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Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

issue #3

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Place-Based Social Media: what is it & how to make it work RETAIL SPECIAL: IN-STORE MEDIA DO’S & DON’TS FROM THE BRAINS BEHIND WALMART & TESCO


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Early Adoption Papers

Editorial:

Story: Christopher Holder

“it might be time to finish off your last can of beans, step out of the bunker and take a sniff around”

Early adopters should be awarded a medal I reckon.

I speak of pioneers throughout history who have seen the potential of a new technology and have jumped onboard before the rest of us. Often they met an untimely and messy death… but I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I recall my grandmother speaking of her ‘early adopter’ flights from Adelaide to Calcutta in the ’40s. What a nightmare! Some 10 stops and dozens of white knuckle hours later you were deposited at your destination like some quivering sack of sleepdeprived spuds. Glamourous? Get a grip.

Modern techno-essentials haven’t always been as common as chlamydia. It’s worth renting a film like Pretty Woman to check out how the big end of town so enthusiastically adopted the mobile phone back in the day. The word ‘mobile’ was used quite generously – some might say recklessly. Yelling ‘Sell, Sell, Sell!’ into a handpiece attached to a breeze-block-sized carry bag would have been the epitome of cool for Wall Street circa 1988. Everyone else just started humming ‘die, yuppy, die’ to themselves.

And what’s the golden rule of adopting a big new iteration of your computer’s operating system? Wait. If Bill Gates wants you to move onwards and upwards with Vista 8, then don’t. Slam the door, lock it, rip out all your internet connections and don’t let your PC out of your sight. One month later when we’ve recovered from a worldwide ‘blue screen of death’ and v8.01 is delivered, it might be time to finish off your last can of beans, step out of the bunker and take a sniff around. So it is with Australian digital signage. Brace yourself: we’re a good five years behind the US and the UK. But like I say, it’s not all bad. I like to think that we’re able to give a quick nod of gratitude to the Digital Signage 1.0 guinea pigs and jump

straight into the bug-fixed v2.0.

Of course, the early adopter would quite justifiably contend that by taking the cautious approach you will be missing out on supercool stuff that could well give you the jump on your competition. Without early adopters we wouldn’t have crazy-brave experiments like what you see on this page. Just have a look at what Hello Magazine has done to promote its 264-page Will & Kate Wedding Special – using Ocean Outdoor’s pair of 5m x 7.5m double-sided electronic billboards that flank one of London’s main trunk roads in/out of the city. ‘So what?’ you might ask, ‘it’s just a big ad for Hello’. Not so. Hello streamed new photos to the screens live and as it happened. How cool is that?! Of course, for every brave new execution there are plenty that have fallen flat on their face. The lesson? Leave early adoption to the crazy-brave.

It just so happens that we have a platoon of the crazy-brave coming to our shores very shortly. We’re talking about hard-bitten, wise-beyond-their-years digital signage pioneers and innovators who are here for the n.gage Digital Signage Conference. <DigitalSignage> is right behind this conference and we urge you to get along. Retailers especially will get a real kick out of n.gage as you hear how to squeeze the most from your digital signage investment, based on the hard-won experience of what works and what doesn’t. Head along to www.ngagewithus.com for tickets to the Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland events. See you there. 

Christopher Holder, Editorial Director

Reach out to Chris at: chris@dsmag.com.au

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

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CONTENTS ISSUE 3 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 (stewart@dsmag.com.au) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (chris@dsmag.com.au) Publisher:

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Philip Spencer (philip@dsmag.com.au) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (dominic@alchemedia.com.au) Additional Design: Leigh Ericksen (leigh@alchemedia.com.au) Contributing Editor: Graeme Hague (news@dsmag.com.au) Technical Editor Andy Ciddor (andy@av.net.au) Accounts: Jen Temm (jen@alchemedia.com.au)

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IN ACTION 8 Amway Arena, Orlando 9 Spanish Senate, Madrid 10 Seimens City, Vienna 14 ABC Shops 16 Oasis Bakery 18 Cashless Concert

FEATURES 20 DOOH Social Media 24 Retail: Make it Relevant 28 Smart Retailing: Content that Counts

TECHNICAL 12 Navori QL NEWS 32 News & Product Info

REFERENCE 38 Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Who Company Profiles COMMENT 42 Mug Punter

Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (subscriptions@dsmag.com.au)

alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 info@alchemedia.com.au All material in this magazine is copyright Š 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. 9/5/11


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As if by Magic Orlando Magic has a new home with smart signage.

In Action

Harris: (02) 9975 9700 or www.digitalsignage.harris.com 8

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

Harris Corporation will be breaking out the champagne with the Orlando Magic Basketball Club and the City of Orlando to celebrate the culmination of a year-long, multi-million dollar project. At precisely 10:01a.m. on October 1, the new Amway Centre will open its doors for the first time and unveil what they’re claiming is the most technologically advanced arena facility in North America. The Amway Centre will provide fans with access to unprecedented eventcoverage both inside and outside the arena through video displays in high definition, along with full-production lighting and audio systems. The state-of-the-art Harris solution is a video production, distribution and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) system integrated with digital signage – a convergence of IP and broadcast technology that provides the Orlando Magic with an entirely different approach to broadcasting games and promotional, sponsor’s messages, plus giving fans a whole new multimedia experience. Combining IPTV and digital signage over the same network allows the system to address more than 1100 individual screens located throughout the arena with tailored content. On the fly, displays can be driven to show instant replays and highlights, venue messaging, out-of-home advertising or any combination of the three. In addition, the system enables advertisers to have their name displayed on every screen in the facility at the same time providing a moment of exclusive, high impact marketing.

The network is driven from a purpose-built control room featuring more than 800 broadcast devices. Employees at Harris headquarters monitor the network 24/7 via a Network Operations Centre – from more than 75 miles away (a long way to swap the batteries in the remote control…). For the record, the system is similar to the one that manages America’s air traffic control system. The production and distribution system is designed to present the sports action on scoreboards, television monitors and digital signage throughout the arena, in the front lobby and even in the parking garage entrances. The low latency of the signal distribution enables content on the screens to be changed and updated with no interruption to the broadcast. For the first time, every fan in the arena will experience the games in real time with no delays and no waiting. The Harris system will deliver “extraordinary” audiovisual and sensory effects (hotdog smells?), while also providing fans access to merchandise advertising, services and information such as traffic and weather updates, highlights of other sporting events and directions to seats, restaurants and other amenities within the centre. As all the digital signs are connected, important safety messages can be easily broadcast throughout the entire network. It certainly looks like they’ve got the game covered from every conceivable angle. Or… you could just grab a seat next to the basketball court? 


Order in the House The Spanish Senate gets the message.

Some will tell you that trying to organise and coordinate a group of politicians anywhere is akin to attempting to herd feral cats. They’re not so good at agreeing about things either (politicians, not cats) and in Spain’s Senate the honourable members apparently have a reputation for being a bit emotional and feisty – although they’ve yet to embrace the all-inbrawl method of informed debate preferred in the Italian parliament. Anyhow, a new digital signage network has provided the answer to getting important information distributed through the Senate building without kick-starting some brouhaha. Spinetix’s HMP100 Hyper Media Player has been deployed alongside Madrid-based company Tecnilogica’s Poster Digital content creation platform to instigate a cost-effective and easy-to-use method of broadcasting daily and weekly meeting schedules across the Senate’s network of over 25 flat-panel screens. Tecnilogica designed a graphic display template for the system in compliance with the Senate’s style guidelines, while the user interface was commissioned to Jesus Gorriti, who is one of the leading UX designers in Spain. The system employs failsafe modes – presumably this means there’s no risk of the network displaying false, outdated or misleading

information that could adversely affect a critical Senate session – and it’s thus far been ‘rugged’ and very easy to manage (Rugged? Are they throwing stuff at the screens?). The web-based design of Poster Digital matched with the Hyper Media Players doesn’t need a high level of specific skills to maintain and allows the whole system to be run by the in-house IT helpdesk, which devotes on average less than an hour per day to the task. This is despite the fact that the screens are expected to display a wide range of information such as seating arrangements, speaker agendas and voting data, and there is a two-way interface with the Senate’s broadcast AV system and other networks.

In Action

It’s a big step to translate centuries-old parliamentary procedures and traditions into a modern graphical interface and a digital signage network and do it well. Now that important messages are displayed in full colour and high definition the Senate members must be glad they’ve got one less thing – clear communication of agendas and schedules – to cause any squabbles. But be buggered to all that. What’s the bet the pollies just wanted the whole shebang installed and running to watch Barcelona v Real Madrid? 

