Making the Case for Cellular Connectivity in the AV Space

Jeff Hastings, CEO

Mobile connectivity is indispensable in our personal lives. Our phones are our lifeline – our conduit to virtually every aspect of our digital lives, from social networks to email to countless apps and other web-based portals. There’s no denying that cellular connections are our onramp to the connected world, especially when we’re outside our homes and beyond the reach of our wireless routers.

Despite the ubiquity of cellular connectivity, most Cloud-connected digital signage still relies heavily on wired Ethernet. Why is it that cellular connectivity hasn’t taken root similarly in the AV space as it has in our personal lives? Is it a matter of security? Of convenience? Or maybe just a matter of habit?

Whatever the reason, times are changing. More specifically, technology is changing – evolving in a way that breaks longstanding norms and opens the door to new ways of constructing digital signage networks.

Connecting to an organization’s traditional network can be tricky. On the one hand, a network that’s not entirely secure can leave digital signage exposed to potential invasive threats. On the flipside, some organizations (finance, government, corporate, etc.) have networks that are secure to the point of making it impossible to pull real-time content from the internet to display on-screen. In other words, many networks are either not secure enough or too secure to support Cloud-connected digital signage.

Could cellular connectivity be the answer? After all, it’s improved dramatically over the past several years. Coverage areas have expanded, and connection speeds have improved significantly. These breakthroughs are what make it possible for us to stream HD video content on our phones. So why not leverage this same infrastructure to drive rich content to digital displays?

To be clear, using cellular technology to connect digital signage networks to the Internet is not the answer in all cases. But we should acknowledge that it’s a viable solution in a growing number of use cases. At BrightSign, we see a real opportunity with cellular connectivity because it solves persistent challenges with traditional networks, and it opens the door to new use cases. From pop-up installations to outdoor festivals to virtually any other deployment where wired network drops and WiFi are out of reach, it’s high time we embrace cellular connectivity because it greatly expands what’s possible in the AV space.