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Signage Solutions

Digital Signage technology for today’s Applications

November/December 2010

our Renew y n at bscriptio FREE su nagema www.sig 1) (page 4

The Pace of Change and Digital Signage p28

How Digital Signage Has Changed the Way

Retailers Market their products p24 OUTDOOR MEDIA : Is It Time To Go Digital? p20

Outside the Box p39

BELL ICE CUBE EXPERIENCE Dynamic PlaceBased Media p 8 Digital Signage Products & Solutions

Mobile Marketing & DOOH Revolutionizing the Ad Industry •

Signage Essentials

Industry News

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7. The location and environments of digital signage. 8. Digital signage hardware and software and how to select vendors. 9. Digital signage content. 10. Fees and service models. 11. Digital signage RPO/TCO/ROO 12. Selling value in digital signage. 13. Networks tutorial. 14. On-line test.

Learn more about the Black Box Digital Signage Certification Program. Visit or call a Digital Signage Success Manager at 724-873-6553.



Publisher’s Perspective

Retailers Want To Engage With You Its now November and by the time you read this I will have already been to Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) in New York City. While I’m excited to be in New York during the fall season, I’m more excited to see what new technology and products are being showcased at the show. It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of innovation that exists in the technology world. One day we hear about the newest technology that will change everything we know, and a few months later it’s old news and already becoming outdated by something even newer and more exciting. It’s hard to keep up. However, that’s our goal here at Signage Solutions magazine, to keep up with the changes in digital signage technology and offerings and share those with you in every issue. Where we are seeing a lot of innovation is in the retail environment. Retailers are always looking for smarter, more engaging ways to interact with their clients and of course increase their sales. With the holiday season upon us, I’m sure you’ll see retailers with new digital signage helping you with your decision process along the way. Also, the use of mobile phones is being widely accepted and becoming the norm for the way retailers engage and interact with customers. Last night I was watching TV and a Sears commercial used a Quick Response Code (QR Code) during one of their commercials to get viewers directly to their web site where viewers could learn more about the specific product being advertised. This same technique is being used on digital signage networks all over the world. This is not a new technology, but you’ll see this technique more and more as customers feel more comfortable with the new technology and how to use it. As you read through this issue of Signage Solutions, check out the articles on retail and mobile. I think you’ll be pleased at the interaction between the two technologies. We have been lucky enough to have some digital signage and mobile technology veterans contribute to this issue. Also, if you recall, in the September/October issue, I asked if someone had knowledge and expertise on digital billboards. Well, we lucked out and Frank Incorvaia of Yesco heard the call and came to our aid. Be sure to check out his article titled, “ OUTDOOR MEDIA: Is It Time To Go Digital?” Enjoy your holiday season and keep your eyes (and phones) open for the newest digital signage technology and innovations being used to help YOU spend your holiday budget. Until next issue -



November/December 2010 • Volume One • Issue Three Publisher/Editorial Director Ben Skidmore (972)587-9064 Design/Production OFFTHELEASHDesign

Cynthia Pater Off The Leash Design 469-222-9168 Advertising

Partners Publishers’ Representatives (972)782-2490 Web Site Colby Nate Visual Agility (888)284-8334 Home Office Partners Publishing 306 South Tennessee Street McKinney, TX 75069 (972)782-2490 phone (972)692-8138 fax

Signage Solutions Magazine is published bi- monthly by Partners Publishing. To subscribe to our print edition visit Qualified subscribers receive Signage Solutions at no cost. Others may subscribe at the cost of $60 for six issues. Individuals copies sold for $15, per issue. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Partners Publishing, 306 South Tennessee Street, McKinney, TX 75069. Printed in the United States of America

Author’s Guidelines: Ben Skidmore Publisher E-mail me at Find us on Twitter at

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

Signage Solutions will consider manuscripts that are not offered to other publications. Preferred length is 700-900 words (case studies) or 2,000-2,500 words (Features). Please submit manuscripts to Editorial Director at the mailing address above or send via email to:

November/December 2010


Signage Solutions



Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications


Technology @ Work

A brief look at company/industry news within the digital signage industry.


Vertical Views

Public Spaces The Bell Ice Cube Experience Ultimate Fan-Zone


Signage Solutions & Products

Digital signage products and solutions, along with the technology which runs them, make the industry what it is today. Every issue of Signage Solutions magazine will feature new products and solutions contributed by their respective companies.

November/Decmber 2010


By The Way

Outside the Box? Mobile Marketing & Digital-Out-of-Home Revolutionizing the Ad Industry while Agencies and Brands They Represent Still Working Inside the Box. By Dan Trigub

Experience Demonstrates Dynamic Place-Based Media By Nancy Biglow


Signage Essentials

Place-Based Media

How the right content transforms your customer’s experience. By Kim Sarubbi

Retail Real-Time Customer 16 Engagement Global retail giant

24 features How Digital Signage Has Changed the Way Retailers Market Their Products The effect of digital signage

on the retail environment has grown from a bright shiny object to a vital customer engagement mechanism, and retailers are getting better at it every day. By Paul Flanigan

experiences the positive impact of digital signage By Alicia McConnaughey


Digital Dialogue

Signage Solutions magazine talks with Jason Kates, CEO of rVue about the need for a central platform for advertisers to locate available space in digital signage networks. We also learn more about rVue's own technology and what they are doing to make it easier for agency's and advertisers alike to place ads.



The Pace of Change and Digital Signage Mobile

technology and its important role in the future of digital signage By Steve Gurley



Technology @ Work


Titan installs MRI digital displays to capture sports fans in Philly ATLANTA, GA – In order to reach loyal sports fans on their way to and from games, Titan recently rolled out MRI 57” digital displays this summer in three locations throughout SEPTA’s (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s) popular AT&T Station. With an interest in expanding their installations in the Philadelphia market, Titan chose AT&T Station, a highly trafficked end station that services fans traveling to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. This complex includes a combination of three sports venues that house Philadelphia’s major sports teams including the NHL Flyers, the NFL Eagles, the MLB Phillies and the NBA 76ers. MRI (Manufacturing Resources International) was awarded the contract to partner with Titan on the rollout of these digital displays. A partnership MRI VP Peter Kaszycki calls a privilege. It is a pleasure to be working with Titan, a true industry leader. Titan’s expertise and extensive network in transit out-of-home advertising provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase MRI’s outdoor digital signage technology. We

anticipate their current advertisers will enjoy the added benefit of full HD content on the eye-catching LCD Displays and hope this will result in additional business for Titan among advertisers looking for something more than just static advertising. The displays were outfitted with MRI’s SureVu™ Image Verification, StatusVu™ Performance Monitoring and MRI’s Intelligent Display Management System to allow monitoring and control of displays from Titan’s NOC (Network Operating Center). The units also included MRI’s CoolVu™ Thermal Management System, a NEMA 3 rated enclosure, and vandal glass on all three sides. Nearing their third month out in the field, the displays have garnered a positive response. While discussing the display’s performance, Mr. Higley said, “Titan is very pleased with the 57” Digital Displays. The image is crystal clear and the units run very quiet compared to other competitive brands we have used in the past. The units seamlessly integrated with the rest of our CoolSign powered network, and just flat out work and provide great advertising images without any problems. We like that.”

Technology @ Work Mooyah Burgers & Fries Selects Wireless Ronin Digital Signage MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Wireless ronin technologies Inc. announced that fast casual restaurant chain Mooyah Burgers & Fries has selected the company to provide digital signage hardware, software and content development for its promotional boards. “Our product appeals to a broad customer base, and providing an equally appealing experience to everyone was very important to us,” said Alan Hixon, president of Texas-based Mooyah Burger. “We spent

“The Mooyah implementation represents everything that digital signage is designed to accomplish,” said Scott Koller, president and COO of Minneapolis-based Wireless Ronin. “Capitalizing on the eye-appealing customer experience that digital signage offers is a perfect fit for a fast-growing organization like Mooyah. The RoninCast digital signage system increases Mooyah’s differentiation in the very competitive fast casual space and provides a highly scalable system as Mooyah continues to grow.”

Official Opening of KFC Yum! Center Features Daktronics Integrated Venue-Wide Digital Display Network

a lot of time investing in our unique in-store experience, and we needed a reliable and proven digital signage partner to share our vision and communicate our message.” Mooyah, a rapidly growing fast casual establishment, was ranked #1 in the 2009 Top 100 Movers and Shakers. According to the company, Mooyah selected Wireless Ronin because it understood the restaurant’s unique and creative atmosphere while offering a highly scalable and reliable solution. As a result of the success of the three systems now in place, Mooyah plans to implement Wireless Ronin RoninCast promotional board systems in all of Mooyah’s other restaurants. The company has 12 restaurants in the DallasFort Worth area and three in Houston. According to Wireless Ronin, it will provide Mooyah with hardware, RoninCast software, 24/7/365 support through its Network Operations Center (NOC) and content development. In addition, Wireless Ronin’s content engineering team will work closely with the Mooyah marketing team to create content that best fits the unique instore Mooyah experience and environment. Mooyah will manage the network from its corporate headquarters to frequently update the promotional boards with fresh content to feature key messages about Mooyah and the Mooyah brand.

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky., recently opened its doors under great anticipation with many stateof-the-art features, including an integrated display system provided by Daktronics Inc. (Nasdaq-DAKT) of Brookings, S.D. The new system incorporates large screen LED (light emitting diode) displays within the seating bowl, professional grade LCD screens, and a powerful control system that will deliver high-definition digital content throughout the venue.

The most unique, among many new features of the new multipurpose arena is a venue-wide digital media display network. The next generation broadcast solution provides an internet protocol television (IPTV) solution that delivers multiple live content channels to any display in the venue. The solution is built around a computer network structure, so it can be expanded to accommodate nearly any form of digital media. Fans will enjoy dynamic content on over 400 large LCD screens in the suites, concession, concourse and club areas. At the center of the control solution will be the company’s new Show Control system, with the ability to take in various video, scoring, timing, statistical data and

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

At Saddle Ranch Productions, we don’t just produce great content, we have over 25 years of experience, specializing in targeted digital signage and place based media. To learn how we can help you contact us at 310-746-5652.

