Yesterday we introduced our first ‘Apps’. You’ll find them in your Media editor under a new ‘Cloud’ button, along with some new app-powered templates.

Apps are a unique category of Media layer. What makes them special is that they’re “dynamic”: they pull their values from an outside source which can change over time. This built-in data automation renders displays more useful, while at the same time making them lighter to maintain.

An app could be as basic as a countdown to your next office party, or as complex as a secure link to your top secret Salesforce dashboard.

For those paying attention, you’ll recall we recently announced the release of Layer Styles. While a powerful addition to static layers in their own right, we actually developed layer styles as a prerequisite for Apps. Why? If your data is constantly auto-updated, you’ll need a way to apply consistent styling to the data container (the whole layer), not just the bits of the data itself. Otherwise your formatting would be lost every time the data changed. That’s what Layer Styles give us – a presentation layer with consistent and reliable formatting.

We started with the simplest possible Apps: Clock, Date, countdowns and Dad Jokes. But don’t be fooled. There’s a pattern here that holds for data ingested from any source – social media, spreadsheets, weather, telemetry, financial systems… the list goes on. You’ll hear a steady drumbeat of new app releases over the coming months (sneak peek: Trivia, Quotes, Tips, Webview, Google Sheets, and RSS are next).

So that’s our killer combo for content: Templates, a deceptively simple Media editor, Layer Styles and Apps. ScreenScape’s goal is to provide a straightforward but seriously powerful platform for everyday digital signage, from content creation to publishing to deployment and monitoring. As a critical piece of the content puzzle, Apps are a major leap forward.