“First we donated our player to the industry. Now, we’re killing the player entirely,” exclaims Pierre Yves Troël, Partner & Chief Software Architect at Ayuda Media Systems. Troël leads the ‘Ayuda Labs’ department at Ayuda Media Systems – the group of developers/techno-junkies who continually experiment with new technologies for the OOH industry.
Ayuda is unveiling what they call the ‘No-Player Player’ at DSE 2013. The Ayuda Platform, which helps Outdoor and Place Based networks manage all aspects of their OOH business, includes the Splash™ digital signage CMS which no longer requires any endpoint software players to display content. Instead, Splash™ now has the optional capability to send content directly to any HTML5 enabled browser. Any player device or TV with a built-in browser will be capable of displaying digital signage, without having to worry about installing any software or paying the associated per-player fees that digital signage software makers typically charge.
“HTML5 has evolved and come a long way insofar that it has now become a full-fledged graphics subsystem,” Troël states. “It has full support for h.264 video, raster, vectors, fonts, and CSS3 animations. Given the potential of this graphics subsystem, we beg the question as to whether a player device will still be necessary going forward. Today we have the concept of the ‘smart TV’ – displays that almost unanimously come equipped with built-in operating systems and HTML5 browsers. Ayuda’s ‘No-Player Player’ leverages this trend and replaces the dedicated hardware and software player with a URL generated by the Splash™ CMS, that can be ingested by any HTML5 browser. After all, a player’s main purpose is to play looped media; HTML5 can play the same looped media which we have tested successfully in full HD, so we have just eliminated one of the main reasons to have additional hardware and software in the field, beyond the smart TV.”
Troël notes that this innovation has only become possible recently, as browsers have begun closing the loop on implementing full HTML5 specifications. “HTML5 is the new runtime. A windows player application might be built on the .net runtime, while an android player might be Java based, for example. But with HTML5, you don’t need a runtime. HTML5 – the browser – IS the runtime.”
While this news shows a promising direction for reducing DOOH networks’ costs and simplifying field installations, there are other considerations that need to be addressed before browser based playback can fully replace a physical player and dedicated player software. “While we acknowledge that this tangent we’re exploring today does not yet have the ability to act diagnostically,” Troël continues, “we believe that future HTML5 specifications may evolve to include the ability to obtain diagnostic information. When that happens, we’ll be much closer to saying goodbye to the segregated player device.”
Ayuda believes that Android will be an interesting operating system for future place based DOOH projects. Troël mentions that “Google, the developers of Android and the Chrome browser, are big advocates of HTML5. We expect to see a lot more Android built into smart TVs, along with flavors of Android that are fully CSS3 compliant. Thanks to the animation possibilities of CSS3, anything is possible from a playback perspective. While we wouldn’t quite yet say that the possibilities are endless (specifications for 3D animation are still being developed, for example), the restrictions are rapidly disappearing.”
“This is an avenue that Ayuda sees great value in exploring for our DOOH industry,” Troël states. “It’s controversial because it challenges the very business essence of many vendors in this space, but progress through innovation is a good thing, especially if it forces the vendors who cater to this space to evolve their business models in the best interest of the client. We just LOVE tinkering with stuff like this at Ayuda Labs.”
For those OOH operators who today don’t necessarily need player diagnostic capabilities in their networks, Ayuda is offering the No-Player Player as an alternative starting immediately. Whether they use the Splash player or the No-Player Player option, Splash™ integrates seamlessly into the Ayuda Platform, which manages the entire OOH media execution workflow from sales, to inventory management, scheduling, billing, and audience reporting.
About Ayuda Media Systems
Ayuda Media Systems (Ayuda) has been providing the D/OOH industry with the world’s most sophisticated media management platform for over 9 years. As the developers of The Ayuda Platform (which notably includes Juice™, Splash™, BMS™, Zest™ Rewind™, and most recently Social Insights), Ayuda’s products have invoiced over a quarter of a billion dollars in OOH billing and provided media management functions for more than 500,000 advertising faces globally. The Ayuda Platform is cloud-based, and includes functionality for D/OOH networks such as avails and proposal generation, invoicing, lease payouts, financial reporting, inventory management, scheduling, content management, mapping, network monitoring, business intelligence, a free software player, interactive and intelligently annotated proof of play, and the world’s only D/OOH vendor focused CRM. Ayuda was founded in 2003 by ex-Microsoft employees with the mission of empowering the D/OOH industry with state-of-the-art tools that make D/OOH easier to manage and buy.