November/December 2010


Technology @ Work control their volume or change the channel so all the displays show the same piece of content. One system provides total control and total integration. With the click of a single button one message can be delivered anytime to all displays everywhere throughout the new arena. Additional information about the

project can be found at www.daktronics. com/louisville. Prysm Signs Channel Partners Worldwide

LG Electronics Introduces ‘SuperSign’ Digital Signage Solutions Customizable Digital Signage Solutions Enhance SMB Commercial Environments with Simple-to-Use, Innovative Displays CHICAGO, IL – Addressing the needs of the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market in the United States, LG Electronics USA announced “SuperSign,” a suite of digital signage solutions that makes it simpler than ever to incorporate customizable and engaging digital signage in commercial environments: • SuperSign Elite-s, a customizable hardware and software platform designed for system integrators, and • SuperSign Premier-s, LG’s turn-key solution, complete with compelling content offerings, technical support and convenient monthly financing that SMBs can utilize out of the box. “LG’s new SuperSign suite is designed to meet two primary needs of the SMB market – complete turn-key and fully customizable. These solutions satisfy both end-users and channel partners, and we believe we’ve come up with a unique and compelling approach to the market,” said Jeff Dowell, vice president, Digital Signage, LG Electronics USA Business Solutions. SuperSign Premier SuperSign Premier is an all-in-one, turn-key solution. Previewed earlier this year under the codename signNET, this digital signage solution includes a flat panel display (model M4214C) and the NC2000 media player, which provides access to content management software and starter templates as well as news and weather feeds from CNN, all available at an affordable monthly cost*. Right out of the box, digital signage content can be created easily using more than 50 starter templates that are customized for numerous vertical markets. In addition, SuperSign Premier includes a stock image library from iStockphoto that can be used to add a compelling and professional look to any message. SuperSign Elite SuperSign Elite is a hardware and software platform designed for system integrators who need the flexibility of choosing specific LG components to build a customized soluton for their end-users. This digital signage solution works with designated LG displays combined with either the LG NC1000 stand alone or NC2000 integrated media players. A simple and reliable system, SuperSign Elite makes implementing customized digital signage easier than ever before. The media player, when connected to a display, allows users to create dynamic content using pre-loaded templates for information sharing or displaying video segments in Full HD. The intuitive and user-friendly Management Software allows for quick navigation through menus to control networked displays and simultaneously run media files such as video, images, audio and flash.


SAN JOSE, CA – Prysm, Inc., the leading provider of ecovative Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) technology for large format display applications, today announced 15 worldwide channel partners that will promote, sell and support Prysm’s LPD display solution. Working with its channel partners, Prysm will now be present in key locations across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Following the successful introduction of its ground-breaking Laser Phosphor Display technology to the AV industry, Prysm is now focused on expanding its presence into global markets. Prysm, together with its channel partners, will be able to provide best in class installation and localized services, support and training for its LPD panels to customers. Prysm’s display solution is ideal for retail, command and control, broadcast, digital signage, transportation and many other applica-

tions. These 25” diagonal (4:3) tiles provide designers, integrators and architects the flexibility to create displays of various shapes and sizes. With nearly 180 degree viewing angles, a brightness of 800nits, an optical seam of .25mm and a refresh rate of 240Hz, users can capture audience attention at almost any angle with its superior image and video quality. Powered by LPD’s solid-state components, the display solution offers an internal health monitor and auto-calibration system for 24/7 continuous operation and stable performance for the entire duration of the application. SSM

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Vertical View Public


The Bell Ice Cube Experience Ultimate Fan-Zone Experience Demonstrates Dynamic Place-Based Media By Nancy Biglow


n winter 2010, Bell Canada, Canada’s largest communications company and provider of mobility wireless, satellite television, local and long distance phone service, and IP-broadband technology, provided the ultimate fan-zone experience in Vancouver, British Columbia, using dynamic place-based media called the Bell Ice Cube. The Bell Ice Cube was located in the epicenter of an international sporting event where visitors watched teams compete live in HD, cheered on athletes, listened to live music and met some of the world’s best athletes, all under one roof. Housed in a 3,000 square-foot temporary structure, the unique high-tech design of the Bell Ice Cube served as a magical space to create a memorable experience for all ages while adding credence to Bell’s world-class brand. The centre attracted more than 4,000


visitors each day during the two-and-a-half week sporting event. “Bell wanted to create an experience that would allow the public to connect to the spirit of a great event in a way that no other place could offer,” said Kara Kingston, Associate Director, Bell Sponsorship. “With more than 20 digital screens using 10 discreet HD feeds, plus our own dedicated live feeds, the Bell Ice Cube enabled visitors to view, interact and learn within an experiential environment that became a natural meeting place for people coming into the center of the city.” The interactive and responsive video environment was designed and engineered by Jigsaw Interaction Design Lab to tell the story, invite participation, deliver surprises and motivate physical stimuli between visual media, software and hardware.

Vertical View Public

Jigsaw is known for its ability to transform spaces, be they at events, retail stores, museums, corporate offices, trade shows, into inspiring physical environments that engage and entertain audiences through participation, interaction, play and surprise. They are known for their talent of blurring the boundaries between design, physical environments, technology and storytelling. “In a project of this importance, there is simply no room for a solution that is not rock solid,” explained Shaun Mavronicolas, Creative/Technical Director, Jigsaw Interaction Design Lab. “The combination of our diVA™ platform and Scala 5 gave us everything we could possibly need to use technology in an unrestrictive, creative way to deliver the kind of experience today’s audiences expect, without sacrificing reliability.” Driving more than 500,000 screens worldwide, Scala is a leading global provider of digital signage and advertising management solutions. Scala 5 software offers a platform for content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks. “Simplicity, from the user’s perspective, coupled with a wow factor achieved by mixing the right technologies, became possible. Software, all sorts of hardware (including lighting) and content working in perfect harmony created an environment that felt magical when you entered, it drew you in to interact and engage with the space,” Mavronicolas added. As visitors entered the Bell Ice Cube, they were greeted with Bell-endorsed ear buds to interact with the myriad of eye-catching

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications


technology. Once inside, visitors had the opportunity to engage with the space while constantly being entertained and delighted by visual and physical stimuli. The center of the room hosted twelve “Smart Cubes” each incorporated a 22-inch Samsung LCD screen. The cubes acted as self-contained interactive kiosks that responded to users’ simple hand hover actions. The cubes also responded to visitors’ movements throughout the space. The LED illuminated white cubes would switch to a glowing blue cycle when someone was within a certain distance of it, and then back to white as they moved away. Sensors ensured a 360-degree detection radius. The visual result produced the illusion that the cubes followed visitors through the space.

November/December 2010


Vertical View Public


When a user stood within 2 feet of the front of the cube, the glowing cube would turn to a solid blue and the on-screen content would switch from a screensaver to a short 3-second visual animation. The animation showed the user where to hover their hand to select from a unique set of videos and where to plug in their ear buds. As the user walked away, the cube would return to its default state. Jigsaw edited video content and produced all of the motion graphic elements used on the cubes and around the Bell Ice Cube. diVA™, Jigsaw’s custom software and hardware platform, was used to manage and assemble the entire interactive experience while working in tandem with Scala 5 via Jigsaw’s custom API. Scala 5 provided the reliable controllable HD media playback engine, and Scala 5 Network Manager provided valuable remote monitor-

ing of the computer hardware and playback engine. Together, the two-way communication delivered the robust solution needed for all hardware and sensors to respond to the environment and user actions. The end result was a remotely monitored multi-dimensional user experience. Along with the construction and installation of the smart cubes, Jigsaw also created a unique display in the centre’s lobby made up of eleven Samsung Omnia II phones. The phones played perfectly synchronized video, in essence creating a large video canvas. A custom application to synchronize and trigger, on cue, video content across the phones proved to be quite the challenge, not so much writing the application, but in the “fail safes” implemented since the phones were never designed to run 24/7. The Bell Ice Cube provided a compelling, high-impact experience through the integration of dynamic place-based media into an impressive physical infrastructure. “Fireworks Marketing Group, an experiential marketing agency that designs and implements internal and external programs that help build business and customer loyalty, was hired by Bell to execute the project, was able to transform the ordinary into a powerful memorable experience,” said Andy McRae, General Manager, Scala Canada. “The Bell Ice Cube was a great example of achieving a user experience that was new, innovative and delivered on the client’s objective. We have our partner Jigsaw to thank for that, they continue to deliver top-notch solutions.” SSM Nancy Biglow, Marketing Manager, Scala Canada,


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Digital Dialogue

Q & A With Jason Kates

Navigating the Demand Side Platform of DOOh Signage Solutions magazine talks with Jason Kates, CEO of rVue about the need for a central platform for advertisers to locate available advertising space in digital signage networks. We also learn more about rVue's own technology and what they are doing to make it easier for agency's and advertisers alike to place ads.

rVue is a Demand Side Platform for Digital Out of Home. Can you tell us more about what a Demand Side Platform Does? First it will help if we define what rVue is. rVue is the first Demand-Side Platform (DSP) for the Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) industry. A DSP is defined as an online platform which allows real-time advertising transactions to take place in a transparent environment. A DSP creates a marketplace between buyers and sellers of media inventory. The “platform” aspect is important in that it allows ad agencies, advertisers, channel partners, etc. to turn the knobs and levers themselves as opposed to merely offering managed services. rVue’s inspiration for this approach comes from online companies such as Google and Yahoo, which also give significant control to their end users. DSPs originated to help the fragmented online-display advertising industry speed its growth while eliminating the obstacles for ad buyers.

rVue is DS software agnostic, yet is also connecting with leading DOOH solution providers to provide analytics. Can you talk about the benefits of that connection to the network owners? Advertisers? Software providers? The rVue connection allows agencies to search, target, plan and negotiate their DOOH schedules across many digital networks through one online source - a process that previously took days to weeks and multiple RFPs to accomplish a final plan. Through a customizable dashboard, agencies’ media teams will also be provided

with campaign tracking, daily and post analysis and buying history. Today, many of the top national DOOH Ad Buyers are already utilizing rVue as their agency’s tool of choice for planning, buying and analysis of digital out-of-home (DOOH) media. Networks owners can now be visible to these advertisers and agencies that use rVue to find DOOH ad inventory that meets their demographic and geographic criteria. Once the required inventory is discovered, media buyers can proceed to book their campaigns. They can negotiate the rates, create insertion orders and follow the campaign’s progress through the same interface. The rVue Media Planner simplifies the usually cumbersome process of creating DOOH media plans by allowing media buyers to quickly find the required screen locations within different networks and consolidate them into a single buy. rVue also provides current and future network operators using software partners’ solutions with the ability to deliver location-specific details about their networks required by ad agencies and advertisers seeking to make informed media buys through rVue’s DSP. rVue also provides campaign playout and compliance data to agencies through its direct feed from software providers.