Madison Technologies (Spinitex): 1800 669 999 or madisontech.com.au Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

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In Action

SKIN Deep Seimens City: You Are Here

At the new Seimens Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) HQ in Vienna – modestly called Seimens City – they’ve taken the humble ‘You Are Here’ touchscreen in the foyer to a new level – or to be more specific, new heights and widths. Seimens is claiming to have the world’s largest public-access multi-touch display and with 14 MultiTouch Cell 46-inch full HD LCD displays configured into a 10.5m ‘Great Wall of Seimens’. We’ll let them take the title – although with the booming Digital Signage industry no doubt a fresh contender will be along soon. In the meantime the Seimens display is certainly remarkable. After collaboration between Seimens, Multitouch and UMA the final result is the SID, the Seimens Identity Display. By offering public access to a large database of information and web repositories SID ‘minimises Seimen’s curatorial effort’, which possibly is an obscure way of saying that less people need to be employed behind the foyer reception desk. Still, given the choice of approaching Brunhilde at the desk with her bratwurst scowl – or having some fun with the huge multi-touch panel, the display’s going to win every time.

Lightwell (Multitouch): (02) 9319 0311 or www.lightwell.com.au

Operating under UMA Technology Information’s SKIN product, SID provides a wealth of information simultaneously for pretty much as many people who care to cram shoulder-toshoulder beside each other and start touching. All manner of digital content such as pictures, video, indexes and FAQ dialogue boxes can be opened, moved and resized across the surface at will. It’s not just the size of the entire display that’s noteworthy – the level of personalised interactivity for concurrent users is just as impressive. Seimens is keen to provide a wide, accessible portal deep into the company’s infrastructure and considering there are over

6000 employees behind the shiny, glass walls of Seimens City that’s got to be a fair whack of content being managed by the SKIN semantic content curator engine (a burgeoning term in the lexicon of DS language). To keep things under control SID is context sensitive, analysing the operator’s input and, as it responds, narrowing down choices. Too bad, if you’ve snuck through the door and just want to fool around pretending you’re one of the cool dudes in CSI Los Angeles until your bus arrives. Even though it’s unlikely, SID won’t be ignored either. Incorporated into the display is person tracking technology that reacts to people standing in front of, or passing by, the screens. This can be a simple “guten tag” welcoming response to someone arriving at the display or a series of opening dialogue windows chasing across the display keeping pace with somebody walking past – a kind of “Hey! Hey, I’m over here!” sort of thing. It’s bound to creep a few folks out really. Another feature of the SKIN engine in SID is personalised RFID technology. For example, some content in the database won’t be displayed by SID unless a company employee wearing a type of RFID device is trying to access it. A concierge or tour guide might bring up extra information that’s otherwise locked out from the public. Back to the technical stuff: SID’s interactive screen area configurations currently range from 1.2 to 8.4m at 29 megapixels. It took around three months to install and make operational (bearing in mind the building itself was being commissioned at the same time) and since opening SID has played flawless host to more than 8000 visitors a day. That’s a lot of sticky fingers. 


Quality News Coverage for your Digital Signage Network

To discuss your bespoke solution contact: Carl Poplett Business Development Manager, News Digital Media Phone 02 8114 7295 Email carl.poplett@newsdigitalmedia.com.au

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Quantum Leap Navori now provides broadcast quality video on low-cost PCs.

Technical

Navori, one of the largest, most well-established digital signage software publishers in the world, has released a new product that’s being touted as a ‘quantum leap’ beyond what is available in the market today and makes playing broadcastquality video possible even on low-cost PCs. Navori’s QL software suite uses the Swiss company’s proprietary graphics rendering engine to optimise how computers play out full HD video and other rich media. QL enables high-end content features that have been limited, until now, to the complicated, expensive specialty software and hardware of broadcast vendors. “We invested the time and resources to introduce a solution that makes today’s cheapest PC capable of playing back flawless, seamless HD programming with banners, titling, transparency and overlays of unprecedented quality. We offer a true broadcast TV experience, a facelift for the digital signage medium that was overdue. To achieve this, we designed our own proprietary graphic engine,” says Jerome Moeri, Chairman of Navori International. Moeri noted that his Lausanne-based software engineering team reduced demands on computer processing power to roughly half that of competing platforms, elevating playback quality but also increasing the reliability of players by reducing and controlling CPU usage. Navori’s Asia Pacific distributor, Rod Alderton, agreed with Mr Moeri’s comments: “The Navori platform, for usability and performance was always excellent, QL is superb. The performance from a mini computer using the combination of Atom CPU and ION GPU is amazing, providing us with the same high quality playback once only achieved with higherend computers. “The new server has the same easy to use qualities that Navori is renowned for. However, the QL server provides an extensive range of new features that enhance the systems abilities,” continued Mr Alderton.

Command Digital Signage: 1300 780 204 or www.digitalsignage.com.au 12

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

Along with superior playback quality, Navori QL’s highlights include: • Broadcast sophistication: QL makes media cropping, titling and perfect transitions look great on even entry-level PCs.

• Multi-screen power: Running Intel’s i7 processor, it is technically possible to drive full HD content to as many as 12 screens, each with individual content. • Flexibility: QL’s user interface has the breadth of a native Windows desktop application, but is delivered via web browser, with a friendly WYSYWYG operator experience. • Integrated creative toolset: The simple-to-use, webbased template designer is as powerful as any stand-alone application. • Learned in minutes: Casual and non-technical users can be trained in minutes, while getting to expert-level takes no more than four hours (other platforms need two and three-day courses). • Dynamic: Sophisticated content automation – like datadriven menu boards and hotel and conference messaging – is simply managed by the Navori Web Designer, with no coding skills required. • Comprehensive: Organising and managing multiple groups of players is easy, and dozens of variations on user access rights can be defined. • ‘A la carte’ pricing: Customers can now purchase only those software features – from enhanced graphics to detailed management tools – when and if they are needed. • Multi standard: QL Manager is web based so Windows, Linux and Mac users all have access to the system. Extensive testing by Navori engineers on a broad range of CPUs confirmed the QL platform capably manages resourceintensive visuals like file transitions on even low-end PCs. Navori QL Player software can be installed on any PC hardware, giving end-users full control over budget and suppliers. “We believe playback quality and content optimisation represent the cornerstone of our industry. It is the foundation upon which a digital signage business will be evaluated,” says Moeri. “QL represents what we believe digital signage should be – the highest quality, and frame-by-frame accuracy, but at a price that’s affordable and with tools anyone can quickly and easily learn and use.” 


Dough Rollout Aeris provides go-ahead bakery with dynamic signage.

In Action

Aeris Solutions: 1300 339 873 or sales@aerissolutions.com.au

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Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

Crumbs! Look at that for a digital sign! Based in Murrumbeena (Melbourne) Oasis Bakery is a lot more than just a bakery – as well as baking a large selection of fresh pastries they also operate a café and a deli/grocery store with the finest staple ingredients from all over the world. With the wide range of products and specials available changing every day in all three outlets, constantly updating of the chalk-written menu boards was time consuming and messy (and the squeaking noise must have driven the customers crazy). They turned to Aeris Solutions to install digital menu boards and software that allowed fast and easy rewriting of the menus on a daily basis. The existing blackboards were replaced with five 32inch Samsung MX-2 screens. Four of these display the different menus while the fifth is used only for promotions. An additional 40-inch Samsung MX-2 screen shares time between menu displays, announcements and promotional content. Four of the screens are driven by an Advantech 6622 computer with a Matrox M9140 quad output graphics card, the other two screens are driven by their own dedicated Advantech ARK DS303s, which is a standalone digital signage platform.

Oasis wanted a software solution that was powerful, flexible and reliable with a user interface easy enough for their staff to be able to manage on a day to day basis – with sticky fingers, no doubt. Aeris decided to use DC Media for the installation. All the menus are set up so that staff can simply change them at any time by editing a CSV file in Microsoft Excel. The staff also has access to DC Media’s Sign Creator application which allows Oasis to make its own custom designs within which to display the actual menus. It only needed a few days, before everyone was comfortable with operating the software. Scheduling is taken care of by DC Media Scheduler and Oasis has set up alternative menus at different times of the day as well as for different days of the week. The system is kept up and running by DC Media Network manager. This ensures the menus are showing the right thing at the right time and alerts the users if there are any issues. It also acts to prevent windows dialogues appearing on top of the signs and will automatically reopen the player software if things go awry. All of which lets the bakers of Oasis Bakery concentrate on the more important things – like keeping the dough rolling in. 


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ABC of Signage A new network for the ABC Shops.

In Action Queensland-based company DAT Media has won the three-year contract to supply, install and maintain the digital signage network for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) retail shops throughout Australia. DAT Media, which specialises in digital signage and interactive kiosk solutions for retail businesses, responded to a Request for Tender issued by the ABC to provide an in-store solution and the resulting, successful bid means it’ll be catering to 47 ABC stores across the country. DAT Media pitched a solution to the ABC to design a custom built system that was easy to use and meet the core requirement of a digital signage network that would promote ABC products and programs instore. Until recently DAT Media was using a third-party content management system (CMS) with its signage installations, but has since developed a proprietary CMS of its own. The system, which connects directly to DAT Media’s network, can update content instantly in-store and be tailored to suit the ABC’s in-store requirements.

