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How to add value: use dumb screens with smart tech

August 29, 2019

Back in 2005, I bought my first flatscreen TV. It was a 32" Samsung which I am pleased to report is still in operation today. It seemed quite cutting edge at the time and kind of high tech because it had an HDMI port. To be honest, I didn't even know what HDMI was, I just knew that it was better than RCA.

 

Fast forward 14 years and that screen is now the TV screen in my bedroom. Throughout the course of the last 14 years, my media consumption habits have certainly changed. Let's think about it; in 2005 there was no Netflix, there was no Facebook, there weren't even iPhones. Now in 2019, if you asked me, I would tell you that I don't really even watch TV. My kids definitely don't think they do. They don't even care about which device they consume digital media on. They just call it screen time. Sure there are some TV shows and movies that we all watch across our various devices, however, the wall-mounted Samsung screen in my bedroom doesn't see a lot of action.

 

Until just recently. As part of the NBN package that I just signed up for, I received a smart-TV box with all the apps that smart TV's have in 2019. Now, thanks to this new media box, my antiquated 32" Samsung screen even makes cool new noises when I press buttons on the remote. Through that future-proofing HDMI port, my dumb screen has become smart. One of my customers once told his internal communications team: "There is no such thing as dumb screens, there are only dumb people".

 

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I have watched more TV in the last three weeks than I probably have in the last three years put together. Of course, I watch it in a different way. On-demand and often through channels that didn't even exist three years ago, however, my 32" Samsung screen is experiencing a revival.

 

Does your office, store, branch, or back-of-house have a screen mounted that isn't doing much? You know the screen (or screens) that I am talking about. They get plenty of attention on Melbourne Cup Day and might show some music videos, or news and weather from time to time. Though, like my 32" Samsung screen (until recently), they aren't adding any value.

 

Thanks to that future-proofing HDMI port on the back of the screens they can be revived into 21st-century digital signage screens displaying anything from important corporate communications messages to mind-blowing real-time marketing media.

 

By connecting a Chromebox media player (an inexpensive, state-of-the-art microcomputer) to your screen(s) via the HDMI port and then connecting the Chromebox to WiFi or Ethernet, you can control the content on the screen from any internet-connected device via a cloud-based dashboard - Laqorr.

 

You could even post a message to the lunchroom screen in real-time from Bondi Beach using your iPhone to let the team know that the staff BBQ is ready and being served down at the beach. One of my customers uses it on rainy days. They have a piece of content ready-to-go advertising $5 umbrellas. They are a pharmacy outside a busy railway station. Whenever it rains they push the $5 umbrella slide onto their screen just as the trains pull into the station. Now that HDMI port is boosting sales.

 

There is no limit to the different ways that an existing 'dumb' screen could potentially add value to the environment, your organisation, your customer's lives and any audience thanks to the smarts of a Chromebox and a simple, yet sophisticated content management system (CMS) like Laqorr (a verified Chrome app).

 

Can I help you revive a screen (or screens) that should be adding value? I'd love to show you how simple it is to create a digital signage network using screens that are currently just taking up space or collecting dust, or are perhaps a legacy of a somewhat failed attempt at DIY digital signage. It's not expensive, it's not difficult and the results can be as delighting as the newfound love of my original 32" Samsung flatscreen. 

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