Jason, I understand that you have personally been in the digital signage industry since 1995. How did the idea of the rVue marketplace evolve? Back in 1995, we managed or owned digital out-of-home networks as Retail Media Systems, later shortened to RMS Networks or RMS and offered 360 degree solutions. We delivered content to over 80,000 screens and man-

Jason M. Kates, Chief Executive Officer, rVue, Inc. A Digital Out-of-Home powerhouse and pioneer, Jason M. Kates has been paving new ground in the DOOH industry for over 15 years. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kates is the visionary behind rVue, Inc. and Argo Digital Solutions, Inc. Kates’ career began at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. where he managed corporate capital as an investment broker for such prestigious clients as Harley-Davidson. For more on rVue visit, follow rVue via Blog and Twitter or reach Jason at


Digital Dialogue

aged every step of the process – from the technology, to creative content development, advertising sales and content distribution. We pride ourselves on solving problems through efficiency and innovation. From this experience, we saw the opportunity to eliminate some of the fragmentation in digital out of home and make it easier for advertisers to purchase this exploding, rich media, and the idea of rVue was born. I understand that networks and network rep firms are leveraging both sides of the rVue DSP. What features are they leveraging? How does this benefit them? Networks, network groups and network rep firms first adopted the platform to become part of the marketplace and connect with advertisers and become part of their media plans. They use their profile as an online digital media kit and sales tool for their sales efforts. As they became familiar with all the tools in rVue, they adopted the media planner and started making media plans for their networks or network groups. They’re now able to make media plans within minutes in front of their clients and found it has empowered their marketing and sales efforts.

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

You often refer to the concept of an advertising marketplace. Talk about this concept and how would network owners benefit from selling ads through rVue vs. on their own or through the Ad Exchanges and Aggregators? We are committed to building a DOOH community that connects advertising agencies to a growing ecosystem of digital signage networks via one centralized, web-based tool. rVue acts as the DOOH marketplace, delivering the platform that supports important DOOH relationships by initiating agency and network introductions, promoting mutual opportunities, encouraging ongoing interaction, empowering both buyers and sellers and enhancing the overall media planning process. rVue offers transparent communication and does not require network inventory allocation. Each party stays in control during the transaction.

November/December 2010


Digital Dialogue Through rVue, digital signage network operators can provide detailed profile information about their network, upload and manage their location information, share news and insights about themselves, and more. Advertising agencies and advertisers have instant and continuous access to this extensive network landscape and can easily search for the people and places they want to reach, discover unique and targeted venues, and plan more robust media campaigns. Once a campaign is live, rVue provides a variety of tools for both sides of the platform including content encoding and distribution, daily proof of play analytics for those connected networks, billing options and more.

Walk me through the process for network operators of signing up on your platform. What should they expect to see and learn? Enrollment into rVue is free and available to any agency, advertiser or network provider by simply logging in, creating an rVue account and building their agency/advertiser or network profile. Each network profile features relevant information such as audience demographics, location geographics, target venues and overall impressions to help advertisers evaluate and target their locations for media plans. rVue network profiles powered by software provider partners can be provided with the majority of this location-specific and compliance data automatically. This allows network operators to leverage the data already acquired throughout the course of their software rollout and operations in a seamless manner. This saves time, effort and ensures consistency of their data across platforms, which is essential for ad agencies requiring confidence in the accuracy of the media plans designed and executed for their clients. Once a media buy is complete, a single digit transaction fee is extracted.

How does rVue facilitate the ad buying/ selling process? rVue’s ad marketplace takes an innovative approach to reduce advertiser’s media planning time while providing standardization and targeted purchasing capabilities on a national, regional, DMA, zone, household or venue basis. Within the rVue platform, advertisers can tailor a custom campaign to their clients’ specific needs to more precisely reach their desired audience with the preferred ad at the right time and with the appropriate frequency. Unlike other approaches, rVue provides and facilitates the direct communication with network owners to negotiate pricing that ensures that Ad Buyers are meeting their client’s needs and budgets.

What features and functionality are built into the rVue platform that will benefit network owners? rVue’s web-based marketplace connects and enables buyers and sellers of digital place-based media through the life cycle of a campaign — from


targeting to analytics and billing. By linking directly to many of the leading digital software providers through a proprietary API, the rVue platform is able to provide streamlined content distribution and analytic tools to advertisers and connected networks. This solves several of the challenges which networks face. By being part of a collective effort, networks have a better opportunity to be part of a larger buy.

Measuring success of advertising is critical to advertisers and network owners. Talk about rVue’s analytics and how networks benefit and what they can expect to learn from the built-in reporting features? The analytics that we are able to provide advertisers and network owners may be the most important piece of our platform. We are able to provide a level of detail and transparency that you cannot find anywhere else. We are able to provide the quality of information that advertisers need when measuring the value and effectiveness of their DOOH campaigns. For network owners, this is no different, as they will have at their fingertips, access to analytics that will greatly enhance how they manage their screens and inventory. Connected networks receive their own proof of play analytics during the life of each ad campaign. They are empowered to respond quickly to optimize play during the life of the campaign rather than being forced to provide credits or make goods after it ends should the play fall short. This serves the advertisers needs and making the networks more likely to be included in future buys. The reporting is objective. Advertisers and agencies need this type of objective data to make confident media buying decisions, yet, not all of the networks can afford the cost of third party studies. With the API connection, networks are armed with objective analytics that help to elevate the advertiser’s perception of their network and give them an advantage over self-reporting their data.

How do you expect your platform to evolve, and how will this evolution benefit network owners? Over the last two quarters, we have experienced accelerated adoption of the rVue marketplace. Each piece is important to the success of the other, and as more agencies participate, we can provide more opportunities for network owners to maximize their advertising revenues. We are continually focused on growth and support for both sides of the platform. Our media strategists and integration teams are committed to accelerating the success of both our networks and agency partners. SSM



Vertical View Retail

Real-Time Customer Engagement Global retail giant experiences the positive impact of digital signage By Alicia McConnaughey

The Challenge:

One of the world’s largest retail chains wanted to reduce printing costs for new promotional materials each week. Because their sales and promotions changed so frequently, the paper cost of promotional material and new campaign rollouts were becoming unmanageable. Often times they were spending tremendous amounts to create paper promotion banners. Then if the item sold out, they were left with a useless sign. Other times the opposite would occur. Their messaging wouldn’t be effective and sales wouldn’t be increasing, but they couldn’t replace the content because their budget had been spent. Meanwhile, they conducted a poll to see how customers rated their in-store experience. Their results surprised them. It turned out that most customers didn’t feel as though they had access to the product information or applicable coupons they needed. With these two major problems on their plate – both affecting their revenue – the company realized a big change was going to have to take place. But what?

The Solution:

photos courtesy of StrAtACAChE

After research, the retailer discovered that one solution would solve both problems – digital signage. The retailer’s strategy was to implement digital signage in various locations throughout their stores, creating informative, interactive areas in their stores. By implementing STRATACACHE’s ActiVia for Media digital signage software, the retailer’s approach was twofold.


irst, the store added large digital signage displays throughout various sections of the stores. To ensure these were located mainly in high-traffic areas, the retailer utilized ActiVia’s Traffic Pattern Analysis technology prior to implementation. During this process, intelligent IP cameras were used to analyze consumer patterns by counting patrons and tracking their flow and dwell time throughout particular areas of the store. From that data, the retailer was able to analyze the feedback and ensure that signage was placed in optimal locations. With the digital signage, they were able to update store promotions weekly, daily or even hourly. The retailer also found that when customers couldn’t find items, they would go without. The digital signage was also utilized as a wayfinding tool that guided customers throughout their shopping trip, leading them to them to a purchase decision. Going a step further, the retailer also took advantage of ActiVia’s Audience Measurement feature. With this technology, a camera embedded into the signage collected consumer metrics such as customer impressions, dwell time, impressions per merchandised object, impres-


sions by time of day and even impressions by brand. From this, the retailer was able to gain a better understanding of what campaigns were most effective and which ones were falling flat. This same technology also enabled the digital signage to update the advertisement message based on the consumer’s age or gender. This ensured that the customer would see the advertisement or product information that would most likely lead to a sale. For example, for a young woman the signage content could showcase a shoe sale while for an older man a golf club promotion. And with 60 percent of purchases being unplanned, the retailer knew it was imperative to not only catch the attention of their potential buyers but also put content in front of each customer that was most likely to guarantee the sale. Whether it be a new sale, wayfinding, product information or a new promotion – it was impossible for a customer inside the store to be unaware. Printing costs dramatically decreased, and the information reached more people. Customers paid more attention to large, active and colorful digital signs rather than static posters and ban-

Vertical View Retail

ners. Their shopping time was used more effectively, and the retailer reaped the rewards. Secondly, the retailer installed smaller, interactive PopTouch Digital Signage Displays by various products that they wanted their customer’s attention to be drawn to. The interactive displays allowed customers to find out more about the product and its uses, compare its price to other competitors, as well as print out coupons for that specific item. For example, by certain cereals would be a coupon, or for certain spices there would be recipe suggestions. Women unsure of which makeup to buy could answer simple questions to discover what shades were most flattering for their skin tone. In the electronics department, the PopTouch Displays allowed the consumer to answer certain usage questions in order to find which entertainment system would best suit their home. From there, the screen content would then prompt the customer to various areas of the store for additional items they would need to install or utilize that entertainment system to its fullest extent, like certain tools, wires or even furniture. Moreover, unlike static paper promotions, they could tailor content for an item based on the demographic who would most likely be seeing it. For example, during times they mainly saw college students, a soft drink screen would talk about the energy a drink could provide for all night study sessions. The content would then be modified to any sort

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

of nutritional information when a more mature audience was present. With the content being more demographic specific, sales increased. The retailer was also able to implement an interesting sales tactic. They began to place digital signage in strategic locations with specific content that would trigger purchases. For example, a sign that gave the temperature outside on extremely hot or cold days placed by certain beverages created impulse purchases. Or signage by frozen meals or pizza would change its content to the time when it was getting close to meal times. If a mother in a hurry noticed it was almost 6 p.m. the retailer found they were more likely to grab the closest, fastest option on their way out.

