next project.