A little UK start-up has launched Postar, an iPad app that allows small business owners to build a simple digital sign message on the tablet and then run it on larger screens using $39 Chromecast HDMI sticks.
Postar says it is focused on micro business operators, like indie coffee shops and boutiques. Users download the app for free off the iTunes store and it is free to develop posters on the iPad. It costs money to get it working with the Chromecast, presumably because of some hooks to a cloud service. The service costs £15/month, or about $24/month USD.
“The way we are doing it,” says Postar’s Vladimir Khokhlov, “is our customers use the iPad to create posters from our templates, that are hosted on our servers, then use the iPad app to push the link to our ChromeCast App. Then our ChromeCast app makes sure that it connects to our servers and stays connected, and makes sure they are synced with the iPad app.”
“You can turn your iPad off, and the connection will still be going, so its not streaming. Editing is instantaneous, so there’s no need to re- project. We also allow customers to put their URL web link and display their web content or website.”
The company doesn’t pretend to be a scalable solution. It’s just a set of poster templates and a tool to select and update. While it is very basic, the fact is this is about all a teeny business might need day to day.
Right now, if connectivity drops out, the ChromeCast will show a lost connection screen, which is a bit of a problem, particularly if service if the ISP is crappy. There’s no way to have a specific default image instead of that lost connection screen. But the company is talking to another HDMI dongle-maker.
The net of of it, for now, is you’d think twice about this being mission-critical information – like menus. But for supporting promos, the risk is probably acceptable for a budget-minded small business operator.