ABC Shop: www.shop.abc.net.au

As part of providing a custom-fit audiovisual component for the ABC’s signage, DAT Media made the system capable of broadcasting ABC News within the digital displays to play at key times throughout the day. An RSS feed was also incorporated to provide news at the bottom of the screen in a ticker format. DAT Media is now looking at working with the ABC to provide a remotely managed in-store audio system, integrated into the new digital signage systems in-store.

DAT Media: (07) 5575 7798 or www.datmedia.com.au

With all this new technology at the ABC, 3D Bananas in Pyjamas can’t be far away… 

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Digital Place-Based Media & Technology


Digital Signage Solutions.

Stadiums to Retail. Large or Small Systems.

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Tempah Tempah Tinie Tempah wows fans at Australia’s first ‘cashless concert’.

I

n early April, electronic ticketing company, Moshtix teamed up with EMI, PayPal and Illusive to deliver Australia’s first cashless concert featuring UK rapper and rising global superstar Tinie Tempah.

Throngs of excited fans sang every word while the winner of two Brit Awards played all of the hits from his album Disc-Overy, including his current single Invincible, as well as Written In The Stars, Pass Out and platinum selling Swedish House Mafia collaboration Miami 2 Ibiza. The Cashless Concert is a simple concept: fans use their mobile devices to access tickets to the show via Moshtix’s mobile site (moshtix.com.au), pay using their PayPal account, then receive their ticket via mobile barcode which they then present to gain entry - totally cashless and all via a mobile device. Adam McArthur, chief executive officer at Moshtix said:

“Moshtix prides itself in breaking industry ground through innovative ideas and solutions. Australia’s first ‘cashless concert’ is a perfect example of this. When we re-launched our mobile site late last year we added mobile barcode ticketing, to create a smoother ticket-buying experience for consumers and event and venue managers. It is a great pleasure to be working with EMI, Illusive and PayPal in this capacity to bring the ‘cashless concert’ concept to Australia. “Our mobile ticketing solution is environmentally friendly, secure and easyto-use and we look forward to continue enhancing the ticketing purchasing experience for the industry and consumers in the future.”

Forging the way in M-commerce, the PayPal Mobile Express Checkout is designed to improve the mobile shopping experience. No cumbersome data entry is involved; in just a few clicks the transaction is done. All payments are secure, personal financial information is never shared with the recipient and PayPal confirms by e-mail all payment details as soon as money is sent. Each payment is confirmed by a PIN or password, so users need not worry if they lose their phone.

By purchasing tickets through Moshtix’s easy-to-use, mobile-optimised site, ticket buyers have the ability to have their Moshtix purchased tickets scanned straight from a barcode on their mobile when arriving at a venue. Other key features of mobile site include: The integration of links to activate Google Maps that provides directions on how to get to particular venues.

The ability to share Moshtix events with friends through Facebook and Twitter

For ease of access after a ticket buyer purchases tickets to an event, they are sent an SMS that links straight to their mobile barcode ticket. After purchasing a ticket through moshtix.com.au on their mobile, a user’s barcoded ticket is stored in their Moshtix account for easy access. When purchasing multiple tickets, users also have the option to send individual tickets to friends. 

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Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

About Moshtix: Moshtix is a leading innovator in ticketing services selling tickets to some of Australia’s best live music events, dance parties, festivals and theatre via its website, 95 outlets nationwide and its mobile-enabled sites that does things differently. Founded in 2003, the paperless and environmentally-friendly ticketing system is built around convenience for the consumer, empowering Moshtix partygoers to purchase tickets instantly and at a cheaper price with no mail-out or delivery fees. In 2007, the company was acquired by the digital division of News Limited, News Digital Media. Moshtix: www.moshtix.com.au


HDMI: You’ll Go Far

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AAVARA PB5000: MAKES MULTI-CASTING SIGNAGE/DOOH EASY The PB5000 HDMI-over-IP device is the ideal HD video distribution solution for DOOH and signage deployment. It delivers stunning ultra high quality 1080p HDMI video broadcast over an IP network. Not only does it offer smooth vivid 1080p full motion video with CD quality level audio, but it also ensures that crystal crisp images and sharp small text clarity will give the viewer the maximum visual presenting impact and easy clear reading.

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facetime Sign Up

What is place-based social media and how do I use it to engage customers? Story: Stephen Randall

Wall

Info

Photos

Friends

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W

e’re all exposed to plenty of ‘push media’. In fact, according to research, somewhere between 200 and 3000 advertising messages flash before our eyes every day. Little wonder, then, that consumers are increasingly ‘switching off ’ to TV advertisements.

If that’s the case, what makes you think your digital signage will magically enthral and engage your customers?

The truth is, Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) network operators and content providers should never expect their audiences to pay attention to their screens simply because they are ‘captive’. The DOOH audience is often mobile and has very little to time to care or consume uninvited media. Even if they are captive, they are not automatically captivated. This is where place-based social media can make a significant difference, it’s an excellent tool for making DOOH content more noticeable and engaging.

Before we go any further, what is placed-based social media? A more formal definition would go something like this: media for social interaction via digital place-based networks, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Place-based social media uses web-based technologies to turn digital place-based media communication into interactive dialogues. In other words, it describes techniques that get your clients engaging with your digital signage, anything from passively viewing twitter feeds about your venue, through to customers playing games and interacting with your screens via their smart phones.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE There are three modes of out-of-home engagement: Passive, Active and Interactive, and you need to determine which camp your customers fall into before you think about a setup that best suits you. PASSIVE Dwell time: Under 30 seconds

• Displays contextual, targeted, curated, social media on DOOH screens without a call to action. • Cannot be influenced by the DOOH audience.

• Can be operated by DOOH networks of any capability.

Examples: Displaying localised Twitter messages (about the local town/ city, sports/team or other popular/local topics). Zoom Media and Marketing Sport’s Bytes and RMG Networks’ NYTimesToday.com are examples of passive applications built by LocaModa designed to grab attention and inform and/or entertain. True to their passive nature, these applications do not have call to action, so they do not support venue-based user interactions. ACTIVE Dwell time: At least 30 seconds.

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• Displays contextual, targeted, curated, social media on DOOH screens with a call to action. • Can be influenced by the DOOH audience but not in real-time – either due to limitations of infrastructure or time required by brands/venues to ensure content is adequately filtered, moderated and/or curated.

• Can be operated by DOOH networks with minimum connectivity considerations (e.g. connects to the internet for limited periods). • Active place-based social media has enough time for only one DOOH user interaction.

Examples: Trending Twitter topics (or displaying trends via changes in existing accounts such as celebrities, to show which celebrities are more or less popular). Such applications can be used in supermarket checkout lines to entertain shoppers. INTERACTIVE Dwell time: At least 60 seconds.

• Displays real-time targeted and curated social media on DOOH screens. • Can be influenced by the DOOH audience in real time.

• Can be operated by DOOH networks with real-time Internet connectivity.

• Interactive place-based social media, with a call to action and at least 60 seconds to engage, typically has enough time for more than one DOOH user interaction and supports more complex interaction models.

Examples: Real-time Twitter, text/photo-to-screen, real-time polls, and checkins (e.g. displaying check-in info and tips for services such as Foursquare, Facebook Places or Gowalla). Well-designed and inexpensive moderation tools make interactive applications easy to deploy these days and should be an integrated part of any place-based social media execution. Some applications such as polls or social polls can be run as passive, active or interactive place-based social media depending on the network capabilities or brand requirements.

HOW TO ENGAGE Regardless of whether your customers fall into the Passive, Active or Interactive category you need to consider these seven steps to engage them. 1. RECOGNISE ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE Content that indicates an ability to be influenced by its audience and/or invites a dialogue has a greater potential to stand out from content that is perceived as a one-way conversation. Even if the audience doesn’t have the time to participate (which is the case in the short time availability for passive place-based social media), they can be more receptive if it is obvious that other people have participated in the messaging. Passive place-based social media needs to show its wares very quickly. It can do this in a number of ways:


Email

Password

“place-based social media can make a significant difference, it’s an excellent tool for making DOOH content more noticeable and engaging”

• By using user generated content from social streams such as Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, mobile photos and text messages.

• By clearly indicating the sources of the content used, for example, by using profile pictures, user comments, or displaying logos of content sources.