The Results The retailer saw exponential differences. The implementation was able to influence buying behavior at the point of purchase, increase customer traffic through promotional areas, highlight new product offerings and timely promotions offers, entertain and encourage customers to interact with products while store associates were unavailable and create an interactive atmosphere where the customer could find the information they needed to ensure a purchase. The customer experience was optimized, and from that, sales increased dramatically. The retailer had a 12 percent cumulative return on investment within the first year of deployment, 32 percent after the second year and 48 percent after the third year. Customers experienced a 66 percent average brand recall. Their departments saw similar success. Promotional sale items often saw an increase of more than 60 percent.

Why it worked First, it’s important to realize that digital signage can’t take the place of an employee talking to a customer and helping them one-on-one. But, that isn’t always possible; especially with difficult economic times allowing for smaller work forces. In that case, it’s imperative that all customers have the opportunity to be informed because an uninformed customer is much less likely to make a purchase. Moreover, interactivity with a customer is key to locking them into a sale. And while employees are busy with other customers, PopTouch Displays can fill the void of information. Secondly, digital signage gives the power to the customer, which is something they desperately crave. Those who are uninterested don’t have to look at or interact with the screens, but those who are interested can choose what information they are given. Customers don’t like aggressive sales tactics. Digital signage is a medium of product information and advertisements that they can control, which naturally makes them more susceptible to the information and its persuasive message. It also captures the customers’ attention for longer. Studies show that when consumers see static messaging they lose interest after 4 to 6 seconds. An advertiser’s time doubles with digital signage, which captures their attention for 10 to 15 seconds. In this doubled time, more persuasive information can be given and the sale is more likely. Lastly, digital signage not only saved the retailer money but it

November/December 2010


Vertical View Retail

photo courtesy of GameStop tV

made them money. Particularly in big box retail stores like this one that sell several different brands, selling ads on an in-store digital signage network is the most effective way to achieve a fast return on investment. In this particular case, numerous brands wanted to have a PopTouch Display by their product, and were willing to pay to ensure it was their

brand – and not their competitors – had such an interactive tool at their disposal. Even an advertisement that catches a consumer’s eye on television is less powerful than digital signage messaging because the customer may forget the product between their home and the store. Brands can put money toward advertisements that will reach the customer who are

already planning to make a purchase. The retailer was also able to bring in further revenue from their large screens. While these screens highlighted promotional materials and wayfinding information throughout the store, the retailer also included various other content throughout the day like local news, weather or events. These time spots were sold to local broadcasters, hence more revenue. Digital signage is relevant, immediate and tailored – and for retailers like this one, there is no better combination to ensure a sale. With both, the signage created new revenue for the retailer. Furthermore, the paper printing costs of promotional static material was vast. These factors factored with the increase in sales show the tremendous success the retailer experienced by implementing digital signage. As this retailer discovered, there is nothing more important than keeping your customers informed and satisfied. SSM Alicia McConnaughey, PR Manager at STRATACACHE

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Outdoor Media Is it Time to Go Digital? by Frank Incorvaia

In the September/October of issue of Signage Solutions, we asked if anyone was interested in sharing their knowledge about digital billboard technology and the benefits of going digital. We were happy when Frank Incorvaia answered the call and helps explain how to move into the future, and going digital.

The future has arrived.

We are now seeing a transformation in the outdoor advertising industry as billboards everywhere are being retrofitted or newly erected as electronic displays capable of very high resolution and impeccable image quality. So, is it time to jump in and take your outdoor displays to the next level? With the cost of hardware falling and regulations lifting, it may be the right time to enter the new age of digital outdoor advertising. The advantages are clear; the ability to display multiple ads on a single display, the elimination of print production and posting costs, the ability to deliver timely advertising as market conditions dictate, and the ability to schedule ads and manage content through software from remote locations. Along with all this, you can now deliver ads for your clients on a brilliant, bold and attention grabbing display. Of course, the overwhelming business advantage is the outstanding return on investment that digital billboards can provide. It is somewhere near six times the return you would achieve with a single static face and could be higher with some creative selling techniques, considering the flexibility you have over advertising content.

Getting Permission

The first order of business will be permitting. You will be required to get a permit specifically for a digital display even on the retrofit of an existing permitted sign. The rules vary from state to state and in individual counties and municipalities. Be


A stunning 25mm display at the Wynn in Las Vegas

prepared for this process to be exhausting at times, involving many forms of documentation, but well worth the effort. On September 25, 2007, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a guidance memo to states: “Proposed laws, regulations, and procedures that would allow permitting CEVMS (changeable electronic variable message signs, the official name for digital billboards) subject to acceptable criteria … do not violate a prohibition against ‘intermittent’ or ‘flashing’ or ‘moving’ lights as those terms are used in the various FSAs (federal-state agreements) that have been entered into during the 1960s and 1970s.” This 2007 memo gave states permission to approve digital billboards at their discretion according to the appropriate regulatory controls such as lighting, display time, and transition time between individual advertisements.

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

The Site Survey

After acquiring the permit you can move on to the all important site survey. This cannot be taken lightly as it is critical to a successful installation and should be performed by a specialist in outdoor electronic displays. The results of a careful site survey will save you from costly mistakes and pitfalls and result in a smoother installation. On a retrofit, the survey will include an evaluation of the existing structure to determine it’s ability to support the electronic display cabinet. A typical 14x48 electronic display will weigh around 7000 lbs. Proper engineering can determine if the structure will require any upgrades. Additionally, electrical power delivering 100amp service and secure communication lines will be needed for operating the display. Power requirements could be as low as 60amp service depending on the manufacturer.

November/December 2010


A New 16mm Bulletin carries the Coke Brand in Atlanta Georgia.

Another key aspect of the site survey is site access. Some manufacturers will deliver the display in one piece, arriving on a 48’ tractor-trailer then lifting it in place using a boom truck. Others may require that the display be partially assembled on site, requiring more equipment and time on site. Either way, you will need to think about how the trucks and equipment will access the site for installation and maintenance. For new installations, determining the type of structure and its placement will be paramount in maximizing how the display will be viewed from the road. Every detail should be considered before starting the expensive installation process. For example, it is possible to create a better, longer read from the road by changing the display face angle of view, where the structure head is mounted on the pole, by just a few degrees. Many factors contribute to a successful advertising platform, including the design and arrangement of the structure pole and display head. In some municipalities, structural embellishments can be added to the display to conform to local architectural motifs. This can go a long way toward promoting a billboard location and increasing its value with higher lease rates.

The Right Amount of Pixels

On a digital display, a pixel is created by a cluster of three LEDs; one red, one green and one blue ( RGB ). The pixel pitch is the measurement of the space between pixels or the center of each RGB cluster given in millimeters. Some manufacturers will indicate a lower pixel pitch and higher resolution by using software to manipulate the image as it is processed on the screen. However, the actual physical measurement is the true pixel pitch and determines the resolution of the display and ultimately the image quality. More pixels, lower pixel pitch equals higher resolution. The viewing distance should be the determining factor in selecting the appropriate pixel pitch for your display. Since there is an increase in cost correlating directly to the pixel density and the display size, it becomes critical to select the appropriate hardware components which will provide the most effective solution. Some standard pixel pitch sizes for outdoor applications range from 16mm to 33mm. All of these can provide adequate resolution and impressive image quality in the right situation. Modules are the building blocks of electronic displays. They are made up of rows or clusters of LEDs mounted on a circuit board and covered with a black, antireflective faceplate. The modules are assembled in a grid to create a display of a given size. Modules are priced according to the density of LEDs. A typical 14’ x 48’ electronic


bulletin using 16mm modules will contain more LEDs per square foot and will be considerably more expensive than a 20mm display which may be a perfectly acceptable resolution for a given location. You can achieve very good, even excellent image quality with a 25mm display if it is viewed from the proper distance. Since there can be a $70k to 100k difference between a 16mm and a 20mm of the same size billboard, a careful evaluation can save considerable costs.

The Install

So now that you’ve done a thorough site survey and worked out the important details like display size, pixel pitch and orientation on the site, you are ready to enter the installation process. If you are fortunate enough to work with a manufacturer who provides project management as a part of the purchase of your display, things will go much smoother. Everything from the logistics of getting your new electronic display to the location through connection to power and communication should be outlined. It should take no more than 10 hours to complete the physical installation process, but this is contingent upon several factors such as difficulty of ingress and egress. If the display requires any assembly of display components there can be significant delays.

Selling and Managing Digital Content This is where the fun starts. Selling ad space on a digital billboard is a whole new concept from the traditional outdoor advertising model. As previously mentioned you now have unprecedented control over advertising content, opening a new world of leasing options. Think of all those customers who would not have considered outdoor advertising over other forms of media such as television or radio due to the old limitations of posting vinyl graphics. Now that these limitations have been eliminated, the playing field has been leveled. As matter of fact, the CPM is much lower on electronic billboards, around $2 compared to television at close to $17. Sending ads to the display couldn’t be more straightforward. Ads are uploaded directly to the display using software designed specifically for the task. The designs are saved as JPEG image files produced in graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop™ or other comparable programs. The files are small, since they only need to be produced at the actual pixel size. For example: a 14x48 20mm screen is 200x704 pixels, resulting in a 550k file. These small files are easily managed within the scheduling software. The whole process can be as simple as sending a series of rotating ads, each being displayed for 6 seconds (the standard) or as complicated as managing multiple day-parted ads within segmented

schedules. Even real time data can be used to trigger ads which run under certain conditions. Sports, news and weather updates can be sent directly as RSS feeds. This dynamic approach is what really sets digital displays apart from traditional outdoor. The experience will vary based on how user friendly the software is. Smart manufacturers treat this as an integral part of the electronic display product line, continually developing better methods of communicating with the signs. You can expect the software to become more powerful and streamlined as industry demands are met.

