Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
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Why 7-Eleven’s 6200-Store Network Changes Everything BURBERRY'S SYDNEY FLAGSHIP STORE JUMPS BIG INTO SIGNAGE ASX INVESTS IN HI-DEF SIGNAGE SOLUTION
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Lies, Damn Lies & Metrics
Story: Christopher Holder
“we’re not in some Mad Men salad days of TV, where fortunes can be made overnight thanks to some kinda ‘Daz Gets Your Whites Whiter’ epiphany”
t’s taken a long time to turn the aircraft carrier around.
One thing about the 7-Eleven TV network that has amazed me [see our story later this issue] is just how conservative the advertising industry is. I admit now to my ‘babe in Toyland’ naivete. I figured ad agencies would be just as excited about the possibilities of digital signage as I am. It never occurred to me that there would be such a comfort in the status quo of TV, Radio, Print with a smattering of ‘new-fangled’ on-line advertising. Still, TV reigns supreme as the mass marketing medium of choice. But surely the gloss is starting to wear off, even just a little? After all, we’re not in some Mad Men salad days of TV, where fortunes can be made overnight thanks to some kinda ‘Daz Gets Your Whites Whiter’ epiphany… TV can still pull more simultaneous eyeballs than any other marketing alternative but just because you might have 1.5 million people glued to the box to see the ‘final eviction’ or the ‘big match’ obviously doesn’t mean you have anywhere near that number during the ad break. Do we demand to know how many people are going to the loo, making a cup of coffee, or indeed fast forwarding through our advertisement? The 7-Eleven TV network changes everything. Why? Because it’s so big. It’s 6200-screens200-million-viewers big. In other words it’s
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
bigger than big, it’s game-changing huge. ‘Huge’ is enough to get the attention of big brands but 7-Eleven TV is more than just the biggest digital signage network going, it’s way more customisable than TV. In other words, not only can you reach 200 million sets of eyeballs, you can just as easily dissect the market region-by-region, day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour – test a new product line out in one region, or do a Hispanic version of an ad in Southern California.
The truth be told, the Mad Men of today are currently more seduced by the big numbers rather than the customisability. But that will change. Furthermore, in a couple of years they’ll be wondering how they did their job without the extra metrics provided by digital signage. I mean, imagine if you as a marketing professional could drill down to the point where you knew how successful your campaign was on a suburb-by-suburb level? That’s exactly the sort of power the 7-Eleven network will wield – and it’ll make the national TV networks look positively prehistoric. I’m not for a minute suggesting national TV campaigns are a thing of the past, but thanks to the 7-Eleven TV network it gives me great pleasure to usher in a new era where digital point-of-sale video advertising has ‘arrived’. And in a big way. Christopher Holder, Editorial Director
Reach out to Chris at: email@example.com
The New Samsung LED*BLU Simply Stunning Commercial Displays The slim and lightweight design of the Samsung ME and HE Series delivers a flexible and customisable solution to suit your business needs. The ME and HE Series Displays are only 29.9mm thick, improving the aesthetics as well as the functionality of installations.
ME series • 29.9mm thickness with 15.1mm bezel • Available in 40, 46 and 55 inch sizes • Built-in Media Player - plug and play your content easily! • Optional Set Back Box PC for networked digital signage applications
HE series SBB
- Optional Set Back Box for ME, HE and UE series
Media Player PC only 32mm thick designed to attach to the back of the screen for networked digital signage applications. • Dual core 2.5GHz with DDR3 2gb with 16 gb SSD • GbE Ethernet LAN • USB2 x 2 and USB 3 x 2, Dp out, Audio Out, RJ45 • Other spec options available
* Samsung LED displays utilise LCD screens with LED edge lights.
• 29.9mm thickness with 15.1mm bezel • Available in 40 and 46 inch sizes • Built-in Digital HDTV Tuner –yes a commercial TV! • Optional Set Back Box PC for networked digital signage applications
CONTENTS ISSUE 4 2011 Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Advertising Office: (02) 9986 1188 PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086
Editorial Office: (03) 5331 4949 PO Box 295, Ballarat, VIC 3353
Publication Manager: Stewart Woodhill (firstname.lastname@example.org) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (email@example.com) Publisher:
Philip Spencer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (email@example.com) Additional Design: Leigh Ericksen (firstname.lastname@example.org) Contributing Editor: Graeme Hague (email@example.com) Technical Editor Andy Ciddor (firstname.lastname@example.org) Accounts: Jen Temm (email@example.com)
IN ACTION 8 Burberry Store, Sydney 10 Virgin Clubhouse, London 11 Air Canada Center, Toronto 12 Harrods, London 14 The Wall, Gameshow 16 BMW Showrooms
FEATURES 22 7-Eleven TV Network 26 Talking Signage 28 ASX Signage Solution
COLUMNS 18 Semiotics 20 n.gage NEWS 32 News & Product Info
REFERENCE 36 Whoâ€™s Who Company Profiles COMMENT 42 Mug Punter
Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 email@example.com All material in this magazine is copyright ÂŠ 2011 Alchemedia Publishing Pty Ltd. The title AV is a registered Trademark. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. The publishers believe all information supplied in this magazine to be correct at the time of publication. They are not in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. After investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, prices, addresses and phone numbers were up to date at the time of publication. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements appearing in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility is on the person, company or advertising agency submitting or directing the advertisement for publication. The publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, although every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy. 5/9/11
MEET THE NEW SAMSUNG RANGE ME Series: designed for the digital signage market, focusing on business customers looking for slimline sleek design digital signage solutions offering low power consumption and ease of installation UE Series: created for customers looking to deploy an affordable videowall solution that provides a near-seamless device while taking advantage of the benefits of LED technology. UD Series: designed for customers looking to deploy mission-critical videowalls that can run 24/7 with super narrow bezels. HE Series: in 40- and 46-inch models, is a commercial TV! These units are commercial quality with built-in digital tuner for out of home TV applications like pubs, clubs and offices. DE Series (soon to be released): The new DE series is a full HD 600 candela brightness screen designed for heavy use to meet the more demanding signage applications where high usage hours and or ambient light demand extra brightness. This model is fitted with external light sensors to automatically adjust brightness to suit the conditions.
SAMSUNG’S OUT OF THE BOX SIGNAGE SOLUTIONS Samsung launches comprehensive range in commercial LED*BLU digital signage solutions.
With the market for commercial displays on the rise, there is also an increased demand for light, thin and low-power signage solutions that offer simplicity of set-up and use.
digital signage solution for cafés, restaurants and retail shops where onsite control is important to the user.
The Samsung Commercial Large Format Display Division is meeting these challenges head on with the release of its new ME and UE series LED BLU*. They are slim design (under 30mm thick), are a fraction of the weight of previous Samsung CCFL backlit options and the LED backlighting uses low power consumption when compared with previous Samsung CCFL models.
The schedule can be set using the display’s remote control. The usable file formats include .avi, .wmv, .MPG, .MP4, .ppt, .jpg, Flash animation and Flash movie.
USER-FRIENDLY DIGITAL SIGNAGE
Samsung: (02) 9763 9904 firstname.lastname@example.org www.samsung.com/au/lfd
As an added benefit, the ME series – available in 40-, 46- and 55-inch models with ultra-slim 15.1mm bezel; and UE series, available in 46and 55-inch with a 5.15mm bezel – come with built-in media players and MagicInfo Lite digital signage scheduling software, enabling users to schedule and play content from either the built-in player or from a plug ’n’ play USB memory device connected to the internal player. This is an ideal
OUT OF THE BOX SOLUTION
There is even MagicInfo Lite server software to enable scheduling and delivery of content to multiple screens over a LAN (max. 25 screens). This enables many businesses to enter the digital signage age without dealing with complex and expensive hardware and software typically required for the larger networked signage solutions. MISSION CRITICAL Samsung has the experience and innovative technology to deliver a fully integrated Digital Signage solution to convey your message and bring your vision to life on the big screen.
* Samsung LED Displays utilise LCD screens with LED edge or back lights.
Trench Warfare Burberry flagship no stuff-shirt
urberry has recently opened its Australian flagship store in George Street, Sydney.
The 820sqm store reflects store design concepts developed by Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, using British materials and themes throughout.
But, no, it’s probably not what you’re thinking – safe, traditional, just a little stodgy? – far from it. In fact, for a brand that embodies generations of the ‘peaches and cream’ British belle, Burberry doesn’t rest on its historical laurels at all: the store design is fresh and innovative, and, perhaps surprisingly, includes two giant flat screen LED video walls showcasing innovative Burberry multimedia content. The video walls are impressive – 3 x 3 42-inch and 4 x 4 42-inch hi-def Samsung commercial panels – with the larger of the two boasting a concealed Bose MA12EX Panaray sound system. These slimline columnstyle speakers provide outstanding vocal intelligibility in acoustically demanding spaces. A number of Bose MB4 floor-mounted subwoofers add further excitement to the experience.
Although not as immediately breathtaking, equally important to Burberry’s digital signage strategy is the setup designed specifically for its Very Important Customers (or VIC). This is where high-value customers are given special one-on-one service – not to mention the occasional flute of bubbles. The VIC area is treated as its own audio zone (controlled by iPads and using Crestron control systems) separate to the rest of the store. The VIC iPod dock allows customers to play their own content on screen or audio from their iPod/iPhone devices. The VIC area also packs an Apple Mac Mini which enables Sales Associates to play personalised content (images, video – such as runway shows – and audio) for their VIC clients on the 70-inch landscapemounted touchscreen. They can also browse the internet to access the Burberry World, Art of the Trench etc.
That’s not the only touch-capable display. There are two whopping 82inch portrait-oriented screens and a 46-inch landscape-oriented display in the children’s wear area.
Similarly, iPad control isn’t confined to the VIC nook. There are also Sales Associate iPads providing Burberry apps (such as video content) and public apps and internet browsing (such as the Burberry World) for assisted customer interactions. All audio visual devices in the store are controlled by the Retail Theatre Platform which enables content (images, video and audio) to be downloaded overnight or even live streamed from the UK.
Premium brands such as Burberry rely on its customers feeling an affinity and loyalty to the brand as much as the season’s stylings. And it’s in this respect that Burberry has excelled, harnessing digital signage to reinforce its messages, helping to play a significant role in providing the Burberry experience for its customers. Burberry: www.burberry.com Samsung: www.samsung.com/au/lfd
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Virgin Upgrade First class video wall
Have you ever trudged along a concourse of an airport, a plastic-wrapped stale sandwich in one hand and watery beaker of Coke in the other, and stared enviously at the forbidden entrance to the First Class lounges? Reading on won’t help matters. The renovation of Virgin’s Clubhouse Upper Class Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 includes a newly-opened HD multi-screen area. The 15-screen wall utilises (room control specialists) Crestron’s DigitalMedia system. The Clubhouse is Virgin’s worldwide flagship lounge with six distinct areas for rest and relaxation. There’s an observation deck, gallery, roof garden, cocktail bar and sofa lounge complete with power and data ports for personal computers. The new multi-screen area allows passengers to watch movies, sporting events, news and television programs on a variety of displays aside from separate sections offered on the latest video wall – they can request different content on different displays elsewhere in the room or break into upper-class fisticuffs (with Marquis of Queensbury rules, of course) over who holds the remote control for the video wall.
Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au 10
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
The job saw its fair share of challenges: for example, bringing in large amounts of equipment that required security checks at the airport. Next, it was discovered that the wall supporting the multi-screen display would need strengthening to cope with the extra weight. To maintain customer service levels a drape sealed off the area while structural improvements were done, complete with temporary displays, and presumably no one was allowed to whistle while they worked.
The Crestron DigitalMedia system, complete with the latest ‘8G’ technology, required each display device to have a dedicated cable to supply HD video, device control and Ethernet. Unfortunately within the Clubhouse there are no access hatches in the ceiling – a feature designed to preserve the sleek, seamless look of the interior. Instead cabling was run around the perimeter of the area where some ceiling grids were removable, while other cables went under the floor. A Crestron TPMC-V15 touchpanel was installed for the staff and an intuitive interface designed. A wireless iPad, powered by Crestron Mobile Pro G software, complemented the fixed panel to allow staff to control the lounge on the run. Crestron DigitalMedia is distributed to each display in the lounge and allows Virgin staff to direct any of the six Sky HD or five Blu-ray players to any display device. A full HD preview panel is located at the reception desk so staff can make changes to devices without being directly in front of the display screen. The system utilises DigitalMedia quick switch technology to eliminate blank screens when changing to a different source. Audio for the lounge is distributed by two music servers which update with new music on a daily basis. Scheduled mood changes complement the times of day to suit lounge ambience. When in the multi-screen zone, customers can use headphone stations and tune into any of the content that is being displayed on each or all of the 15 video wall screens or other individual monitors. Despite all those displays, at a guess ‘Air Crash Investigation’ still doesn’t get much air-time on the telly.
