FWI Adds Content And Functionality Apps In New V5 Digital Signage Software Release

September 25, 2014 by Dave Haynes

I don’t tend to write up news of version releases from digital signage software companies because that would be a full-time task, and if you do it for one, then everyone expects equal treatment.

Very slippery slope.

But I’ll mention new software stuff here and there for various reasons, including in this case the vendor being among the largest and most active in the business. While many or most software companies in this business have 30 or fewer people, Denver-based Four Winds Interactive has roughly 300.

fwv5The company announced this week the release of Version 5.0 of its platform, and what’s interesting to me is the move the company is taking towards content and functionality apps that sit on top of a foundational platform aimed primarily at large, enterprise-level companies.

Content apps and widgets for things like weather and social media are hardly new, but the briefing I’ve had on this involves an app store that would include that sort of thing, but also have more and more apps that provide specific functionality for presenting data and integrating with other systems. So an end-user wouldn’t just get a software license and then either build or have 3rd-party developers build functionality like a queue or airport departure gate management messaging screen that integrates with their system they use. That “app” would instead largely be pre-built and available on the store, and the end-user would just tweak it to their needs.

Along with apps that FWI developers may have generated and can now sell on subscription, the set-up allows for end-users and integrators to re-sell their own work. So a company that, let’s say, did an interactive donor wall that was then run off the FWI platform could turn around and create a more generic version that other hospitals running FWI could also buy and use.

It’s somewhat like the approach Google is taking with its Chrome for digital signage efforts. Have a solid base platform and then activate general or specific function apps on top of that to present what’s needed on screens.

FWI has also made some serious improvements in its network monitoring and device management capabilities with this new release. If there was a particular element of their platform I thought was behind the industry curve, that was it. So, good move there.

The company has also done a slight re-brand and dramatically buffed up a website that frankly was overdue for buffing up.

Here’s the release:

Four Winds Interactive (FWI) today announced a new software release that dramatically improves how clients build, deploy and manage their enterprise visual communications networks. The release is accompanied by a user-friendly “app store” containing hundreds of images, videos, apps, templates, and much more that can be used to quickly design and populate visual displays—whether one screen at a time, or enterprise-wide.

The software release, dubbed 5.0, has been in development for more than a year and has been designed to make creating an enterprise visual communications network as easy as programming a smartphone with user preferences.

“Until now, really creative, impactful visual communication systems have been in the exclusive domain of companies with big marketing and design teams,” said David Levin, president and CEO of Four Winds Interactive. “We wanted to create a system that would empower every company to create a visual communications network that could match their biggest ideas with easy to use technology.”

FWI developed a number of proprietary tools and features to create their latest release, taking care to make each component as easy to use as possible. “Most people chartered with creating visual communications for a company have other responsibilities, so they don’t have time to learn a complex system. We were inspired by the way most of us find and use applications on our smartphones to build out a custom experience. That’s what we’ve created with Software 5.0 and the FWI Store,” added Levin.

FWI’s Software 5.0 has five main features:

1. FWI Store The FWI Store contains pre-built templates, applications, content, and plug-ins on a subscription basis that can be used to quickly customize display designs with the most up-to-date and dynamic content. The FWI Store is conveniently accessible from the Content Manager platform.

2. Sharable Applications FWI’s software now enables users to create, publish, and share custom applications, or leverage content from the FWI Store.

3. Remote Web Management The Content Manager Web platform now lets users manage their network anytime, anywhere, from any web-enabled device.

4. Content Approval Workflow The newly added workflow functionality provides an integrated approval process for content. Automated email notifications are sent when new content is added and managers can view a real-time task list to see and approve requests waiting in their queue.

5. Network Monitoring Network monitoring has been integrated into Content Manager Desktop, enabling clients to monitor the health and status of their network in real-time with customizable dashboards. Software 5.0 and the FWI Store are available now.

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