Learn a little more about ScreenScape through the eyes of Mark Sambrooke, ScreenScape’s Chief Product Officer.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background
Mark: I started out as a Mathematics student who was lucky enough to graduate at just the right time. In 1997 the first Internet tech boom was in full swing, and I moved down to Silicon Valley to throw my hat in the ring. My time there was spent with SAP AG as a developer and technical product manager, and later with Salesforce.com. I was a participant in the Bay Area culture, the tech industry and the boom-bust-boom cycle they generate. It was a fantastic post-graduate education, both in tech and in business. 10 years in to my career in California it was time to move back to my roots in Atlantic Canada, where I joined ScreenScape.
2. Tell us a little about your role at ScreenScape
Mark: I run Product at ScreenScape, so my job is to make sure we’re building the right things at the right time. My day to day role is to be the connective tissue between our customers, engineering, sales, marketing, support and management. I help define and prioritize the ideas generated by those groups, contribute my own ideas, and meanwhile keep an eye on the market, technology trends, and the competition.
3. What is it that interests you in place-based media
Mark: In Permaculture there is this interesting concept called the “edge effect”, where you observe more diversity in regions where the edges of adjacent systems meet (like the edge of a stream, or the edge of a meadow). The edge boundaries shift over time, and you find unique things in them that are specially adapted to work in multiple systems. For me, those are the types of places to look for in the tech industry. Place-based media sits on the edge of commerce, media, marketing, geo-location and the Internet of Things. It’s a rewarding area: conditions change quickly, there’s always something new presenting itself, and there’s plenty of opportunity if you stay curious.
4. What do you see as ScreenScape’s key differentiators
Mark: When ScreenScape looks at the world we see the interconnections between venues. That might mean how venues share a general location (the same Main St.), what they sell (brands), how they sell it (distribution), or who they sell it to (audience). That lens lets us create versatile solutions that your “standard” digital signage company isn’t equipped for, and it helps us stand out in a crowded marketplace.
5. Tell us about something you’re working on lately that is important to ScreenScape’s future and might be interest to our readers
Mark: We believe that your first experience in digital signage should be summed up as “take off the shrink wrap, plug it in and turn it on”. It may seem far fetched, but there’s a lot happening right now on the hardware front towards making that a reality. The boom in smartphones and tablets is spilling over into how media players are designed and manufactured. The trend is smaller, less expensive and more powerful. Meanwhile the software is getting much more powerful – tasks that used to need a full fledged professional can now be done by a relative amateur. ScreenScape is investing a lot of time and engineering muscle into taking advantage of these trends.
6. What does the future of place-based media hold in your opinion, Where do you see place-based media going over the next five years?
Mark: There’s a huge market out there, but getting started has had too much friction. There’s been too many steps, too techy, and it’s been too expensive to catch fire with your average venue operator. That’s changing, and it’s changing fast.