Logos: Social network logos are becoming shorthand for a call to action. Just as ‘www’ is a recognised acronym in advertising, Twitter or Facebook addresses, hashtags, or calls to ‘check-in’ on Foursquare or Facebook Places are not only recognised by users of those services but are also becoming used in mainstream media including television and radio. • Colour can be used to highlight keywords or tagged words to emphasise the fact that these messages have been user generated and how it was directed to that DOOH screen. 2. WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? Having noticed the media and perceived an ability to participate, the user has to care. I like to think there are three ‘Fs’ that address the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question: Fun, Fame or Fortune. • An example of ‘Fun’ is the DOOH game Jumbli (www.jumbli.tv) which people play in locations and on line. Several players have amassed over 1 million points, which amounts to days and days of accumulated play.

• Fame: If the act of participation gets a user’s message, picture or vote on the screen, that can be enough of a reward for participation ( Jumbli displays the player’s words on all DOOH screens, including a screen in Times Square).

• Finally, if there is some reward – for example, an offer, discount or two-forone opportunity, that can also tip the user into engaging (again, in Jumbli, AT&T, one of the game’s sponsors, offered free phones for the highest scoring words of the day). 3. START TO PARTICIPATE Participation, especially in a short dwell time requires the simplest call to action and ideally multiple opportunities/channels to engage. For example:

• Use a memorable call to action. A user will find it easier to remember a call to action such as ‘Find us at facebook.com/target’ rather than having to remember a long telephone number.

5. RECEIVE REPLY The DOOH system should be able to send immediate feedback to the user’s phone. Such a reply is typically sent with five seconds of the user sending the message. The reply should not only confirm the user’s interaction, by, for example, thanking them for engaging or responding but also contain the necessary statutory messages required by the mobile carriers. 6. SCREEN UPDATES In the case of Interactive Place-Based Social media, the DOOH screen can display feedback of the user’s engagement. Feedback should occur within five seconds to be effective and keep the dialogue alive. There should be some obvious clues on the DOOH screen that some of what is happening on the screen is happening as a result of user (rather than brand) direction. For example, the famous Boston sports bar Game On runs screens that display Twitter messages containing the words Red Sox. Those messages highlight the keywords Red and Sox, and the audience is immediately aware that they too could send a message to Twitter containing those words and (subject to moderation/curation rules) have their message appear on the Game On screen. Displaying applications such as Twitter and Foursquare with specific local calls to action results in a 30-60% increase in interactions in the venue. At the same time as the DOOH screen updates, the DOOH system should be able to update other screens that are connected to the same application, for example, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds etc. Wherever possible, these screens should also update immediately. 7. REACTION We can only hope that having motivated the user to participate, that we have started a process that can continue beyond a single interaction. However, this will not only depend on the system, but also on how compelling the experience actually is. For example, once a user has checked into the venue, they might not be motivated to post a tip or do anything else to win awards (some systems encourage users via game mechanics to perform tasks to win awards). IN ACTION (OVERLEAF)

• Display familiar interaction methods, for example text messaging, Twitter, mobile photos, mobile downloads, Facebook etc.

I’ll sign off here and allow you to turn the page and read through some realworld examples of place-based social media in action. I’ll be delving deeper into this topic at the upcoming n.gage Digital Signage Forum. I look forward to seeing you there. 

4. SEND MESSAGE

Stephen Randall is founder and chief executive of LocaModa Inc., a place-based social media company. Prior to LocaModa, he was a founder of Symbian, the leading mobile operating system provider. Prior to Symbian, Stephen was President of Psion Software, which he helped build into a global licensing business. Contact Stephen on: srandall@locamoda.com or follow him on twitter.com/stephenrandall

• Offer multiple channels of connectivity e.g. ‘Find us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter.’

Depending on the application, context and the capability of the DOOH network, sending a message should result in some immediate feedback. This feedback can be to the user’s mobile phone (in Active and Interactive Place-Based Social Media) and/or on the DOOH screen (only in Interactive Place-Based Social Media).

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Cup Buzz DOOH

Cup Buzz DOOH was developed by LocaModa for AT&T for their World Cup 2010 sponsorship. The application is an interactive place-based social media application that connected jukeboxes as well as other DOOH channels to the same application on AT&T’s World Cup Facebook fan page. World Cup tweets and text messages were filtered and moderated in real time and then displayed across multiple participating DOOH networks as well as in Facebook. Cup Buzz connected millions of conversation threads around every team and nation qualifying in every round of the World Cup and displayed those conversations on AT&T’s Facebook page as well as at leading sport’s bars across USA via leading DOOH networks. The campaign ran in 800 sports bars in the top 10 USA DMAs via Zoom Media & Marketing, Ecast, Barcast and Panel Group networks and generated over 400,000 messages. The content engaged audiences in venues and on line and in the process achieved its mission of enabling the brand to be more closely associated with the buzz around the World Cup.

PRN Celebrity Trends

Celebrity Trends was built for PRN’s CheckoutTV network in supermarkets. The application is an active place-based social media application. The results of the ‘trending stars’ are not shown in real time (even though they are available in real time) and are displayed in a localised form. Users in venues can participate and receive confirmation and other responses on their phones rather than on the venue screens.

LocaModa at West Virginia University’s Arena

LocaModa Interactive place-based social media is often used at conferences and events. One notable event was West Virginia University’s Student Enrolment Day, where 4500 incoming freshman students engaged with the university for the first time via LocaModa. Messages can be filtered G, R or unrated (similar to cinema ratings) which automatically filters messages according to a database of banned phrases and words (which can include competitive brands as well as inappropriate language). The LocaModa moderation tools are web-based so can be used on site or remotely.

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Make it Relevant

Retailers: know your customer, tailor your message, reap the rewards. Story: Chris Heap

I

t’s in the ‘last 10 feet’, as they say. That’s retail digital signage. You have this window of time and space to bring everything together. You need to know what to say, how to say it and when to say it. This is my job, my expertise, and I love it. I have large retailers coming to me and saying: “we’ve heard about digital signage, we know some have succeeded – like Walmart – and others have struggled – like Tesco and Sainsbury – can you strip away the layers of the onion skin and tell us what works and what doesn’t, both commercially and from a marketing perspective? Can you help shortcut our time to market, help us deliver a proof of concept pilot quickly, knowing we’ve de-risked it as much as we can, based on your experience.” The answer is ‘yes’. That’s what I do. DO YOUR HOMEWORK & INVEST IN STRATEGY I’m aware that Australia hasn’t adopted digital signage as early or as quickly as the US or the UK. I also know that there are lots of marketing and media-savvy people in Australia who would adopt and deploy digital signage if providers and operators in the signage market stepped up and spoke your language about the outcomes. The market has to this point been very features-driven: ‘this is what it can do’, ‘this is what it’s comprised of ’, and not necessarily what it means for your business… the outcomes. I call this the digital signage ‘air gap’, a gap which traditionally resists a flow of impartial information. But without a clear strategy as to what the network is there to do – not just to the business but to the consumer as well – investing in signage is ill advised. Here are the two sides of the story: PUSH/PULL OF SIGNAGE On one hand you have the marketing story, namely: does this signage investment deliver return on investment, return on experience and return on operations? And I would contend that every piece of research points to the fact that signage does elicit a good response from consumers, and does increase sales if the content is relevant and correct.

Then on the other side of the equation you have the tech space. These guys have pushed solutions for many years, but as a commodity-sell. Very much like the AV space, they sell componentry, but again that’s only half the story. What the end user wants, of course, is what I call a one-touch strategic solution. They want to strip away the layers of what works and what doesn’t. And like I said, by having that insight we can shortcut the time to market and reduce the risk. RELEVANCY So for digital signage to be successful it needs to be relevant. And to be relevant you need to understand your customers’ behaviour; you

need to understand the relationship a customer has with the content touchpoints as they walk through your store. How much knowledge you have about that consumer determines what you say to them, how you say it and when. When: The ‘when’ in the equation can be illustrated by looking at the classic point of sale display at the checkout. Clearly, there’s no point presenting an in-store sales message at the checkout, because at that point the customer has already been through the store and they’re on their way out – the content is irrelevant.

How: One simple example of how you present the message lies in the snappiness of your executions. But you can’t accurately determine the length of a loop and the number of items in the loop without knowing your customer ‘dwell time’. Do some basic research and understand how long your customers spend in your store. Clearly there’s a huge difference in customer behaviour when you compare, say, a convenience store to a large hardware depot, and the content should reflect that. What: What you say is (ideally) as targeted and as specific as possible. For example, if you’re a larger store it’s important to drill down into your figures even more. A department store will have very different customer stats for the beauty department as compared to the AV department. 100% of your audience will walk into a department store but you’ll find that young mums with kids rarely go into the AV department. Having that understanding of the consumer will directly impact on what you say at any given point in that journey. What you will quickly comprehend is the need for multichannel media – not just one store-wide story, because that message will be irrelevant to many. Of course, having a more targeted, multichannel approach will be more expensive to implement – both in the cost of the hardware and the content – but there’s little point in pursuing a one-size-fits-all solution that pleases no one. LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE Is there value in digital signage? In my view, the jury is in. Retailers who have deployed relevant digital signage experience a 10–15% increase in sales on average across the board. So the question isn’t so much ‘is the value there?’, it’s ‘is the knowledge there?’. That’s where the benefit of experience really counts. And it’s why I have no qualms in sharing my experiences of (what I like to call) the Tesco Experiment [see box item]. In fact, later in May I’ll be presenting at the n.gage Digital Signage Forum where I will be unpacking these concepts in more detail. See you there! 

