Digital signage is not a new technology but if you give a glance to the last two years; you will find lots of innovation happens so far in terms of display technology and software. Also, the Digital Signage is now shifting towards the cloud to provide scalability, reliability, and expansion. We hope in the year of 2018, we would see more innovations that help both organizations and the public to embrace digitalization.
There are lots of companies those are contributing an important role to develop and deliver innovative digital signage solutions to the world and one of them is Blynkmedia. It is an Indian company that provides Cloud-based solutions for Digital Signage, DOOH & OTT Network operators. Recently, we got a chance to have an interaction with its founder Mr. Vinay Katwe; during our interview session, we have asked him a couple of questions related to challenges faced by him in the Digital Signage industry and his views on the changing trends of 2018; including products and service offered by the Blynkmedia and how it helps the customers.
1. First, we want to know about the founder Vinay Katwe and technological challenges faced by him while setting up the BlynkMedia, then and now? Are they different?
About Mr. Vinay Katwe:
Vinay being an Entrepreneur with 12+ years of Product development, Sales and Marketing experience in the corporate world, always wanted to build innovative technology products. After completing his engineering from the VIT, Bangalore and MBA from ICFAI, he worked in HP, and TATA for about 8 years and decided to step in to a Startup journey. He has a right blend of technology experience and business acumen along with 1 successful start up experience. Vinay with his second startup Blynk, is now realizing his passion for product development in B2B / Enterprise space building a SaaS based business model for Digital Signage, DOOH & OTT operators worldwide.
Challenges faced :
Keeping up with technology that is constantly changing was a huge challenge. The use cases including audience analytics, artificial intelligence based algorithms etc are now relatively easier to implement due to the availability of third-party API and hence reduces the complexity and allows even startups of small size to offer equally competitive features at much affordable pricing.
2. What are the trends you are seeing in 2018?
2018 is poised to be the most exciting year yet in digital signage. Things are getting more integrated, more comprehensive, faster, smarter, and better looking. Smart programs and AI are entering the field, allowing an unprecedented scaling of data analysis and integration. Data feeds will become messages in their own right, without outside intervention. Digital signage systems will be able to target messages to specific displays based on the data they are receiving and analyzing.
2018 should see more integration of digital signage and technologies into real-world events. Displays will not only show messages promoting events, they will become integral parts of the events themselves
There will also be a dramatic increase in the amount of outdoor digital signage, from huge displays to small interactive kiosks, some of which will be able to interact with a person’s smartphone or tablet.
3. What are the different products and service offerings from Blynkmedia?
Blynk Media offers 2 services
1) AI-powered digital signage solution as a SaaS model, the platform automatically adjusts the AV play out based on the customer profile and demographic details
2) Exclusive marketplace platform for publishers and advertisers to buy and sell the ad slots based on the analytics and RoI based measurement algorithms
4. What is your roadmap for 2018?
2017 was an innovative year for us, and 2018 will continue to have even more going on. Our goal is to become the largest marketplace for digital signage, digital ooh and IPTV advertising.
5. Is it a native application or web-based?
Our solution is a cross-platform, device agnostic, OS agnostic solution that offers both native apps solution as well as a web-based solution to help customers plan their business strategy as per their convenience rather than constrained by the technology.
6. Does it stream or upload to the media player? In other words, does the content reside server side or media player side?
Yes. Our solution offers an intelligent mechanism for downloading even high-resolution content and playback even in the absence of the internet in order to offer a seamless experience. On the other hand, a copy of the content will be stored and archived on the server side for generating better analytics.
7. In case if it is server based and it goes down, will the media players still perform?
Yes. The solution works seamlessly, even in the absence of internet and at very low bandwidth conditions.
8. Does it have user-friendly tools and templates?
Yes. Our solution comes with intuitive Do it yourself templating engine along with prebuilding hundreds of templates to get started.
9. Does it allow for data integration?
Yes. Blynk solution provides well-documented API both at the server side for the server to server integration as well as at Player side to support enterprise on-premise integration requirement.
10. Does it have an alert messaging mode? Can we edit live video feeds?
Yes. We can edit the live video feeds and the changes will be effective almost on a real-time basis…
11. Does it has the capability to push content delivery to smaller screens For eg. desktops, websites and BYOD devices, like tablets and smartphones or displays fitted in private rooms.
Our focus is to deliver content to digital screens including smartphones, tablets to video walls but we are not looking at catering to desktops and websites as of now.
12. Is it scalable and expandable?
Our solution is enterprise grade and scalable across the globe.
13. Do you have only digital signage system software, or also the hardware?
We provide all combination of the solution including a software only, software + media player, a software + media player + screens etc. We enable such packaged solutions through our strong partnership with the hardware suppliers.
14. Vertical, where your Digital signage will work perfectly and meet all the customer demands.
Our solution is vertical agnostic and is being leveraged for digital out of home (dooh) advertising, hospitality, healthcare, retail, education, government etc.
15. Do you offer training? Ongoing, or one-time only? What about your consulting and design services to help optimize the deployment?
We provide 3 training every year and open for on-demand training if the situation demands. We are also open for consulting services if that helps to optimize the deployment.
16. What types of security features are built into your product?
Our solution is built around several security measures including:
a) makes a screen single purpose by setting Blynk Media player app as default app when the system boots up. It would be hugely complicated to get a malicious third-party app to enter into the system.
b) Network level security is ensured by SSL certificates
c) Cloud level security is ensured by hosting the complete infrastructure on Microsoft / Amazon servers which comes with the world’s best security measures to protect the system