For those folks wondering if or when we were planning to re-start our email newsletters, the answer is: Real Soon Now™. We've had as many as 25,000 subscribers over the years, and cleaning out those who have left the industry, are no longer interested, or, in a few cases, died, has been more challenging than I expected.
We plan to send out subscription notice emails to everyone next week, and resume semi-regular blog posts about all things digital signage shortly afterward, starting with more content-related stuff, since that's my jam (I'm also going to start using more date-able slang so that these posts automagically become more cringeworthy over time).
One of the reasons these blog articles have been so few and far between this year (and were nonexistant last year) is because we've been busy diversifying here at WireSpring. Way back in 2000 we started out primarily as a kiosk software company, and deployed dozens of projects across thousands of locations to let users apply for in-store credit, enter sweepstakes to win prizes, and print coupons to encourage up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. As the digital signage market began to expand, we made a slight pivot to include digital signage in our offering. This made a lot of sense, as we basically treated digital signage like a specific kiosk app and were able to happily continue developing our platform.
A few years ago, we saw the opportunity to pivot again, this time into what's called the Internet of Things (IoT). At the time we were calling it M2M (machine-to-machine communications), but that's neither here nor there. We've since been party to a number of really interesting projects, all of which incorporate some elements of digital signage into much more complex devices that are deployed everywhere from hospitals to department stores to C-stores. All of which are also quite different from the plain-vanilla digital signage that we continue to deploy for waiting rooms, corporate communications, digital menu boards and the rest. And of course we've been keeping our tech guys busy with growing our platform, focusing a bit more on device management stuff rather than content management, scheduling and playback compliance.
Long story short (which is clearly a struggle for me), we've been swamped, and for the last year I've found myself putting in the kinds of founder's hours I thought I had left behind a decade ago. Frown emoji. But, our new website is in place. The rats nest of infrastructure that we've replaced has made things faster, more maintainable and easier to upgrade. And a pile of customer projects are finally moving into that "mature" status that means more free time for me. If anybody's still interested, I'll be resuming a semi-regular blogging schedule pretty soon. Probably not every week, but hopefully at least a few times a month. Old weblinks should continue to work forever. New links will be published to https://www.wirespring.com/blogs/dsinsider We're separately maintaining an Internet of Things-themed blog (cleverly) called M2M Insider, should can be found at https://www.wirespring.com/blogs/m2minsider should you feel so inclined.
So to both of my readers, I just want to say thanks for checking in!
Back in 2004, before the word "blogging" had been added to the Meriam-Webster dictionary, I decided that I needed to exercise my right brain. Years of reading over source code and marking down spreadsheets left me with the distinct feeling that I was no longer able to write cogent, English sentences. And considering that I graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology (of all things), that was more or less the one skill that I knew I took with me when I left college. So, I started this blog as a place to not only dump some of the information I gathered while researching the digital signage industry, but to also practice articulating my thoughts -- you know, in case anyone ever asked.
Fast forward a decade or so and astonishingly enough, my company (WireSpring) is still going, and going well at that. but that, unfortunately, means I usually don't have much time to blog anymore. From one perspective hat's ok, because plenty of other people in the industry took up the task -- and have done a much better job of it. Still, after taking all of 2014 off to actually get some work done I feel a bit sad that I didn't quite make it to the 10-year mark. I also noticed a definite decline in my ability to write on a deadline. So I've decided to try my hand at this blogging thing again. I don't think it's practical to shoot for one article per week like we did in years past. Nor do I think we'll be bringing back some of our more labor-intensive article series either (Articles about the Cost of Digital Signage -- I'm looking at you). But recently there has been a lot of actual innovation in the "Internet of Things" arena, including some pretty unique new technologies and business models floating about in the digital signage space, all of which has left me with plenty of blog fodder (in fact, I've set up a sister blog called M2M Insider to take a look at the application of devices that are not digital signs because there are so many).
In the mean time I've started jotting down some thoughts on upcoming articles for the digital signage industry, starting with some kind of recap of the M&A activity since 2012 (the last time we wrote 2011-2012 Digital signage M&A activity), rehashing some past research on digital screen placement and viewer attention using new data, and maybe talking about/demoing some of the more interesting tech that we're working on right now.
I'm also considering a new tagline for the blog. In the running are:
Digital Signage Insider: A blog so good it took 11 years to write 10 year's worth of posts!
Digital Signage Insider: It used to be relevant *and* funny!
and my personal favorite
Digital Signage Insider: Keeping Bill busy through *all* of his 20s and 30s!
I'm not attached to any of them yet, though, so if you have a suggestion, I'm all ears.