With the launch of the BSN:Cloud and the BrightAuthor Connected, the digital signage expert BrightSign has launched a new authoring tool for the popular BrightSign players. We have tested the new software in detail for several weeks and made comparisons to the classic BrightAuthor.
BrightAuthor Classic - What did we have so far?
Previously, BrightSign provided the BrightAuthor Classic, a Windows software that became a digital signage cloud tool via the BrightSign Network. The previous BrightAuthor is and remains a popular tool for quickly creating interactive presentations and is still supported by BrightSign. However, the product is clearly moving in the direction of "End of Life" and is to be replaced by the new software solution in the long term.
The Bright Author:Connected
The new BrightAuthor is a completely new and standalone product that is not an update from the BrightAuthor Classic. Most of the features of the predecessor have been migrated and integrated into the new interface. In the course of this takeover, some bugs we had to deal with in the classic BA were also fixed right away.
Advantage 1: Platform independence
Compared to the old one, the new BrightAuthor runs not only on Windows but also on Mac and in the browser, making the software completely platform-independent. BrightSign recommends using Google Chrome for the web interface.
Advantage 2: Third party API
With the new BA:C, support for third-party providers has been greatly expanded. For example, a player in BA:C can be configured directly with the CMS setup of BrightSign partners. If a partner's CMS is running on the player, the BrightSign Dynamic Web Server can still be used to query the status of the devices and view error messages. The setup of a player can be customized at any time through the BSN:Cloud.
Advantage 3: Mass setup & setup template
The new Mass Deployments area allows you to create templates for player configuration and then apply them to multiple players. For large quantities, this feature saves a large part of the setup work.
Benefit 4: Diagnostic Web Server and Content Cloud
In the new BrightAuthor Connected, the Diagnostic Webserver, which in the old BA was only accessible via local network, is now accessible worldwide via the cloud. Thus, the players can be remotely configured at no additional cost. The new BrightSign Network is now called "Content Cloud" and starts with the same license costs as its predecessor. So you only pay for the maintenance of content and presentations, the configuration and remote setup are included in the players.
Are there only advantages?
Of course, in the course of our testing, we would also like to openly point out a few drawbacks that we feel BrightSign has room for improvement:
Disadvantage 1: No migration possibility so far
When switching to the BrightAuthor Connected, one thing stands out in particular: Existing BrightSign Network customers have no option to migrate their existing presentations to the new system. This means that every presentation has to be rebuilt from scratch when switching. In our opinion, this is a weakness of the new BA:Connected and increases the entry barrier for existing customers.
Disadvantage 2: Missing features
Unfortunately, some features of the existing BrightAuthor Classic have not yet made it into the new software. For example, users of the new BA:Connected have to do without functions such as "Bright Wall", "Twitter Feed" or "Mosaic Mode". However, BrightSign has already announced that the missing features will be added later and will also be available in the new software soon. In the meantime, you can find "BrightAuthor:connected Unsupported Features" to find out what is currently not yet supported.
ConclusionGreat potential despite barriers to entry
We see great potential in the new BrightAuthor:Connected despite some small improvements. The usability and the integration of authoring in the cloud are, in our opinion, major improvements over the previous BrightAuthor and improve the user experience enormously. The entry hurdles as well as the missing features clearly still need to be improved. As soon as BrightSign closes the gaps here, we see a promising future with the new BrightAuthor.
With the third-party API, BrightSign opens the door for new CMS vendors with powerful software such as Intuiface, making BrightSign an exciting hardware vendor for countless use cases. Also, the new Diagnostic Server, which can be coupled with third-party vendors, makes BrightSign players a reliable and open hardware platform that can compete with the more cumbersome Windows players.
If you have any questions about the new BrightAuthor or are interested in a training course, our team is at your disposal. We will soon be holding several webinars to give you a comprehensive introduction to the new BrightAuthor and answer any open questions.