Dedicated media player maker BrightSign has taken the interesting step of launching a USB cellular modem with carriers and 4G data plans, to sell alongside its little purple boxes.
The idea behind BrightSign Mobile is providing a means to connect digital signage networks in venues where on-premise broadband is just flat unavailable, for various reasons, including IT saying “NO!”
The solution is available as an accessory to BrightSign players, and it includes a low-profile USB modem with an installed SIM card. Customers have a choice of data plans custom-designed for digital signage.
“With digital signage use cases expanding in all directions, it’s increasingly common to have endpoints located in places far outside the reach of traditional networks,” says Jeff Hastings, BrightSign’s CEO. “BrightSign Mobile answers this challenge by enabling reliable connectivity virtually anywhere there’s a cellular signal present.”
BrightSign Mobile is compatible with all BrightSign Series 3 and 4 media players with a USB port, as well as the BrightSign AU335. The solution provides plug & play modem setup with full support on BSN.cloud, BrightAuthor:connected and integrated partner CMS solutions.
If you have been around the digital signage industry for a while, you are likely wondering what is new about the idea of making connectivity possible with cellular modems, in locations where there’s no internet, or just no internet available from the venue to use for signage.
Things may have changed, perhaps substantially, but projects I have been involved in through the years steered the hell away from things like USB cellular modems for reliability reasons. If you wanted rock-solid connectivity via cellular networks, you’d use industrial-grade stuff like Cradlepoints – the sort of thing cop cars have for connecting laptops.
But that good stuff typically costs hundreds of dollars, and that may not be on for a smaller business. The BrightSign Mobile device, by comparison, is $120. The data plans are pretty reasonable, as well, like $20/month for a 2GB plan in the U.S.
Cynics will suggest there’s nothing new here, but Jeff Hastings is most definitely not stupid or oblivious. The industry, as a whole, has seen the end-user base increasingly ask for simplified, streamlined, single supplier solutions. People are busy, so if you make something easier for them, a percentage will be all over the offer.
If I am building out a modest digital signage network using BrightSign boxes, and I know connectivity is an issue, I’d be happy as hell to find a solution that’s ready to go and has already been matched up and debugged to work with the purple media players. Saves time and grief testing and worrying about things that make people cross-eyed, liked device drivers.
However, I think there would be a lot of testing/due diligence done before this sort of thing was used beyond SMBs. But there’s a lot of SMB activity out there.