About the author: Chris Heap is founder and Managing Director of the Imperative Group, an international, independent Digital Place-Based Media development and communications agency. Prior to Imperative, Chris worked for several in-store marketing businesses, developing and implementing strategies to improve the offering and effectiveness of digital media across a range of retail, corporate, healthcare and outdoor networks. Chris will be presenting at the n.gage Digital Signage Forum. For more details on how to attend go: www.ngagewithus.com

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FROM TESCO TO WALMART

In the UK, Tesco TV (latterly Tesco Screens) piloted in 100 largest stores between 2004 and 2008. It was an enormously complex marketing proposition with over 50 screens per store – representing a display cost of $300,000+ per store alone, before content and operations costs. Tesco TV/Screens proved without question that digital signage as a marketing tool worked. Customer satisfaction was over 90% and the network delivered on average 12% sales uplift but sometimes the figures could be much higher. Tesco TV ultimately failed (it was decommissioned in 2008) not because it didn’t work as a marketing tool, but because the business model behind it was flawed. Too much cost coupled with a reliance on just one revenue stream (advertising money) led to its demise. Fast forward to today and take a look at the Walmart ‘Smart Network’, a screen network in approximately 4500 stores across North America delivering multiple channels of content in key areas of the store. You can almost see the lessons learnt from Tesco applied to this model, from fewer screens and fewer channels (to manage costs) delivering similar sales lifts because the content is designed is ‘smart programmed’ (delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time) which generates customer satisfaction and positive response. Today, the market and the business models have evolved significantly on the back of extensive research and best practice. Screen media is gaining ground as an advertising and communications medium that is both effective and measurable, which is why Gartner Research places screen media on the plateau of productivity in their famous hype cycle.

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NEED TO KNOW: RETAIL SCREEN MEDIA SUMMARISED Strengths • Viewer engagement delivers commercial results, as evidenced through average sales in FMCG networks of between 10-15% SKU uplift and category growth of between 1-2% • Screen-media offers a significant level of “communication mobility” between screens, touch-points and venues • Flexible scheduling and programming provides users with total control • Proximity to the business and “the last ten feet” key • Responsiveness to external factors (weather/sports results/traffic & travel) are key levers • Interoperability with other digital media Weaknesses • No widely accepted standards for audience and impact measurement • Lack of formatted standards for content between networks • Emerging acceptance with agency and advertisers • Multitude of small individual networks makes planning and buying complex • ROI model evolving but not yet fully reconciled • Technology costs reducing but still a big capex investment Worst practises • Not having a clear communications strategy • Repurposing inappropriate TV and web content • Not correctly planning & matching item lengths/playlist duration by hour, day, week and month to viewer dwell times and venue operations • Misunderstanding the needs/interests/desires of the viewers • Putting technology first • Over-specifying technologies that hinder, rather than help deliver an efficient and effective network • Over specifying zones & screens: it adds capex and opex costs • Overcomplicating Best practises • Integrating digital as part of the core communications mix • Creating a viewer engagement strategy and a brand/editorial ‘bible’ that informs what viewers see, when they see it, for how long and what value they are offered • Defining Key Performance Indicators to reflect viewer value and commercial return • Commission viewer research to identify success against KPIs • Having a clear commercial strategy in place for funding and for revenues • Developing technical solutions that can scale up and diversify as required • Outsource non-essential or costly tasks from the internal balance sheet • Allocating champions internally to manage brand/content/IT and commercial Source: Imperative Group (2011)

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Smart Retailing: Content that Counts

The man pivotal to the success of Walmart’s Smart Network, is here to spread the gospel to Australian retailers. Interview: Christopher Holder

M

eet Michael Hiatt. Mike is president of Dynamic Retailing in the US – a business he created to advise retailers on building retail media networks. His main claim to fame is as a former business leader and strategist for the Walmart Smart Network. Mike oversaw the design of the network and selected key suppliers to build and implement the new in-store system. Christopher Holder: We’re looking forward to your visit Mike. What message are you bringing to Australian retailers?

Mike Hiatt: I’ll be focussing on business modelling. I’ll be helping retailers to understand why if they’re going to invest in a digital signage network they need to be actively engaged with it, financially and emotionally. It needs to be a strategic medium. CH: So you’re seeing too many poorly resolved digital signage networks?

MH: A lot of people are installing networks but they’re not engaged. A thirdparty will promise them a monthly cheque for advertising revenue, and that’s as far as their interest extends.

Their systems are lacking, they’re not integrated with the in-store experience, customers don’t tend to find them viable, and they typically add clutter to a often already cluttered environment. CH: How should retailers be thinking about their digital signage network if it isn’t as an advertising revenue generator?

MH: Retail digital signage should sell you more product. More specifically, it should increase ‘basket sizes’. And that’s the goal, I want retailers to understand that if they do it right they can take care of their customers, give their suppliers another avenue to advertise and launch product and, thirdly, sell more of their own product in the store. That’s the focus: helping retailers to increase basket sizes through the network. RIGHT FROM WRONG

CH: Where can things go horribly wrong?

MH: Don’t take another medium and replicate it in the store – whether it be the internet or TV – it doesn’t work. CH: Okay. Why?

MH: If you have a TV in the store with commercials and long-form programming, and you tell stories like you would in the lounge room – that format loses its way in the store.

Likewise, if you try to bring the internet into the store – via a traditional computer terminal, keyboard and mouse – that doesn’t work either. That setup loses its way in the store – it’s too familiar to people. The only way to tackle this problem is to provide or produce content that’s useful and relevant for the in-store environment. It has to be different. CH: So people don’t like to be ‘sold’ to via digital signage?

MH: Not in a traditional TV commercial way, no. We don’t need another medium that simply tries to flog advertising without any value add, there are plenty of those already. It needs to work to be effective. And what I mean by ‘work’ is that it needs to work for the customer. It needs to bring value to what the customer is doing; the mode that their in while shopping; and what mindset they’re in – these streams can assist them with that mindset. 28

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CH: Right. So not just any old content will do?

MH: Absolutely not. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re creating content you won’t see anywhere else. You’d be surprised to see how much repurposed content there is out there. Either it’s really bad content and no one cares about it, or it’s repurposed from another medium and is therefore ignorable – customers have already seen it on TV and they don’t care. That’s the challenge: creating content that matters. CH: What’s an example of developing content that works?

MH: During my time at Walmart we understood the importance of a weather forecast. And I’m not simply talking about a RSS newsfeed. The system knows what the prevailing weather conditions are in that location – it has that information. So it can promote specific product in the following days based on the weather. In the same way, you can go to Coca-Cola and propose to them that whenever it’s over 25 degrees we’ll start running Coke ads.

CH: Right, so it’s about keeping your powder dry and choosing your moment to give the message the best chance of success?

MH: That’s right. For example, the media can impact the sales of a product far more profoundly at certain times of the day and certain days of the week. Once you know that, you can make strategic decisions on what’s the best product to promote at that point in time based on what the sales are telling you and what the customers are telling you they want to see. CH: Sounds like we need to get smarter with our metrics?

MH: Absolutely. The future of this thing is in the analytics. It’s about data feeds from various sources, and about the retail calendar: what’s going on in the store and how do we set the store based on the calendar. CH: Like Christmas theming, for example?

MH: Well, dig deeper and take St. Patrick’s Day as an example. Most mainstream retailers don’t do anything for St Patrick’s day. Typically most stores go from St Valentine’s day to Easter, and they effectively skip March. But with digital signage systems it’s easy enough to reset your in-store media for that weekend or the two or three days around St Patrick’s day, then go back to promoting Easter. Dynamic signage allows you to do that whereas with static print campaign or regular signage, you don’t have that opportunity. SIGNAGE IN THE MIX

CH: Walmart has obviously embraced digital signage as a key part of its marketing mix. But do you find there’s a more general reticence among retailers to get excited about what digital signage can do?