A Bright Future

Everywhere you look, the world seems to be on a digital path. This brings in a new era for the outdoor advertising industry and will change the way we do business in positive ways. We will see this trend continue throughout the next few decades as more billboard companies come to realize the outstanding benefits of electronic displays. The decision to go digital really becomes a decision to stay competitive. SSM

Frank Incorvaia is the Marketing Director at YESCO Electronics and can be reached at

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November/December 2010


Digital Signage Has Changed the Way Retailers Market Their Products How

The effect of digital signage on the retail environment has grown from a bright shiny object to a vital customer engagement mechanism,

and retailers are getting better at it every day. By Paul Flanigan


hile working in retail, I was constantly asking (or being asked), “Will this __________ (insert retail initiative here) make the customer experience better?” Even though my core function was to deliver a digital signage experience, I was on several teams that carried different responsibilities: marketing, branding, merchandising, and store design. You can imagine the joy of four meetings a week where the same stuff was discussed but nothing was accomplished. As an agent of customer engagement, I was challenged with taking those four competencies and combining them on a digital signage network that carried on its shoulders the weight of visual appeal for the entire chain. Toes were stepped on, rules were broken, and forgiveness was requested because permission was ignored, all in


the name of making the store a better place for the shopper. Around 2001 (in digital terms, eons ago), the early stages of retail digital signage was more about the bright shiny object than of customer engagement. As digital signage evolved into different departments and disciplines, it was clear it had impact on the customer and the retailer. I spent countless hours in front of PowerPoint presentations that claimed digital signage could “deliver the brand promise,” and “create an intersection of all touchpoints across all channels designed as One Branded Experience,” and that we could “be the trusted perspective that inspired people.” I’m not making this up. Those are real quotes. There is only one objective for retailers: Sell stuff. Lots of it. Lots

and lots of it. And make money. Lots of it. Lots and lots of it. Retailers don’t do anything because it’s just cool. There is a business case behind every initiative. Retailers will freely spend enormous amounts of money on initiatives in an effort to get customers past the competitors and into their stores. Lighting, signage, carpeting, aroma, employees, all of it is designed to make the customer like where she is, so that she’ll spend more time and money there. All the big ideas and clever signage and cool in-store marketing gimmicks swirl like a tornado around the fiscal bottom line. Digital signage is no different. It must justify its purpose. So, at the end of the day, if I asked (or was asked) if I made a better experience, my answer was the question, “Well, did we sell more stuff?” Digital signage has become a crucial channel of marketing inside the retail environment, and it’s often the bellwether for other types of venues considering digital signage because it’s one of the best laboratories for human traffic, digital screens, and interactivity. Almost every other kind of network keeps its eye on the retail sector to see what works and why. Touch screens? Big screens? Mobile? If it works at the local Stop-N-Shop, can we make it work in our environment? The statistics on the performance of digital signage continue to be positive. Everyone wants to know what their ROI (Return on Investment) will be with a digital sign. I have seen positive results ranging from 2% to 149%. However, the dynamic nature of digital signage is com-

photo courtesy of StratacAChe

in relation to the location of the item, the age of message, customer demographics, customer navigation habits, customer mindsets, shopper marketing research and insights, and. . .you get the idea. We know it works, but as our culture moves into an age of instant communication and interactivity, how has digital signage changed the way retailers market their products and engage their customers? The bottom line is that digital signage has given retail marketers a new dimension of customer engagement with the venue, the brand, and the product or service; this dimension was simply not there in any other form beforehand. The dynamic nature of digital signage has enabled retailers to build relationships with customers. Customers still go to stores to buy stuff. But how they buy stuff has changed dramatically due to the impact of screens and video. Just like window displays, end-caps, mannequins, and fitting rooms, digital signage is part of the evolution of retail marketing and communication. Here are some ways that digital signage has changed how retailers engage customers.

So, at the end of the day, if I asked (or was asked) if I made a better experience, my answer was the question, “Well, did we sell more stuff?” prised of myriad factors that can contribute or detract from that number, including the campaign, time of day, day of week, the month or season, promoted item, location of item in the venue, the location of the screen

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

Digital signage keeps people in the store longer. This is especially true with interactive signage, such as touch screens and virtual reality. Proven time and again, the longer a customer spends in a store, the more likely he is to buy something there. Marketers can create immersive interactive experiences where customers can learn about and interact with products in ways not found anywhere else, including online. The dynamic nature of today’s digital signage enables retailers to to engage customers on an individual level, not as demographic segments. The days of the “stay-at-home mom” demographic as a market segment are giving way to the “34-year-old-mom-with-three-kidswho-spends-three-minutes-in-the-produce-section-of-thegrocery-store-every-Monday-between-2:30-and-3:16 p.m.” demographic. Taking a page out of Marketing 101, relationships succeed when they are one-on-one.

Digital Signage helps customers with their purchase decisions. The old statistic flying around is that anywhere from 50% to 70% of purchase decisions are made in the store. But, those decisions are

November/December 2010


photos courtesy of DynaScan

A research study done by POPAI’s MARI (Marketing at Retail Initiative) in 2007 showed that shoppers are subject to 1.5 pieces of marketing material every second, and that shoppers engage with a single piece of marketing material once every 4.3 seconds. The result is that a staggering 84% of marketing material is ignored. Digital signage has allowed retailers to reduce the noise and clutter by creating singular points of dynamic and compelling messaging. Instead of signs hanging everywhere, a single screen with the right message draws attention. based on several factors, including in-store marketing and messaging. Digital signage has been able to combine these efforts into a tailored approach that refines the purpose of shopping. In one test, I put together a touchscreen interactive that allowed customers to choose different HDTV models on the display wall and determine what should play on them. So if you were a fan of baseball, you could watch baseball. If you liked nature shows, we had that too. The customer got to pick. The end result: Customers not only spent more time in front of the TVs, but bought more of them. Reports were coming back that employees were selling the units hanging on the walls. Digital signage and touch screens contributed to the customer’s desire to learn more about the product and make an educated decision. In other words, that decision to purchase is greater when digital signage plays its part. Like real estate, it’s all about location. But, too many signs and you look less like you’re selling products and more like you’re a carnival. A research study done by POPAI’s MARI (Marketing at Retail Initiative) in 2007 showed that shoppers are subject to 1.5 pieces of


photos courtesy of MrI

marketing material every second, and that shoppers engage with a single piece of marketing material once every 4.3 seconds. The result is that a staggering 84% of marketing material is ignored. Digital signage has allowed retailers to reduce the noise and clutter by creating singular points of dynamic and compelling messaging. Instead of signs hanging everywhere, a single screen with the right message draws attention. For frequent visitors, it builds muscle memory. The customer doesn’t search for a message, it’s right where she wants it. Digital signage has enabled retailers to create multiple points of sale. In some cases, you can purchase items at any touch screen kiosk located in a retailer. Think about the large department stores - Sears, JCPenny, Kohl’s, Macy’s, etc. - that have cash registers all over the store. But, now it’s a kiosk, not a huge counter with two utility tub-sized registers. And those touch screens are connected to the outside world. If you go to a store to buy and item and the store is out of stock, you can buy online from the retailer and have it delivered to you. Another ding of the register without a product changing hands yet. Finally, digital signage has made marketers better at understanding how customers want to be treated. The retailer doesn’t control the sales cycle, the customer does. Customers are bringing reviews and opinions into the store on their mobile devices, and shopping for items on their own time. As a channel in the ecosystem of interactivity, digital signage complements the customer’s experience. The data that can be collected from a customer’s behavior with a touch screen or interactive device is invaluable to a marketer that nowadays needs that real-time information to deliver a compelling shopping experience. As we continue to steamroll into the next evolution of communication, the channels available to marketers will evolve direct proportion to the customer’s desire to use them. Instead of trying to alter a customer’s behavior, digital signage will support, and sometimes encourage, that behavior. And then hopefully the marketers won’t need four different meetings a week to talk about the same thing. And they’ll get something done, like sell more stuff and make more money. SSM Paul Flanigan is a founder of The Preset Group, a digital signage consultancy. Formerly from Best Buy, he is a frequent speaker and hosts seminars on digital signage. He writes about digital signage at and can be reached at

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here was an article circulated among business leaders shortly before the turn of the new millennium that made the statement that there had been more technological change in the years between 1900 and 2000 than there had been in the previous 5,000 years. The article went on to say that there would be more change in the years between 2000 and 2015 than in the prior 100 years. Whether this article was right or not is difficult to say or even prove, but since 2000 one thing has been abundantly clear: Things have been changing and changing quickly. In fact, the scope of change has been so profound that long-established industries – industries that had taken in some cases centuries to build – are being dismantled almost overnight. The digital signage industry is not and will not be immune to the change. Business models and business assumptions made only five years ago are having to be rethought in order to accommodate changing technological and social trends. In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll take a look at some of the more visible change-events of the past few years and speculate on what these things could mean to digital signage.



