Guest Contributor : Sue Hunt – Project Marketing Company
Having assisted Signagelive with its marketing requirements for the last 12 months, I was asked by the company’s CEO, Jason Cremins, to attend Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) to investigate current trends in digital signage and to better understand the meaning of the term “Smart Signage” from a vendor, systems integrator, software developer and end user perspective.
Products and applications described as being “Smart” usually comprise embedded technology that is used to (a) run high-level operating systems (OS), (b) provide uninterrupted access to the Internet and (C) manage and process data collected intelligently. Smart TV’s, for example, don’t need standalone set top boxes because the broadcasting and streaming capabilities are integrated into the TV itself and Smartphone users can access high speed data services so long as they have 3G/4G coverage.
With this in mind, I was surprised to discover that as far as digital signage is concerned, the vast majority of Smart Signage technologies and applications are still dependent on some kind of standalone module to design, schedule and manage content, or to access the Internet, even when the displays comprise embedded media technology.
One of the main drivers for replacing conventional digital signage applications with Smart Signage is cost. Embedded technology eliminates the need for external players, which means there is less hardware to run and maintain, which ultimately results in significantly lower operational and energy costs. If standalone equipment is still needed to connect these smart displays to the Internet and to access content, are you not simply replacing one external player for another, all be it a little bit smaller?
Signagelive is one of the few software companies that is not reliant on auxiliary standalone units to interface with the microprocessors embedded in Smart displays, nor is it dependent on locally installed hardware for backup and storage purposes because its offering is cloud-based.
Samsung has led the way when it comes to the development of Smart Signage displays; it launched its first Smart Signage Platform at ISE 2013 and this year it showcased an enhanced version that supports its new large format displays.
From the outset, Signagelive has worked closely with Samsung’s development team to make sure it was able to complement these new displays and enable IT and AV resellers to offer a complete solution to end users. It has developed a System on Chip (SoC) version of its core PC display software that includes a number of advanced features including multi-zone layout designs, HDMI input for live TV, sophisticated scheduling, advanced device monitoring (including screen on/off, CPU and memory control) and drag-and-drop design facilities.
Its SoC software integrates seamlessly with Samsung’s Smart Signage product portfolio, making the implementation Smart Signage a straightforward process. Signagelive is leveraging from this experience to integrate its software with other embedded technologies, demonstrating its commitment and understanding of Smart Signage applications.
Smart Signage is undoubtedly receiving plenty of media attention and has the potential to dramatically change the parameters of digital signage but in practice, the concept is still very much in its infancy and a well guarded secret by most AV vendors.
Until all software developers can integrate their associated technologies directly with embedded microchip technology without needing an “intermediary” device, Smart Signage applications will not be used to their full potential for some time.
To find out more about Signagelive’s digital signage capabilities visit www.signagelive.com