MH: Digital signage is mostly looked at as ‘below the line’ marketing, along with direct mailing and the like. Retailers want to see above-the-line marketing like TV advertising and print media. Digital signage can represent an area they don’t know what to do with and, to be honest, many don’t care to learn – they’re quite happy to stick with what they know. It was the same story with the internet 10 or 15 years ago. But the internet had a clear path to success, insofar as we knew how people were consuming internet marketing – everyone had a computer and keyboard and they would see the promotion on a screen in the same way. Whereas digital signage isn’t that way at all, it can change from store to store, and your hospitality market is very different to retail, while sports arenas, doctors’ offices are all different again. CH: Once interest is piqued, what fears or concerns are you meeting about digital signage?


Screen Time: Walmartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Smart Network provides department-specific channels including the television wall in the electronics department.

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WALMART: IN THE BEGINNING… Original Walmart Smart Network PR, September 3, 2008 Walmart to Bring New ‘Walmart Smart Network’ to 2700 Stores: First ‘shopper-intelligent network at retail’ utilises screens throughout the store, custom content, message optimization and IPTV Network developed after two years and $10m of R&D with participation from leading advertisers In a live event, simulcast between New York City and Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart executives today unveiled the new Walmart Smart Network that will provide shoppers relevant and useful information via in-store TV. The first “shopper-intelligent network at retail” is the result of two years and $10 million in research and development used to identify the optimal locations, applications and programming for reaching the millions of consumers who visit the retailer’s stores each week. Walmart is the first retailer in the US to rollout a next generation retail media network that is supported by a flexible, open enterprise platform powered by Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) – technology that will allow the retailer to monitor and control more than 27,000 screens in more than 2700 stores across the country. The Walmart Smart Network will also deploy response measurement and message optimisation technologies to enable delivery of the most relevant content to shoppers – by store, by screen, by day and by time-of-day. All of the content on the Walmart Smart Network will be customised, designed to deliver helpful product information to consumers at the point of decision when and where they need it in the store. “We’ve built a network tailored to the way consumers shop our stores – delivering helpful, custom, content closest to the point of decision – that helps them shop smarter,” said Stephen Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart Stores, U.S. “The Smart Network is intelligent too, because every screen and every message has a purpose and we will be analysing point of sale data on an ongoing basis to deliver a shopper-centric communications platform. In short, the Walmart Smart Network is a win-win: improving the shopping experience for our customers and driving results for our supplier partners.” Walmart will work with the following companies to implement the new network: • Custom programming on the new network will be provided by Studio2, a newly formed company led by key advertising executives who are experts in in-store communications and were involved in the development and testing of the new network. • Network operations, implementation, advertising sales and HDTV wall programming will be provided by Thomson’s Premier Retail Networks (PRN), Walmart’s current partner for these services. • Response measurement, learning, and message optimisation technologies will be provided by DS-IQ, which supplied analytical insights for the network pilot last year. “I am incredibly proud of the partners who have joined us in this new venture,” said Clint McClain, Senior Director of Emerging Media for Walmart. “We have tested the new network extensively over the last two years and these partners have demonstrated best-in-class ability to engage shoppers with custom content, to manage a reliable and intelligent in-store network, and to deliver analysis that can power ongoing learning and optimization for our customers and partners.” The Walmart Smart Network will begin rollout in September 2008. Upon arrival in the first stores later this month, the new network will deliver messaging at the entrance of Walmart Supercenters on ‘Welcome Screens’; in the departments that shoppers visit most often on ‘Category Screens’ in grocery, health & beauty and electronics; and on ‘Endcap Screens’ that will advertise the items displayed on key endcap displays throughout the store. “One of the biggest challenges you face as an advertiser these days is really understanding your target audience in such a way that you know the best place to connect them with your message so that it can have the most impact,” said Kim Miller, Vice President of Marketing at Kellogg. “I believe moving forward, advertising at the point of sale will become increasingly important to win the market. The results we’ve seen during tests of the new Walmart Smart Network have been impressive.” Walmart anticipates that the chain-wide deployment of 27,000 screens and its new Walmart Smart Network will be completed by early 2010.

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In the Washup: Endcap Screens providing bespoke, product-specific information has proven to be a powerful money spinner for Walmart.

MH: Naturally, people are always concerned about ROI – is this going to be just a big sink hole for money or are we going to successfully do something here? So, naturally, people need to be convinced that it will sell them more product. If not, what’s the point? After all, in most cases the amount of advertising revenue generated by these systems doesn’t make up for the bother of putting them in. And that’s the message I have for retailers: it’s not so much about ad revenue, it’s increasing the customer basket – selling more product.

CH: Can retailers dip their toes in the digital signage sphere, or do they need to jump in boots ’n’ all to enjoy the benefits? MH: They can dip their toes. We’ve done a number of store pilots. But it’s true that there are a number of fixed costs associated with a deployment. So if you’re going all out to produce amazing, unique content but only spread the cost over 20 stores rather than 200, you’ll feel that.

After the pilot stage there is a pressure: you either need to go for it, or get out of it entirely – once you’ve decided it’s the right thing, roll it out quickly or pull out. You can’t leave the pilot system running on infinite loop for 12 months, it will do more harm than good.

WALMART LESSONS CH: Can you give me a couple of teasers for what you’ll be presenting at n.gage? What’s a good digital signage truism you’ve learnt from hard-won experience? MH: Being close to the customer. By which I mean, the position of the screens are important. The closer to eye level and more intimate they can be, the more relevant they are and the higher the response from the customers. That’s true whether you have one store or a million. Bringing screens down from way up in the air to eye level is very important. CH: The Walmart Smart Network is multichannel, with different content across various departments. What screens work best?

MH: There are three different kinds of screen in the Walmart network: a large-format Welcome Screen that greets you at the store entrance; the Department Screen, whether that be grocery, and health an wellness or the TV wall in the audiovisual department; and then you have Endcap Screens promoting specific products. The channels that provided us with the best results was the Endcap displays. We were regularly getting a 20% sales increase, sometimes 30%. CH: And we’re obviously not talking about running TV ads at the end of the aisle?

MH: No, it gave us a chance to promote product in fresh ways – especially for established or traditional products like Corn Flakes. We might work with the Kellogg marketing team and produce a spot for fried icecream. It’s a quirky dessert here – not your everyday treat – but before you put the icecream in your deep frier you roll it in corn flakes. And so with these screens you can show that happening: “you oughtta pick up a box of Corn Flakes and do this thing for the family”. You sell a lot of Corn Flakes doing that. Endcap screens also allowed us to more effectively launch new product, by opening up the box and letting people in. CH: Thanks Mike. Great to talk to you and we look forward to hearing you in person at n.gage. MH: Thanks Chris, see you there. 

Michael Hiatt, the President of Dynamic Retailing, LLC, is the former business leader and strategist for the new Walmart Smart Network. Prior to Walmart, Michael Hiatt was the Vice President of media services at B/O/W/G Advertising in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mike started his media career at WordPerfect Corporation in 1992; he later became the director of media programs for Novell, Inc. In 1995, at Novell, he created one the first ‘extranets’ in the history of the World Wide Web.

Digital Signage Forum

www.ngagewithus.com Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

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INTER’S OWN GOAL

JOINT VENTURE TO REV UP CADILLACS

A few of us can get a bit excitable at this time of year over our preferred flavour of football, but as we all know the most die-hard footy fanaticism pales into insignificance when compared with the passion you’ll find at some of the big soccer – sorry, football – clubs in Europe. Brazil’s Sport Club Internacional (otherwise known as Inter), one of the country’s leading soccer teams, has its own museum located at Inter’s stadium in Porto Alegre that attracts 1500-2000 visitors every week. More than just a dusty collection of gold cups, the museum boasts state-of-the-art projection including a unique ‘floor display’, numerous LED screens and an intriguing ‘mosaic’ of 36 televisions all showing different, famous moments in the club’s history. Digital signage specialist C-nario has announced that its C-nario Messenger software has been selected as the main engine behind new multimedia displays. And, looking ahead, C-nario will help the museum develop a 3D display called ‘Tactics and History’ where visitors browse for past matches, players, and championships using a three-dimensional interface. Let’s hope someone kicks a goal.

MultiTouch has announced a new collaborative effort with BlueWater Technologies, a Michigan-based audiovisual design and display firm that provides custom trade-show, retail in-store and custom workplace installations. Together they will be targeting the industrial display installation market across North America and what better industry to begin with in the good ol’ USA than the various large automotive manufacturers? First cab off the rank will be a display for General Motors Cadillac division to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit (where else?). The Cadillac display features nine MultiTouch Cell 46 Advanced displays, running informational videos and applications related to the latest Cadillac models. BlueWater Technologies has had a long association with the automotive industry and MultiTouch has also previously worked on automotive applications. The two companies will jointly represent each other at the NAIAS.