Pucker Up Toronto stadium’s $3m digital signage adventure.
This kind of makes Collingwood’s Lexus Centre look like the Geebung Polo Club: It’s the Air Canada Centre (ACC) is a multi-purpose, 665,000sqft arena located in downtown Toronto. Since 1999 the facility has hosted more than 30 million fans and over 2000 events, including ice hockey, basketball and lacrosse games, concerts and live events. Ranked as one of the top five entertainment venues in the world, Air Canada Centre is the eleventh busiest arena on the planet. After 10 years of operations management decided to invest in a $48m upgrade to the ACC, including a $3m digital signage deployment. The aim was to create a unique fan experience and they felt an extensive, attention-grabbing digital signage network would achieve that. The network would be large and complex, including a wide range of content, playlists and scheduling, with Omnivex Moxie software given the guernsey to to power the system. And what a system! The first phase of the network has 52 player PCs driving content to 360 display screens. The screens, ranging in size from 32-inch to 82-inch, are strategically placed for maximum impact and are configured in ways to add to the aesthetic appeal of the venue. The network requires 14 unique configurations using a variety of technologies. In some cases, one player is running one screen while in others one player is driving a four-screen diamond, and there’s one case of a single player driving 42 screens that form a multi-dimensional video ‘sculpture’.
Video walls of many shapes and sizes are located throughout different areas of the concourse. The system also includes content displayed on large, full-colour LED boards and long LED tickers. There are even cylindrical 360° LED video displays on the network. In other areas of the facility, projectors are focused on large areas of a wall. All of these various types and configurations of displays are managed remotely using Moxie software.
The innovative network required a leap of faith for advertisers too. Current corporate partners and sponsors were asked to provide their sponsorship through paying for exposure time on a network rather than simply buying space on a billboard. Once that concept was understood, content creation became another stream of revenue for the venue management, again using the Moxie software. The digital signage system also incorporates lighting surrounding the screens to match the team colours and give it a more distinctive feel (for instance, if a Maple Leafs hockey game is taking place the lights are blue, while they switch to red for a Raptors game). During a sporting event, content can include a live video stream from inside the arena to ensure fans don’t miss a moment of the action when in the concourse areas. To date, the digital signage system at Air Canada Centre has been recognised with many awards, including an APEX Award in the Stadiums and Arenas category and the SignMedia Canada Digital Signage category winner.
Communitech (Omnivex): (07) 3205 6188 or email@example.com Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Harrods Upsells Grand old dame of retail turns heads.
Retail doesn’t get any more old-school than Harrods. Harrods is synonymous with prestige, quality and exclusivity – don’t expect a ‘don’t-be-shy-ladies’ Stocktake Sale at this British institution. So when news hit that Harrods had invested in an innovative digital media advertising setup… well, heads have been turned. The new screens and escalators are part of a multi-million pound redevelopment program. The redesign of Harrods Escalator 10, located at the store’s premium entrance, reveals a minimalist, cutting-edge design concept with the installation of five giant high-definition video walls, replacing the previous static poster sites and individual display screens. Two 16-screen super-size video walls at the foot of the escalator, tower a staggering four metres tall, with a further three located at the Lower Ground, Third and Fifth Floors.
Harrods: www.harrods.com NEC: 131 632 or firstname.lastname@example.org Harris: (02) 9975 9700 or www.harris.com 12
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
The screens are thin bezel NEC LCD configured as video-walls and powered by Harris Corporation’s digital out-of-home solutions featuring InfoCaster software. Harris has also upgraded Harrods’ existing storewide digital signage network with
their InfoCaster system, which provides high-definition content and state-of-the-art scheduling capability. 150 digital screens have been installed throughout the Knightsbridge store and its UK airport stores. This latest innovative development follows Harrods’ extensive investment program into its digital media infrastructure, as Harrods cements its position as the leading retailer providing luxury media. Guy Cheston, Director of Harrods Media, said: “This new upgrade has transformed our digital signage offering by providing tremendous impact and visibility for the brands advertising on these digital media walls. We see this as the future, reducing clutter, enabling much greater scope for creativity with content. We have already seen keen interest from our brands, and an uptake in sales and footfall in-store as a result.” (Image courtesy of www.signagelive.com).
Express Yourself through LG Commercial Displays LG has a wide selection of commercial displays, designed with a robust set of features and engineered for maximum performance and reliability. Engage and inform consumers in any environment, by delivering impactful and innovative signage. Whether it’s travel information, dynamic advertising, menu boards or corporate communications, LG helps you get your message across LG Commercial Displays are available in a range of sizes and built for use in applications. • • • •
Full HD and HD resolution models Portrait or landscape orientation Multiple software compatibility Distortion free image
For more information contact the LG Business Solutions Team Telephone: 1300 547 253 – press option 4 Visit: www.lg.com.au/business-solutions Email: email@example.com 0142-10
Hitting the Wall The Wall: A multitouch, interactive game show
Who said digital signage technology couldn’t be a hoot? MultiTouch and Intervisio in Finland have developed the first interactive, multitouch display game show. ‘The Wall’, a show where couples compete in 15-minute physical challenge and knowledge-based games that involve touching elements on a 22-foot long multitouch display wall, has already been optioned in the US and the UK – no word on Australia yet (is Tony Barber still looking for some work?). The show’s touchscreen games will be made available as online apps for the play-at-home audience, providing unique sponsorship opportunities beyond traditional advertising blocks. The Wall involves 15 separate multitouch games, played out on 15 separate displays created by MultiTouch, where contestants can add to their prize pot in a series of rounds. In the final, one-minute round, contestants play an all-or-nothing game in which they can enter the ‘wall of fame’ or lose everything.
Lightwell (MultiTouch): (02) 9319 0311 or www.lighwell.com.au Intervisio: www.intervisio.fi
“We were looking for a new game show format that would be both physically and mentally challenging, and could easily port to an online, at-home audience, and the MultiTouch displays seemed to offer a robust way for the contestants to play this kind of game,” said Antti Seppanen, CEO of Intervisio. “Rather than a static display, we challenge the contestants to conquer the wall, as it were. We think that this show has enormous global appeal, and we look forward to syndicating it as far as we can.” “Our conversations with television producers, to date, has largely been centred on static, singleunit displays for television hosts and presenters, which does not offer exciting possibilities for our technology, or for the audience,” said Petri Martikainen, CEO of MultiTouch Ltd. “Our collaboration with Intervisio, however, has broken the old paradigm of one-way information display on television, and created a truly interactive, multitouch game show format that plays to today’s audience in an exciting way.”
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Ultimate Signage Machine BMW invests in Benelux network.
Madison Technologies (Spinitex): 1800 669 999 or www.madisontech.com.au 16
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
BMW is a global brand renowned for its excellence and innovation in automotive performance and the high benchmarks it sets itself carry over into other sections of BMW’s business, too. In the after sales and vehicle service areas of dealerships and service locations across the countries of Belgium and Luxembourg, BMW Belgium Luxembourg NV are using 85 Spinetix HMP100 Hyper Media Players in a new dedicated digital signage network. As a completely flexible setup, the digital signage system is integrated with any unscheduled audio and video that can be introduced immediately on demand. For example, customers will be alerted to the completion of a service or purchase by a BMW gong sound (yes, BMW has its own gong). Messages and announcements can be broadcast when needed, including public safety and evacuation notices. Otherwise, while they wait, BMW customers can watch the screens that show numerous aftersales, sales entertainment and
inspirational content including, of course, advertising material and campaigns. All content for screens is produced by BMW Belgium Luxembourg’s marketing departments and its advertising agencies and deployed to all dealerships using the Spinetix Hyper Media Player from a single location. BMW Belgium Luxembourg NV quickly found the digital signage to be very effective with communications and it largely replaced use of printed posters and banners. The system is designed to be future proof and while it is currently controlled from a central location, soon dealers will be able to add their own content appropriate to localities and regions to display local promotions and incentives. Further ahead, BMW will also look at expanding the system to include its Mini car dealerships – who, you would expect, would use a much smaller gong to get everyone’s attention.
Semiotics: Visual Shorthand
Story: Damien Edmonds
emiotics enables a customer to understand your message in the blink of an eye. If screen media intends to communicate ‘the right message, to the right audience, in the right place, at the right time’, then it’s imperative that creatives in this space develop digital engagement and brand interaction through a better understanding of semiotics. What exactly is Semiotics? It’s the study of signs. That is, the communication of symbolism or signification through cultural meaning in our society.
As humans, we tend to denote meaning to most things, people and places. Over generations our daily communication relies on transmitting messages through short-hand words and phrases. Alternatively, the messages can also be communicated more quickly through layers of meaning communicated by signs and symbols that have been embedded in our society.
Still a bit hazy? Take a look at our friend Santa. You’ve heard of the phrase ‘a picture tells a thousand words’? Well, an image of a Santa Claus consuming a popular fizzy drink can be used to quickly and effectively communicate various meanings, or emotions, to a target audience. Coke started using the rosy-cheeked, avuncular Santa image back in the 1930s. For the next 30 years, Coke used painted portraits of Santa – an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world.
For the customer, advertising is all about what ‘I’ want and what is expected of ‘me’. When considering brand messaging with semiotics, it is important to attach your product to associated cultural myths in society, rather than performing the hard sell – resulting instead in triggered layers of associated meaning for your target audience. ABC’s Gruen Transfer once showed a television advertisement involving Head & Shoulders shampoo, a P&G brand. Referring to this example, Todd Sampson, the CEO of Leo Burnett, coined Semiotics as ‘visual shorthand’.
Lucia Neva, a graphic designer and anthropologist based in the UK, refers to the term ‘visual shopping’. Visual shopping is about ‘collecting, interpreting and validating relevant cultural codes, which can influence future trends in consumption spaces’. Visual shopping ‘develops the relationships between material cultures and social environments’. To maximise your marketing message in screen media, every element of your marketing imagery should be working together in unison. The headline you use, the product shot, the people involved, the setting, these all need to come together to evoke the emotion best sought for your target audience. Given target audiences in today’s fragmented and hyper-digital world are predominantly psychologically (rather than demographically) different, this is a big challenge.
To encourage your audience to engage, or interact, with screen media, you want to create buzz for your product through a digital billboard out-of-home, and you want to sell more product in-store through digital signage at retail. Essentially, the objective with digital out-of-home is getting people to do things with your brand. You have to be brave – the consumer is already talking about your brand, so the trick now is to engage through levels of associated meaning that saves valuable time. 18
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
CRACKING THE CODE Cultural knowledge of Dr Who is required to decode the signs in this advertisement from the mid 1990s. The target audience for this brand of car, now in their thirties, were people who would have been watching Dr Who in their youth and can immediately connect with the look of amazement on the Doctors’ faces. According to Louise Jolly (UK), “The idea of perfect beauty is a powerful and tenacious myth insofar as it promises immunity to the decay and deterioration of the physical realm. Succeeding in the ‘perfect beauty’ game means you appear to have overcome disease, ageing and death, which are our greatest fears. So ‘perfect beauty’ is about control and power, as much as sexuality.”
Further reading: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics www.semionaut.net/ www.semiotic-analysis.com/ www.iass-ais.org/ www.brandsemiotics.co.uk/ www.signsalad.com/ www.creativesemiotics.co.uk/ urbansemiotic.com/
Digital Signage Solutions.
Stadiums to Retail. Large or Small Systems.
Gencom is proud to be a sponsor of n.gage Auckland.
n.gage Forum: Region Ripe for Rollouts
Story: Dave Gittins
t’s been just over three months since the Imperative Group held its first n.gage forums in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland. While they have presented in Europe and North America on many occasions, this is a first for Australia and NZ, sharing knowledge and experience to a key emerging market. I attended the first forum in Sydney, expecting the same format that most digital signage conferences typically follow – a series of presentations on what not to do from ‘experts’ who have rolled out small trial networks or have struggled for years to monetise digital signage with no real success. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the speakers and the knowledge they were prepared to impart to the audience. With speakers that were directly linked to projects such as Tesco, Walmart, Kroger and CBS sharing their insights, it was the first digital signage event in a long time where I actually came away learning something new. In particular, I was surprised to discover that Australia has around 40 networks spread across 6000 locations comprising of 11,000 screens. These figures represent about 22% of the UK market size by comparison, but given the UK has a population three times the size of Australia and are probably two to three years ahead (if you were to look at when the first networks were deployed), it shows Australia has a strong local signage market that is growing rapidly – Imperative’s forecasts suggest a 230% increase in the next three years.
