What’s Going On With All The Electronic Signs on Forest Avenue in Portland?
Technology failed overnight on Forest Avenue in Portland, and likely for many other businesses that use electronic message signs across Maine.
Electronic signs have become all the rage for businesses today since they became affordable. Now, not only could you put up your message, but you could do it like a Powerpoint presentation with photos, graphics and even video.
Honestly, I'm not a fan of these signs because they remind me too much of the electronic billboards in places like Massachusettes and it feels like these should fall under Maine's billboard law, but that's a discussion for another time.
I noticed on my daily commute to work down Forest Avenue that one of these electronic signs had crashed.
The sign itself is working fine, but the software on the computer that is running it failed. I didn't think much of it, because that happens every once in a while. But then just a few feet down the road, I saw another.
And then another...
It then become clear to me what was happening here.
All these electronic signs were using software from a company called ScreenHub. That software is cloud based and just like Windows, iOS or your smartphone, updates get pushed to your device. It looks like one of those updates was pushed overnight and something went wrong with it causing all of the computers that run the signs to show a setup message. Oops.
There were other electronic signs on Forest Avenue that were working fine, so I assume they were on different software. I doubt this is related, but the pawnshop on Forest Avenue had what looks like a failure too. At least that's what I think when I see an exclamation point on my car dashboard.
These signs are great until they fail, but you know what never fails?
Sometimes simpler is better.