Lightwell: (02) 9319 0311 or www.lightwell.com.au

C-nario: www.c-nario.com

Global installed base of consumer connected devices will top 2.1 billion units by SAY HELLO TO BILL & KATE: Forget wading your way through War and Peace, the Old Testament and even the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. They would all pale into insignificance compared to having to read the 264page special Royal Wedding edition of the UK’s Hello magazine. It’s hard to imagine just what tiny iota of wedding day trivial won’t get a guernsey in this edition – the royal corgi’s dental plan? Prince William’s soggy beer mat collection? And anyone thinking they’d be immune to over-exposure by simply not buying the magazine had no hope, because in a ‘media first’ for four days Hello streamed must-see still images of the wedding live and as-it-happened

NEWS:

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to Ocean Outdoor’s Two Towers, a pair of 5m x 7.5m double-sided electronic billboards that flank the A4 motorway into London. Ocean Outdoor is a ‘boutique’ media company specialising in large-format advertising, often utilising iconic landmarks. Hello’s fourday digital signage campaign of royal wedding madness would have reached 1.1 million motorists. Not including car-pooling. Ocean Outdoor: www.oceanoutdoor.com DOES MY BUM LOOK BIG IN THIS?: A Netherlands company called Nedap Retail has an interactive product called – wait for it... the Tweet

Mirror. Except it’s not a mirror, of course. Designed for fashion houses and clothes retailers it’s a large touchscreen display with an built-in camera and internet connection. Lurking in the corner of the change rooms anyone trying on new clothes can take pictures of themselves from various angles, then either email them home or tweet them to Facebook, friends and family for an instant, honest opinion. It’s not just about providing a fun, clever service on the spot. Shoppers who resist the impulse-buy often have a change of heart when they later see the pictures in their inbox and they can purchase the item over the web instead with confidence. Potentially,


MATROX SQUEEZE 2 INTO 1

NOTHING PERPLEXING AT PALEXPO

Matrox Graphics has announced the new Mura MPX Series display wall controllers for collaborative display walls and matrix switcher/scaler installations. The Mura MPX Series cards combine input and output cards onto a single-slot, PCI Express x16 Gen 2 board, delivering 64Gb/s full duplex data transfer for displaying full frame rate, HD video input channels. The MPX Series output/input boards feature highly flexible, universal input channel support for both digital and analogue video (HD, SL-DVI, RGB/VGA, Component, S-Video, and Composite), plus capture and display data sources at full RGB888 image quality with zero compression. System integrators can add multiple MPX output/input boards within a single system and incorporate MPX video capture cards for high-volume, analogue video input deployments. Designed for digital signage and AV applications, Mura MPX Series includes an updated software development kit that’s backwards compatible with the existing Matrox PPX/VPX Display Wall Series. Mura MPX Series can also be integrated within switcher/scaler solutions, providing all-in-one switching, signal conversion, scaling, and de-interlacing capabilities.

Palexpo based in Geneva hosts about a hundred exhibitions, conferences, congresses and events of all types throughout the calendar year. It’s one of the most important exhibition centres in Switzerland with its seven halls and 102,000sqm of covered surface. Palexpo welcomes every year over 1.35 million visitors so, not surprisingly, it’s a complex that has quickly taken advantage of the benefits of digital signage for getting clear messages across to a large audience. Over 75 large format screens are found throughout the Palexpo halls and each of these are driven by Spinetix HMP100 Hyper Media Players and centrally managed by Stinova’s DMS software. I’ll quote here: “Stinova’s DMS for VMware virtualisation fulfils a key prerequisite for enterprise cloud infrastructure deployment. Virtualised DMS offers simplified installation and easy integration in Palexpo’s dynamic computing environment” (feel free to read that twice – actually, don’t bother). Let’s hope the DS content is a little more concise. Loosely translated, the HMP100s and Stinova’s software are getting along just fine.

Madison Technologies: 1800 669 999 or www.madisontech.com.au

New Magic: (03) 9722 9700 or www.newmagic.com.au

2015 – ‘Global Consumer Connected Device Market Forecast’, Infinite Research brand-recognition by the Tweet Mirror could trigger on-screen suggestions for value-adding sales. Maybe they should chuck in some bum-reducing Photoshop presets too? Nedap Retail: www.nedap-retail.com MATROX MULTI-DISPLAY: Matrox Graphics Inc have announced a new software release for the Matrox Extio F2208 dual-monitor and Matrox Extio F2408 quadmonitor KVM extenders. The package allows a variety of new multi-display configurations that includes support for two PCIe in-

terface cards, main units and Extio F2408E Expander boxes to drive up to 16 different displays, plus keyboard, mouse, audio and up to eight additional USB 2.0 ports. This can be over a distance of up to 1km from a single PC – perhaps they should chuck in a free pair of binoculars? New Magic Australia: (03) 9722 9700 or www.newmagic.com.au BRIGHTSIGN TABLETOP: BrightSign has a new turnkey Tabletop Digital Signage Solution. The BrightSign TD1012 is a solid-state freestanding tower, offering an end-

IDT: 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au

sion have come together in a new partnership to create and deliver a fully-integrated, CoolSign-enabled digital signage solution. The system combines Haivision’s CoolSign digital signage software platform, pre-configured on a powerful media player PC, and Panasonic’s professional LCD displays. This bundled digital signage package offers businesses simplified delivery and easy setup with that pre-configuration, a CoolSign player license certificate plus a two-year parts and service warranty.

PANASONIC PACKAGE: Panasonic Solutions Company and Haivi-

Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

to-end digital signage solution that doesn’t require a PC nor any external power or wiring. Ready to use right out of the box, the BrightSign TD1012 features a durable steel enclosure with a built-in replaceable/ rechargeable battery that provides approximately 12 hours of operation. It has Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) capabilities and a 12.1-inch hi-res screen. Users simply add their content for an instant digital sign that fits on a table, counter or desktop.

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COATHANGER HOOKUP

A MODEL CLIENT

Bridge Climb opened its doors in the Rocks, Sydney, on 1 October 1998 providing tourists access to the catwalks and ladders of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the very first time (the locals aren’t that silly). Bridge Climb commissioned a new Climber Base to be located in two of the original vaulted arch spaces of the Harbour Bridge’s undercarriage. Not surprisingly, the brief involved working within significant heritage constraints and, to minimise disruption to the popular attraction, delivering the renovation within time and budget. Once the Climber Base was completed and operating (14 hours a day, seven days a week) the bridge climb organisation couldn’t risk any equipment downtime – it needed to work reliably and non‐stop. AV installer The Shirley Spectra chose Samsung LCD displays, BrightSign HD2000 solid state media players and Magenta Research’s distribution products to be employed over Cat5 cabling to more than thirty receivers. Samsung 460DR outdoor screens were installed behind the reception counter to counteract the sunlight streaming through the large archway windows. Over 150,000 people passing through the new climber base annually.

Apparently sand castles wouldn’t do. A total of 41 BrightSign solid-state controllers were used to deliver a multimedia presentation of the massive Abu Dhabi city model at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2010 exhibition. Measuring 23m x 17m, the Abu Dhabi model needed 20 synchronised BrightSign media players to illustrate the government Urban Planning Council’s vision of what the city will look like in 2030. At a scale of 1:2000 to show significant details of existing landmarks (standard resolution images would have looked too pixilated), so ultra-high resolution movie masters were created. The footage was then subdivided into 16 1024 x 768 pixel rectangles routed to individual ceiling-mounted projectors from separate BrightSign HD210 media players running in sync – that’s 16 projectors and media players, too. Three more BrightSign HD210 players provided the video images for the custom-made 11m screen at one end of the model and a BrightSign HD1010 player delivered the sound tracks in English and Arabic. 

Image Design Technology: (IDT) 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au

The Shirley Spectra: (02) 9432 7838 or www.shirleyspectra.com.au

Aproximately 111 digital signage networks in 47,000 UK retail locations are FACE VALUE: Combining state-of-theart algorithms in pattern recognition, movement estimation and feature analysis, Quividi’s software VidiReports is a face detection solution that “estimates with a great accuracy the exposure of human faces to a point of interest” – no, it won’t be tricked by that Groucho Marx false nose, moustache and glasses. Quividi’s technology has been developed entirely in-house with the goal of minimising CPU requirements and allowing the use of low-cost hardware components. VidiCenter is a companion solution for data analysis and storage.

