Calgary-based software firm Userful has added a digital signage content management system to its range of “visual networking” applications.
The company has been around the digital signage industry for several years, but has mainly been known for an evolving, network-driven video wall platform.
The new Emerald Signage application sits at the front-end of the company’s AV over IP Visual Networking Platform and “enables corporate end-users—from the heads of HR departments to communications managers or administrative staff—to easily author, deploy and manage the content on signage displays anywhere in the world.”
As part of Userful’s Visual Networking Platform, IT departments can easily integrate Userful Emerald Signage, along with any other visual applications and services, into its network infrastructure while maintaining administrative control, ensuring data privacy and network security.
Userful’s Visual Networking Platform gives the IT department the management tools and control it needs while Userful Emerald Signage delivers content creation and management capability to each individual department.
“Emerald Signage is the first solution of its kind, and a breakthrough in the digital signage space,” says John Marshall, CEO of Userful. “As part of the Userful Visual Networking Platform, it allows organizations to break down silos across departments by unifying its corporate communications on a single platform, administered via its IT infrastructure, but deployed by each individual department, thus streamlining operations and facilitating better employee engagement through elite visual communications.”
First of its kind is one of those assertions that’s hard to buy into, given there are already hundreds and probably thousands of digital signage CMS options out there. But … there’s usually some sort of twist that makes one system or another just a little different, and perhaps a first.
Userful says key features include things like templates, role-based access controls and third-party apps and widgets support, which are all very common.
So, dunno if this is yet another option or something genuinely different. I chatted with Marshall at ISE in 2020, JUST before COVID hit, and he definitely left me with the impression the company was more enterprise IT-oriented than most signage software shops. It sounded more like a content distribution system.
The prevailing wisdom is that the future of digital signage technology in enterprise-level companies is much more of an integrated IT solution, and not its own closed system and activity. So Userful’s approach certainly seems in tune with industry trends.
I don’t know the back-story on this but Userful is among numerous companies who do things around digital signage – like media players and interactive – and have CMS capabilities written in. Sometimes they overtly market it, while in other cases it is just there and available, but the vendors don’t want quite openly compete with pure-play CMS software companies who would perhaps partner of projects.