Digital Art Gallery Start-Up Skips Hardware R&D By Using Smart Signs


A digital artworks startup, one of several that have popped up in the last couple of years, has realized it could dodge a lengthy, painful and expensive R&D phase by forgetting about custom display hardware and simply using a smart sign display.

Digital art platform provider Blackdove is using Samsung’s smart signage system on chip displays as the delivery vehicle for its digital gallery of original artworks. Users download the Blackdove mobile app to browse, purchase and stream pieces from a growing catalog of more than 400 original works created by digital artists throughout the world. By pressing “play” on their mobile devices, users can feature a rotating collection of selected works on displays in their home or business.

“Blackdove’s mission is to raise awareness and appreciation of digital art and provide a platform that enhances the digital art experience for both artists and collectors,” says Marc Billings, CEO of Blackdove, which is raising funds and selling gear via a Kickstarter campaign.

The set-up is a collaboration with Samsung Business, with users able to get subscriptions on 48 or 55-inch Samsung commercial panels that have the smart sign system on chip processor, which removes the need for a separate playback device.

“I was never able to change the artwork or ambiance of my restaurant because it took too much time, money and resources,” says Ethan Smith, owner of New York restaurant Hecho en Dumbo. “With the new digital canvas, I now have the freedom to change the environment in a matter of seconds to fit my clientele as the neighborhood and restaurant evolves. It provides us with a dynamic new tool to bring customers into the mindset we are creating here at Hecho.”

Makes sense. If you are in the digital art gallery business, and focused on a service, why would you bother doing hardware R&D? But I know, from email conversations, that others with a similar play went (or are going) down that path.


Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
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