Paul Vincent is one of five subject-matter experts who will have the time to really dig into topics when they pick up a microphone and speak at DSrupted, the first conference to focus on how disruptive technologies are impacting and reshaping the digital signage business.
He’s the founder and CEO of Neuranet, a start-up that uses the fast-emerging HTML5 standard to help brands and publishers efficiently build and deliver ads across multiple screen platforms, in ways not possible until very recently.
I asked Vincent to be a speaker because of his deep understanding of the web markup language’s possibilities and limits, as wel las his background working in interactive advertising. He gets the tech, but he also knows media.
Q: What will you be talking about at DSrupted?
Well it’s only June now, so a lot will change by September! But the talk will focus on how HTML5 and surrounding technologies are going to help drive explosive growth in the digital signage industry over the next few years. Due to its flexibility and adaptability, it will also help drive significant innovation e.g. in touch or proximity-based experiences.
Q: In the context of digital signage, looking somewhat from the outside in, where do you see the opportunity to really make the most of HTML5?
The cost of digital signage hardware has dropped considerably – but the cost of creating content for those signs hasn’t decreased. HTML5 and platforms like Flexitive lower the cost of creating and maintaining content while lifting engagement for digital sign audiences. Whenever I see a printed poster or billboard I imagine a few years away that they will all be converted to digital signs, many will be touch enabled.
Q: Can you run down what your company does and where things are at?
Sure, Neuranet’s flagship product is called Flexitive – we are primarily focusing on helping publishers and advertisers easily deliver more engaging content and advertising experiences on any device from smartphone to smartTV to digital signage. Our core focus is on HTML5 and surrounding technologies that are going to quickly transform the web experience and how it is monetized.
Q: What can you do with HTML5 that used to be done using Flash or rendered video?
Well there are some major disadvantages to Flash & rendered video. Flash requires a user to install/update a plugin, expensive software & designers to build in Flash – and it doesn’t work on many major smartphones or tablets e.g. Apple’s IOS. Rendered video is expensive to create, has large file sizes, and is difficult to update info within the videos. Rendered video still plays an important role in the HTML5 world though.
Also as a solution for low powered devices – it’s really exciting for the developing world that will be moving to low cost smartphones and tablets.
I think that perception is quickly changing – and tools will become more advanced over time. Flexitive for example already allows a non-technical user to quickly build responsive, animated HTML5 creative. I think the software landscape has many examples of tools that are complicated to use and have many advanced features, but the majority of users only ever use a small % of the software’s features. The best tools find the right balance between ease of use and functionality and that approach is written into the DNA of Neuranet.
Q: Where is HTML5 going, and is there an HTML6?
HTML will continue to develop over time and yes the W3C is working on the HTML6 spec, but it may not be the leap forward that HTML5 was. In the next few years the web experience will change considerably as a result of HTML5 even just with the current spec.
Q: Are there limitations?
HTML5 is mostly compared against native applications, but the limitations of HTML5 vs native really depend on what the product is. If you are building an advanced game then a native app maybe a better solution, but for the media industry for example – HTML5 is a much better solution that allows for a more consistent experience, and much lower costs for publishers than creating a separate web/native app experience. The gap between browser and native app functionality will continue to narrow over time.
[infobox bg=”bluelight” color=”black” opacity=”on” subtitle=”DSrupted is set for Sept. 17th in Toronto, at the Telus Conference Centre. Tickets are limited. Reserve your seat at www.DSrupted.com”]DSRUPTED 2014[/infobox]
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.