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What the Apple TV means for digital signs

 By Sebastian Pedavoli, Co-founder and Creative Director at Proxima

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Last year, Apple released (arguably) one of the most advanced media streamers on the market — the fourth generation Apple TV. New capabilities included Siri, a more versatile Bluetooth remote, and the ability to search for content across multiple streaming services from Netflix to Spotify.

However, probably the biggest advancement was the arrival of an Apple TV App Store and the opening of the platform to developers. While the latter may not mean much to the everyday consumer, using an Apple TV in their lounge to watch the latest HBO series, it finally opens itself up to potential as an enterprise device.

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 This wouldn’t be the first time a consumer device has crossed over into the enterprise space. Tablets were once used as mini-computers for consumers to search the web or watch movies on the go; now you’ll find them in retail stores or at events, used to collect data or search products. While the Apple TV is considered by most to be a home consumer product at the moment, the price, capabilities and network of developers with the skills to build iOS apps make it a platform that has a wide variety of uses in the workplace.

 But nobody has scratched that surface quite yet.

 In the simplest terms, think about the Apple TV’s potential in digital signage. At $270 a pop, the Apple TV is the cheapest device on the market, which allows you to set up digital signs. With full HD capabilities and remote access via Wi-Fi, it a tiny but powerful device that enables you to run full HD signage. And you no longer have to buy an iPod touch and HDMI cable to make it work. It’s all done through the one device.

 Even more important however, is that we’re now seeing developers use Apple TV to repurpose games for the App Store (just like what happened with iPods and iPhones). This opens the doors to a whole new level of interactivity for business apps, from kiosks to 3D renderings; essentially, you can borrow the same technical capabilities of games for enterprise uses. This means businesses can bring apps to the big screen in new ways, so use cases like HD digital signage, interactive kiosks and other business displays are more capable than ever before. Just imagine the iPad in business, but on a massively grander scale.

 Businesses will benefit as the ecosystem expands. These devices are just going to get cheaper and more powerful and drawing on the consumer appeal of Apple, it has the ability to put them into millions of homes, businesses, shopping centres around the country. Once users are able to interact seamlessly with these intelligent displays using their own mobile phones through apps, the possibilities are endless.

 We are just at the beginning of a very powerful narrative — we're seeing initial players come into the market to test, work and iterate on what works and what doesn't. We're seeing a lot of ideas thrown at the wall and as a whole, the industry and businesses will benefit from this experimentation.

 The new Apple TV gives businesses a powerful way to connect with their customers in their own homes, but also to build compelling experiences outside the home – just as iPads have come to replace old touch screen web kiosks, so too will large screen experiences start to spread out into the mainstream, the possibilities are substantial. And we're only at the beginning of what's possible.