Cloud down, so sign down (Updated)

May 26, 2015 by Dave Haynes


Bryan Mongeau, the Vice President of Technology at BroadSign, and a guy who pays a lot of attention to emerging tech, sent along this photo he strayed across online of an ad campaign running on a Times Square LED ad board:

Says Bryan:

This error is coming from the Azure cloud service, which means someone thought it was a good idea to serve up this sign’s content live from the cloud.  Cloud down = sign down.

HTML5 apps are nice and snazzy, but in signage, you must never, never, never (repeat: never) load assets directly from the network. You must always load them from disk and periodically synchronize what you have on disk with what you can fetch over the network.  This is intro to signage 101 basic stuff.

Which is why I’m amazed at the shortsightedness of Google’s recent ChromeOS push and other entry-level pure browser solutions that consider a web browser as sufficient to be a digital signage player.  There are just so many things that in order to do right, you need to escape the browser’s security model.  For example, for direct access to the local filesystem. ChromeOS does not have proper filesystem access.

HTML5 is a type of dynamic content, not the player itself.

Chris Lydle, from Google’s U.S. digital signage team, counters:

Unfortunately, Mr. Mongeau’s comments are inaccurate and the article should be updated to reflect that.

ChromeOS is not dependent on network connectivity and it does provide offline access to the host file system (as well as USB, Bluetooth and attached human interface devices).

There are a number of CMS solutions that provide this functionality and there are more on the way. For example, Stratos Media ( provides a free trial for any who want to see this functionality first-hand.

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