Pace of Change Digital Signage


By Steve Gurley

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

November/December 2010


The Change-Events Early in the new millennium, Apple redefined the purchase of music with the launch of the iTunes music store. Although they were not the first to offer on-line music, they were the first to offer consumers a nearseamless online music purchase experience. Apple was able to elegantly blend copious digital content, electronic commerce and a superior portable music player to create a process that anyone could understand and use. This innovation has led to an almost complete demise of an entire industry of CD manufacturers, distributors and resellers. Thousands of CD and record stores have closed since the launch of the iTunes music store and many more are likely to follow suit. Less than five years ago, Amazon redefined the purchase of books with the launch of the Kindle electronic reader and the Kindle e-bookstore. Like Apple, Amazon was not the first to redefine the rules of book publishing and distribution, but they were the first to make the process of buying an electronic book near seamless – both in terms of the purchase experience and integration with a best-in-class portable reader device. The work by Amazon and those who are imitating the Amazon model is facilitating the collapse of the traditional book publishing value chain – affecting centuries-old institutions. It is anticipated that within the next five years, many traditional book printers, binders, distributors and resellers will be out of business as more books are created, distributed and consumed electronically. Since 2008, Apple has been redefining the mobile communications experience with its release of the 3G iPhone and the iTunes App store. Within only two short years Apple has redefined the type of phone people carry (e.g. a multi-media-centric smartphones vs flip phones), how they use their mobile phones and the depth in which people engage with their phones. Long established mobile phone manufacturers are struggling to understand how to adapt and survive in an app-centric mobile environment. The new smartphone has also eliminated an entire class of devices know as the personal digital assistant or PDA. In 2010, Apple released the iPad. Not only does the iPad appear to be redefining mobile computing by affecting the type of mobile device people carry while traveling (e.g. a iPads vs Netbooks or Laptops) but it would also appears that the iPad may be redefining the magazine publishing industry. Although the iPad has only been on the market a little over six months, magazine publishers are weighing the impact that tabletbased computers could have on their entire industry. It would appear too that independent publishers who are not burdened by the legacy investments in paper-based processes and infrastructure of the major publishers


are moving very rapidly to embrace this new medium by producing and distributing electronic magazines at low or no cost to the end consumer. This could have devastating effects on an entire industry as long time leaders are quickly edged out and made irrelevant. Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has redefined how people access share information, connect with friends and interface with brands. Like Amazon and Apple, Facebook was not the first to provide online social networking, but they were certainly the first to offer a use-model that appealed to the masses. A recent and growing phenomenon is that people are maintaining a near-continuous connection with Facebook via mobile devices. Recent chatter in the technology industry suggests that media portals such as AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Google see this ubiquitous consumer connection with Facebook as a threat to their longstanding dominance as aggregators of digital content. It’s hard to believe but some people see Facebook becoming the dominant source of information for consumers in the next five years thereby displacing newspapers and traditional on-line sources of information.

The Potential Implications on Digital Signage The aforementioned change-elements have enabled consumers to have a broad array of personalized digital content (e.g. music, movies, books, magazines, social information, news, etc) at their fingertips when and where they want it via their wireless mobile devices. It has been shown that longstanding industries and technologies that don’t support this new use-model are evaporating. So what does this mean to digital signage? It means that digital signage must integrate into this new consumer use-model or become nothing more than expensive digital wallpaper. Going quickly are the days when just being “noticed” will be sufficient to make an impact on consumers. Digital signage must provoke a mobile interaction of some type or its value stands to be diminished. Too much personalized information and content is becoming available in the consumers’ palm to allow traditional digital signage use-models to be effective for very much longer. So how can digital signage and mobile technologies integrate? Actually there are seven methods in which this is occurring:


Dial Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF). This method utilizes the touch-tone sounds generated by a cell phone’s keypad to respond to or control content on a digital sign.

National retailer, American Eagle Outfitter, uses a QR Code on their NYC Times Square digital sign to engage the public.


Short Messaging Services (SMS). The SMS method employs one or more signage-embedded calls-to-action that invites signage viewers to initiate a SMS-based interaction with the content through the dispatch of a text-based keyword to a common short code.

Proximity-based. The Proximity method uses Bluetooth and WiFi transmitters located in or near digital signs to communicate complementary content to a viewer’s cell phone. Mobile device users are prompted to accept or reject the information. If accepted, the information is transmitted to the viewer’s cell phone.


Bar-coding. The bar-coding method relies upon the integration of 2D Bar Codes into digital signage content. Viewers of the content then use their reader-equipped cell phones to photograph the 2D Bar Code. The cell phone’s 2D reader application then interprets the bar code and directs the phone to display content that is connected to or embedded in the bar code.


Graphic Recognition. This method is similar to Bar-coding except that rather than photographing a bar code, the viewer uses a specialized application on their cell phone to photograph the entire digital sign. The application then works in collaboration with a back-end system to interpret the photo and direct the phone to display server-based content that augments the content shown on the sign.



"Technologies that facilitate the seamless integration of digital content with mobile devices are redefining entire industries. Digital signage will not be immune to this trend. By integrating mobile technologies with digital signage, digital signage providers and users will realize that they have a hedge against obsolescence."

Instant Access to Digital Issue of Signage Solutions magazine

Mobile Web. This method uses digital signage content to promote a web address (URL) that links to mobile phoneoptimized content that is designed to augment the content shown on the digital signs.

Location-Based. The newest and most sophisticated method of digital signage and mobile device integration is called the Location-based method. This approach leverages a cell phone’s ability to identify its geo-location coordinates to deliver content to a viewer that is specific to the user’s location. In this form of convergence, a smartphone application determines the longitude and latitude coordinates of the viewer and the delivers to the viewer server-based content that is assigned to that location. In summary, technologies that facilitate the seamless integration of digital content with mobile devices are redefining entire industries. Digital signage will not be immune to this trend. By integrating mobile technologies with digital signage, digital signage providers and users will realize that they have a hedge against obsolescence. Mobile convergence also offers a more compelling and engaging experience for the viewer as the content is transformed into a more personal engagement.


Steve Gurley is the SVP Marketing at Symon Communications, Inc., and can be reached at

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

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Products Signage Solutions & Products Digital signage products and solutions for today’s applications

Digital signage products and solutions, along with the technology which operates them, make the industry what it is today. Every issue of Signage Solutions Magazine will feature new products and solutions contributed by their respective companies. Please take time to review the products and see the full descriptions on our web site at

Pull Out Wall Mounts Chief recently developed FUSION Series Pull Out Mounts, engineered for quick, easy and safe installation and maintenance of video walls. The mounts are perfect for digital signage applications, allowing for easy alignment of multiple displays for a seamless installation. Inspired by feedback from Chief’s installers, the mounts extend 7” (178 mm) for easy cable access in hard-to-reach installations—even on the centermost screen of a video wall matrix. The mounts can be used with any 2 x 2 video wall or larger and with screens from 26-63”.

High Level Digital Signage Processor

Live Event Display Control New Show Control System offers users a powerful merger of control software, data integration, playback hardware and image processing technology. The system features complete control of a network of digital displays through its Display Studio interface, including seamless delivery of live and recorded video content. Streaming data and statistics integration makes it possible to easily provide sports updates in real time. It also includes Content Studio, which provides powerful content compositing tools to allow users to create quality presentations quickly and easily.

New Intel® Core™ i7-610E processor-based MI957 Mini-ITX motherboard with the mobile Intel ® QM57 Express Chipset. MI957 is designed for applications requiring high-level processing and graphics performance with a long product life such as those in digital signage, gaming, POS, kiosk and multimedia sectors. T he MI957 platform offers dual independent display and comes with a wide array of display outputs including CRT, DVI-D, HDMI, 18/24-bit LVDS and Display Port. The MI957 motherboard has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, audio and eight USB ports onboard. Other connectivity and expansion features include four COM ports, four SATA II (RAID 0,1) ports, a Mini PCI-E, a PCI-E and a PCI slot.

Fiber Optic AV Distribution Platform The Voyager Series enables pro-AV and digital signage customers to distribute multi-format high-bandwidth signals over fiber at significantly lower costs. Magenta’s Voyager Fiber Optic Signal Distribution Platform is an interoperable set of transmitters, receivers, distribution amplifiers and matrix switchers, which enables any end to end configuration for extension and switching of uncompressed multi-format video and audio, RS-232, IR and 480 Mbps USB 2.0 signals over fiber at distances up to 16.75MI/30KM. The Voyager series uses a modular building block approach to deliver hundreds of different product configurations with numerous video and auxiliary signal types, fiber types and component types such as n-port transmitters, daisy-chain receivers, 1x7 distribution amplifiers and 8x8 to 320x320 scalable matrix switchers.


Signage Solutions


Low Cost, Simple to Use Digital Signage Solutions Scala announces its latest product offerings targeted at small and medium sized businesses that need a low cost, simple to use solution for digital signage. Scala SignChannel and Scala QuickStart are hosted services that allow an end-user to upload media, create templates and easily schedule content from any web browser. SignChannel works with solid state media players and wireless photo frames. Scala QuickStart takes advantage of a more powerful Scala PC based player. Both services are offered for a simple monthly subscription fee.

4x4 HDMI Twisted Pair Matrix The Intelix DIGI-HD-4X4 is the industry’s first product to merge 4x4 HDMI matrix switching with twisted pair extension and a processing. A true matrix switcher, the DIGI-HD-4X4 HDsh¯k features four HDMI inputs, four HDMI outputs and four twisted pair extender outputs—and both HDMI and twisted pair outputs are live simultaneously. When used in conjunction with a compatible Intelix twisted pair receiver, the matrix extends output signals up to 300 feet over a single twisted pair cable. The matrix supports 1080i and 1080p high-definition video, 3D, and is HDCP compliant. All operations are controlled via a diagnostic front panel interface or remotely via RS232, IR, or Ethernet. In addition, the DIGI-HD-4X4 also features four pass-through IR channels which distribute remote IR commands from in-room controllers over the twisted pair cable and out of the matrix, thereby allowing complete control of remote sources from the destination. The IR channels follow the matrix switching.

ViewSonic side

ViewSonic front

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

Large Format Glass Projection Screens VIPRO® is a premium lineup of glass-based projection screens that provide both unparalleled imagery along with high quality craftsmanship. From true dual projection solutions that offer an equal front/rear image, to large format single screens measuring up to an astounding 19.5’ x 9’, you can be sure that your centerpiece screen will leave visitors breathless. A host of custom applications are possible such as interactive tables, touch screens, gesture-based interactivity, etc. VIPRO® currently includes Hardscreen, Lamiscreen, Frontscreen, and our latest offering; Mirrorscreen.

Digital Signage e-Poster 
 ViewSonic’s 52” EP5202r is a free-standing, all-glass POS electronic signboard enabling users to showcase a variety of multimedia on an impactful high-definition display. This easy to install EP5202r comes equipped with 2GB of CF built-in memory for storing high impact graphics and audio files. Information can be disseminated via the internal RJ45 network connection or a USB port making it easy to switch out displayed content. Teamed with 500 nits of brightness, a 5,000:1 contrast ratio and the audio benefit of two 5W speakers, the user has the freedom to display a variety of content from remotely or locally.

