UPshow Broadens Digital Signage Services From Bars To – Wait For It – K-12 Schools???

August 30, 2021 by Dave Haynes

This is one of those company pivots I think few people would have seen coming – a firm that got its start putting screens in bars now also marketing an on-premise messaging solution for K-12 schools.

Chicago-based UPshow has announced a partnership with the Taiwan-based tech firm AOPEN “to bring captivating, targeted entertainment; valuable, engaging educational content; and the most relevant announcements to television screens inside schools for the first time.”

UPshow and AOPEN now offer the only bundle that offers best-in-class software, enterprise-grade hardware, full implementation support and dedicated managed services exclusively for schools, all under a single perpetual license structure. This will enable administrators to communicate and interact effectively with their students in real-time through fun, engaging and educational content that allows them to easily digest all the information they want and need.

“We are very excited to partner with AOPEN, to bring the first-of-its-kind content and engagement solution for educational organizations,” says Adam Hirsen, CEO, UPshow. “With continued concerns for the safety of our students and schools, teachers and staff need to connect in real-time with their students more than ever. Now, through our partnership with AOPEN, we can offer this through UPshow’s leading engagement platform for schools all over the country.”

Through the partnership, schools access a fully customizable communication network built for students from K-12 to university. This custom network enhances students’ educational experiences and builds a stronger sense of community in school or on campus with UPshow’s easy-to-use engagement platform. 

Calling this first of a kind in schools might be a bit of a reach, unless the description gets quite specific. Lotsa CMS and hardware companies (Hypersign, Visix and RiseVision come to mind) have education as a strong vertical market. But this UPshow move is nonetheless interesting.

If you are really old, like me, you might recall efforts – dating back decades – to put TVs in classrooms that would show content and messaging interspersed with paid advertising. At that time it had the same level of acceptance among parents as devil worship and killer bees.

But over the years, particularly if advertising is taken out of the mix, digital signage in schools has grown fairly common. For example, my understanding is Samsung’s Pro TV prosumer display/CMS product that was intended mainly for bars, restaurants and SMBs, has surprisingly found a lot of traction in the education market.

UPshow started in 2015 putting screens in bars that ran user-generated content. Unlike most of its predecessors and competitors, the startup did not build the whole thing around the hope – mostly just hope – of breaking even and making money via digital OOH ad revenues.

The company has since broadened its offer, and calls itself an “in-venue entertainment and marketing platform for retail and hospitality businesses.”

It says it now has a footprint of about 25,000 screens.

AOPEN’s role in this seems a little fuzzy, but I assume it is the base playback and potentially interactive hardware solution. AOPEN is most known in digital signage circles for being a pioneer in small form factor PCs, going back some 15 years.

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