Enplug Adds Streaming Art App For Business Digital Signage, And Consumers

July 23, 2020 by Dave Haynes

LA-based digital signage CMS software firm Enplug has launched a new app/widget that enables users to put curated classic and contemporary art work on screens.

Enplug Art uses material from contemporary artists and out of museum collections, with some 1,000 works available to schedule and show via everything from set-top boxes to smart TVs.

“Digital signage has traditionally been viewed as a medium reserved solely for corporate communication, but we’re breaking that mold and extending digital signage into the realm of art appreciation,” says Enplug CEO Nanxi Liu in the announcement PR. “Bringing art into the workplace ensures that all screens are fully utilized, even when they’re sitting idle. And beyond this functional improvement, art brings immeasurable aesthetic value to professional venues in a way that nothing else can.”

With museums and commercial galleries shuttered or allowing only limited access because of COVID-19, the app is seen as an alternative touchpoint for contemporary artists to connect with prospective benefactors and customers. In the same way Instagram increases artists’ digital reach beyond gallery walls, Enplug Art achieves a similar result by enabling them to display their work in homes and offices around the globe.

The app is aimed at the commercial market, as a means of getting art into workplaces without the big capital investment and everything associated with hanging paintings in accessible, high traffic areas.

But it is also being offered up free to consumers who have Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick or Nvidia Shield streaming devices, or latest-generation smart TVs.

With pervasive adoption of in-home internet-connected televisions, many household entertainment centers also double as their own digital signage network, Enplug argues, capable of displaying the same works of art now available to institutional users of Enplug’s digital signage platform. Unlike consumer-grade “smart frames” that require purchase of a separate display, Enplug Art lets people display art on their existing smart TVs without any up-front or recurring costs.

Enplug Art is free to existing customers, and therefore rolled into the service for any new business accounts. Consumers get it free, as well, though they’ll need to sign up for an Enplug account – presumably with the idea a small percentage of users are part of businesses that could become commercial users. In a crowded field like CMS software, top of mind awareness is helpful.

There have been a few companies, through the years, that have marketed software or software/display bundles built around the idea of artwork as digital signage. There are also some companies using art in medical settings to calm anxious patients in waiting areas.

Samsung has also had its Frame product out there – a high quality LCD TV with gallery-like frames/bezels, aimed at high net worth consumers.

I like the idea of using artwork in the right setting, though my gut tells me if a company goes down that path, it has to stay on that path and not try to cycle between a Renoir and a reminder that Friday yoga classes are back on in the workplace fitness center.

The question “Why?” needs to be raised and answered, and cheap, easy content is not a great answer, unless the intent of the screen or screens is just to add artwork around the office, shop or wherever.

It’s probably also quite important that the display is slim, free of any manufacturer badge, and wall-mounted. I don’t see this working well for a flat panel hanging off a pole mount.

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