Charlottetown,, P.E.I.-based ScreenScape Networks Inc. has ended six months of beta testing and removed all restrictions on new signups for its service that puts control of content in the hands of digital screen owners worldwide – whether they own one screen or a network.
“ScreenScape-powered displays in our Pharmacy have helped to increase sales,” says beta tester Paul Jenkins, lead pharmacist at Friendly Pharmacy, a Charlottetown, P.E.I.-based chain of pharmacies and health clinics. “And they’ve given our medical clinics an air of professionalism and attention to customer service.”
Owned 70% by Mark Hemphill, company founder and president, along with minority partners the University of Prince Edward Island and several silent partners, ScreenScape could revolutionize the way content is handled on digital screens.
Quite literally, all that is needed for the owners of a retail store with even only one screen is a computer and an Internet connection. They can log in to technology provider ScreenScape’s solution and not only control what they want on their screen, but also whether they want to share their content with others.
Each screen can have a combination of a message board, a screen which can have the owners’ own videos as well as entertainment from social media sites such as You Tube (with sound) and a running news ticker across the bottom. The Screen Display Showcase at ScreenScape.net allows visitors to see what a display created using ScreenScape actually looks like and allows them to choose between several different kinds of displays representative of different industry segments.
A golf course could carry, for example, great shots from the Masters or from a tournament of its own course, along with a running news ticker about a tournament currently underway and the weather, and a message board with tips for golfers or news for members.
“ScreenScape is an Internet Service and Community that offers a smarter, simpler and more cost-effective way to use dynamic screens in your venue.,” says Hemphill, who spent 10 years with Ariba Inc. in California and Toronto as manager of suppliers and content solutions and then was professor of media communications at U.P.E.I. before launching ScreenScape a year ago. “The service has been described by pundits as Web 2.0 digital signage, as it combines professional display authoring tools with the content sharing principles and techniques of social media.
“Our members often think of it as creating their own customized 24 –hour news channel to serve them in a variety of capacities – as information network, as promotional tool, and entertainment service. New members sign up for its simplicity and the intrinsic benefits of using our service as a communication tool on location in their own venue. But they quickly discover they can also share their content through the ScreenScape network for other members to publish on their displays – and vice versa. And this makes for a whole range of exciting options for community, collaboration and commerce.”
With the public release of the service comes two new ways for members to try ScreenScape before joining: through a Test Drive Option at http://screenscape.net/signup/testDrive (Test Drive functionality gives visitors quick access to a temporary account and a chance to actually use the service before signing up.); and Screen Display Showcase at http://screenscape.net/showcase, which allows visitors to see what a display created using ScreenScape actually looks like and allows them to choose between several different kinds of displays representative of different industry segments.
“Thank you to the hundreds of businesses and organizations that have participated in our private beta testing program,” says Hemphill. “Along with pharmacies and golf courses, they’ve included the hospitality industry (hotels, event planners), food and drink locales, recreational centres, university campuses and schools. About 80% of them have been in the U.S., including three or four universities that are using it to build their own communication networks.”
Hemphill and his team are currently working on phase two: a systematic process for pricing advertising on the system, with consideration of such factors as a marketplace clearing house, bundling strategies, ways to make it attractive for ad agencies while still keeping its targeted format, and more.
“Meanwhile, the time to sign up to use ScreenScape for free is now,“ says Hemphill. “Once we get higher numbers of users, there’ll be a charge.”