Judging by the questions asked by the audience, I wasn’t the only one finding the subject matter interesting. There was a high level of engagement throughout each of the sessions. It’s also worth noting that the attendee list read like a who’s who of Retail and DOOH, including ANZ bank, Commonwealth Bank, Burswood Casino, CCA, McDonald’s, Ooh!, Tabcorp, Vodafone, Optus, APN and TorchMedia.
The afternoon sessions were workshop led, with streams including Network Development, a Walmart case study or Social Media in digital signage.
I elected to join the Network Development session and again found the content interesting and informative. Imperative hosted the session and while the topic may have been Network Development, it quickly wandered into network management and content production as the group fired questions at the team. To their credit, they adapted the session to accommodate the demands of the audience and covered a wide range of subject material. The event concluded with a networking session, which a number of people elected to stay for. This was a good opportunity to catch up with some of the network operators to get their thoughts on the forum. Everyone I spoke to said they found it informative and took away ideas they would implement in their own operations.
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
“I was more interested in Imperative and its associates’ assessment that Australia’s blue-chip corporations and retailers were ready to take the leap into the digital signage sphere” I believe the event was a great success for all concerned. The format of morning sessions that address broad digital signage topics, followed by smaller sessions in the afternoon that address specific parts of the DS lifecycle worked really well. Attendees were able to learn from experienced experts and still spend time discussing areas that were of particular relevance to them. The quality of the audience and the questions posed during the day reinforced my belief that Australia’s retailers and enterprises are thirsty for knowledge and would prefer to work with independent experts who can help design, develop, deploy and manage networks locally.
For me, the significance of the event wasn’t the forum itself, although this was a good event in its own right; I was more interested in Imperative and its associates’ assessment that Australia’s blue-chip corporations and retailers were ready to take the leap into the digital signage sphere. Having understood who attended, it’s clear that digital signage is gaining real traction with marketing and operations executives within these businesses, which is why so many attended. As a litmus test for understanding the growth opportunity, the forum was a great way of understanding what this looked like and how to develop products and services for the Australian market. Talking with Imperative MD Chris Heap after the event, he seemed to agree. In fact, we were in such furious agreement that I am now working with Imperative to bring its model to Australia on a permanent basis, starting with an opportunity that has developed as a direct result of the n.gage forum. Hopefully this will be the first of many and we’ll see n.gage being held here in 2012.
HDMI: You’ll Go Far
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The Big Gulp Why 7-Eleven TV has changed DOOH forever
f you were asked to name who might be among the largest television broadcasters in the United States in the near future, how many possible answers would you come up with? Okay, it’s not fair – probably not many, because here in Australia with the comparatively paltry offerings we’re given on the small screen we don’t really have a grasp of how wide-spread and multi-faceted the television industry is in America. A few behemoths like NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox will come to mind, but it’s almost guaranteed there is one correct reply you wouldn’t think of – the humble corner store. Or not-so-humble, as it turns out. We’re talking about the ubiquitous 7-Eleven store that seems to reside on every corner of every city street. It’s not quite that endemic – there are ‘only’ 154 stores in New York and 162 in Los Angeles. But they add up. In the entire country combined there are nearly 9000 stores of which a projected 6200 outlets will be eventually included in 7-Eleven’s new DOOH network – and that will make 7-Eleven one of the largest television networks in The States. We can only assume the remaining 2800-odd stores are located in downtown Hicksville where they still chew on tobacco cud, spit frequently and do chores for their mom... talking pictures on the funny box in the corner of the shop is only going to confuse things!
By the way, there is a turning-full-circle thing here. 7-Eleven was the first convenience store to advertise on television. In 1949 they ran an animated commercial featuring a singing owl and a rooster. Cutting edge at the time, I’m sure! 500+ CITIES, 200M+ EYEBALLS
Let’s get back to the 21st century. Powered by Harris Technologies and pretty much unprecedented in scope and scale, the newly-launched 7-Eleven TV is currently showing in many of the high-volume stores in 500 of the largest DMA (designated market areas) cities in the U.S. In other words, 7-Eleven TV has been rolled out into the best performing outlets first. The number is growing fast (and we already know has a long way to go) and once it is fully built, the system will be able to reach 200 million viewers monthly on what will certainly be the nation’s largest DOOH advertising network and, yes, based on analysis of various Nielsen ratings data, one of the nation’s largest broadcast TV networks. That’s broadcasting 7-Eleven TV all day every day – for 24 hours, seven days a week in full HD. No mean feat. The medium is designed for 7-Eleven’s long list of wholesale providers to also promote their wares inside the stores – rather than the franchise to simply promote itself and its own proprietary products. And it offers more than blanket campaigns across the entire network. 7-Eleven TV allows advertisers to customise their marketing programs by demographics, geographies and day parts (of which there are five)
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and even specific sections of the stores – or clients can target customers around the clock on every screen.
Turnkey services, as well as the task of managing content production and advertising services for 7-Eleven TV is handled by Digital Display Networks, who in turn selected Harris Technologies as the exclusive equipment provider including Harris’s DOOH software solutions, Infocaster and Punctuate. It’s the Punctuate and Infocaster applications that allows Digital Display Networks and 7-Eleven TV to deliver targeted programming right down to the zip code level and profiles of each 7-Eleven store location. Information is also returned: proof-of-play reporting and comprehensive sales metrics and feedback loops for advertisers, which also translates into the ability for 7-Eleven TV to easily scale its productions to support more stores and add new features such as mobile and social media applications. SOUND: BEAM ME UP
Harris Technologies has another trick up its sleeve. It’s teamed up with Panphonics Audio Innovations which has provides its Sound Shower audio systems for displays at selected locations within each of the 7-Eleven outlets. Sound Shower is a speaker configuration that can narrowly focus any audio presentation. With a combination of speaker design and frequency selection Sound Shower systems create a ‘beam’ of sound that both ensures the customers it attracts will clearly hear everything, yet at the same time it isn’t an annoying distraction constantly heard throughout the store. At the top of the network tree Harris Managed Services ensure that 7-Eleven TV stays up and running with the highest possible production quality via two dedicated network operations centres (NOCs). Both are connected via broadband to media players in all 7-Eleven stores and one can work as a redundancy system for the other should problems arise. FOUR-MINUTE LOOP, TWO-MINUTE DWELL
So far, the standard format for 7-Eleven is to run four-minute loops of advertisements and the content changes according to the five different parts of the day – morning, evening, late night... etc. Advertisements can be seven to 15 seconds long which means up to 20 can be run in an hour. A random factor in the formula is an allowance for local news and weather that’s regularly aired for customers’ convenience. Harris Technologies has put a tremendous amount of extra effort and resources into 7-Eleven TV not only to ensure its reputation associated with such a large project – after all, the bigger they are, the more there is to go wrong. It’s also an investment in Harris’s future. It believes that the digital signage industry can only grow and prosper faster should a huge DOOH network like 7-Eleven TV prove to be successful and reliable. [See our interview with Harris’s Denise MacDonell for more.] That makes good business sense all day, every day too.
“that was really force behind th the driving underlying quees scale; the large does the n tion: how to be to attract etwork need an like Coke or a Padvertiser epsi?”
7-Eleven TV • Will be largest DOOH advertising network in the U.S. • Will be one of nation’s largest broadcast TV networks • Will reach over 200 million viewers monthly • 4000 stores already operational – growing to 6200 • Delivers content customised for demographics, geographies, and day parts • Features measurability and analytics to demonstrate, optimise ad effectiveness 7-Eleven Programming • 4-minute loops run during five day parts • Ads promote proprietary, in-store and out-of-store brands • Ads run 7-15 seconds Up to 20 ads can air hourly Harris: (02) 9975 9700 or www.harris.com
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GAME CHANGER: 12,400 SCREENS BIG ENOUGH FOR YOU? Just prior to going to press, DigitalSignage spoke with Denise MacDonell (General Manager, Digital Signage at Harris Corporation) about how the network rollout is tracking (4000 out of 6200 venues are complete), and why the 7-Eleven TV network is such a game changer for digital out of home. DS: We’re talking about 12,400 screens in total when the network installation is complete. Why so large? Denise MacDonell: We spent a lot of time interviewing brands like Coke and Pepsi, and advertising agencies to find out whether they believed in this medium digital out of home [DOOH]. Consistently we kept hearing “we believe there’s an opportunity; everyone wants to get closer to the consumer when they’re making a purchasing decision; but unfortunately there’s not enough scale for us to transfer budgets from one ‘bucket’ to another (say, from broadcast, print or radio into DOOH). Because, a) it’s unclear where the ad is going, just from a scale standpoint, and b) there’s not enough screens for the ad to appear on to make it relevant.” That’s what we were hearing. That was really the driving force behind the scale; the underlying question: how large does the network need to be to attract an advertiser like Coke or a Pepsi?; for them to spend money and take it seriously. Their perspective was if you were in at least 1000 venues across most of the country then that would make them sit up and take notice. Obviously we’re well beyond that. And being well beyond that means we can ‘micro target’. They can do a nice buy of a 1000 screens and micro target one region of the country where they might be selling a specific product or testing a specific campaign. That’s why scale becomes really important. DS: Big brands normally have a big message that everyone gets – Enjoy Coke. Denise MacDonell: Especially with video advertising. Traditionally, the only way they could tailor their message to a region is with static signage, such as billboards. DOOH is the best vehicle to get down to a targeted level with video and sound. DS: Regionalising the message is exciting the big brands? Denise MacDonell: Sure. Because they sell different products in different areas. And different areas of the country speak different dialects… languages even. For example, in the south west of the country there are a lot of Spanish speakers. So having the ability to target spanish speaking advertising to those areas of the country was never something they could do before with video. DS: Sounds like 7-Eleven TV isn’t a difficult concept to ‘sell’? Denise MacDonell: It helps that 7-Elevent is such a recognised name. Every major food brand – Coke, Fritolay, the gum, the candy bar companies – they all sell product to 7-Eleven and they all have someone in their company that’s responsible for managing a 7-Eleven relationship. So this ‘strange’ or ‘untested’ medium wasn’t quite so strange when you’re talking about a venue they already spend a lot of money in, and they already sell a lot of product into. So we could quite seamlessly plug into a merchandising or content strategy that they’re thinking about or actually doing in 7-Eleven already. For example, the big brands spend a lot of marketing dollars on shelf-edge signage or stickers inside the store or things on the coolers. So 7-Eleven TV became a very natural and easy way to offer an opportunity for more dynamic messaging within the place they already spend money. DS: In this case, am I right in saying that Harris is more than a standard contractor? Denise MacDonell: That’s right, this whole thing has been rolled out on a lease basis. The franchisees or the individual store owners are not paying for all of this and we’re not walking away with a cheque in our pocket as the equipment gets installed. It’s a seven-year agreement where everything is paid down on a lease basis just as you would if it was a car. Doing it in this way, we also participate in the success of the network as the advertising revenue goes up. Which is very nice, as there is an incentive for everyone to make this venture as successful as possible. They make more money, we make more money. DS: 7-Eleven could have bankrolled this network themselves, surely? Denise MacDonell: They could have but unfortunately that’s not the norm in the marketplace today. Here’s why: You’ve got advertisers unwilling to buy-in unless there’s national scale, then you’ve got large-scale retailers like 7-Eleven which have been unwilling to put in capital investment unless they’re sure advertisers are willing to spend. So it’s a chicken and egg situation. Harris’s whole goal here was to stimulate both sides of the equation and show that DOOH is a viable medium. DS: What are the early signs like for 7-Eleven TV? Denise MacDonell: The early signs are incredibly positive. We partnered with ABC Sport and Entertainment which is selling the inventory onto the network. They started doing that about July. So after about three months it’s been phenomenally well received. And as we move into the holiday period it gets better and better – the year’s busiest period with more product and product movement. We’ve also been very happy with our partnership with Digital Display Networks, they really work hard on the content, ensuring it’s relevant and timely. We have entertainment content, news content and sports content as well, so that brands feel like it’s not just a bunch of ads thrown at consumers, it’s something consumers will watch and engage with.
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Talking INTEGRATED INTO YOUR BIZ If you have a special ‘Digital Signage Team’, then you’re doomed – this should be a marketing department concern.
Here’s an example: when you’re doing a shoot, you’re going to want some portraitoriented content for your signs, even though that’s not what you’re going to use for your TV commercials.
