What is “The Cloud”, what is “Cloudware”, and what do they have to do with the LED sign business?
The term comes from “Cloud Computing” where multiple devices can access services from centralized equipment that “host” the services and provide the infrastructure. The other devices (like your laptop for example) can access the system and use all the services (storage, applications, collaboration tools, etc…) without having to install or operate the infrastructure. This can be done on a local business network, but when people refer to “The Cloud” they usually mean over the internet; the largest “network” in the world.
This is a play on the word Software. Software is installed locally on a computer and used by that computer to accomplish tasks (edit photographs, play music, write documents, etc…). It is local, and uses your own computer’s resources. Cloudware is also installed on computers (servers), but they are off-site and provide the services through the internet so your own computer doesn’t have to use all its brain power and storage.
When you want to read a book, you wouldn’t build a library in your house to find and read your book. You would drive your car on the street (the internet) to the library (the website) use your library card (user name and password) to access and check out the books. All the organization, upkeep and storage is done by the library. You (the computer) can focus on the important stuff, viewing and accessing the information.
What does this have to do with LED signs? Not much historically because LED signs weren’t as sophisticated as they are now. In the past most LED signs were only connected to local networks, or in most cases connected directly to a computer. They didn’t use as much data because they were mostly one color, text only signs.
These days, we have tighter resolutions, brighter LEDs, faster controllers, and trillions of colors. Most high quality video boards are run with industrialized comp-uters, so they are internet friendly. Times are changing and manufacturers are feeling the pressure to provide better solutions. Solutions that are effective, secure, user friendly and easy to access. The Cloud is the foundation for these solutions.
IPAWS and More
Cloudware allows for integrations with national weather services for reporting and forecast notices, RSS feeds for live streamed data and information, and IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert Warning System) to have displays act as broadcast centers for the community’s safety and well being. Vantage LED was the first to put LED displays in the cloud, the first to integrate with IPAWS and encourage others in the industry to follow suit. We continue to lead in an industry where many prefer to follow. The cloud was a nice start and we’re excited for the future with even newer technologies and advancements to come!