It is fairly remarkable that a teeny little tech sector like digital signage has 100s of software options for doing variations on the same thing, and even more remarkable that as observers like me steadily suggest the numbers will thin out, they instead keep growing!
I don’t get it. But as a consultant who gets hired to help companies sort out what solution and team is best for their needs, it’s all kinds of awesome to have an overcrowded marketplace.
The crowd has grown a little more this week with news of a Silicon Valley start-up called ScreenHub. It’s a free, SaaS-based signage platform that is built around what I am guessing is a responsive, HTML5-driven web app.
Speaking of remarkable, it’s also kinda remarkable how many trade publications run press releases word for word, and never ask basic business questions, like what’s the revenue model for free?
I did. It bears some similarities to another platform that is free – Rise Vision – in that there will be an app marketplace that adds higher levels of premium functionality, which users will pay to download and activate. I’m guessing things like premium analytics. The app marketplace will also have free apps.
The company, in a press release, says it is led by seasoned LED industry and software professionals, and that it has the only free CMS for digital screens that can be customized to any aspect ratio or pixel matrix. “In addition to being compatible with any synchronous digital display, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor LED displays, it can also be implemented on plasma screens and LCD panels. The software is cloud-based,” ScreenHub says, “and can be accessed from any internet-enabled device via the web app. It is built for managing entire networks and subnetworks of screens seamlessly via one turnkey and simple interface.”
The company also says it has secured deals with a large billboard operator in the UK, and LED manufacturers in the US and Asia. Screenhub is expected to launch with hundreds of screens in its network, and is in negotiations to strike several deals with key players in the industry within the next few months.
The special sauce for the company seems to be the ability to handle any aspect ratio or pixel matrix, and that it works with any synchronous control system, such as Nova Star, DB Star, Linsn, and Zdec (which I think are control systems for LED boards). The cross-platform thing is not in any way unique, but can nonetheless be a nice feature.
There is a YouTube channel, if you want to look through the tutorials. The platform looks very basic, but if the main display medium will be lower-rez outdoor LED boards, they’re not doing a whole lot more than cycling through stills and videos.