ADVERTISER ACCEPTANCE Don’t over-think this: Get the media to be good and wanted by somebody. The buyers are human beings and they’re making emotional decisions about buying what makes sense to them. That’s the crux of it all.
Headspace is a shopping mall network in the US – the largest digital shopping mall network in the world at this point with almost 2000 screens across a 140 big-footprint shopping malls. Headspace started deploying into malls in 2001 and last year in 2010 was the first year Headspace was profitable. It took almost $90m in venture capital to get to that point of profitability.
“Google makes its money because every mom and pop with a website buys adwords for $20, $50, $100, $1000… that’s what the digital out of home market needs”
Digital is only now getting to the point where you can get some reach and some reliability of delivery. Now, it’s about the media, it has nothing to do with the technology.
SCALING THE IT DIVIDE The IT department often acts like the Soviet Bloc, where the wall’s up and nothing gets in or out unless they say so. They don’t want to cooperate across departments and their idea of managing the network is ‘nothing goes on the network’. For example, we worked with Burger King in The States on their menu boards and POS. Initially we said, “We’d like to access the pricing data to put on the menu boards”. The response?: “No, that will never happen, you will never touch this system.” We responded with: “Well how about if the POS gives us the prices and then we use those prices?” “Oh, well, that’s fine.” Hang on, it’s the same thing, right?
But they’re instantly thinking of their ‘walled garden’. So in that case they dumped the data over their wall in a spot that we could fetch it and then we’d use it, and that was okay. Whereas inferring we were going to reach in and grab data out of their system – that was not okay. So it’s worth understanding the IT department’s mentality before you bowl in.
‘OUT OF THE BOX’ SOLUTION Digital signage, comprising the screen, the media player and scheduling all put together by craftsmen… those days are on the way out. Digital signage should be: Buy a purpose-built digital sign (with a built-in media player) that plugs in, fires up, finds the network and gets to work reliably out of the box. And that’s one of the things that has been holding the industry back: manufacturers want to mass produce screens by the millions and eventually the signage market will support that kind of volume but up to this point it hasn’t.
AUDIO TURN OFF You need to be very judicious with your use of audio, especially if it’s going to be anywhere near your employees. Repetitive audio will drive staff mad – you’ll discover mysterious failures of your audio system… in other words, sabotage. Your staff will do whatever it takes to make the sound go away.
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“Now, it’s about the media, it has nothing to do with the technology”
Digital signage pioneer Lou Giacalone riffs on the ‘here and now’ of screen media.
FACIAL RECOG People always point at the movie Minority Report, like it’s a documentary on how advertising will be in the future. There’s nothing remotely sci-fi about the technology – that’s not the reason why it wouldn’t happen – rather, it’s all about what the customers wants. Do they want a Minority Report future? The answer is no. People do not want their privacy violated by screens knowing who they are, what they bought and where they are. That’s a really scary concept, so I think there’s a lot of resistance to it from the consumer side.
TOO MUCH METRICS? There’s an old adage: I know at least half my advertising budget is being wasted, I just don’t know which half ! And to provide extra information does us no good. In fact, it only does us harm because now we’re giving people reasons to say ‘no’ as opposed to reasons to say ‘yes’.
So we should not focus at all on measurement; no medium was ever built on the back of measurement. Measurement comes later when you have something to compare; when you have way too many choices.
“People do not want their privacy violated by screens knowing who they are, what they bought and where they are”
ARCHITECTS ON BOARD Screens are obviously much more effective if they’re parallel to your viewing plane as opposed to perpendicular. But malls are mostly built with every store’s windows perpendicular to the shoppers’ sight lines. It’s amazing when you come across some malls where the thoroughfares are staggered – suddenly you have a 100-foot sight-line to a fantastic screen position! Integrating digital signage into your business and into a master plan really makes a huge difference.
MACRO NETWORKS, MICRO MESSAGING The beauty of digital networking is the ability to direct the right message at the right time in the right place. And if that’s the future, what does that mean for the shotgun approach of a national advertiser?
So who should be taking advantage of the digital screens? It really should be the hyperlocal. The problem is: hyper-local is incredibly difficult to sell to – it’s hard to make it cost effective. Here, I point to Google. Why is Google such a powerhouse? It’s not because they convinced Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble to spend a billion dollars each, no. Google makes its money because every mom and pop with a website buys adwords for $20, $50, $100, $1000 – they get everybody to spend a little bit of money to carve out their little niche and that’s what the digital out of home market needs. If I’m the doner kebab guy on the corner I want talk to people in my three-block radius – I buy a little bit of time on those signs to let people know I have a Wednesday 2-for-1 deal. That would be something I would spend money on because I know my Yellow Pages ad is worthless and it costs me a little too much to put a up a big poster at the shelter. Targeted ads, that’s the future for digital signage. This article is based on a transcript extract from a Digital Signage World 2011 forum of which Lou Giacalone was a participant. Lou Giacalone is a pioneer and expert in digital signage. In 1998 he conceived the acclaimed CoolSign software suite and also founded AdSpace Networks, now the world’s largest digital mall advertising company.
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SHOW ME THE MONEY The ASX’s digital signage stocks are soaring. Story: Graeme Hague
ere’s some good news to cling onto the next time that the stock market crashes, the world’s economy is spiralling out of control and market analysts are hurling themselves lemming-like from the top floors of buildings – you’ll be able to keep track of the unfolding tragedy in full HD over multiple screens thanks to a new installation of digital signage at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) building in Sydney [mmm, financial Armageddon in hi-def… doesn’t get any better than that – Ed.]. It’s more than just a makeover: the display of stockmarket data has been upgraded from what was formerly a rather dull, single information screen into a vibrant and multi-faceted video wall for the general public to watch their fortunes rise and fall, plus there’s an internal waiting area with a similarly impressive display. Techmedia (Scala): (02) 9526 7880 or www.connectedsignage.com.au Mitsubishi: (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au KLM Group: (03) 9320 3444 or www.klmgroup.com.au
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â€œvisitors to the ASX Building are now greeted with a stunning array of digital signage that has transformed the interior into a 21st Century facilityâ€?
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
GLUED TO THE PVA The Public Viewing Area (PVA) was the largest component of the project. A challenge for the system designers was that the PVA is a large space with tall ceilings and plenty of windows – plenty of ambient light that would demand bright displays working 24 hours a day. Two video walls were specified, one visible from Bridge Street and the other westfacing. The Bridge Street video wall is made up of 32 x 46-inch Mitsubishi VS-L46XM70U LCD displays in a grid eight wide and four high. Eight independent signal sources can be fed to this, the main component of the new signage which allows for concurrent data and video signals.
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One of those video signals is a feed from Foxtel (no, not the Comedy Channel) so audio was also required. A combination of Bose DS16SEB speakers and Bose MA12EX column speakers were used here – and throughout the three different rooms – with a Clearone CLR-Cpro SR1212 audio DSP unit handling the distribution.
The west-facing screen is smaller, comprising 12 of the same Mitsubishi LCD displays in a three wide, four high grid. This display has only a single independent signal source. With a simple, but clever approach to monitoring what’s on both the screens the PVA has a single PTZ
camera mounted on the ceiling to send real-time vision of the displays back to the central control room. Even the best software or hardware monitoring equipment with their redundancy back-ups and fail-safe systems will never beat actually having a look at what’s on the displays. WAITING
The Internal Waiting Area is a dual-purpose space for… well, waiting – plus it gets utilised as a room for small presentations, meetings and announcements. Here a single screen of again 12 of the Mitsubishi VS-L46XM70U LCD displays is employed, but in a six wide, two deep
design. Three signal sources can be fed to this wall including one-off material relevant to those special occasions. Also with these kinds of events in mind, aside from the Bose speakers to reproduce the day-to-day video content audio, a small PA system with radio microphones will be available. Last, and never least these days, a hard-of-hearing loop is to be installed under the timber flooring. Finally in the triad of new display installs, the Reception Area gets a mere pair of the LCD screens with a choice of two signal feeds. Still, you don’t want the folks behind the Reception Desk watching telly all day, right?
ALL UNDER CONTROL Control of all the screens is done with AMX hardware and ultimately through an NXV-300 Modero Virtual Touch Panel. As the name suggests the Modero is a rack-mountable network device that allows users to access their display system via any PC or Mac with a virtual touch panel, rather than a real one. Users navigate to the NXV-300 using a browser and login with a username and password. Except for the fact you’re looking at a browser window and interacting with a mouse, everything looks and works similar to using a real Modero Touch Panel.
The actual content for the screens is provided through Scala software, supplied by Techmedia. As always and despite the comprehensive training provided by KLM Group, ASX requested an uncomplicated user-interface so the system would be quickly and reliably online with its own staff at the helm. Techmedia recommended Scala for its mix of simplicity and flexibility of operation at the user end of things, but Scala also let them build in extra, important features. Techmedia developed a Data Aggregation Server module, which is integrated with live trading data from Thomson Reuters. This enables
the system to display the full list of over 2000 ASX listed companies and their latest stock prices, and a variety of local and international market information including stock market indices, foreign exchange rates and commodities prices. The video wall itself is driven by Scala Media Players which play their own type of content in a specific quadrant of the video wall, but are also capable of playing synchronous full-screen content across the whole video wall together. For example, every 10 minutes the video wall goes from multi-frame mode into full screen mode, displaying a map of the world with the latest index prices at all the
major cities – along with a nifty sunlight map moving across the globe as the day progresses to give people an idea of which markets are actively trading. Driving the video wall this way achieves a total resolution of 7680 x 2160 pixels.
Whether it’s a full wall of vision or different sections, the end result is that visitors to the ASX Building are now greeted with a stunning array of digital signage that has transformed the interior into a 21st Century facility. Stock market experts and mug punters alike can get all the latest information merely by standing in the foyer.
Which means there’s always a nearby elevator straight to the roof, if things aren’t looking too good.
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EASY LG TV
WHAT ON EARTH?
LG Electronics has unveiled its first digital signage solution to incorporate live TV without additional hardware. Dan Smith, director of sales, LG Electronics USA Commercial Displays says, “EzSign TV represents the newest approach to bringing digital signage to the masses,” (the “masses” – I think that’s us). Based on the Pro:Centric platform developed by LG for hospitality applications, EzSign TV is a flexible, simple-to-use system. Business owners can simultaneously show branded advertisements and television broadcasts on selected screens throughout the premises. Content creation is kept simple, owners can use a computer to access a selection of more than 30 templates then add their own images and text. The content is transferred to the EzSign TV display via a USB drive. The LD452B series is available in 32inch, 42-inch and 47-inch sizes. Full HD 1080p display capability is available in the two larger classes only. A dynamic contrast ratio of 60,000:1 is provided by all models. HDMI and USB components provide versatility and allow for additional content and entertainment options.
You can bet that Mr Mercator never saw this coming when he started slicing up maps of the world. Mitsubishi Electronic Corporation has installed a 6m organic light-emitting display (OLED) globe of the earth at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. As part of celebrations to commemorate the museum’s 10th anniversary the OLED ‘Geo-Cosmos’ display is the world’s first large-scale spherical OLED screen. It replaces a previous display that was created with just plain, boring old LEDs. Hanging 18m from the floor, the new globe is an aluminium sphere covered with 10,362 OLED panels, each measuring 96 x 96mm. Mitsubishi Electric used its scalable OLED technologies to create the globe, which will display scenes of clouds and other visions of the earth taken from a meteorological satellite. Projections will feature resolution of more than 10 million pixels, about 10 times greater than that of the original LED display. Of course, those of us who still believe the earth is flat could have used a video wall display. Much easier.
LG Electronics: (02) 8805 4409 or www.lg.com.au
Mitsubishi Electric Australia: (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au
Global installed base of consumer connected devices will top 2.1 billion units by TOUCHSCREEN TECH BREAKTHROUGH: The potential for comparatively cheap flexible, transparent touchscreens is back on the drawing boards again as researchers from the Rice University in Texas have combined graphene with a fine grid of metal nanowire to create robust, transparent, flexible and highly conductive touchscreens. The issue is apparently finding a cost-effective alternative to indium tin oxide (ITO), the component used in most touchscreens, but with that popularity it’s getting too expensive. With the graphene breakthrough, flexible touchscreens could be hitting the market sooner, rather than later.
