Digital Signage & SOC – Too good to be too good to be true!

There are always two sides to every story and the emergence of System on Chip technologies has certainly stirred the pot in the digital signage world; dividing opinions within the hardware industry but unifying the Content Management System community.

Some screen manufacturers don’t yet see the requirement and some CMS companies intend to focus on their own player technology, however, for the rest of us we see why this technology has become so key and why SOC is a logical part of future tech.

Standard performance as standard

One of the anti-SOC arguments put forward is that by using the technology you create confusion and complexity in your deployment, that you cannot deliver a standard set of features and functions to each device type.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a well-developed solution, features are controlled by the CMS, delivered centrally to the SOC screens; the SOC screens simply harness and contain the processing power needed to display the content on screen. It really doesn’t matter what the SOC or player device is, the features are standard as long as you’re working with an enterprise grade digital signage platform and the SOC device is powerful enough.

Samsung SSP screen showing live stream at Daytona International Speedway, USA

If a new feature is released you update the CMS, the screens just carry on regardless.

Race to release

In the recent past there has been a race to release support for each new SOC-type platform that has appeared, some CMS developers desperate to get the kudos of being the ‘first’ to deliver to XYZ SOC player. This does create some misconceptions.

The first is that it is easy to do. The second is that, owing to the rudimentary nature of some development work, some believe the quality of SOC isn’t as high as delivery on a digital signage player.

For me, this is the developers giving the SOC manufacturers a bad name, and the exact reason we don’t release any support until we can deliver the same, standard functionality on an SOC device that we can on our traditional STB and PC Player technology; this way we protect our reputation, protect our manufacturer partners’ perception and protect our clients’ investment.

Tripleplay, for example, were not the first company to release support for Samsung SSP, BUT we were the first and still only solution to support secure, Lynk DRM encrypted Digital Signage and IPTV to Samsung SSP; we did not simply want to deliver posters, we wanted to deliver 100% of the Tripleplay experience.

Ignore at your peril

System on Chip is not the solution to the industry’s ailments but it is a step towards the future of the Digital Signage and IPTV industry. As hardware becomes commoditised some end users will begin to wonder why they are buying additional players and hardware when they can do everything through their TV with somebody else’s CMS solution.

If you focus on the hardware you focus on the wrong part of the solution, functionality is all in the CMS, system on chip will allow the end user the opportunity to focus on software and not on the type of hardware they purchase.

The key is in giving your clients options, while the argument can be made for and against SOC, it can become somewhat pointless; there is a place for both. A more pertinent factor is having a CMS that can manage multiple player devices, STB, SOC and 4K in a single management interface that only requires the content once and deals with the different player requirements automatically.

We support both approaches so we don’t alienate any end user organization. Our warning to anybody avoiding SOC is embrace it soon; it is too good to be too good to be true!