Here’s an image that should raise your eyebrows if you develop and market software in the digital signage eco-system: the DSE floor map, with a rather large Google booth in the second row, right behind NEC.
Last year, Google had a little corner inside the Intel booth – taking up about as much space as a start-up just happy to be there and get some free booth love.
This year, the DSE floor map shows the tech giant will have a full, large booth and several people in Las Vegas. I’m told, but have not seen anything formally announced, there will be new hardware and software relationships around the Google Chrome platform.
Interesting times. People have wondered for many years if and when Google would get into digital signage. As you can see from the floor map, Google is in. So what does this mean?
Hard to say on the hardware side until we all see what’s what next week. Playback and display hardware is already available from any number of vendors at rock-bottom prices, particularly using ARM and Android. So if there is indeed new gear, as I have heard, it will compete with a lot of lower cost options now available.
On the software side, however, you have a pretty wicked combination of Google’s infrastructure and relentless innovation with low-or-no fee software platforms like Rise Vision and Signagelive. Logic would tell you that’s an SMB play – with a lot of small jobs the larger software companies don’t want anyway. But we know from announcements that Google and Rise have collaborated on some significant deals, like the retailer Chicos.