Samsung Coming Out With New Digital Signage Software Solution, VXT CMS, Ahead of InfoComm
February 16, 2023 by Dave Haynes
There were two main comments at the recent ISE pro AV trade show about Samsung – the electronics giant’s curious booth access policy and word that its CMS software MagicINFO was to be supplanted by a newer, more rounded and accessible CMS software offering called VXT.
I eventually found my way behind the restricted access, all-in-black fortress of the ISE 2023 stand, without enduring a “guided tour.” While I saw new displays – LCD, QLED and LED – I did not see any mention of what industry insiders were telling me was the coming successor to MagicINFO, the software Samsung evolved over many years from entry-level, limited but free to a fully-featured CMS platform it was actively selling, competing against former software partners.
I couldn’t find any information during ISE 2023 in Barcelona, but now Samsung has a micro-site online that gets into what VXT is all about. It will be formally launched in May, so expect to see and read some noice about it leading into InfoComm in June.
Samsung VXT CMS, the micro-site touts at the top, is “a cloud-based solution for digital signage that brings together flexible and efficient operation, faster setup and system recovery, and highly intuitive content creation and management capabilities to help businesses unlock the powerful potential of business displays.”
There is a new CMS – versus something built on top of MagicINFO, which has been around at last 15 years – that works off a modern Chrome browser, and leverages things like templates and widgets to make content creation easy and fast.
VXT CMS, says an FAQ response, enables you to create and upload content that will be scheduled on your signage. VXT CMS also allows you to remotely manage signage including monitoring, controlling settings and applying security measures.
I am told, and have kinda sorta confirmed, that an existing US CMS company either built or adapted its software solution for Samsung to produce VXT. That, I think, is a good thing – as I’d much rather see a solution based on years of learning and experience – including mistakes – versus a new, purpose-built platform by engineers who are largely imagining what end users want and how things will go. While the fresh set of eyes, no baggage approach to software development has its charms, I’ll take a deeper understanding of scale, elasticity, security and device controls everyday over code written by developers with no experience or insights about real-world signage demands.
The VXT CMS software player is an app that loads on smart commercial displays. Right now that means SoC displays that run Tizen 6.5 (Tizen is Samsung’s proprietary variation of the Linux operating system).
There are plans to extend hardware/software support non-Samsung devices before the end of 2023 – a nod, perhaps, that with Samsung and LG getting out of direct manufacturing of LCDs, the digital signage revenue future is much more in recurring software revenues.
VXT also rolls in device management and remote access/controls – something that is now pretty much “table stakes” for serious, scaled digital signage projects.
The tight display panel margins for pro LCDs and other options mean all the display companies need to be looking at other ways to derive revenue from the digital signage market, so Samsung is not alone. PPDS (Philips) was also showing new CMS software at ISE, called Wave, which I did not have time to dig into (but will).
There were mixed messages – arguably always – about MagicINFO and its intent. When it first came out, it was explained by sales people as a free, very basic option for small end-users who did not want to pay for software – given their limited requirements (and perhaps budget). Samsung kept building on it – up to the current version 9 – and steadily raised its profile, eventually bringing on a product manager three or four years ago and overtly selling it against commercial CMS options.
The challenge with that has been how it frustrated/upset/pissed off CMS software companies who made the time and resource investment to develop to Samsung smart display hardware, as valued software partners, only to watch Samsung slowly ease its way into the same business – selling MagicINFO instead of giving it away.
I can’t imagine news of VXT will upset too many CMS software companies, however, as this is a bit like the latest sequel to a movie they’ve been watching for a while.
That noted, I have heard from some knowledgeable people, who’ve had a deep dive into MagicINFO, who said it was pretty good, robust software. And I also heard from a team that have had a deeper briefing on VXT, and they finished impressed by what they saw.