NEWS:

Quividi: www.quividi.com

BRIGHTSIGN CONTROLLERS: BrightSign is now shipping two new models of solid-state media controllers with built-in wi-fi capabilities – the HD210w and HD1010w. Both controllers deliver simple looping playback of full HD video at 1080p, images and audio. They also have an Ethernet port which allows users to sync multiple screens for video wall applications without an internet connection. The HD1010w offers advanced interactivity with support for buttons, touchscreens, LEDs, motion sensors and any GPIO or USB device. Optional accessories are also available for adding extra AV and control port. IDT: 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au

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GEFEN 2X2: It happens – after a few beers someone decides to gaffertape all the televisions together and make your own video wall to watch the footy. It can be done. The Gefen DVI Video Wall Controller outputs a single DVI source onto four displays at up to 1920x1200p60 to create a 2x2 video wall for sports fans, sorry, digital signage applications. The Controller accommodates many different displays and bezel sizes thanks to its border control feature. A built-in on-screen display (OSD) makes operation easy and an IR remote is included to fight over. Amber Technology: 1800 251367 or www.ambertech.com.au


HIGH DEFINITION HISTORY

GENCOM’S WORLD CUP DREAM

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is blending timeless relics of Australia’s history with digital imaging technology to bring its popular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gallery to life. The Gallery has purchased a 103-inch Panasonic full hi-def commercial display panel and installed it in the foyer of the gallery. However, as with most of the gallery’s equipment, the installation isn’t permanent and part of the process for choosing the Panasonic display was to determine if it was durable enough to withstand frequent relocation. At the moment, the monitor is showing highdefinition video of artists working on their creations, giving the art a human face and enhancing the overall atmosphere of the exhibition. The 103-inch panel has a moving picture resolution of 1080 lines and a contrast ratio of 40,000:1. For greater protection in high-traffic, public locations (ah... in a museum?) the panel also features tempered glass on the front.

Eden Park – New Zealand’s largest stadium – has undergone a NZ$240m makeover in time for the Rugby World Cup, where it will host nine matches, including the final as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Eden Park now features around 250 Panasonic display screens to keep spectators engaged anywhere in the stadium with customised high definition coverage of games and events. In addition to the action on the field, the screens can display real-time information – individually or by group – such as maps to the nearest exit and real-time traffic flows and is easily managed by the venue. The StadiumVision technology means the screens can also deliver unique, targeted promotions and branding opportunities for sponsors that can display different content depending on where screens are located. Gencom was contracted by Panasonic (NZ) to build the system and the build of the plasma screens. The project involved careful coordination for the enclosure and mounting of the screens and to retain consistency with the Stadium overall.

Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

Gencom: +64 9 913 7500 or www.gencom.com

delivering content via 131,000 screens in 2010 – POPAI Screen Survey, 2011 OMNIVEX SNOW JOB: Lots of snow on the telly, but no need to bash the side. The World Ski Championships are a big deal taking place at the new national arena in Oslo. The majority of the 300,000 spectators used public transport to get there, so Rom Eiendom, owner of much of Norway’s train system, decided to use the Omnivex digital signage within the train and bus stations to display information about the event, how to get there and even stream live content from the competitions. Communitech: (07) 3205 6188 or sales@communitech.com.au

FROM GLASS TO SCREEN: Vikuiti rear projection film is a 3M product that turns any transparent surface into a projection screen. Shop windows, display cabinets and office street frontage can be transformed into dynamic digital signage and by using a projector and media player combination the equipment can be safely installed somewhere inside the premises – rather than (for example) using a large plasma display behind the glass that will just attract ram-raids every Saturday night. Vikuiti film comes in standard projectionscreen sizes of 45-inch and 60-inch either 4:3 or 16:9 ratio or you can

buy a roll of the stuff in 2m, 5m or 10m lengths. Obviously, Vikuiti is adhesive but it’s not a window-tint kind of product – it can be removed from the glass easily without chemicals or heat. A quick swipe with the bottom of your tee-shirt and you’re good to go. 3M Australia: 136 136 or www.solutions.3m.com.au 3D IN THE HAND: It wasn’t so long ago we thought that watching anything on a mobile was a bit silly – just turn on the telly instead. Undeterred by Luddites like us, LG Electronics and YouTube an-

nounced a partnership to provide 3D content to users on their phones. LG’s upcoming Androidpowered premium smartphones will enable users not only to capture and view 3D videos without glasses, but also to upload and share them instantly with others via YouTube. The new partnership is part of a broader push into 3D entertainment by LG and the world’s largest online video community. Today it’s your phone and YouTube, tomorrow it’s the television and the computer monitor. LG Electronics: (02) 8805 4409 or b2b@lge.com.au Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

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WHO’S WHO:

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-

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology


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 gefen@ambertech.com.au 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

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WHO’S WHO:

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.

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 sales@idt.com.au Image Design Technology (IDT) is based in

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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, 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.

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.

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.

LG ELECTRONICS (02) 8805 4409 or b2b@lge.com.au 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

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology


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 displays@nec.com.au 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

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WHO’S WHO:

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 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.

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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 info@sumovisual.com.au 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. 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.

TECHTEL (02) 9906 1488 or www.techtel.tv

SPINETIX www.spinetix.com Distributor: Madison Technologies 1800 66 99 99 or www.madisontech.com.au

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.

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

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,

Digital Place-Based Media & Technology

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.

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 sales@gilkon.com.au 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 chris@dsmag.com.au


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1800 20 20 10 Now that’s what I call ‘digital’ signage. A couple of weeks ago a high-profile footballer spat the dummy and didn’t like the jeers he got from opposition supporters as he was benched. So en route he flashed the crowd his middle digit. Of course, the shocking, appalling act was caught on tape by roughly 12 different cameras from seven different angles, then replayed in super slow-motion and high-definition on the scoreboard screen so all 60,000 beer-gurgling, pie-munching punters at the game could be outraged and offended instead of the half-dozen yobbos on the boundary who probably deserved to be flipped the bird. Who gets to decide when digital signage is going to be offensive? Sure, we’ve got all the usual controlling organisations that have overseen content on billboards, posters and the like for decades, but DS is going to different. The boundaries can be pushed. For a start, it can change according to who’s looking at it – we’ve touched on this thing before about cameras being embedded in screens and using recognition software to instantly pigeon-hole you into a shopping stereotype [see Issue 1].

So here’s the scene: you’ve got one of those huge electronic billboards advertising a nasal spray that will enhance... hmm, let’s say, longevity. It’s a sensitive subject and a lot of blokes aren’t entirely honest about the problem (personally, I don’t mind admitting that about four hours is the limit for me – I must have a chat with my GP). However, it’s these kinds of sensitive advertisements that we’re seeing more and more. They’re no longer restricted to the back pages of men’s magazines and it’s not just the chap’s bathroom cabinet getting attention. All sorts of previously unmentionable sanitary products are getting the full, advertising treatment.

Until now it needed a fine line of creative subtlety, which unfortunately is something that doesn’t always get the message across. Rude words are halfobscured so they’re not rude anymore. Naked bits are tastefully concealed to the point of everyone losing interest. Young women are inexplicably riding bikes in jodhpurs with rictus grins, much to the bemusement of male onlookers. In other words, no one quite gets it unless you look, and think about it, closely – a marketing cardinal sin. In the case of our magic nasal spray, the billboard in its most ‘censored’ state probably confuses the hell out of a lot of people. Why would anyone want to increase the length of their

nose? And why do you need to be wearing only your undies, when you snort the treatment? Note that I say a censored state. Here’s the difference that digital signage can make. In the same way that the hidden camera will recognise you wear jeans (cue the denim advert), a floral shirt (surf shop), you’re a bit chubby (fast food promo – cheeky bastard) and need glasses (optometrist) it might also pick you for being either a nerdy, virginal wallflower who blushes at the sight of Bonds posters or a serious player who makes Robbie Williams look like an altar boy. Accordingly, the billboard will adjust its content. For our luckless nerd the nasal spray advertisement will stay unchanged. For our stud, who has seen it all and needs a billboard with impact to get his attention, it can switch to some kind of full-frontal, completely naked image of an adult movie starlet with the challenge, “ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH?” or something equally unambiguous. Too confronting? How about a multiple choice, touchscreen digital signage that lets you decide how explicit you want your sensitive advertisements. Once you’ve been lured by an attractive splash-screen there can be four virtual buttons. A: You live with your mum and have no idea what all the fuss is about. B: You’re no longer a virgin, but the future’s not looking bright. C: You have a partner, but none of your friends are jealous, which is worrying. D: You have a massive porn collection and nothing can possibly shock you anymore. ‘Please select the advertisement of choice. This device has just scanned your iPhone for your email address. You’ll be getting appropriate promotional offers soon.’

‘What about my Mum pushing the shopping trolley behind me? She blushes hearing mention of the word bloomers on Blue Hills,’ I hear you say. Fair enough. And this is where the new 3D technology comes brilliantly into play. Explicit advertisements will only be available in 3D and the shopper must put on the supplied, securely-tethered pair of required eye-glasses to watch it. For everyone else the digital signage display will be a blurred, fuzzy 3D-without-the-glasses kind of thing that will hide the rude bits. I truly am a genius. I’m off to the patent office.

DigitalSignage magazine wants to know what you’re up to. Share your plans and opinions with Chris Holder on chris@dsmag.com.au

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DigitalSignage Issue 3  

Issue 3 of DigitalSignage Magazine

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