November/December 2010


Signage Solutions Products

Signage Solutions & Products LED Matrix Display

Matrix front

Matrix back

Highest density and the clearest image with Lowest Pitch 2.8mm Full Color in the LED Display industry. High Brightness: up to 4500 cd/ m2 for crisp, clear, and brilliant images that is visible in direct sunlight where LCD and plasma technologies are not suitable solutions. High Contrast Ratio: up to 6000:1 contrast for razor sharp images with rich depth perception even in a bright outdoor locations. High resolution: Full HD level definition can be completely displayed in the compact display area of only 3.1m x 5.4m. Up to IP65: Water/dust proof housing that greatly enhances indoor/outdoor installation locations and possibilities.

Pay On-Demand and Digital Promotion Tabletop Solution Designed with the guest in mind, ziosk™ is the new centerpiece of every hospitality experience. From QSR to full-service, from resorts and hotels to casinos, today's guest want the convenience and security of controlling their service experience. With a 7" touch screen device, intuitive user interface, and dynamic content management system, the ziosk™ solution is a "always on, always there" service provider.

Professional LCD Displays

Outdoor Flexible Mesh LED Video Display The Pixled F-37L is a flexible mesh LED video display designed for both backdrop applications and creative LED designs. Its ultra-slim, flexible mesh construction offers the perfect combination of design flexibility and speed of deployment. The F-37L can be formed into any shape or molded over any object, but can equally be deployed as a flat LED video screen. With its 37mm pixel pitch, 57% transparency factor, and quick-rollout design, the F-37L enables designers to create massive backdrops within a minimal budget and have them installed with phenomenal speed.


Panasonic Solutions Company’s first professional full HD LCD displays for digital signage, the TH-47LF20U and TH-42LF20U, feature 1920 x 1080-pixel In-Plane Switching panel and an expanded color gamut to ensure true-to-life color. These 47” and 42” large-screen displays are the lightest in the industry, with the 42” display weighing in at only 39 pounds. Both displays have a depth of less than 4” and a narrow bezel of 0.7”. They also feature built-in rear speakers, a stylish black cabinet and a fan-less design to minimize noise and dust. Affordable Digital Signage Content Short Bites Media offers affordable short-format video content designed specifically for digital signage. Current available packages include Green Tips, National Park Travel Tips and Fun Facts. The Travel and Green Tip packages include 20 unique tips in both 30 second and 15 second versions for a total of 40 tips. The Fun Facts are 15 seconds in length and the package contains 20 unique facts. The content goes beyond typical graphics, still photos and ‘eye candy’ to incorporate dynamic HD video, innovative graphics and relevant information that will be engaging in a variety of environments.

Signage Solutions


VitalCAST Digital Signage VitalCAST is a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor digital signage solution that provides an innovative and effective way to deliver messages while exciting, informing and motivating your customers. VitalCAST gives you the local control to captivate, educate and motivate your audience with high resolution digital signage. VitalCAST Wizards with drag and drop interfaces make your digital signage network easy to configure and manage. Adding or changing content is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse and controlling all your displays from one central location ensures brand/message consistency. The power of VitalCAST gives you complete control on a local level to change on-screen information on-the-fly with near real-time updating or scheduled to start at any time up to one year in advance. Digital HD Multimedia Network Delivery voLANte delivers the industry leading solution for distributing high-definition multimedia across your network. voLANte is ideal for applications ranging from simple A/V extension to digital signage and fully managed multimedia over IP systems. Utilizing JPEG2000 compression, live content may be streamed across the network with very high quality, extremely low latency, and excellent error handling. Multiple channels of live video and content from sources such as media players, PCs, satellite receivers, etc. can be distributed over a single network to an unlimited number of displays. voLANte transmits multimedia content in IP packets over standard Ethernet/Fiber networks. The advantages are numerous and significant - digital transmission maintains content quality from source to every display; low-cost standard data cabling may be used; distance extension is unlimited using basic network switches; installation and expansion is as simple as adding PCs to a network; and when bandwidth is available, existing data networks may be utilized for video as well. Indoor LED Module The LED-06AF1 indoor LED module is ideal for retail stores, shopping malls and broadcast studios. Its outdoor companion, the LED-15BF1, is designed for sports arenas, airports and billboards for advertising. Both versions of the LED module operate under the “true pixel” principle, by which each red, green and blue light-emitting diode forms one single pixel. This allows for better color depth and more accurate images, especially with a video processor that offers adaptive de-interlacing, frame rate conversion and low latency processing. Its control software allows for the auto mapping of pixel allocation and auto locating, ensuring each module receives the correct image quadrant. LED Twitter Display

Large Flat Panel Digital Signage Mount Large flat panel digital signage mount designed for numerous on-wall digital signage applications. It can hold large and heavy flat panels in portrait or landscape configurations either in single use or within a multi-unit video wall. It holds most 32in. – 63in. flat panels with a maximum flat panel hole pattern of 810mm x 530mm (810mm x 810mm with extensions), has an adjustable -5 degrees to +15 degrees tilt in lockable 5 degree increments, utilizes a sectional wall plate that can be integrated with multiple FP-LDSB units to create a video wall, and it has a shallow profile of only 2.5 inches from the wall (2.6 inches with rail extensions), and comes in a black powder coat finish.

Twisplays are one-line LED signs that display Twitter streams in order to strengthen brands and boost sales. They can be installed in any chain of retail stores or department store doors in order to broadcast your brand's or company’s Twitter stream to consumers. Help extend the reach of your brand's or company’s Twitter stream, creating interest for consumers to follow your brand's or company’s Twitter stream, while also influencing consumer purchasing decisions at the point-of-sale. Use to draw attention, drive traffic and inform consumers of specials, promotions, discounts, coupons, contests, new products, sustainability efforts and company news.

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

November/December 2010


Signage Solutions Products

Signage Solutions & Products

Digital Signage e-Poster ViewSonic’s 52” EP5202r is a free-standing, all-glass POS electronic signboard enabling users to showcase a variety of multimedia on an impactful high-definition display. This easy to install EP5202r comes equipped with 2GB of CF built-in memory for storing high impact graphics and audio files. Information can be disseminated via the internal RJ45 network connection or a USB port making it easy to switch out displayed content. Teamed with 500 nits of brightness, a 5,000:1 contrast ratio and the audio benefit of two 5W speakers, the user has the freedom to display a variety of content from remotely or locally.

Environmentallyhardened broadcast Range New broadcast range features fiber interfaces and electrical splitters designed to meet the demands of unconditioned environments. The units are ideal where video information is broadcast from a central location to multiple monitors, such as passenger information screens in airports and railway stations. The newlydesigned fiber interfaces enable video transmission distances to be extended over a single multimode or singlemode fiber. The range includes DVI, HDMI, 3G-SDI & HD-SDI standalone fiber units as well as a multi-interface ‘computer on a fiber’ interface, which takes the interfaces found on a standard computer and transmits them all on one singlemode fiber to a remote base unit. The interfaces provide EDID (on the DDC line) via a ‘loop-though’ port and offer a display resolution of WUXGA (1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz) and HDTV up to 1080p.



Modular Video Wall for 46" Flat-Panels The new MVW Series Video wall Frame is designed for mounting flat-panel displays to Premier Mounts’ dual-pole carts and stands, or suspending them from the ceiling. They are ideal for digital signage, tradeshows, education, rental & staging applications and much more. Mount up to four 46" flat panels in portrait or landscape orientation. Individual mounting panels assemble to create a videowall. New Wayfinder Add-In for Xpresenter™ X2O Media’s new Microsoft® PowerPoint® add-in for creating wayfinder maps greatly simplifies the content creation process, allowing users to build their own wayfinder maps for corporate facilities, campuses, airports, public venues, and more. With the new wayfinder add-in, users of X2O’s Xpresenter™ digital signage platform can easily import floor plans and create digital, interactive wayfinder maps — with start and end points and animated directional arrows that indicate the path — directly inside PowerPoint and publish them to the X2O network. The maps can include a video or an image for both start and end points, and on-the-go signage viewers can even e-mail directions to themselves directly from the interactive screen.


Signage Essentials Understanding the Basics

Place-Based Media the right Message . . . the right Place . . . the right time


lace-Based media is, potentially, one of the most effective forms of brand promotion and advertising. Current technology gives us the opportunity to communicate with the viewer at the point of purchase in comparison to television, where the average viewer goes to bed after being educated and engaged by the medium. Let’s focus on the Place-Based arena where digital screens are transforming your customer’s experience. Prior to Place-Based media with digital screens and broadband uploaded content, customers had to be proactive in order to entertain themselves or to have an unforgettable experience. But all that has changed. Customers can now sit back and take it all in. Retail operators can now have a direct influence on the purchasing choices of their customers and can create a whole new experience. Place-based media can lower perceived wait time, educate viewers, and motivate more sales. That is, if and only if the content connects with the audience. Many spend thousands of dollars on gorgeous flat-panel screens for their places of business. They hang 42-inch, top of the line, plasma TVs and then hook-up DirecTV and air the latest movies or NFL Sunday Ticket. While that may lower perceived wait time to those who are interested in the specific movie or game, does that help increase sales? It depends on the venue. In a sports bar, airing football games might just be the ticket. But, in a winery, or art gallery, there are much better choices for your content. In a winery, content could be geared toward the making of wines and specifically the process at this particular vineyard. Create value by telling enthusiasts why this is the best made wine around. Connecting with the customer is the best form of sales. The whole point of Digital OutOf-Home or any Place-Based medium is to increase profits. Digital Signage is, after all, an investment. Don’t you want to maximize your return on investment? In order to maximize returns, Place-Based media must captivate the viewer. A store

Photo courtesy of NEC

Effective content must be relevant to the environment, venue, and audience, must take into account dwell times, and must be customized to fit the goals of the specific business model. could be offering $100 to clientele simply for saying, “I love lamp;” but if nobody is paying attention to the offer, then nobody will be taking home the cash. And the bigger challenge is to create an environment that improves the business transaction. For example, you start with a beautiful screen, and then air CNN or another news network. Have you ever heard the expression, “No news is good news?” There is a reason for it… it’s true. A customer that is watching programming that talks about the newest terrorist threat, or the down economy is not the highly motivated consumer. And the content is certainly not allowing for a wonderful experience. Do you want your customer to

