Less is Moore: Automation is the Path to Simple Digital Signage

Less is Moore: Automation is the Path to Simple Digital Signage

You’ve heard of Moore’s Law right? The one that says computers will double in power every 18 months. Well it certainly seems to work for all kinds of hardware… USB memory sticks… even digital camera resolution.

Difficult software is one of the barriers to growth in the digital signage sector

Difficult software is one of the barriers to growth in the digital signage sector 

 
But, it sure doesn’t work for software. Why doesn’t software getting faster and easier to use at the same pace.

 
I think it’s all about the economics of hardware vs. software. Hardware innovation is closely linked to delivering more capacity in a smaller size. It makes sense and it’s easy to market this. People feel like they are getting more when they buy their new gadget.

 
Software doesn’t work that way though. Think about it! How often do you buy a new computer? Every couple years? Or if you are like me, more like 3 – 5 years. Your new computer is twice as fast with twice as much memory and hard disk storage. Maybe the OS and some of your favourite Apps have been updated too. But, do they run twice as fast? Does the computer boot up twice as fast?

 
No. In fact, sometimes it seems even slower to do the same job. How does software improve? Usually by adding more and more features? Now of course, new features can be great, but… not if the overall usability of the program is suffering.

 
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a usability Moore’s law where computers got twice as easy to use every 18 months? Then we would all be excited about the increase in power, since you would know that you can actually do more with it each time.

 
And to make matters worse, business software often lags well behind consumer applications in usability This is certainly true for most digital signage software, and it has been one of the biggest barriers to growth for the digital signage industry.

 
It’s just too hard to schedule and manage the content. The skills, resources and people cost end up being too much for the many companies.

 
The key to making software that can do more while making it simpler at the same time is through automation. What do you want to do when you have a new piece of content? Upload it and have it play on the right screens in the right places at the right time. Right? Anything, else is going to add complication you don’t need.

 
So if you are looking at digital signage software, ask about their innovation roadmap. Where is this software going? At Vanten, we are continuously innovating. We are always looking at ways to make our platform better.

 
But, by better, we don’t just think about how we can add more features. We are also thinking about how we can make it simpler and easier to use. Even though we think we have the simplest software in the market, we are not satisfied and have plans to make it even easier to use.

 
How simple should it be? As Einstein (sort of) said: “As simple as possible and no simpler.”

About the Author:

Neil van Wouw founded Vanten in 1998, where he pioneered cloud-based digital signage and was the first to offer it to the Japanese market. Prior to Vanten, he was CTO of Global Online, one of Japan’s first Internet providers, and he played a role in bringing the Internet to Japan. Neil is a proponent of making technology accessible, and is a frequent speaker for audiences in Japan and around the Asian region, including the ACCJ, Wireless Japan and Horasis Asia. He is a father of three, sings in a rock band and is a 35-year practitioner of zen meditation.