“Are there any new technical capabilities in hardware and/or software opening up new creative options for content playback, design, or interactivity? How are they being applied? How well are they being applied?”
Digital signage is such a broad field these days, and this month’s question revolving around new creative options for content playback, design or interactivity really depends on what industry you intend to use it for. Software improvements have been phenomenal year after year. But, it has to tie back to hardware that can support the enhancements. Just like DMX lighting controllers; you have to setup the devices, create scenes, schedule them and deploy. You have to make sure to match your program to your output devices; this means knowing the power and limitations of your source to your player to avoid performance issues and resolution mismatch of the output devices. Consider your environment. Have you planned out how the output size will match area of coverage, small output device to REALLY large screens or projection devices and how they will interact? Another aspect is many of the new wireless devices are able to track your lingering and movement at different screens or areas to start “creeping” into your purchasing preferences. It won’t be long before the two merge into one blurred interface.
Getting back on track, is there a magic black box to solve all of our problems??? It seems as technology gets more advanced, and looking for more functionality… these two seem to go hand-in-hand. In the past or present, it really doesn’t change much, we have to resort to a magic black box or interface device to make that magic happen. Today, technology is integrating more and more of these features through standard IP connections and other basic data path methods. This removes the need for the black box of yesterday for that function.
So going back to the original question of new technical capabilities in hardware and/or software…yes! Every generation of equipment out there gives us better performance, generally easier integration, and more wow. Think back years ago, when our thought of high-tech was pinball, or your first Sony Walkman, pong video game or when you saw your first flat screen. Think of the wow factor back then! We’ve moved so far forward. Even today, with software, how much more can you do? You drag and drop screen designs with little “real” programming. You can even do it on your smart phone.
Changes in technology generally aren’t by leaps and bounds, but by incremental steps and movements. As a society, we struggle with change, especially big change. Little tweaks here or there make for an easy improvement that is acceptable and manageable. In technology, we like bleeding edge, but generally can’t manage it well, but nothing is wrong with leading edge so you are ahead of the pack and on the creative cutting edge with the wow-factor in your hands.