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

By Kim Sarubbi

remember your store for the place where they heard about a plane crashing? On the other hand, using content that is in-line with the goals of your store, will engrain the positive experience in your clientele. Think of the winery… A connoisseur just learned that the wine produced at this particular spot is made not only from the best grapes in the Napa but are completely organic. The wine is made with the newest technology and scientific research to ensure that all the wines are fermented exactly the right length of time. The barrels are handmade and imported from the France. And because they have owned their land for 135 years, the costs that are saved on the land are reflected in pricing for the customer. Now we are creating that unforgettable experience and tattooing the positive aspects of the vineyard into the customer’s mind. In order to create the experience, there must be an engagement which can only be created with compelling content. Being positioned in the location where transactions take place, DOOH offers the ability to establish a strong and lasting relationship between the customer and the business. Let’s put ourselves in a doctor’s office. One of the doctor’s jobs is to teach or educate patients about medical issues. But time constraints often times don’t allow for proper education to take place. Now, with the digital signage and the ability to update content easily through the internet, educating patients is now possible. A content provider must produce accurate and medical content that is interesting to the audience. These relevant segments not only create a learning platform, but will also encourage questions from patients. The utilization of the dwell time not only lessens perceived wait time, but allows for a platform to deliver targeting messaging to the patient. The result is a more meaningful and truly engaged customer experience. Now, what if you are an automotive service department and most of your clients that are sitting in the waiting room are there for a $12.99 oil change? Here, instead of watching

November/December 2010


Signage Solutions

Signage Essentials

Photo courtesy of StrAtACAChE

a television playing sitcom reruns, consumers can watch video segments that illustrate the importance of frequent oil changes, tire rotations, and air filter changes. The segment ends by showing an annual savings of $250 per year. The customer now says to himself, “Wow! I didn’t know that.” As the owner,

what if I put an advertisement, following the segment, that informs the customer of my special, “Oil Change, tire rotation, air filter, and break inspection, $49.99?” Not only have we created an upsell, but the customer has now spent less than fifty dollars towards saving $250 for the year. Do you think that

customer might make it a priority to get those oil changes every three months? These are just a few of examples of how Place-Based media can create a meaningful connection with the audience and transform the customer’s experience. It all comes down to providing content that is relevant to the audience during captive dwell times. Content must be customized to fit the consumer’s situation. Whether it be a patient in a doctor’s waiting room, a car owner in an auto shop, or a restaurant patron, the formula remains the same. Effective content must be relevant to the environment, venue, and audience, must take into account dwell times, and must be customized to fit the goals of the specific business model. The challenge is to audit each specific environment and to produce content that plays to the strengths of the specific venue. SSM Kim Sarubbi is the president and CEO of Saddle Ranch Productions and can be reached at

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By The Way

Outside the Box? Mobile Marketing & Digital-Out-of-home revolutionizing the Ad Industry while Agencies and Brands they represent Still Working Inside the Box By Dan trigub


recently came across a post in Mobile Marketer titled: Mobile does not garner enough impressions: CTIA panelist and before reading past the headline the same sense of frustration I have been feeling for the past year came across my mind again as I was already irritated without having to read more. Please allow me to explain as without question, the advertising industry needs to change its one track mind and step outside the square box it has been in for the past few years when it comes to mobile marketing. CTIA (originally known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association) put on a session called Mobile Marketing Enablers and Ernie Cormier, CEO & President of Nexage was commenting to the crowd on why mobile is still not part of the standard media mix. Mr. Cormier went on to say, “…mobile is not presenting enough impression views – we have to work hard to get into that medium mix…Right now mobile is a science experiment, if you will.” Without knowing Mr. Cormier and being an executive myself in the Mobile Marketing industry I could right away sympathize with his remarks. One of the biggest obstacles in mobile marketing today is the lack of (or perceived lack of) impression views it can deliver for an agency and the brand(s) they represent. Finding myself in countless meetings with some of the largest and most influential brand agencies in the country over the past few years, the first thing any brand manager cares about is: how many impressions can it deliver for our client? Now I must say, who could blame this brand manager? Traditional media buying (everything that this agency has known for the past 100 years) has always been so simple – television, print and radio were all so well defined fitting nicely into a square box. Now all of a sudden mobile marketing channels have come about and guess what? – They don’t fit into this nicely defined square box. It is time that agencies change their train of thought and with that their practice

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

of media buying as a new age is upon us. Where mobile stands today, it provides the most value and opportunity when it supplements these traditional forms of media that have been around forever. A mobile campaign can be undeniably successful and powerful when it is coupled with television, print and what I will focus on in more depth later on, digital-out-of-home (DOOH). Dealing with the massive brand agencies over the past few years it is unfortunate, but the way they stand today it is hard for them to understand a media buy that would encompass both traditional media and mobile marketing technologies – and this needs to change. Today their media budgets are nicely defined into these square boxes of just television, print, out-of-home (OOH) or digital and do not overlap. When a mobile marketing vendor steps into the equation and proposes an integrated campaign it is hard for the agency to figure out how to use their budget appropriately and which group within the agency it would fall under. Though, what they fail to realize is contrary to Mr. Comier’s comments – an integrated mobile campaign can deliver not only more impressions but qualified impression views relative to just a traditional media buy when done right. Now to be fair some agencies are beginning to realize this undeniable power of mobile mixed with traditional media as new departments and groups within their organization begin to develop that focus on this very point (clear validation that times are changing). I mentioned earlier that it is my belief that mobile can be most effective when integrated with DOOH as I would like to now elaborate on this point. It is my conviction that in the coming years DOOH will be more powerful, will serve more impression views and influence more consumers and the decisions they make than television, print and radio have ever done over the past 100 years; and when coupled with mobile it will present agencies and the brand(s) they represent a perfect storm of marketing power – even giving online media purchases a run for its money.

November/December 2010


Signage Solutions

By The Way

Earlier this month, industry executives and experts in DOOH gathered in NYC at the fourth annual Digital Signage Investor Conference. Gary McGuire, CEO of RMG Networks, led off with a keynote presentation where he stated, “It takes about 10 years for any industry to mature, and the digital out-of-home industry is at that tipping point,” as I could not agree with him more. Mr. McGuire also went on to add that brands are coming into the DOOH industry more than ever before and the top 10 advertisers in the U.S. have each spent more than $1 million in the past few months on DOOH. Likewise, the New York-based Digital Place-based Advertising Association (formerly OVAB), just recently reported that the Digital Place-Based Media sector grew 25% in the first half of 2010 as advertising revenue in the Digital Place-based sector is estimated to be in excess of $1 billion today. The data has certainly been speaking for itself over the past few months as agencies cannot find themselves continuing to ignore this media vertical for much longer. Though, the question remains – how will it be more powerful than the age old television and even rival online media? To answer this question let us have a look at an example of just one demographic – the business traveler who we will call “Mr. Smith.” Mr. Smith works in corporate America, age 35-54, married, with 1.8 kids and is active, educated, tech-savvy and always on-the-go. Mr. Smith has a HHI of over $100,000, owns a smartphone, takes 10+ domestic trips a year, and goes out to eat often. This morning Mr. Smith woke up after a busy night at the office, looked at the television for maybe 5 minutes to catch the latest news and then gave his wife a kiss on the cheek and was off to catch his plane for a meeting. The following then proceeded to happen: 1. On his way to the airport Mr. Smith stopped at the nearest gas station and caught a DOOH display on the top of the gas pump as he was standing there waiting to fill his tank – the display ran a promotion that the car dealer in town has the latest model in the showroom and encouraged Mr. Smith to come in for a test drive; 2. Mr. Smith then realized he had to quickly stop at the office to grab some documents and when he arrived at his building, he jumped into the elevator where he spotted another DOOH display – the display ran a promotion for a concert going on at the city arena sponsored by a major brand; 3. Once at the airport he walked into a coffee shop and noticed yet another DOOH display – the display featured some content for a new business traveler application to help manage ones busy schedule that can be downloaded at the iTunes store; 4. As the time came to board his plane Mr. Smith got to his seat and there was yet another DOOH display on the back of the seat in front of him – the display featured content for a weekend travel special to Bermuda;


5. Mr. Smith finally arrived to his destination, jumped into a cab and another DOOH display was there to greet him while he sat in the back seat – the display featured content for a new DVD movie release that he could purchase at a retailer close by; 6. After a busy day of meetings he got to his hotel where a DOOH display appeared in the lobby – it had content for the restaurant at the hotel; 7. After settling into his room Mr. Smith decided to go to the gym across the street and when running on his treadmill he noticed a DOOH display right in front of his very eyes – content on the display featured a new sports shoe geared for runners; 8. After his workout Mr. Smith decided to meet a few colleagues at the nearby bar and while ordering his cocktail he noticed another DOOH display behind the bartender – the display had some unique content for a new liquor flavor by a major brand encouraging him to give it a shot. Mr. Smith is a busy man and by my count in just that one day he was exposed to 8 different DOOH displays and most importantly as Mr. McGuire from RMG calls it, at the moment of maximum influence. If these DOOH media buys were integrated with mobile technologies via a call-to-action where Mr. Smith could not only see the display but receive content at that very point in time to his smartphone – the most personal display of all, the campaign would become exponentially more powerful for that brand at that very point of maximum influence. Unlike this grey and fuzzy impression number that brands have had to deal with over the past 100 years – hard concrete data can be delivered on how many times Mr. Smith received content specific to that brand or interaction with that brand on his mobile device while near that DOOH display Today we still need standardization of the DOOH space which includes consolidation of the various networks that are out there. Likewise, media buys need to be made simple for agencies if they were to purchase inventory across the various DOOH networks. However, that is all changing as what is most important is that agencies begin to realize traditional media is undergoing a massive change and that the old ways of thinking are long behind us. It is imperative that agencies and brands begin to think outside of the square box and view mobile as an integrated buy with print, radio, television and most notably DOOH. SSM

Dan Trigub is the Chief Development Officer at Blue Bite LLC, and can be reached at


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Outside the Box p39 BELL ICE CUBE EXPERIENCE Dynamic Place- OUTDOOR MEDIA : Is It Time To Go Mobile Marketing & DOOH Revolutionizing the...

Signage Solutions Magazine  

Outside the Box p39 BELL ICE CUBE EXPERIENCE Dynamic Place- OUTDOOR MEDIA : Is It Time To Go Mobile Marketing & DOOH Revolutionizing the...