There is a scene in a movie called “Demolition Man” where Sandra Bullock tells Sylvester Stallone that the car’s controls are just there for show and that the car simply operates by pressing a button. It leads to the meme-worthy punchline later in the movie where he cannot operate the toilet because in the place of toilet paper, there are three seashells. As with most science fiction, they came eerily close to the truth, especially now that self-driving cars exist.
The idea that technology will become easier to use over time is not as obvious as it first seems. You could say that the father of this notion is Bill Gates — he turned a home PC into something anybody could use. After that, we eventually saw TVs becoming easier to set up (it used to be very difficult to turn in a TV), and technology progressed so that now everything is plug and play, from your external hard drive to your keyboard and mouse. As software becomes more intuitive and easy to use, it stands to reason that digital signage software would follow the same trend.
Easier to Set Up Than Ever Before
Digital signage software is easier to use than ever before, but leaving that aside for one second, it is easier today to set up a digital sign than ever before. It used to be frightfully difficult. Not only was the software difficult to install and then program, but connecting up the software from your PC to your digital sign or streaming device was a technical nightmare. These days, you get simply get the app on your PC or smartphone, download the app on your digital sign, smart TV or streaming device, and then sign in and play. It is really that simple.
Scheduling Content on Your Digital Sign
Unless you were in the business during those ugly years, you have no idea how much programming went into something as simple as scheduling content on your digital sign. Here is something to tell your kids that they probably won’t believe: back in the old days, if you messed up your scheduling programming, you had to turn off your computer and start all over again, and all because you did something like accidentally hide a menu and you couldn’t get it back. These days, scheduling digital signage content is as easy as scheduling an event in your smartphone calendar.
Offering Live Feeds Through Digital Signs
The concept of offering live feeds through digital signs is not as new as it first seems. Call centers used to do it all the time. They replaced light boards on their walls with digital signs. They would show the workers how many people were waiting, the average call time, or the average waiting time. Sales centers used digital signs to highlight which products were low on stock, which were being sold and which were included in the day’s sales bonus. Today, offering a live feed through a digital sign is actually easier because of social media. If a field manager wants to do something like offer an ETA update, it can be done through a smartphone and published onto every digital sign on the premises within mere seconds.
Interactive Touch-Screen Digital Signs
Oddly enough, if this were an innovation on its own, then it would have been a world-changing innovation. Though, as you have probably guessed, it is easier to make your digital signs interactive these days because of the smartphone touchscreen technology that already exists. Digital sign software creators were able to integrate touchscreen technology into digital signs because the tech was proved viable in the form of touch displays on phones.
Easier Than Ever to Add Third-Party Software and Hardware
Again, this is one of those things that would have been rather progressive and forward-thinking if it were the digital signage industry that came up with it. However, in this case, smartphones get the credit again. Using the same mechanics that allow people to quickly add apps to their phones, digital signs can add apps to their workings in a way that vastly improves their usability and flexibility. They are so flexible in fact that it is now easier than ever to add extra hardware to a digital sign.
If you ever worked in sales in the field back in the day, then accepting credit cards meant having ink-paper-rolling machines that took a print of cards (a card imprinter). Even when smartphones became popular, getting a card reader was expensive to buy in the first place and also expensive to maintain. These days, not only are card-reading programs/hardware cheap to install on digital signs, but you can also add contactless, chip-and pin, and even online wireless wallet payments. It is the golden age for digital signage software users.