In Search of Scalable Digital Signage
ScreenScape 4.0 is here!
Today we announced the arrival of another major update to our Saas-based digital signage solution. This one delivers significant performance and scalability improvements to all customers, and it’s available now at no additional cost.
Understanding scalability in digital signage starts with putting yourself in the position of an advanced user, a busy marketer on a limited budget that is trying to grow an expansive network of screens across hundreds of locations. Ask a few simple questions and think about the cost and effort involved in scaling up and sustaining the network. Is it easy for me to add new screens? Is it easy for me to keep my content organized and under control? Is it easy to execute my promotional campaigns myself, cost-effectively, keeping content fresh and relevant, optimized for each viewing audience?
You also have to put yourself in our position, the platform provider. For example, what if thousands were to join the service on short notice? What if all customers were to use the system at the same time? What if all customers simultaneously published a large set of content to a large set of locations? With the new release, ScreenScape 4.0, we’ve made massive strides in this key area.
Questions of scalability in the digital signage industry, traditionally have been addressed primarily by adding man power. The early proponents of digital signage maintained a strong separation between the people that owned and operated the businesses where digital signs were to be placed on the one hand, and the so-called technical experts who, behind the curtain, would deploy and manage the system on the other. This set up a linear relationship between the size and complexity of a network, and rising operational costs.
The computer industry provides an example of how systems have evolved to become more scalable, easier to use, offering lower costs and much greater utility in the process. People point to Moore’s law, and rightly so, as the reason why computers have evolved from heavy machinery that only a few experts could operate all the way through the personal computer revolution to current times. Today’s new generation of mobile and wearable technologies were designed with average people in mind and are now used by millions worldwide. Moore’s law isn’t the only force at work here. The paradigm shift required by systems designers, who had to conceive of new, simplified user interfaces that would be used by average, non-technical business people, was itself a key contributing factor. This “democratization” of the technology, along with rising ubiquity, is inseparable from the hardware breakthroughs and the new economics that came with the global build out.
The lesson is if you make it easy for average people to use a system then you can start to see the real potential of what they can do with it, and that fuels a virtuous cycle to scale up even further. We are at the cusp of that virtuous cycle in digital signage, but the systems have to become easier for average business people to use, and more cost-effective for the average business to afford.
With ScreenScape Connect we made it easier for businesses of any size to get started with digital signage, or to extend the reach of their network, in a way that is also cost-effective. With this release we’ve made it easier, even for non-technical operators, to manage a large collection of assets and a large collection of playlists so they can better optimize each promotional message across a large collection of screens.
Big thanks to all the people on the ScreenScape team who contributed to this milestone! Scalability improvement and Infrastructure improvements are not always visible on the surface, but we know how critical they are to keep the system humming for our most progressive customers and preparing for the next wave of growth.