First off, boy can Google throw a conference. To promote Android and their latest release everyone (5,000 people) at the conference received two phones! Not to mention your usual t-shirt, pens and socks and did I mention they fed us - breakfast, lunch and dinner - unbelievable. Yes, you did read that right, I am now the owner of a pair of Google branded socks. I still don't get that one.
Socks aside, what did I learn? So much my brain hurts and what follows is a slightly technical and very condensed summary which assumes you, the reader, knows digital signage, Google technology and where we're going with marrying the two. And as always, if your missing something don't hesitate to ask. Here goes:
Open sourced and extensible software provides for the fastest and greatest innovation possible. We have done the right thing in our next release by providing both a platform that is completely accessible through API's and the open sourcing of our front end user interface and our digital signage player. Scary for the typical "create proprietary something and protect the crap out of it business dude" but it is time to park the brutally slow old ways and leverage the crowd for rapid innovation.
Gadgets are the future of content. Create once, embed anywhere and sell everywhere. And they are becoming more and more contextually aware.
Create the platform for large format displays running Mac, Linux or Windows Players then adopt Android to take it to mobile devices, TV (Google TV!) and large format displays - marry the sign post with the personal display and rather than standing separate from TV adopt and use it as a distribution medium.
Use Google advertising and the personal display (mobile advertising) to close the loop on "eyeball" verification for digital signage to increase potential advertising reach and therefore revenue. Don't build advertising media asset and distribution management applications - use the web advertising model and incorporate web tools to provide the means to enable digital signage advertising management on our network.
You can build global digital signage management applications that can scale and be highly responsive. Our new benchmark - all user interactions must happen in 100ms or less - gulp - and the tool to make it happen - SpeedTracer (from Google) is awesome for finding every little bottleneck in code on the client side and now(!) on the server side as well.
Google web tool kit just got even better. We have incredible tools for creating a browser app that both meets the expectations of a typical desktop app and because of connectivity - available everywhere - exceed the desktop in every way.
Google Wave has gone to labs and it now works with enterprise Google accounts (which we have) - no more need for invitations - and it will support printing within the next month or two. We are going to move all of our scrums, collaboration and journals from email, docs and sites to Wave. Should be really interesting to see where this goes and what it does for productivity.
The future is HTML5 and it is here now. Build for HTML5, forget legacy browsers, they are going the way of the dinosaur and there is no point dumbing down what we do for them, from here on in we are aiming at the smartest browser possible.
HTML5 web app caching can and does solve all online / offline continuity issues. Chromium (our Player) can provide a reliable viewer for displays that have lousy internet connections.
Players that manage their updates by polling their servers have far too much overhead to maintain near real-time updates and monitoring. Real-time push to the browser is here and it is the way to go.
Google storage has arrived and it is designed for heavy data asset upload, storage, and download on a global basis and it can provide the repository for media asset management for digital signage on a scalable and predictive cost model.
The Google Apps marketplace is working and it does provide distribution opportunities for developers that they have never seen before. And, it is creating an expanding source of highly capable resellers for us.
Bottom line, we are on the right track, our next rev digital signage management application can and does leverage all of the above, and we can deliver it for far less than what our current app costs.
Thank you Google! I can't wait for next years IO!