What do you think is most exciting about what’s new in Scala Enterprise 12.70?
AITA: This new release introduced a number of new features that I think our customers are going to love. First, we’ve progressed with our goal of improving visibility into overall platform health by enhancing our “Player Health Rollup” in Scala Content Manager. We’ve added two new charts — Plan Status and Inventory Status.
We are also committed to adding innovative features into our product with each release. R12.70 provides early access to our 64-bit Windows player engine, planned to be generally available towards the end of this year. Transitioning to 64-bit Windows will allow us to improve performance of our players, unify our Linux and Windows codebases and release more cutting edge features on an up-to-date architecture with each release.
Finally, R12.70 introduces a new way for our players to be provisioned. This new “enhanced provisioning” process allows installers to connect to the player via their mobile phone or laptop and configure it via a downloadable file. The entire process takes just a few minutes and is easily repeatable. Enhanced provisioning is currently only available for our digital shelf edge hardware, but support will expand to our entire player and tablet product lines over the course of the next few releases.
Is digital signage hardware playing a big role in Scala’s product roadmap?
AITA: Absolutely. We keep a very close eye on the digital signage hardware landscape to ensure that we are adding features in the roadmap that can take advantage of those improvements. Customer expectations and use cases will advance as new hardware becomes available. We do our best to ensure our product roadmap is ahead of the curve, able to support new hardware and innovative features that take advantage of those underlying architectural advances.
What are some of the hot topics and priorities you see consistently coming up in your conversations with marketers and innovators, as well as Scala’s own teams globally?
AITA: It’s clear that the Scala platform is one that is extremely powerful. When talking with our more advanced customers, the flexibility that it affords around custom scripting via Python and ScalaScript is priceless. With that in mind, feedback continues to indicate that users want more than just the capability to show content on a screen. They expect tighter integration into the other third-party applications in their ecosystem — whether they be focused at platform health or system analytics. Customers also want the user interface to be intuitive and easy to navigate. We continue to zero in on how we can improve our user experience and increase efficiency where possible. This will be an evergreen initiative that we will discuss with each release.
Scala has hit a stride with its release cycle, twice a year. Are these discrete enhancements and features, or are they strategically tied together?
AITA: In late 2020, we made a philosophical process change to provide our customers and partners with a release every six months — each year in spring and fall. This cadence provides benefits in a few different ways. First, committing to a predictable schedule allows our customers and partners to better plan their resources for future planning. Second, quicker time to market with releases gives the ability to take advantage of new features sooner. Should a customer choose to not upgrade their platform, they can have confidence that another release is coming in the next six months. I’m extremely proud of our Engineering team and their ability to execute on this new cadence for three consecutive releases.
With that said, every release builds on the previous one. As we build the roadmap, it’s a mixture of tactical enhancements that may be very straightforward, along with broader multi-year strategic features that incrementally improve with each release and comply with Scala’s overall multi-year vision.
Can you give insight into future builds and features?
AITA: We’re already hard at work on our fall 2022 release. I don’t want to give away too much, but the candidate feature set contains a few additions to our platform that I think will delight our users, while also setting the stage for some larger innovative enhancements in 2023.