We’re now at 11 entries, and still counting, in this running series of closer looks at digital signage solution providers who have started working with the Android operating system and low-cost, ultra-small ARM processors.
Almost 30 companies have introduced products based on the open-source Android operating system that is very widely used for smart devices like handsets and tablets, all of them using CPUs based on ARM reference designs. Most smartphones and tablets use ARM.
It is likely that much of the industry will shift to ARM-based devices using Android or Linux in the next 1-3 years because ARM devices now rival the processing power of lower cost x86 personal computing devices, but at a fraction of the cost and, in most cases, size.
I know very little about Instillo, other than they’re based in a terrific little corner of the world – Galway, Ireland – and have put together a tidy, informative web site that marketers at many much more established companies should look at for cues on web marketing.
The start-up is based in the west of Ireland and is supported by Enterprise Ireland (a government agency). The company got organized last summer and launched in March with a pure Android solution designed to run on any Android device, not just a specific, optimized player.
Clients can use their own tablets, touchscreens, media player boxes or whatever. The Content Management Server (Instillo CMS) is described as simple, reliable, scalable, and easy to use. I can’t speak for reliable and scalable, but the screenshots I saw and the website suggest it is indeed intuitive and friendly.
Shankar Jayagopi, the CEO of Instillo, says starting from zero, instead of adapting an existing platform, was important. “Building a rich, native Android application, from the ground up, has given us the capability to leverage the performance of low-cost hardware.”
The Instillo development team, says a company news release, quickly realised that their solution could offer more than a mere flash and HTML based player software running on Android.
The company recognised that a solution with remote management capabilities would be instrumental in reducing maintenance costs. On a relatively new platform like Android where hardware reliability to run as stand-alone for years, is not yet established, Instillo’s Remote Management Server (Instillo RMS) gives administrators comprehensive access to their media players at customers’ locations.
Administrators can view and control a remote screen via keyboard and mouse. When an issue occurs diagnoses can be made without affecting playback, using command line and file system access. Customers can subscribe to health reports and violation notifications sent via email.
I tend to cringe when I see start-ups getting into a ridiculously crowded space like signage software, but far less so when I see that company going after a very specific offer and clearly expressing how operating issues like remote management are way more important than pretty pictures and whiz-bang features.
Instillo For Android
|Question||Answer and Description|
|Where is company based?||Galway, Ireland|
|Android product name?||Instillo Signage|
|When released?||13th January 2013|
|Product page online (link)||www.instillo.com|
|OS version?||Android 4.0+|
|Native player or browser-based player?||Hardware agnostic native Android app.|
|Highest video resolution fully supported?||1080p|
|Remote monitoring, diagnostic and recovery capabilities?||Yes|
|Remote control capabilities, like RS-232 screen control?||Yes|
|Remote upgrade capabilities?||Yes|
|Browser pop-up controls?||Yes|
|Video file support, ie .mp4, .wmv?||Yes|
|Player side API, so you can work with sensors and other triggers?||Yes|
|Multiple content zones?||Yes|
|Support for live data feeds?||Yes|
|Support dynamic NFC tag emulation||Not at the moment however it is on the roadmap.|
|Advanced Scheduling||Users can schedule what they want to display, where and when they want; Instillo Signage supports combining layout, creating campaign and the set-up of recurring schedules in advance to deploy at predetermined times for a set or specific period of time.|
|Extensibility||Hardware extensibility allows connection of external hardware like barcode, QR code and NFC readers, printers etc. While software extensibility allows adding plugins for voice, visual and touch capabilities.|
|IP video streaming||Supports YouTube and RTSP streaming as well as live TV.|
|targeting||Instillo's digital signage enables clients to customise content so they can target the right person, at the right time and in the right location using the right content, i.e. rich, relevant and timely. Its investment in developing gender and emotion recognition capabilities will enhance audience analytics and resulting niche marketing for its clients.|
|Interactivity||Basic Instillo Signage comes with limited touch support. Instillo’s custom interactive features support voice and visual recognition and the addition of external hardware like barcode, QR code and NFC readers, to enhance the customer experience.|
|Emergency Messaging||New or specific content can be prioritised to schedule immediately by over-riding all existing scheduling on one or several devices.|
|Describe the cost of the hardware and software, whether bundled or itemized||Instillo provides several flexible payment options to suit our clients’ business needs; monthly, yearly and a one off life time payment. Instillo works with resellers to provide packages to suit their clients. Packages can comprise of some or all of the following; player software, player hardware, Content Management Server (CMS) and Remote Management Server (RMS).|
|Descriptions||Instillo’s Android signage player software is crash resistant, easy to install and update and perfected to run on Android OS. It plays high definition videos, images, flash, web pages etc., while the software’s extensibility enables the addition of interactive functionality at a later stage. Instillo’s software is hardware agnostic enabling the company to work with hardware selected by clients or recommend hardware from its partners.
Instillo Content Management Server (CMS) is a cloud based management service. This robust server is scalable and reliable, enabling live and static content to be scheduled and segmented into multiple regions either locally or remotely.
Instillo Remote Management Server (RMS) gives administrators the ability to remotely access devices for support purposes, saving on maintenance costs while managing software and OS. Instillo’s RMS enables full user interface (UI) access, file and process management, console access, while also sending notifications and generating health reports.
|What’s next||Instillo future plans include offering target marketing, interactivity and customer/audience metrics as digital signage options for its clients.|