ScreenScape Networks has launched a new plug-and-play device and supporting software platform that turns any TV into a digital sign, dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of starting and operating a digital signage network.
ScreenScape Connect uses business-grade smart devices as simple yet powerful media players. Running specialized software, the devices plug into the back of any TV with an HDMI port, and can be updated, monitored and managed over the Internet using ScreenScape.com.
The first hardware solution certified for ScreenScape Connect is the new Dell Wyse Cloud Connect, an ultra-compact device designed for enterprise-class thin client computing.
Plug & Play – Easy
“The days of expensive PC-based media players and complicated technology deployments are numbered,” says ScreenScape Founder, Mark Hemphill. “Getting a screen connected is now simply a matter of plugging a smart device into an HDMI port and allowing that device on your local area network.”
ScreenScape Connect makes it possible for retail marketers to send pre-configured devices out to their locations by courier, and see a digital signage network light up with branded content just by asking local managers to plug the devices into any TV – including those that are already up on walls.
“These days you see HD TVs everywhere – including in the store fronts, in the lobbies and in the waiting rooms of most businesses,” continues Hemphill. “ScreenScape Connect gives business owners, or the industry partners they represent, a flexible way to take advantage of place-based media, at a dramatically reduced cost.”
ScreenScape Connect devices can be updated by WiFi and managed remotely using a cloud-based content management platform. A Cloud Connect device is actually included, at no upfront cost, with each extended ScreenScape Connect subscription. Together the Connect solution bundles the device, software subscription, support and training into a turnkey solution with one low monthly fee.
Retailers see value
Source for Sports, which has more than 150 stores across Canada, already has plans for ScreenScape Connect.
“Many of our stores have used ScreenScape for some time. While they have always liked the software and what it can do for them to lift sales and engage with customers, for many the cost of the equipment has been a sticking point. ScreenScape Connect is a different story,” says Paul Lavigne, the company’s Director of Marketing.
“Many of our stores already have plenty of screens they can use. That means it costs them nothing to take advantage of this program. If it’s easy for our store owners to participate, that means the program will grow. With their support, we will begin to introduce this new marketing channel to our suppliers.”
Ready for Business
Devices such as set-top boxes and HDMI media sticks have been finding their way into the digital signage market in recent years, but quality has been an issue and adoption rates have been slow, says Hemphill.
“Consumer entertainment devices are great for watching Netflix at home, but they aren’t engineered or optimized to stand up to the heavy use and often sophisticated demands of professional digital signage applications,” he says. “That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with Dell, a name brand we all associate with high quality, business-ready hardware.”
Certifying the Cloud Connect and launching the new platform is the result of an intensive year of R&D by ScreenScape. “In order to deliver a solution suitable for professional digital signage, with features like remote monitoring, bandwidth optimization and traffic shaping, and advanced security, we had to get closer to the metal,” says Hemphill.
“This meant working with the engineers at Dell Wyse to optimize the hardware, the firmware, operating system, and the application software. The result is a happy marriage of hardware and software that is designed for a single purpose – to turn any TV into a ScreenScape digital sign.”
On the same day that they officially introduced ScreenScape Connect, the company also announced new programs for industry partners looking to capitalize on the increasing popularity of place-based media.