A daily challenge
We spoke with Lukas Danek, signageOS CPO who knows our product inside and out, about innovation and what it means to him and to signageOS. Lukas has been building web products since the age of 15 and has a background in applied informatics with a focus on big data, business intelligence, and data-driven decision making.
Recently, signageOS was recognized as the most innovative company in digital signage by Invidis, and we wanted to find out more from Lukas about the culture and the mindset which led to this award.
What is innovation for you?
For me, innovation is creating simple and elegant solutions for complex problems using unprecedented ways to do it. To innovate is to drive unique value and create results through a better problem-solving product.
Would you consider signageOS an innovative company?
From the start we have been an innovative company. We saw a problem no one was addressing, and we stepped in. We have set innovation as one of our principles from the get-go, meaning we don’t really look at ourselves as innovative, we are simply used to working this way day in day out. Stan, our CEO, always says “innovate or die''. At every opportunity we have, we ask ourselves, is there a better/faster way of achieving this goal? What is blocking us from a better experience?
Why is it so crucial for organizations to innovate and invest in modern technologies?
Today, technology is growing at a rapid pace, and it's hard to keep up, making our lives inherently complex. Investing in innovation means investing in simple, headache-free solutions. It's what Apple has been teaching us for the last decades.
There is another point of view - innovation helps get the best talent into the team. The more talent you have, the more innovative you can be, and hence the more complex problems you can solve. Having the right talent and nurturing it allows you to continue to move forward and develop the best product.
Make complex things easy to use, and the rest will follow…
What is the reason for companies struggling to innovate effectively?
You need to be brave and have good timing.
Brave enough to take a leap of faith and to not fear failure. What helps is having a company culture set in a way that it tolerates or even encourages failure. Failing is not a problem, as long as you can learn from it. Removing this rigidity to always be right frees up creativity and the much sought after innovation in a company.
Timing to create the innovation and release it to the market early, but not too early. In Japan, they had autonomous cars 25 years ago. They were brave, but the timing was wrong. You can find such examples everywhere.
What were some of the thoughts behind the features signageOS has?
In order to truly innovate, you need to stop chasing what is trendy now. As someone said, “skate where the puck is going to be, not where it is”. We started signageOS with that thought, designing from the ground up for the future and scale. That’s also the most challenging part as we are constantly planning for something that will come in 2-3 years while still supporting “today's customers”.
In our industry, any device you deploy today will have to be operational for the next 5-7 years. That is much longer than a tweet or a post. That means features we are building have to last, have solid technology ground, and work not for hundreds, but for hundreds of thousands of displays.
What problems are you trying to solve for the digital signage industry?
Simplicity. Our industry has come a long way from being 100% hardware driven. But even today, there are so many different standards, approaches, and, honestly speaking, weirdness which makes deployments and maintenance complex and costly. We believe there is a better way by standardizing through APIs and unified device management to provide everyone who needs to work with digital signage a smooth and seamless experience.
What value does your innovation bring to your clients?
Firstly, we give time to our clients as the solutions we create take time and expertise to develop. We can do this rapidly and customize it to our client's needs and the market’s demands. Not only do we save time, we also provide our clients with peace of mind as we have the most up-to-date support for all of the digital signage platforms. Take Tizen as an example, we provided support for Tizen 6.5 as soon as it was released due to our commitment to our clients.
The other value we bring is allowing our clients to focus on their core activity. This ensures their resources are being utilized most efficiently and allows them greater flexibility with what to deploy.
With what we do, we are going beyond “hardware integration”. The core of our innovations is focused on unmanned device management, automated recovery, alerting, and reporting. Through signageOS, you can effectively connect not only devices, but also different stakeholders (CMS companies, managed solutions, system integrators,...) - providing each party with the right tool they need for day-to day operations in a unified environment.
We also have signageOS Open available, a free digital signage developer tool to build, upload, and deploy native digital signage apps for any SoC or media player with a single HTML5 codebase.
Can we get a sneak peek into what might be coming next?
Well, I hate to sound cryptic, but how does putting your display network operations on Autopilot sound?