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NEC NEW COMMERCIAL PANELS: NEC’s latest display offering, the MultiSync X551UN has dual slot technology and is compatible with Intel’s new Open Pluggable Specification, allowing easy integration of the NEC media player of choice and a slot-in PC without the need for any further external equipment. For digital signage applications, the X551UN is claimed to be the industry’s first fully professional-grade public displays with direct LED backlights. An ultra-narrow bezel makes it well suited to create almost seamless video wall applications. NEC Australia: 131632 or www.nec.com.au
MITSUBISHI 55-INCH LCD: Mitsubishi has added a 55-inch (1397mm) model to its range of LCD displays to suit all digital signage applications, squeezing it in between an existing 52inch (1320mm) and 65-inch (1650mm) units. All Mitsubishi displays produce high definition images and come equipped with screen saver functions, fast response times, high contrast and high brightness levels. A range of touchscreen LCDs are also available. Mitsubishi Electric Australia: (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au
MULTITOUCH GRADUATES WITH HONOURS
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT BREAKING NEWS
MultiTouch has worked with interactive design firm Second Story to create an interactive multitouch table for the University of Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center in Eugene, Oregon. The system gives visitors access to the background information of every alumni that has graced the university’s hallowed halls and even allows messaging to alumni who are… still alive, I guess. The table has a single surface that is comprised of four 46-inch MultiTouch Cell units. Users can begin by touching circular hotspots in opposite corners of each of the four displays. When these are triggered, a dialogue box enables a search of the entire university alumni database by name, year or special events. As an integral architectural element of the Ford Alumni Center, the table is positioned in the centre of the building. The design motif, a cascade, includes a flow of those circles that are animated in the background on the table. When users interact with the background, more circles are spawned from their fingers. Messages can be sent to any of the 240,000 alumni through the alumni centre’s website and they appear on the table. MultiTouch and Second Story collaborated over a four-month period to develop the multitouch table.
Network Ten’s Melbourne News Studio is now breaking the news on the big screen with the recent installation of a Panasonic 103-inch (2616mm) Full High Definition commercial Plasma display panel. The new screen, which is the second of these Plasma panels to be deployed by the Network in Melbourne, is located behind the newsreaders on the set during the nightly live News broadcasts and also The Bolt Report. After considering various options including the deployment of a 2 x 2 video wall with thin bezel panels, the technical team and producers at Ten decided on the Panasonic panel as this eliminated any potential lines cutting through the images. Content is able to be quickly and easily transmitted to the screen via the Network’s news control room, including live feeds and previously recorded material. Another feature that got the thumbs-up was the tempered front panel “to protect the screen against damage in such a high-traffic area”. Apparently news readers are a clumsy lot. The 103-inch Plasma panel has a moving picture resolution of 1080 lines and a contrast ratio of 40,000:1. Similar to all Panasonic Plasma displays, the panel has been manufactured with lead-free glass to minimise environmental impact.
Lightwell: (02) 9319 0311 or www.lightwell.com.au
Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au
2015 – ‘Global Consumer Connected Device Market Forecast’, Infinite Research INDIA COPS A VSERV: Vserv, a provider of Mobile In-App Advertising in India, announced that it has attracted $3m in Series A funding from IDG Ventures India. Vserv is a mobile advertising network focused on emerging markets having delivered In-App and Wap advertising in over 200 countries for leading Fortune 500 brands. IDG Ventures India is a venture capital fund investing in technology-related product and services companies in India. The investment represents the first VC investment in mobile advertising in India since 2008. Vserv is the first company globally to have developed a App Ad-Wrap-
per solution for J2ME Apps and is now extending this solution to Android Apps. JVC’s TV-TOOLS: It shouldn’t come as any surprise that any company that can piece together a decent telly soon follows up with its own proprietary digital signage software to create a complete package. JVC is offering its TVTools application to control any DS system that will ultimately be displayed (of course) on JVC’s own full HD displays and/or through its 1080p full HD player. Designer and Scheduler modules using simple drag and drop functions make
everything easy and you have to agree that getting an entire DS system lock, stock and barrel from one company is always appealing. JVC Professional: (02) 9370 8817 or www.jvcpro.com.au GEFEN SMART PLAYER: Gefen’s EXT-HD DSWF SMIL-compliant Digital Signage Player is a LANbased product, which supports 1080p full HD, one-line scrolling text, two-channel L/R audio, and calendar scheduling with more than 10 preloaded templates to choose from. There’s 4GB of built-in flash memory and a securable compact
flash card slot for adding up to 16GB of memory if needed. Two integrated USB 2.0 ports provide connection to a keyboard and USB storage devices. Included software allows users to upload video playback schedules and playlists. A watchdog timer lets the product recover and resume playback after power and network disruptions. Amber Technology: 1800 251367 or www.ambertech.com.au ADVANTECH TOUGH SIGNAGE: Advantech has launched the DSS600 series integrated interactive signage displays. The all-in-one Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
BIGGER IS SMALLER
K-ARRAY CRANKS UP THE VOLUME
Planar has added a 55-inch LCD model to the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System family. The Clarity Matrix 55 delivers full HD resolution and a viewing display area with an image-to-image gap of just 5.7 mm. The unit’s profile is only 93mm. Both features are claimed by Planar to be the smallest sizes currently available in the industry in its category. The ultra-narrow bezel combines with the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System architecture to create near-seamless video walls. In addition, Planar’s EasyAxis Mounting System, off-board components and LED backlight extend the lifetime of the system. They make it easier and less costly to build, maintain and service multi-screen video displays. The Clarity Matrix 55 was specifically designed to meet a demand for larger, high resolution displays as components for video walls, yet still maintain a thin bezel size. Clarity Matrix Video Wall System is the only video wall to meet American with Disabilities (ADA) clearance requirements for public buildings.
Upgrading the sound system in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, has to be a daunting prospect. Is it worth it? The audience is either going to be the world’s most discerning listeners or stone deaf from too many rock concerts. The RRHOF (as it’s known) played it safe and went for quality. The museum installed a total of 14 K-Array KK50vbs, along with seven K-array KA10 four-channel power amplifiers throughout the venue which encompasses seven floors and over 46,000sqm of exhibition area. Many of the displays are in a semi-circular design and the small footprint and tight dispersion of the KK50vbs, preventing audio bleed into adjacent exhibits, was a primary feature behind the RRHOF’s choice. The KK50vb is a compact line array element comprised of 9 x 2-inch (50mm) neodymium transducers in a stainless steel chassis. The dispersion pattern can be configured for 7° spot coverage or 120° flood coverage. The speaker has an impedance of 16 Ohms, eliminating the need for 70V transformers in distributed systems. Still gotta wonder if they’ve got the Hearing Loop from Hell installed as well.
Image Design Technology (IDT): 1300 666 099 email@example.com
Syntec International: 1800 648 628 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Aproximately 111 digital signage networks in 47,000 UK retail locations are
systems deliver full HD playback on 42-inch (1066mm) or 55-inch (1397mm) screens. DSS-600 series systems are built tough and targeted at markets such as tourist centres, retail malls and public spaces with chassis constructed entirely of metal and the front glass panel tempered and UL-1950 compliant. DSS-600 series includes touchscreen with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution and capability with Windows 7. Peripheral options include 3G support, cameras and RFID readers.
a 55-inch LCD that boasts 3840 × 2160 pixel resolution (4x full HD) but can also display pictures in 3D – no glasses required. Needless to say, the REGZA 55X3 is the first TV of its kind. Unfortunately, the resolution stands at ‘just’ 1280 × 720 in 3D mode. The TV features 5000:1 contrast ratio, LED backlight, a new processor called ‘REGZA Engine CEVO Duo’, a face-tracking function to enable high-quality 3D pictures for viewers, REGZA Link, five digital tuners, four HDMI ports, and two USB ports.
Advantech: 1300 308 531 or www.advantech.net.au
4x FULL HD & 3D: Toshiba has unveiled 34
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3D TOUCHDOWN: More sports-based news and it doesn’t come much bigger
than the NFL’s Super Bowl XLIV (that’s ‘44’ for those not born in 25BC). The Miami Dolphins National Football League team is one of the highest-profile franchises in the NFL and its home field, Sun Life Stadium, among the most technologically sophisticated in the world. The Miami Dolphins and the NFL were looking for ways to showcase the current and future state of innovation in digital entertainment, messaging and signage when the Sun Life Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLIV. The solution was to welcome VIP guests to the ‘Suites of the Future’ that incorporated Magnetic 3D’s auto-stereoscopic 3D displays. The Allura 3D screens used Magnetic 3D’s Enabl3D hardware and
PRICE NO BARRIER
DOUBLE GRANDÉ SCREEN
Who said that using digital signage technology was an expensive exercise? LED-Signs’ new totem digital display is proof positive that price should be no barrier to incorporating digital signage into any communication strategy! Standing at 1.8 metres tall the LED-Signs’ free-standing totem package is easy to install and exceptionally simple to use. Supported by a built-in industrial PC, Windows7 and with media sharing capabilities, the sign can display anything that a PC can run. It has ethernet and USB ports and LED-Signs can supply custom designed software if required. This modern, sleek totem includes a 40-inch high-definition Samsung LCD screen with optional touchscreen functionality and is suitable for use almost any indoor setting. Use as a directory system in building foyers, reception areas or schools, or to display advertising in a retail setting, the LED-Signs totem is a uncomplicated, high quality digital signage solution.
A huge new videowall has taken pride of place in the entrance lobby of a dramatic new office building in downtown Seattle. The lobby was not designed with a videowall in mind but, after the building’s owner, Starbucks Coffee, decided not to occupy it but lease it floor-by-floor to tenants instead, the whole nature of the space altered.
LED-Signs: 1300 553 555 or www.led-signs.com.au
The 9ft high by 52ft wide rear-projection wall has its content managed and delivered by six DLP projectors, each with its own PC workstation running Dataton Watchout to offer seamless edge-blending, overlapping, and meshing of images, all in complete synchronisation. A seventh PC is used as a master production computer, running its own copy of Watchout.
“We had to get prospective tenants interested in the building and were looking for something that would grab people’s attention,” explains Jay Philips, Director of Corporate Facilities for Starbucks. “In Seattle, new buildings don’t have signature pieces outside of a fireplace or maybe a water feature. We wanted something interactive or media-related that could create a different look and feel in the lobby, without having to change lighting or decor. Some of my colleagues thought a videowall might be a bit too Vegas but I persuaded them otherwise!”
Interactive Controls (Dataton): (02) 9436 3022 or www.interactivecontrols.com.au Amber Technology (ProjectionDesign): 1800 251 367 or www.ambertech.com.au
delivering content via 131,000 screens in 2010 – POPAI Screen Survey, 2011 software solution to create multiple distinct images and generate the visual depth perception of 3D content without requiring the viewers to wear special glasses (the display’s lenticular lens serves as the 3D glasses). Pre-planned content was run on the screens until kickoff time and then suite occupants were able to use Cisco IP phones as virtual remote controls, controlling what was on each screen for themselves. Magnetic 3D: www.magnetic3d.com ROUND THE BEND: Blitz Communications combined with artist Ron
Arad’s to bring his latest design concept to fruition. Ron Arad has invited his favourite artists, musicians and friends to create unique works for a 360° video projection installation at the Roundhouse, London. The installation takes the form of a curtain made from 5600 silicon rods, 8.1m high, creating an 18m diameter 360° canvas for film, live performance and audience interaction. Blitz installed 12 Barco RLM W8 projectors which are mounted on the truss ring above the silicon rod curtain. Each of these creates a portrait image 8.1m high by 5m wide, overlapped to produce a seamless 360 degree
display at 13,520 by 1,920 pixels. Media delivery and control is implemented using 12 Dataton Watchout display PCs networked to a Watchout control server. SMART PHONE TOUCH CONTROL: Lax Labs has developed a tool that allows touch interaction on many different connected surfaces through a mobile phone’s camera view. The augmented reality input device, called Touch Vision Interface, could have massive implications for interactive digital signage campaigns. Touch input on a mobile is translated and co-ordinates to the captured video
feed to create the illusion of being able to directly manipulate a distant surface. The development team claims the interaction feels natural and almost invisible. The technology could be used to crowd-source for billboard polls, according to the Teehan+Lax website. The company also says group participation on large installations could feel more natural with the technology. (Source: Inavate Digital)
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3M AUSTRALIA 136 136 or solutions.3m.com.au When it comes to its digital signage products 3M Australia starts with the 3M Network Edition (NE) Software for scheduling, management and delivery of multimedia content. Other product offerings include 3M projectors and 3M’s Vikuiti rear projection film that transforms a window or almost any transparent surface into a screen for projectors to focus on from safely inside the premises. A new product is 3M’s Visual Attention Service (VAS), a facility for analysing digital images and determining which areas of that image will attract the viewer’s attention within the first three to five seconds. It uses scientific comparisons of colour contrasts and shapes to help content creators fine-tune parts of images that are important or conversely scale back sections not critical to the message. Last, but not least, 3M offers large-format touchscreen solutions including the new M2256PW Multi-Touch Display, a 22-inch (560mm) touch screen that can respond to 20 simultaneous fingers within six milliseconds. That makes it ideal for the whole range of interactive DOOH systems as long as your authoring software can take advantage of the M2256PW’s capabilities.
