Ken Hilliard, is CEO of Power Digital Signage, and has over 35 years’ experience in the design and development of networked systems with an emphasis on distributed architecture. He worked as a software developer and consultant for companies as diverse as Microsoft, IBM, NSA and General Electric. He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and computer science.
In this conversation, Ken talks about PowerPlayer.
Geetesh: Ken, please tell us more about PowerPlayer, what motivated you to create this PowerPoint-based digital signage solution, and how it is different from other such solutions?
Ken: While big business and chain stores have broadly adopted digital signage, the take-up rate for small- and mid-sized enterprises (SME) has been woefully low. To meet this under-served market, we developed PowerPlayer™. Our key design goals for this product were ease of use—it would be used mainly by non-technical users who have no IT staff—and affordability.
With PowerPlayer, you create digital signage using just PowerPoint. No other software is needed. By choosing PowerPoint for content creation we make it very easy for SMEs to use digital signage TV displays in their business. For our media player hardware—which displays PowerPoint on the TV—we chose Windows 10 PC sticks which are affordable and easy to use by non-technical users.
PowerPlayer costs only $189.95—with no subscriptions—making it very affordable for most SMEs. This price includes hardware, software and a cloud-based content management service (CMS). All a customer needs are a TV display with HDMI and Wifi Internet at the TV point’s location.
Hardware: PowerPlayer includes a Windows 10 PC stick that plugs into a TV’s HDMI source input. It’s a pocket-sized media player designed to display PowerPoint presentations on a TV screen. PowerPlayer is compatible with any TV display with HDMI.
Software: Our digital signage client software is preinstalled on the PC stick. You only need to register PowerPlayer with the CMS and it’s ready to go. The software supports 1080p full HD, landscape and portrait TV screen orientations. It can display native PowerPoint files on the TV—there’s no need to convert PowerPoint to video or export as pictures.
Cloud Service: The product package includes PowerSignage, our cloud-based content management service (CMS) for PowerPlayer. PowerSignage CMS makes it easy to upload, schedule and display PowerPoint digital signage presentations on one or more TV screens. The CMS supports remote management of TV screens at multiple locations.
The basic idea behind PowerPlayer simple: if you know how to use PowerPoint you can create and display great-looking, professional multimedia digital signage on any standard TV screen.
You display a PowerPoint signage presentation on your TV in 3 simple steps. First, create your signage presentation with PowerPoint. Next, upload the presentation to our CMS. Finally, plug PowerPlayer into the TV’s HDMI source input. PowerPlayer automatically downloads and displays PowerPoint digital signage presentations on the TV screen. PowerPlayer is plug-and-display ready.
PowerPoint Digital Signage: PowerPoint makes it easy to create kiosks, menu boards and digital signage. You can combine text, fonts, pictures, animation and HD video using PowerPoint’s flexible drag-and-drop screen layout features to produce stunning signage presentations. PowerPoint’s overall ease-of-use and broad multimedia support make it an ideal content creation tool. And PowerPlayer makes it easy to display PowerPoint presentations on a TV screen.
Why PowerPlayer? PowerPlayer differs from other products in that it is a complete solution, including media player hardware, digital signage software and cloud-based CMS. Second, there’s no complicated signage software to learn: all you need is PowerPoint, software that most small businesses already own and know how to use. Lastly, PowerPlayer is very cost-effective, priced at $189.95 with no subscriptions. Most digital signage products use proprietary hardware, software and content management that most SMEs will find technically challenging.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about what you need to use PowerPlayer, how much it costs, and what are the recurring costs? Also, what according to you is the profile of the PowerPlayer end-user?
Ken: All you need is a TV with HDMI input and Wifi Internet access at the TV point. The price is $189.95 and there are no subscriptions or any recurring cost. The typical PowerPlayer customer is a small- or mid-sized business; for example, restaurants, boutique hotels, schools, doctor’s offices, clinics, real estate offices, fast food outlets, shopping malls, mini-marts—any public space or waiting areas.