Using Remote Access for Retail Display Updates

4 minutes
Cheryl Lesniak

Using Remote Access for Retail Display Updates

4 minutes
Cheryl Lesniak

Like any technology, retail displays with electronics or interactive options need to be updated regularly. This can easily be done with software, but what about when multiple displays in the field require an update? This is when remote display management becomes essential.

Is there a way to send out electronic updates remotely? Luckily, the simple answer is “yes.” The how-to, however, is a little more in-depth. For remote updating to work, a display will need to be connected to the internet, and to do that, both display and location need to be properly outfitted for the task.

Connecting a Retail Display to the Internet

For remote software updates to work, a store display needs to have access to the internet. Not only does the location of the display need to be internet accessible, but the display itself must be equipped with the proper hardware to connect.

Verifying a location’s internet access is often done during a site survey. Site surveys include checking for ethernet connection, wireless signals, or possibly cellular access points. These surveys take place well before display installation, allowing time to troubleshoot issues before they pop up.

A display’s ability to access the internet will be determined during the design process, before the display itself is even built. At that point, if internet connection is desired, it will need to be decided which method of access the display will be using.

One method is the use of an ethernet connection, which will then require the display’s PC or media player to include an ethernet port.

If an ethernet connection cannot be utilized or isn’t desired, the display can use Wi-Fi or cellular connections, both of which would require an antenna to be attached to the exterior of the display.

But how does a company know which method will work best for their display?

Ways to Connect

The best and most reliable means of connectivity is a hardwired ethernet connection plugged into a building’s internet. Ethernet cables are secure and have the most stable internet connection of all the options. However, because this connection is physical and requires wiring setup within store locations, some retailers resist this option.

If ethernet is a no-go, using wireless web service is the next best choice. It has a quick and easy setup process, and thanks to modern technological advancements, having poor Wi-Fi access is rare. Displays utilizing Wi-Fi will most likely have their own network, avoiding issues with too many overlapping attempts to access the same interface.

Least popular is the use of cellular modems. Like with cell phones or any other mobile device, displays with a cellular modem are using a particular network to gain access to the internet. While this option does provide effective connectivity, its major drawback is the cost. Not only is the equipment required for this connection expensive, but cellular connectivity includes a standard monthly fee for continued access.

Once connection to the internet is made, updating can begin. This is usually done after regular business hours to ensure the display is up and running while customers are still in the building. Once the updates are successfully sent out through the software, all corresponding units will be displaying consistent information, despite being in different locations.

The Benefits of Remote Display Management

When it comes to displays, PCs and media players are most often used for signage, particularly to advertise deals and pricing.

Without remote access, displays would need to be individually updated via a thumb drive or SD card. Possibly, a technician would even need to travel to all display locations to manually handle the updates.

The main advantage of being able to remotely update displays is that one person at a control center can send out new content to multiple locations instantaneously.

This is particularly useful for companies with multiple displays in the field at once. In one fell swoop, every single display tasked with advertising the same products or services can be updated to reflect new information, pricing, deals, and more.


Displays that contain PC or media players with either ethernet ports or external antennas are capable of being connected to the internet and, thus, remotely updated.

Displays can be connected to the internet through ethernet cables, Wi-Fi, or even cellular networks, and once connected, it’s a simple matter of sending through updates using the displays’ shared software.

Thanks to remote access, multiple displays can be updated simultaneously, sidestepping the need for an onsite technician, saving both time and money.

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