AERIS SOLUTIONS (03) 9544 6902 or www.aerissolutions.com.au Aeris Solutions saw the digital signage writing on the wall early and is well established in the industry with plenty of DOOH solutions on offer. It has a selection of stand-alone media players that range from entry-level to full-featured, high definition units. For networked installations, Aeris has a good handle on Sony’s DOOH line-up, offering Sony’s Ziris digital signage software in all its various forms from Lite through to Professional. Alternatively, Aeris can provide Signagelive, which is a relatively new take on Software as a Service (SAAS). Simplified, Signagelive clients share a single, common server and all use the same software to subscribe and upload to the Signagelive network via a secure Internet connection. Then through any web browser the user can manage their signage network, be it only one screen through to thousands of screens worldwide. The SAAS concept is relieves clients of the need to purchase and maintain the DOOH back-end server infrastructure themselves. The Signagelive subscription model allows them to expand or reduce their exposure as they see fit. Aeris also has in-store music solutions via Imagesound and VideoFlyer products, the latter being smaller stand-alone or networked media players enclosed within LCD screens designed for point-of-purchase installations.
AMBER TECHNOLOGY (02) 9452 8600 or www.ambertech.com.au To be strictly correct Amber Technology doesn’t have any digital signage services of its own to offer. However, it is the distributor of Gefen products,
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which are already listed on these pages – to mention just a few. In fact, that’s the point here. Amber Technology is the Australian distributor of such a large range of manufacturers, including the makers of just about every bit of electronic gadgetry you’ll need when it comes to installing a digital signage network, that it would be remiss not to bring Amber Technology to your attention. Another side to digital signage should be pointed out – plenty of companies are coming onto the scene offering to produce for clients broadcast-quality content without getting involved in the actual hardware installations. One of Amber Technology’s Professional, Broadcast and Consumer divisions can tap into a wealth of expertise and resources to help find the right studio recording or video editing equipment. As a distributor Amber Technology may have to point you towards an authorised dealer, but don’t hesitate to give them a call.
AMX AUSTRALIA (07) 5531 3103 or www.amxaust.com.au AMX is synonymous with networking and control systems. Not surprisingly AMX has entered the digital signage industry in its own right (after all, AMX supply a huge amount of gear for everyone else’s DOOH) and have on offer two products. Inspired Xpress is for smaller or simpler installations with a ‘tiny’ media player called the Is-Xpress-1000. The integrated software is comprehensive, yet straightforward and intuitive enough to cater to clients to get their screens up and running quickly with a minimum of servicing the message afterwards. Inspired Xpert is – as you might guess – a more serious DOOH product with better options like HD broadcasting that, among many other extras, takes advantage of those system command and control devices that AMX has in other corners of the warehouse to provide fully-blown large networks. Plus with Inspired XPert customers have access to custom content development and content management services from AMX.
schedules and publishes digital media to digital signage displays. The Cisco Digital Media Player is an IP-based hardware endpoint that handles the display and playback of digital media content including high-definition live broadcasts and ondemand video, Flash animations, text tickers, and more all sourced from, of course, Media Manager. The Scientific Atlanta Encoder is for live broadcasting of standard-definition video to the Media Player. Models with both analogue and digital signage inputs are available.
COMMAND AUSTRALIA (02) 4560 1800 or www.commandaustralia.com.au Command Australia is an importer and distributor of digital signage and interactive products and provides full project management to get your DOOH designs and ambitions out there. Its products include Navori Digital Signage software, GlassVu, TransVu and other On-Glass Projection Films, Touch-Glass, Tap-Glass and interactive products such as Wincomm. If that all sounds a bit much Command can provide a complete Digital Signage Hosting service – just throw your digital signage ball into Command’s court and let it do all the worrying. It is also the authorised reseller of SoThink software, an authoring application that’s available in versions suitable for beginners through to professional programmers. However with 25 years in the IT, graphics and advertising industries Command has an impressive 2000 hours of stock ‘footage’ that can be used as a basis for your advertising designs. For hardware Command is a reseller of several well-recognised brands of projection and display devices such as NEC, Samsung, Mitsubishi and Projectiondesign to name but a few. Basically, Command is a one-stop shop for digital signage and interactive displays.
COMMUNITECH (07) 3205 6188 or www.communitech.com.au CISCO SYSTEMS (02) 8446 5000 or www.cisco.com/go/dms Cisco Systems is generally referred to as plain ‘Cisco’ and everyone knows who you’re talking about unless they get confused with a pair of questionable Mexican outlaws who were seen on ABC telly – oh, about a 100 years ago. Cisco is one of those large, US-based multinational companies that specialises in most aspects of modern business network and it’s surprising to learn the company originated from a husband and wife team who got peeved they couldn’t email each and decided to do something about it (no one explains why they weren’t talking to each other, but I’ll bet it was his fault). Now they’ve got over 68,000 employees and branches all over the world including Australia. Cisco Digital Signage includes three product lines: The Cisco Digital Media Manager is a web-based media management application that manages,
Communitech is based in Brisbane, Queensland and has the Australian and New Zealand distributorship of Omnivex Moxie, a digital signage software suite developed by Omnivex Corporation in Ontario, Canada. Omnivex Moxie offers authoring with a Layout Designer, Scheduling, Playlist Builder and more. A separate (but included) application is dedicated to synchronising large displays over grids of multiple screens, while SQLLink 4 and Datapipe are for sorting and sourcing data from all the corners of your databases. A neat application that Omnivex Moxie currently has in Beta development is the Omnivex GPS Link where digital signage that’s installed on mobile platforms like buses and trains can be linked to an onboard GPS device and the display changed according to the vehicle’s location. For example, tour buses could display information relevant to the scenery outside along with a live tracking map, and potentially public transport could display advertisements that match business-
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es nearby. Passengers can press their noses to the window and watch the storefront whizz by – hey, no one said the bus would stop. Communitech recently completed a project at the University of Wollongong proving that clients ‘south of the border’ are welcomed. In fact, it has done projects from the Pilbara in WA to Dunedin in NZ.
DAT MEDIA (07) 5575 7798 or www.datmedia.com.au DAT Media was established in 2003 to manage BIG W’s national in-store radio network. With over 15 years experience within the in-store media industry, Managing Director Andrew Becker was quick to notice the emergence of digital signage advertising within the retail sector. He began focusing on creating a visual media solution for current and future clients to harness the power of what was still back then a developing media. The strategy resulted in DAT Media creating a complete digital media network for BIG W that now includes in-store radio, digital signage, register Point Of Sale (POS) and a customer queuing solution that reduces the frustration of being caught in a long – or even wrong – queue. DAT Media expanded rapidly as they claimed some serious scalps for clients – among them Coles, Target and ABC Shops. DAT Media offer a comprehensive Content Management System and can assist new clients in broadcasting material across existing networks such as those mentioned above or will help you create a complete digital signage network from the ground up. They also have a Creative Services department that can take the hassle out of putting everything together.
DYNAMIC VISUAL SOLUTIONS (02) 9431 6070 or www.dynamicvisualsystems.com.au Dynamic Visual Solutions is based in Artarmon, Sydney and approaches the digital signage business in a slightly different, almost refreshing way. Rather than offer you its own range of screens, players and applications (though we should point out strong partnerships here with CoolSign and Nexcom) DVS suggests the very first thing you should consider in your digital signage concepts is exactly what you’d like to do, see and have to work with. From there, DVS will start putting a range of solutions on the table and take them right through to a turnkey completion. A distinction is made by DVS between Digital Signage, Kiosk and Video Wall systems but the tailor-made approach of building a DOOH network from the ground up based on a client’s initial vision still applies. Creative software is also sourced or supplied from inside DVS, however its parent company Digistor is an option to provide any bigger-than-Ben-Hur video content you’d like. It almost goes without saying that full installation and support are a part of the deal.
EMSTREAM (02) 9280 2135 or www.emstream.com.au Emstream was started in 1999 by a musically minded entrepreneur who envisaged a customisable digital music service catering to the specific needs of the hospitality industry and business in general. Today Emstream operates throughout Australia and beyond with hundreds of commercial sites connected to its services. Emstream has moved beyond just music but the vision is unchanged: to provide top quality digital media entertainment solutions to businesses. In achieving this vision, Emstream has developed enormous content libraries, unique customisation techniques, unrivalled delivery technology and super-reliable hardware.
ESCENTIA 1300 729 866 or www.escientia.com.au Escientia is a software consulting company providing Information Management solutions. Through innovative use of technology, Escientia develops solutions that increase productivity and are easy to use. Escientia’s consultants have over 20 years experience in the IT industry covering a multitude of disciplines including Analysis, Development, Project Management, Product Management, Marketing, Training and Implementation. Focusing on its digital signage services Escientia has two main products, Digital Tenant Directory (DTD) and Digital Menu Manager (DMM). DTD is a specific application for managing and displaying information about any building’s occupants, services, safety guides and such–usually in the main foyer. DMM is signage software aimed at menu displays, restaurants and cafes being the obvious application, but not necessarily. Escientia also provide software for medical practitioners, offer website design services and filemaker consulting. For digital signage installations Samsung hardware is usually deployed.
FUJITSU DIGITAL MEDIA SOLUTIONS (03) 9924 3468 or fujitsu.com.au Fujitsu’s digital signage services are marketed under the all-encompassing mantle of TELentice Enterprise, a concept that brings together three main components, the TELentice Player, the TELentice Monitor and a selection of Fujitsu-dedicated hardware media players and commercial display screens. The TELentice Player is a fullfeatured professional Enterprise software package for creating and managing all your broadcast media while the Monitor is a separate application aimed more towards system maintenance and control. Fujitsu Digital offers a true end-to-end solution, including content management and rights acquisition from global content providers. Thirdparty software and control can also be integrated. Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand have earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations.
GEFEN www.gefen.com Distributor: Amber Technology (02) 9452 8600 or email@example.com When it started up in 1995 Gefen was developing products of its ex-tend-it Professional Series which were primarily solutions to separate the operators of audio/visual editing suites from the noisy computers, servers and peripherals of their trade. The basic tools of KVM (keyboard, video & mouse) were extended into silent environments. The original market was post-production facilities, but the designs behind its products allowed Gefen to branch out into fields like live stage presentations, broadcast and now digital signage and, of course, there’s a bit more involved than providing a wireless mouse with fresh batteries. In the late ‘90s Gefen turned its attention to digital distribution of video and HDTV signals and another inevitable progression was to build up a large catalogue of splitters, converters, modifiers and cabling. Today Gefen caters for every signal format you can imagine. In fact, if Gefen doesn’t have the plug-converting gadget you need, you’re probably doing it wrong – not Gefen. But it’s all about connectivity for Gefen. Aside from a few media players, Gefen doesn’t provide large hardware solutions like video displays and such.
GENCOM (AUSTRALIA) (02) 9888 8208 or www.gencom.com Established in New Zealand in 1969, Gencom has provided expertise and technology solutions to the NZ broadcasting and multimedia industry for... well, over 40 years. After the first 20 Gencom expanded its operations overseas and it currently has offices and factories in Australia and Singapore, as well as a sales office in South Africa and representatives in both India and the UK. Gencom designs and builds facilities for all facets of the industry including studios and production facilities, TV Station playout facilities, transmission, outside broadcast, IPTV, web-streaming, archiving and media management. You can see it was only a small step sideways into the digital signage business under the banner of ‘Integrated Solution’. The list of Gencom’s technology partners is long and includes quite a few of the names on these pages.
HARRIS CORPORATION (02) 9975 9700 or www.harris.com Considering that Harris Corporation has been involved in developing the network infrastructure for half the western world’s armies and navies systems, including a recent $135m contract for the Australian Defense Force, you can be confident its DOOH products should be reliable. And if you worry that digital signage will be a ‘small beer’ for
www.dsmag.com.au Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Harris as the tech guys solder up the latest aircraft carrier you only need to visit its website to see Harris take DOOH solutions very seriously. From a small display in the office boardroom to large screens surrounding a massive sports arena, Harris does the lot. Its systems are based on Harris’ Infocaster products which include the Infocaster Creator, Infocaster Player and the Infocaster Manager. The names are self-explanatory except to point out that Infocaster Players are a range of hardware components, not software. Manager provides playback functions. A further product called Punctuate is for more targeted media playback and management that includes further automation features and extras like generating invoices. Harris’ website presence is daunting, but persevere, get in touch and someone local with all the answers will drop by – probably in an FA-18.
