This week, the pro AV industry will find itself amidst the beautiful chaos of new-age technology that is InfoComm International’s annual tradeshow.
There’s no doubt a good portion of the show will be devoted to digital signage and displays for every market imaginable, and not without cause. Retail stores are embracing in-store digital advertising, school campuses are springing for information and wayfinding kiosks, and corporate spaces are looking to improve internal communications, digitally of course.
One forward-thinking company has claimed a spot at the forefront of all this commotion, and it has done it all from a quaint eight-bedroom ranch in Bel-Air, Calif.
Enplug is the first operating system for digital signage software that offers a public app market for anyone to explore. Its product is a cloud-based enterprise software that can be hooked up to any monitor, TV display or jumbotron.
Ryan Gushue, director of marketing at Enplug, spoke with CI about the company’s early beginnings, rapid growth and high hopes for the future of the industry.
“Our goal is to be the universal operating system for digital displays,” says Gushue.
The software displays live and interactive Twitter feeds, Instagram feeds, Yelp reviews, news content, real-time waitlists and many other apps from third-party developers. It’s a turnkey digital signage software that puts the end user in charge.
Since the company’s founding in September 2012, the company has grown immensely. Enplug was named one of Inc.’s 30 Under 30 of 2015.
“Originally, the team lived and worked in an eight-bedroom house in Bel-Air,” explains Gushue, who formally held the title of ‘Growth Hacker’ before adopting the post-start-up designation of Director of Marketing.
“The whole neighborhood knew it as ‘The Facebook House’,” he laughs. “A lot of people had their own places, but some people stayed [there]. The house really became a recruiting tool. It was very team-focused, still is. All we do is Enplug.”
When the company had grown to 20 or 25 people, Gushue says, they got an office in Culver City, Calif. Today Enplug has 35 people on staff, but the team has kept the house. A few employees still live there today, including Gushue.
Another Kind of Plug-and-Play
The technology is very simple to set up and use, says Gushue. Once the device is in hand, just plug it into the digital signage hardware with an HDMI cable and go through the screen set-up to get connected to Wi-Fi. The screen will offer a prompt to go to the web app, and once the user signs into an account they can instantly begin controlling everything on the display.
“Not only is the hardware part very intuitive and simple to set up, but so is the dashboard,” says Gushue. “A lot of digital signage companies recommend you take 20-30 hours of training. We don’t. Ours is a dashboard you’d expect to see from a tech company in 2015. It’s incredibly intuitive, no training required.”
From the dashboard, users can choose an app or switch to another, modify the settings and even adjust display options like orientation, color and interface. It’s completely customizable, says Gushue.
Enplug has recently released the Waitlist application and the Digital Directory, along with a Webpage app, which displays a company’s website in HTML5 right on their display.
“Our HTML5 app is very simple, yet pretty impressive,” says Gushue. We do it all in our own headquarters. It allows companies to display their webpage as well as dashboards like Google Docs or Google Analytics, for internal use.”
But Enplug has several other apps ready for use, including a news wall, weather app, social media wall and graphics and video app. And there are even more in production.