PEI-based ScreenScape has launched a new plug-and-play hardware solution, called ScreenScape Connect, that takes advantage of emerging low-cost media devices.
The first device certified for the program is the Dell Wyse Cloud Connect, an HDMI stick designed for thin client computing but good to go, as well, as a simple networked media player.
Screenscape is the second digital signage software company to work with Dell and adapt its device for networked media playback. Nebraska’s Nanonation announced its own support for the Dell stick in Q1.
“The days of expensive PC-based media players and complicated technology deployments are numbered,” says ScreenScape Founder, Mark Hemphill, in a news release. “Getting a screen connected is now simply a matter of plugging a smart device into an HDMI port and allowing that device on your local area network.”
ScreenScape Connect makes it possible for retail marketers to send pre-configured devices out to their locations by courier, and see a digital signage network light up with branded content just by asking local managers to plug the devices into any TV – including those that are already up on walls.
“These days you see HD TVs everywhere – including in the store fronts, in the lobbies and in the waiting rooms of most businesses,” continues Hemphill. “ScreenScape Connect gives business owners, or the industry partners they represent, a flexible way to take advantage of place-based media, at a dramatically reduced cost.”
ScreenScape Connect devices can be updated by WiFi and managed remotely using a cloud-based content management platform. A Cloud Connect device is actually included, at no upfront cost, with each extended ScreenScape Connect subscription. Together the Connect solution bundles the device, software subscription, support and training into a turnkey solution with one low monthly fee.
The company has already lined up one of its retail clients – the 150-store Source for Sports chain, to use the sticks. “Many of our stores already have plenty of screens they can use. That means it costs them nothing to take advantage of this program,” says Paul Lavigne, the company’s Director of Marketing. “If it’s easy for our store owners to participate, that means the program will grow. With their support, we will begin to introduce this new marketing channel to our suppliers.”
Hemphill says the recent trend of consumer media devices – notably media sticks running Android, introduces a lot of risk. They’re good, he says, for running Netflix, but not so much for 16/7 digital signage. “That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with Dell, a name brand we all associate with high quality, business-ready hardware.”
Certifying the Cloud Connect and launching the new platform is the result of an intensive year of R&D by ScreenScape. “In order to deliver a solution suitable for professional digital signage, with features like remote monitoring, bandwidth optimization and traffic shaping, and advanced security, we had to get closer to the metal,” says Hemphill.
“This meant working with the engineers at Dell Wyse to optimize the hardware, the firmware, operating system, and the application software. The result is a happy marriage of hardware and software that is designed for a single purpose – to turn any TV into a ScreenScape digital sign.”
It’s a nice little mix. I’ve tested the Dell stick, via Nanonation, and liked what I saw. Combined with a low-cost SaaS offer and ScreenScape’s recent focus on hard-core device management, it’s a solid offer.