Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Innovation is knocking. Are you ready for it?

I was reading a recent post by David Haynes about the lack of innovation in our industry and must I say I partly agree.

I see a lot of digital signage installations that are kind of cookie cutter.  Most people are sticking with the tried and true but there are good reasons for this. Most well established commercial products just plain work.

There is innovation in the digital signage sector but it's tempered with a need for stability and reliability.

Digital signage software publishers aren't sitting on their hands.  You just need to look at the speed at which most of them embraced the Android platform.  Android first rolled out in smartphones and tablets then spilled over to smart TVs, car navigation systems and is now found in many other devices we use every day. As the hardware capabilities increased, Android became a natural alternative the traditional PC so software publishers began embracing the technology.

There is innovation but changes don't appear overnight.

Take motion controllers.  For all the talk about the Leap Motion controller and other cool interactive tech, I haven't seen anything replacing touchscreens anytime soon.  The reason is you don't want to learn a new way to interact with a kiosk, you just want to touch the screen just like you do on your smartphone or tablet.  Before motion sensors take over the kiosk and interactive signage markets, they will need to become more mainstream.  I'm sure there are people working on Leap solutions for kiosks, but we're nowhere close to seeing this technology used at the corner ATM anytime soon.

Innovation is a good thing but not at the expense of reliability because there is nothing more frustrating than having to look at a dead kiosk/screen/projector/...(insert display technology of your choice)...

This is why we don't see more browser based content delivery systems.  It's why HTML5 hasn't replaced Adobe Flash for digital signage.  These technologies need to prove themselves out in the field and by the time they do, they will have become mainstream.

There will always be one-off, mind-blowing installations that win awards and get featured in industry publications.  Unless the underlying tech is proven to be reliable, scalable and cost-effective it's just fluff because no one wants to bet their bottom line on someone else's "homebrew" CMS.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Content news (and a survey)

The folks at Seenspire have been busy working on new content feeds over the summer.  Expect to see more news and infotainment content tailored specifically for North-American audiences.  Canadian news feeds are now available for download with US specific content to be released soon.

The studio has also collaborated on an online survey about customized content and I encourage everyone to participate.  It will only take a few minutes of your time and the results will help shape how this type of content gets created.

(Disclaimer: Seenspire is both a partner and a client).