Ask the Board – September 15, 2016 | JEFF PORTER


How are you planning to circumvent the lack of standards as one of the key threats to industry growth?

A few years back (from 2006 to 20112), I served on the Board of Directors of POPAI, a trade association for retail marketing. That association has been around for 50+ years and has membership from nearly all brands and retailers around the world.  Before there was a DSE or a DSF, a few of the “digital signage super-friends” got together to decide how we could either start an association or join an existing one to help the fledgling industry. We picked POPAI.

I am actually quite proud of the work that I did back then to get some basic standards established. We defined what digital signage was and was not, and a set of standard terms.  We also established a standard playlog format (to interchange data) and a few others.  POPAI has morphed into a new organization called SHOP!  When I left Scala a few years back, I left the cushy travel budget behind and not much more happened with the group after I resigned from POPAI.

Most CMS systems these days support a wide variety of playback platforms from PC to

Android, Chrome, LG and Samsung.  While interoperability between components of a given CMS is pretty much zero, having the same hardware across many CMS platforms helps. And to be quite honest, it’s not that hard to re-purpose a given piece of playback hardware for a different CMS, so perhaps standards are not really that important anymore. As a former software guy, I hated to support five different platforms, especially when I could get by with maybe just two.  If LG and Samsung would have peeled off a few hundred thousand Android licenses for their commercial LCDs, we’d only really have to support PC and Android.  But alas, they did not (or have not yet decided to make this change).  So until we have a little more common sense in the market, it’s a little more work for the software guys to support 5+ platforms.

Oh well, I guess I’m glad I’m not in the software business anymore!  

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Founder & CEO
Porter Digital Signage

Industry Consultants Council

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