HERMA TECHNOLOGIES (03) 9480 6233 or www.herma.com.au Herma Technologies – the screen specialists – started business 15 years ago initially selling rear projection systems. The market (obviously) has since evolved significantly and so has Herma, which now distributes a stable of AV brands focused on the audiovisual, cinema and digital signage industries. Herma owns and produces products under the LP Morgan, Grandview and 2C labels.
IDT’s specialty is in providing from its catalogue of preferred manufacturers of display and monitor screens, media players, streaming video over IP, matrix and signal distribution boxes – you name it, to get the job done. Have a look at the credits for any major project undertaken in Australia during the last few years and you’ll probably find IDT has been involved somewhere along the line.
LED-SIGNS 1300 553 555 or www.led-signs.com.su INTERACTIVE CONTROLS (02) 9436 3022 or www.interactivecontrols.com.au Interactive Controls (IC) offers a variety of services to customers from consultation to sales, hire and installation of display and control system equipment and software. They also design and develop media and hardware control systems for specific events, installations, film and commercial shoots, exhibitions, museums... okay, you get the picture. Medialon and Dataton hardware and software products get the nod from Interactive Controls and for digital signage in particular IC offers the Medialon show and media control software and embedded controllers along with Dataton Watchout and Medialon MIP HD Interactive Media Player. There is also the Medialon Scheduler application, which allows control of multiple venues and screens from a central server. Given Interactive Controls’ wide experience in installing innovative display systems it can help you choose the best way to deliver your vision and with Medialon’s strong history in show control systems, IC will no doubt have a neat trick or two to suggest for impressing your audience.
HEWLETT-PACKARD 1300 305017 or www.hp.com.au Hewlett-Packard (HP) has a Retail Store Solutions division which among the point-of-sale terminals, networked PCs and touchscreen devices there’s a digital signage range of products. Dig a little deeper and the touchscreen stuff begins to morph into the digital signage department anyway. HP offers two sizes of screens for digital signage, a 42-inch LD4200 LCD model – also available as the LD4200tm being the touch screen ‘interactive’ option – and the LD4700 which is (take a wild guess) a 47-inch version. This isn’t so much a lack of choices, but more that HP has identified what they believe are the optimum screen sizes for in-store displays and loaded all the DS goodies into these two models. Details on the software required to run your signage are a little sketchy other than to state on their website that, “our products are designed to work seamlessly together in any scenario. Together with software solutions provided by our ISV/solutions partners...” which doesn’t tell us much. They also offer to “make your entire IT lifecycle as simple as possible”. Jury’s still out on that one.
IMAGE DESIGN TECHNOLOGY (IDT) 1300 666 099 or firstname.lastname@example.org Image Design Technology (IDT) is based in Chatswood, NSW and operates primarily as a wholesale supplier of signal distribution equipment and commercial video displays including, of course, digital signage devices. Among a long list of products IDT is the distributor of Brightsign solid state digital signage devices and Magenta signal distribution solutions. Displays include NEC and Samsung screens. IDT doesn’t have any one particular digital signage service or software application to which they align themselves to – it doesn’t have its ‘own’ complete digital signage solution aside from the Brightsign products – instead,
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range of extenders and KVM solutions. KVM’s solutions are refreshingly original, grounded in common sense, devoid of ‘jargon’ and unnecessary complexity but at the same time are, progressive and practical.
ISIGNPAK (02) 9457 6945 or www.isignpak.com iSignpak is a Sydney-based company which has banded together with ICP Signage to provide a complete end-to-end digital signage solution. Its package includes one of ICP’s own media players (of which there is a good range of products for various budgets and installation conditions), a copy of the Wallflower Dynamic Digital Signage Software and assistance in choosing the right display screens for your purposes. iSignpak will also lend a hand in content creation, financing any system, arranging installation and training with the software/ hardware, too. The partnership with ICP also provides access to ICP’s display controllers, video wall controllers and some neat gadgets like its 19-inch all-in-one LCD media player. The Wallflower software can have some specialised modules added to provide additional features such as interactivity, facial recognition, audience measurement, full reporting and site navigation.
KVM AUSTRALIA (08) 9411 6333 email@example.com www.kvm.com.au KVM is one of the few companies to dedicate ourselves exclusively to Keyboard Video and Mouse (KVM) Technologies which includes Digital Signage products. KVM is the distributor for: Adder Technology (KVM and Digital Signage and Extension products); Icron (leaders in USB extension technology); Opengear, (console management solutions); Raritan (KVM and power management products for data centres); Rose Electronics (KVM and digital signage products); plus KVM’s own Smart KVM
With 35 years industry experience LED-Signs has manufactured, designed and installed over 5000 high quality LED visual displays in Australia and New Zealand. LED-Signs specialises in indoor and outdoor solutions which combine superior design, longevity, and environmental toughness. Its product range includes video super screens, multimedia displays, multi-line and scrolling signs, directory boards, gaming displays, scoreboards and multi panel LCD displays.
LG ELECTRONICS (02) 8805 4409 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lg.com.au When it comes to digital signage LG Electronics has a Business Solutions sector that focuses on the supply of a wide range of LG Commercial Displays. Some are unique designs such as its ‘long stretch’ models – half-height widescreen displays that look trés cool – plus there are standard HD widescreen displays and large format screens. The largest size LG offers from its Commercial Displays is a 65-inch model. All the displays offer full HD or HD resolutions, portrait and landscape orientation and multiple software compatibility. They also operate in ‘any’ environment although that perhaps isn’t meant to be taken literally.
MADISON TECHNOLOGIES 1800 669 999 or www.madisontech.com.au Madison Technologies specialises in the supply of communications infrastructure products for the Professional Broadcast, Audio Visual, Building Services and Telecommunications Industries. With more than 16 years of market experience, an extensive product range and a national team of over 100 staff, Madison Technologies is a company providing complete communications solutions. Madison’s main expertise lies in its massive catalogue of electronic goods, from enormous rolls of cabling to the smallest bits and pieces. Madison is the Australian agent for a wide range of products that are used in the digital signage business; names such as SpinetiX and 3M to mention just a few. Australian owned and operated, recently Madison Technologies was awarded a $1 million contract to provide custom manufactured low voltage copper cable and fibre optic cable for Airport Link in Queensland, the second largest infrastructure project the city of Brisbane has seen. It doesn’t mean they won’t help you out finding a 0.99 cent fuse though.
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au Similar to some of the other, large electronics companies listed here, Mitsubishi Electric can put its
hand up as a digital signage provider courtesy of a range of public LCD display models. Sizes range from 32- to 46-inch models in designs that can stand alone, or there are the ‘Slim-line’ models from 42- to 65-inch – ‘slim’ being the size of the bezes, not the depth of the unit – and finally there are two specialty displays of 46-inch and 56-inch that can be employed in a video wall configuration. However, taking things a little further than just having fancy LCD tellies, the Mitsubishi Electric LCDs have in-built Cat5 receivers and an accompanying transmitter box which makes them ready-to-go for hooking up to any digital signage content source. Up to five of the displays can be daisy-chained together via the Cat5.
NEC AUSTRALIA 131 632 or email@example.com NEC Live is NEC’s leading digital signage solution that lets you distribute dynamic video, images, text and more to display screens anywhere, anytime. With NEC Live you are empowered to dynamically display digital content across your network on NEC Commercial LCD panels based upon the individual schedules for each panel. The NEC Live user interface is easy to use, yet with the power and flexibility that is only limited by your imagination to achieve your communication objectives with your target audience. The NEC Live solution includes a range of commercial grade LCD panels offering full high definition performance and many supporting technologies to address the most demanding digital signage applications. Whether it be reliability over an operating cycle of 24 hours x 7 days, or an ultra narrow bezel for a video wall or ensuring that content is visible when an LCD panel is in an location heavy with sunlight, NEC has the LCD commercial panel to ensure you maximise your communications to your target audience.
NEWS DIGITAL MEDIA (02) 8114 7400 or www.newsdigitalmedia.com.au News Digital Media provides a service for including news coverage for distribution through any digital signage network. It’s the only publisher in Australia with access to newspaper titles in every state and can provide dedicated editorial categories such as Breaking news, Sport, Entertainment, National and World News, Technology & IT, Business and of course the Weather. Some of its brands include The Australian, news.com.au, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and the Courier Mail. News Digital Media can offer a custom news and information solution based on any specific content requirements and it can be updated anywhere from hourly to weekly. The subsequent feeds are designed for the digital signage market with features such as rich images suitable for large screens and the ability to filter stories by keyword. News Digital Media can pretty much provide a suitable news feed for any digital signage network, both for public spaces or in-house office and private locations.
PANASONIC AUSTRALIA 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Panasonic, which already has a huge manufacturing base for televisions and monitors, should jump on the digital signage bandwagon. It’s fronted by the Commercial Plasma Display series of products that come in
two configurations. One is a selection of Optional Terminal Boards that will convert your Panasonic plasma screen of choice to accept data signals to suit your needs ranging from digital PC inputs to the humble RCA video component. Alternatively there is an Embedded Solution with a small PC installed into the plasma that can operate as a stand-alone display without a network. Panasonic can provide DOOH authoring and network control software in the form of its digital signage application, NDS 3.1, which can apparently feed both analogue and digital screens in a variety of formats suggesting that your digital signage network doesn’t necessarily need to be confined to Panasonic’s plasma range. As long as it’s a Panasonic display of some kind, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to hook it up to your DOOH display.
PRIME DIGITAL MEDIA (02) 9660 9400 or www.primedigitalmedia.com Prime Digital Media is one of the bigger kids on the block boasting partnerships with Telstra, Yahoo!7 and EnQii. PMD is all about broadcasting your digital signage on one (or more) of its existing three networks. The Lifestyle network focuses on displays installed in Boost Juice stores around Australia, the Home Electronics network is primarily placed in Retravision outlets and the Well Being network is seen in Amcal, Blooms and Guardian pharmacy stores… are you starting to get the picture? Otherwise you can discuss with PMD the potential to have one of its Managed Networks installed in your very own chain of retail shops and PMD will source and filter the content you want including in-house material like staff training and safety or community messages. In all PMD has over 6000 LCD and Plasma screens at prominent and point-of-sale positions around the country. A wholly-owned subsidiary called Fireback Digital is responsible for creating all the content and distribution, control and scheduling of all DOOH signage is done via Acuity software.
SALIENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (02) 93135111 or www.salient.com.au It’s worth remembering that not all digital signage needs to be – or even should be –some kind of high resolution picture like you’re sitting at home watching television. Salient Information Systems specialize in LED digital displays ranging from announcing your burger and chips are waiting at the bar to the kind of large and complex data information displays such as you see at the stock exchange, airports and other passenger terminals. Salient’s main claim to fame is providing custom-built LED signs along with computer systems and software designed for Flight Information Display Systems (FIDS) and Passenger Information Display Systems (PIDS), but also have a full range of alternative displays like plasma, LCD and video monitors that can be the primary source of viewing or linked as repeaters of the main displays. Salient even still offer a range of ‘split flap’ installations, those motorized signs where the numbers and letters flip over. While the data delivery is very much digital and modernized, the split flap designed is often preferred in harsh environments.
SAMSUNG 1300 362603 or www.samsunglfd.com
Samsung’s digital signage is centred on its Large Format Display (LFD) range, a screen with chameleon characteristics in its role as the basis for all Samsung’s DOOH products. There is a straightforward model that can be used either stand-alone in portrait or landscape mode or as a part of a limited multi-screen display. A slightly different UD model can be linked with up to 250 units for a wall of vision. There is a Touchscreen version including an outdoor type with features to withstand the elements and a specialised uVending model for installing in the front of vending machines. MagicInfo is Samsung’s proprietary software for content control and creations. Samsung’s PROM system is already taking DOOH solutions along the fast-developing path of providing audience statistics to tailor the signage content. A wide dynamic range (WDR) camera embedded discreetly somewhere in the installation captures and recognises faces to determine who is actually watching the screen. PROM can either just collate the information for market analysis or actively change the display according to who is viewing it. It’s both clever and almost scary ‘big brother’ stuff. We’re assured these systems are completely anonymous. Still, maybe keep one hand on your wallet.
