Samsung To Launch Really Smart TVs For Digital Signage Market

January 25, 2013 by Dave Haynes

samsungSmartLogo (1)One thing that seemed pretty obvious when the panel guys started releasing smart TVs for the consumer market was that one of them would see the opportunity in also making a Smart-er TV for the commercial market, and more specifically for digital signage.

Samsung appears to be the first to do so, with commercial flat panel monitors that have computing capabilities built into the units that can drive digital signage apps.

This is different from slots in the housings of panels that could accept a small x86 PC or playback device. Those have been around in spurts for a decade, and got an Intel-driven spec (Open Pluggable) around them a few years ago.

This is more like a really big Galaxy tablet, sans the touch overlay.

The things will ship with launch-able apps, notably a player from UK-based Signagelive – which was smart enough to get ahead of this trend a couple of years ago and develop non-x86 player software that could work on not overly smart devices.

Samsung and Signagelive will be showing this all off next week at ISE in Amsterdam (not going – other commitments) at each of their stands. Signagelive is a preferred software partner in this new relationship (there are others, but not sure they have been announced).

Signagelive, in a news release, says it made a number of enhancements to its core software (written in HTML5) to ensure seamless compatibility with Samsung’s new Smart Signage Platform.

Samsung’s  Signage  products will be promoted as a turnkey solution, enabling digital signage technology users to display high quality, interactive content to targeted user groups. To help facilitate this, Signagelive has been working in partnership with Samsung to develop a portfolio of off-the-shelf applications for different industry sectors, including retail, fast food, education and corporate enterprise.

These new applications are fully compatible with Samsung’s Smart Signage line up. They comprise ready-to-use templates, management and reporting tools and a number of innovative features such as drag and drop functionality, QR code support and management integration for widgets such as Twitter or Yahoo Finance. 

Targeted content, such as latest promotions, nutritional facts, or employee information, can be quickly displayed on multiple screens at the push of a button and scheduled to dynamically update, depending on factors such as location, time of day or updates to external data sources. 

The whole value proposition about all-on-one displays used to be that it saved space and eased deployment, but that was when PCs were a lot bigger. These days, there’s no end of choices that can be mechanically attached and tucked in behind a panel. There’s also the counter-argument that when an all-in-one goes, it is all gone. But it’s much more likely a fan-based PC will die in the field than a giant tablet will turn into a brick.

This is more about price, as these new units will likely be the same or even cheaper than some commercial panels that don’t have any smarts. The ARM-based CPUs in tablets have truly nominal cost, like sub $25 (see Raspberry Pi). In this case, it is a system on a chip (or SOC) with a Dual Core 1 GHz processor with a gig of RAM and rated support for 1080P video across a full range of video types.

I have seen the specs, but not seen one of these bad-boys in action, as yet.

This is also about ease of use for the entry-level and simple mass-deploy markets, where cost is an issue and complexity is not a big ask in the project. With this sort of thing, you hang the screen, turn it on, launch the menu, select the digital signage app, and off you go.

It’s not going to integrate with sophisticated sophisticated retail or facility management systems, but not every (or that many) projects need all that.

Smart move for Samsung, which is clearly getting its act together in this space, and a nice partnership for Signagelive, as Samsung has the sort of marketing muscle and headcount little software companies only day-dream about.

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