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ChromeOS, Eddystone, and how Google is driving next gen digital signage

Chromebox Eddystone

With a number of manufacturers such as ASUS producing affordable, reliable ChromeOS players that can power displays, Google’s footprint across digital signage continues to grow. Combine this with the company’s Eddystone and beacon technologies—which many experts are touting as the hottest, new developments in digital signage—and it’s easy to see why so many people in the industry view Google with interest, and a touch of suspicion.

However, Google’s digital signage and kiosk global lead, Chris Lydle, is quick to point out that the company isn’t about to launch its own digital signage platform.

“At Google we don’t really offer a digital signage solution, but what we provide is a great device platform,” Lydle explains in a recent interview with the Sixteen:Nine blog. “My role is activating all the various parts of the Google organisation to be aware of this opportunity. So we’ve got a huge, globally distributed sales force, and we’re making them aware that our customers can run digital signage on ChromeOS. And my role is primarily getting Google lined up to take advantage of this digital signage opportunity.”

With Chrome, Android, its ad serving platform, Google Analytics, and its content delivery network, the company has all the requisite pieces to provide enterprise with a foundation upon which to build out its digital signage.

“We want ChromeOS to be adopted by enterprise,” says Lydle. “We’ve made a lot of progress in making that happen, but we view this as a beachhead for the enterprise market. Folks love the affordability and reliability of ChromeOS, and they start looking at other areas we can help with.”

Heart of Eddystone

One of Google’s technologies that has drawn significant interest from the digital signage industry is its Eddystone platform, which uses beacon technology (available in products such as the Estimote) to deliver messages direct to a user’s mobile device. In itself, this isn’t particularly ground-breaking, but the big difference here is that it doesn’t rely on an app.

Eddystone points

“One of the things we hear from customers all the time is that they just don’t get the downloads of their apps that they would like,” explains Lydle. “So one of the key features of Eddystone is the ability to have an app-less experience, and with Eddystone what you get is akin to an SMS notification.”

As an emerging technology, though, and one that relies on a number of user-selected criteria being specified, Eddystone is still at a point where it’s finding its feet, and being used experimentally.

“I wouldn’t say it’s embryonic,” says Lydle. “The technology’s pretty robust and mature, but the audience of people that are ready to accept those messages is still growing. Do they have the latest version of Chrome? Do they have location services turned on? Do they have Bluetooth turned on? So it’s kind of a chicken and egg situation, where the more opportunities there are for people to see the value of having location services turned on, the more that audience is going to grow. The number of folks ready to receive these messages isn’t quite where we’d want it to be yet, but that’s going to be changing in the next twelve months.”

 

For Android and iOS users who may already be aware of location-based notifications appearing on their phone, Eddystone is a progression, offering the capability to ‘go over the top’, without requiring an app to be installed. And combining Eddystone and Google’s Proximity Beacon API with digital signage throws up exciting use cases across the board.

Find out why the ASUS Chromebit CS10 is a perfect stick-PC to use with Eddystone

“A good example would be if you were in a hotel chain, and they’ve invested a lot of resource in a self check-in application,” says Lydle. “When a guest enters the hotel they can have an Eddystone beacon right by the front door, which would be able to notify guests that the app is available from them to use. And that beacon can then tell an app that it’s being used in a specific location, and can communicate via the backend with a digital display that presents contextual information.”

You can learn more about Google’s Eddystone platform via its Google Beacons Guide page, and you can also access the latest specification via GitHub.

Chris LydleName: Chris Lydle

Company: Google

Title: Global Lead, Digital Signage and Kiosk

Having previously worked at RealNetworks as director of business development, Chris Lydle is a developer and implementer of technology solutions and marketing strategy. Chris is currently tasked with increasing Google’s digital signage and kiosk market share for Google Cloud, Android and Chrome.

 

These extracts were taken from a podcast interview on the Sixteen:Nine digital signage blog.

 
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