SHARP AUSTRALIA 1300 13 55 30 or www.sharp.net.au Sharp Australia has boosted its Professional range of information display panels. King of the Sharp hill is the LB1085, a whopping 108-inch stand-alone LCD monitor. At a paltry RRP of $185,900 we’ll be putting one in the corner of the office to keep an eye on the footy scores. After that Sharp offers a PN series of displays that allow for networking and remote control of digital signage content. Ranging from 60-inch down to 32-inch and with a choice of resolutions, it’s worth pointing out that these PN models are screens aimed at the DOOH market with slim, near frameless designs and the ability to display in portrait mode – they’re not just high-end televisions that have migrated over into digital signage. A dedicated application for controlling content called Sharp Digital Signage Software comes in three versions, a fully featured PNSS02 for networked systems, the PNSS01 for stand-alone displays and PNSV01 is only a viewer to monitor what’s coming from your server. A semi-professional range of displays is also available – think indoors like classrooms and office suites.
SONY AUSTRALIA 1800 017669 or www.sony.com.au For the moment, Sony is focusing its digital signage products on what it does best, a wide range of high-definition displays, then offers the VSPNS7 Media Player, the BKM-FW50 Digital Signage adapter and the VSPA-D7 Management Software to cater for them all. However, blink while you’re checking its website and things might suddenly change as its Ziris software takes over. Meanwhile, its Public Display series of LCD screens offers sizes from the 65-inch ‘Ruggedized’ GXD-L65H1 model down to a 32-inch KLH-W32 All-In-One unit (for which the English language isn’t asked to sacrifice anything at all). Some screens are capable of portrait orientation or can have added connectivity – suffice to say that all combined, the various models allow system designers enough choice to get the desired result along with a selection of accessories. The VSP-NS7 Media Player is a separate unit with a 120GB HDD for content and it must have the VSPA-D7 Management Software to work. The Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
BKM-FW50 Digital Signage adapter lets you use a CompactFlash memory card for data which will playback in a programmable slide-show style. But again, remember Sony’s DOOH product line is being revamped and all the above could be just a sign of things to come.
STREAMING MEDIA (02) 9460 0877 or www.streamingMedia.net.au StreamingMedia is a technology and services company focused on providing digital media technology solutions. The company has developed iCon, a suite of software applications for Digital Signage/ Kiosk media management and deployment. iCon has evolved over a six-year period and is delivered as a complete digital signage Software as a Service (SaaS) solution with associated hardware, Help Desk and Field Support allowing clients to focus on their business knowing that all aspects of their digital signage platform are being monitored and managed by dedicated experts in this field. In addition to media management, scheduling and reporting, clients can view the health of their network at any time, view the media playing on any player, view and provide input into the on-line Help Desk system and have automated alerts from the network and players directed to nominated personnel.
Distribution is through a secure web-enabled system which allows either one central or multiple sites to manage content.
TECHMEDIA DIGITAL SYSTEMS (SCALA) (02) 9526 7880 or www.connectedsignage.com.au Just to be clear, Techmedia isn’t only a digital signage company. It’s the Australian distributor of several specialist multimedia products for creating and distributing digital media over anything from simple DVDs to broadcast TV. However, its DOOH services offer Scala, one of the first and now largest digital signage companies to appear on the world scene. Based in Philadelphia, Scala boasts an impressive list of clientele and is responsible for over 200,000 screens worldwide. Scala’s experience shows in its product; the comprehensive content creation and distribution software goes one step further with Scala Ad Manager, an accounting add-on that handles the financial side of your DOOH business such as generating invoices. In the hardware department, Scala has its own Scala Player for linking with the Content Manager software. From there Techmedia will source display screens and networks best suited to the job. Along with APN Outdoor and Barco, Techmedia created the 37m-high sign across from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station atop the historic Young & Jackson Hotel. Don’t worry, if you want digital signage a little smaller, Techmedia is happy to talk to you.
SPINETIX www.spinetix.com Distributor: Madison Technologies 1800 66 99 99 or www.madisontech.com.au From its developers in Switzerland, SpinetiX offers products to professionally schedule, combine, stream, update, animate and display in real-time video, audio, graphics and text on any digital video display. The hardware heart of its system is the HMP 100, a stand-alone Hyper Media Player that acts as an interface for converting any standard video unit into a digital signage display. Its Hyper Media Director is a software application that provides for data distribution across any network and also has an authoring component as well. Both the HMP and HMD are available as separate purchases with the latter offered for download with a 30-day trial.
SUMO VISUAL SOLUTIONS (03) 9429 4552 or firstname.lastname@example.org Sumo Visual Solutions’ roots are in high-quality printing of signage on a wide range of products ranging from ceramics to canvas. However, since 2002 it has seen the digital signage light and now also offers DOOH networks – which they prefer to call ‘content on demand’. Sumo Vision supplies and manages hardware and software that is designed to suit the individual’s content requirements.
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TELSTRA 1300 835 782 or www.telstraenterprise.com/ productsservices/enterprisecommunications/ unifiedcommunications/Pages/TelstraDigitalSignageSolutions Check the website address above and you’ll agree that Telstra’s – yes, Telstra – new Digital Signage Division is well buried. That isn’t to say it isn’t serious about providing digital signage services, quite the opposite. There’s a bit of ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ here with Telstra mentioning its partnership with Prime Media Digital, otherwise the information provided is a little shy on specifics as to who exactly is providing what, except to say onpremise equipment is from Cisco and everything else comes from “partnerships with acknowledged leaders”. Telstra can probably afford to play its cards close to the chest given its first-in-line access to the nation’s next generation networks will be an appreciable marketing edge on its own. At this point Telstra is offering three digital signage packages; the Core Solution for clients who can create and manage their own content or there are the Extras Packages A & B that respectively provide increasing levels of support and features. Details are scarce here too, it’s like Telstra has announced the opening of its digital signage office, but they haven’t even put a nameplate on the door yet. One wonders if the phone is connected…
WILSON & GILKES (02) 9914 0900 or email@example.com TECHTEL (02) 9906 1488 or www.techtel.tv Techtel is an independent broadcast technology systems specialist, providing dedicated hardware and software to the Australian, New Zealand and SE Asian broadcast industries. Incorporated in 1985, Techtel’s expertise includes straightforward consulting through to systems integration and the supply, installation and support of a wide range of film, video and broadcast equipment from Techtel’s catalogue. Its digital signage services focus on two products. X2O Media is a Canadian-based company that provides its Xpresenter Platform software for networks and larger installations or the Xpresenter Xe which is for single channel, smaller applications. There is also the Xpresenter vClips, software designed for touchscreen devices. X2O tell us that Xpresenter is based on Microsoft’s PowerPoint software, which is comfortingly familiar territory for some, then X2O Media added a large shot of steroids. Alternatively, Techtel can offer Playbox, a kind of closed-circuit ‘TV in a box’ setup. Given Techtel’s large base of broadcast product and the content creation services these can tap into, coupled with the X2O and Playbox services, Techtel has a lot of DOOH solutions to offer.
Wilson & Gilkes has been supplying Australia with locally designed and manufactured audiovisual equipment for 77 years. Nowadays it can provide a wide range of projectors, screens and whiteboards, plus a whole host of ancillary equipment such as custom-built trollies for laptops, rack-mounts, lecterns and AV stands. In the digital signage department Wilson and Gilkes has been developing a new range of Digicell digital signage technology units. These are a robust, standalone signage mounting system for DOOH placement in shopping centres and the like where a bit of serious wear-and-tear might be expected – which I guess means everywhere these days. The Digicell can cater for any brand of display you care to install and has plenty of room inside for media players or servers. It has its own thermostatic exhaust fans. If you want your signage bigger and brighter than a Digicell can provide, Wilson and Gilkes’ projection and screens department will have a solution.
If you spot any errors or omissions, don’t get angry, get in touch. Contact Chris Holder on firstname.lastname@example.org
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Something to the Imagination
Story: Mug Punter
’m no advertising guru – although I have watched a few old episodes of The Gruen Transfer which should make me some kind of an expert. So I reckon it’s safe for me to suggest there are basically two kinds of advertising: You have adverts that are expected to alert you to a specific event or product at a specific time and price, like something’s on ‘special’; or there are campaigns designed to create brand awareness. Brand awareness adverts poke the brand name into your brain and the next time you’re confronted with a shelf filled with too many choices, you automatically reach for the product that’s safe – the one you know.
Now, about 10 years ago the powers that be decided that smoking was bad for you. Okay, they knew that well before, but in particular I’m talking about smoking being bad for fans of Formula 1 racing. Apparently, while you’re standing for up to two days breathing in a thick fog of high-octane petrol, burning rubber and exhaust fumes, filling your lungs with perfectly good tobacco smoke while you’re at it, is going to kill you. So advertising cigarette products at the races was banned – which was immediately a big problem. The various tobacco companies were huge sponsors of the sport, so much so that to prevent them from slapping alluring pictures of fag packets and the beautiful people who consume them around the track was tantamount to bankrupting the entire Formula 1 racing industry. Without tobacco money behind the teams they’d be racing on bare rims with motors salvaged from secondhand lawnmowers. That’s not very exciting and no one would go to watch. The F1 folks needed a quick fix. Not surprisingly, cigarette manufacturers didn’t take the news lying down… with a packet of menthols suggestively placed on the pillow. They came up with their own cunning plans and Marlboro led the pack (hey, are we even allowed to name them anymore?).
It involved devising billboards and signs around the tracks that were a strange combination of camouflage paint, zebra stripes and ‘Where’s Wally’ technology that, when you looked at it, shouted ‘Marlboro!’ There were no cigarettes, no actual words written, no rugged-looking Brokeback Mountain types on horses… but damn it, just looking at these designs made you think of Marlboro cigarettes. It was weird and clever, because that brand awareness was still achieved without a puff of smoke in sight. It was quickly controversial too, of course, because the miffed authorities said it was a form of cheating. For years since, the concept has been refined and it was only recently that those same authorities have finally managed to ban what’s become infamously known as the ‘Marlboro Barcode’. It’s a barcode design that looks like a barcode, but the colours instantly suggest a packet of… look, do I have to spell this out?
In fact, that’s the whole point. Some of the most effective, successful signage isn’t about the wealth of information it provides. It’s more about the lack of information. When our attention is caught by something we don’t understand and there’s a ‘what the hell is that?’ kind of moment, we absorb the message much better by being forced to think about it.
Which is in direct contrast to some of the digital signage concepts we’re seeing lately. The technology behind the designs and delivery of digital signage is allowing the advertising messages to be highly detailed, information-rich and leave nothing to the imagination – we don’t have to do any thinking for ourselves. As a result, without tricking us into being puzzled or curious, there’s a risk we’ll ignore a lot of it. The answer might be to start leaving stuff out of adverts, even though it goes against all the principles of digital content creation. It can be simple like ‘Thing go better with Oke’, for example. Except everyone will just assume it’s an appalling typo and someone will lose their job.
What I’d really like to see is someone leaving out that annoying, bloody leap in the air they’ve used in Toyota ads since the launch of the Corona. It’s just silly. Instead, they can have somebody standing beside their new car and looking a bit glum, because they’re not allowed to jump up and down like a clown. People passing by might think (think, see?) ‘what the hell’s wrong with him?’ and notice the vehicle. Here’s where the beauty of digital signage comes in. It can be made interactive! Multiple choice buttons could be 1: Let the new Toyota buyer jump in the air annoyingly, or 2: Let the new Toyota buyer jump in the air annoyingly, but land awkwardly and sprain an ankle, or 3: Let the new Toyota buyer jump in the air annoyingly, but suffer a cardiac arrest from the unexpected exercise and a lifetime of cigarettes (because he’s a Formula 1 fan and a heavy smoker). [How about the Pimp my Ride option?: 4. Let the Toyota jump in the air annoyingly. – Ed.]
Awesome. I could play with it all day. The fun to be had with digital signage. So please don’t tell us or show us everything. We have to do some of the thinking for ourselves. Mug Punter’s mail order Marketing Degree is in the post.
DigitalSignage magazine wants to know what you’re up to. Share your plans and opinions with Chris Holder on email@example.com
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Bring images to life with the superior quality of Japanese design and engineering. Whether itâ€™s a small classroom or a giant sporting stadium, Mitsubishi Electric has the visual display solution to suit your needs. With the freedom to choose from a large range of home or business projectors, commercial LCD monitors, Video Wall systems or large format Diamond Vision LED screens, the possibilities are only limited by your vision.
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Mitsubishi Electric Australia Pty Ltd, 348 Victoria Rd Rydalmere NSW 2116 www.MitsubishiElectric.com.au ph: (02) 9684 7777 fax (02) 9684 7208