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Signage Solutions www.signagesolutionsmag.com

July/August 2011

The Technology and Solutions Magazine for Digital Signage, DOOH, Mobile and Place-based Media

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The

changing, converging future of

Digital Out-Of-Home LONG LIVE THE CONTENT KING p39

CREATING THE DIGITAL BEAST

THE NEW ROCK STAR

Investor or Venture Capital? p22

Digital Signage Products & Solutions

Signage Essentials

Treat your IT manager like a rock star. p24

Industry News


Publisher’s Perspective

Oh! The Places You’ll Go! I’m sure you all know the classic story, Oh! The Places You’ll Go! by the lovable Dr. Seuss. Its talks about all the possibilities the character has as he moves forward in his life. I think the same thing with digital screens. Think about all the possible places these digital screens will be positioned in the near future and it becomes mind-boggling. They can literally be used almost anywhere and within every industry. It doesn’t matter the size or shape of the venue, there is a screen out there that will do the job. I don’t plan to bore you with all my crazy ideas for digital signage, but I’m sure you can see the future of almost all signs is digital. This was very apparent as I walked the show floor at InfoComm in Orlando this year, where the Digital Signage Pavilion had a major footprint on the show floor. I saw so many companies, some who did not serve the industry in the past, now with a digital signage product or offering. This means the professional AV installers and integrators have more to offer their clients when consulting and integrating other AV technologies. However, I didn’t see too many new ideas being presented. There definitely were a few, but not as many as I had hoped for in such a new industry. One thing I did notice at InfoComm, was a theme of “total solutions”. Companies who once just manufactured a product or offered a service or solution are now offering products, installation, service, solutions and maintenance all from one provider, a “one stop shop” for end-users of digital signage. A full-integrated digital signage solution was something that I saw more and more companies offering and I think it’s something that will be used more by endusers as they navigate the shift to digital screens. It makes it a lot easier to make one call to get a total solution. In my opinion, this was the best video wall display at InfoComm As more companies enter 2011. It was a 3X16 of 42" Orion plasma displays built by Salitek. the digital signage market, new ideas, products and solutions will come to the surface. The possibilities are endless right now and we are just touching the surface. Its up to the “great minds” of technology to steer us into the future. And to quote Dr. Seuss for those great minds... “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” So take a look around and look at the possibilities out there as you manage your business. Look for opportunities to use a new digital screen to help inform your customers, communicate with your employees, or help someone find their way. Until next issue,

Ben Skidmore Find us on Twitter @SignageSolMag Follow Signage Solutions Magazine on Facebook

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

SignageSolutions

magazine

July/August 2011 • Volume Two • Issue Four Publisher/Editorial Director Ben Skidmore (972) 587-9064 ben@signagesolutionsmag.com Circulation Stephanie Kennedy (972) 782-2490 stephanie@partnerspr.com Accounting (972) 782-2490 info@partnerspr.com Advertising Ben Skidmore — East Coast (972) 587-9064 ben@signagesolutionsmag.com Stuart Freeman — West Coast (972) 782-2584 stuart@signagesolutionsmag.com Web Site/Webmaster Third Corner (888) 284-8334 dbarham@thirdcorner.com Design/Production SPARK Publications (704) 844-6080 Info@SPARKpublications.com Home Office

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Signage Solutions Magazine (ISSN 2159-0060) is published bi-monthly (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/Jun, Jul/Aug, Sep/Oct, Nov/Dec) by Partners Publishing, 306 South Tennessee Street, McKinney, TX 75069. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Prices Pending at McKinney TX 75070 and at additional mailing offices. Basic subscriptions rates: one year (6 issues) free to qualified subscribers. Others may subscribe at a cost of $60 for 6 issues. Individuals copies sold for $15, per issue. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Signage Solutions Magazine c/o Partners Publishing, 306 South Tennessee Street, McKinney, TX 75069

Author’s Guidelines: Signage Solutions will consider manuscripts that are not offered to other publications. Preferred length is 700 words (case studies) or 1200 -1,500 words (Features). Please submit manuscripts to Editorial Director at the mailing address above or send via email to: editor@signagesolutionsmag.com

July/August 2011

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Signage Solutions

magazine

Contents

July/August 2011

The Technology and Solutions Magazine for Digital Signage, DOOH, Mobile and Place-based Media

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Technology @ Work

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

By The Way

Long Live The Content King by Stephen Nesbit

features 18 COVER Story

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The changing, converging future of Digital Out-Of-Home

Vertical Views

Video Wall Adds Class to Design of New Dining Hall

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Vertical Views

In the Wake of Tragedy:

Digital Signage Network Keeps Students and Faculty Informed at West Virginia University.

Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder eagerly awaited the opening of The Center for Community, a brand new facility that is home to a variety of departments and university services.

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DOOH and Mobile Have Joined Together to Form an Exciting New Form of Interactive Marketing. By Garry McGuire

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Creating the Digital Beast Investor or Venture Capital? By Linda Hofflander

Digital Dialogue

As the digital screen media ecosystem evolves the inevitable is occurring. Companies that once ruled the roost are now nowhere to be seen.

Digital Out-Of-Home and Mobile Technologies Are Powerful Media Tools for Shopper Marketing

We spoke with Jennifer Bolt, SVP, Chief Strategy OfďŹ cer of rVue, a demand-side platform for DOOH, about the shifts she sees in retail advertising and Shopper Media.

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Vertical Views

Centralizing the control of Joy Mining’s branding and messaging

With Joy Mining customers and employees spread from Tychy, Poland to Tianjin, China, the marketing team proposed a network of digital video displays in facility lobbies.

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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 features new products and solutions.

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The new Rock Star

By Perry Goldstein

IT

KS ROC

If you are in the process of planning or implementing digital signage, you need to treat your IT manager like a rock star.

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Content is King; Weather is the King of Content

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Tips for Future-Proofing Your CMS Decision

By Scott Homan

By Mike Zmuda


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Updates

Industry&News

Technology @ Work

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Go to www.signagesolutionsmag.com to read full version of articles found in the Industry News & Updates section of Signage Solutions Magazine. Taco Bell and indoorDIRECT To Bring The Restaurant Entertainment Network to all 5,600 Taco Bell Restaurants DALLAS, TX —Taco Bell Corp. and Indoor Direct, Inc., owner of The Restaurant Entertainment Network, have reached a long-term agreement to be the first to install in-store television network and free Wi-Fi solutions in all 5,600 Taco Bell locations throughout the United States. After the 5,600 locations are installed by 2015, The Restaurant Entertainment Network will reach approximately 48 million Taco Bell customers each month. Each location will have The Restaurant Entertainment Network installed, which consists of a point of sale and dining room network plus installation of free Wi-Fi for guests.

“Our consumers come to us for great tasting tacos and burritos, and now we’re enriching their experience with the addition of indoorDIRECT’s Restaurant Entertainment Network,” said David Ovens, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp. “As the value leader in Quick-Service Restaurants, The Restaurant Entertainment Network will add even greater value to the Taco Bell experience and feature engaging content such as music, lifestyle, entertainment and sports, and also free Wi-Fi to keep our consumers connected with their friends.” www.indoordirect.com

DOOH health network CHMN surpasses 1,000 venues and 1 million weekly viewers TORONTO, ON – CHMN has doubled its venue and audience numbers in the

past 12 months and now connects brands with consumers in every province. The network – which operates DOOH screens in medical environments such as clinic, lab and hospital waiting areas – covers Canada’s top 11 DMAs and also reaches into more than 200 rural markets. CHMN is a collective of independently operated national and regional health and wellness networks, all using a common, shared sales and marketing team and standardized metrics that make it easy for media planning professionals to develop effective and efficient campaigns. “Bringing CHMN’s operating footprint and audience size to where it now sits is an important step, not only for the network and its affiliates, but the DOOH industry in Canada as a whole,” says CHMN CEO Ed Voltan. “We now have a national network using what we believe are credible, easily grasped audience metrics that line up with how other media is bought and sold.” www.chmn.ca

Duane Reade First US Drug Store Chain with a Virtual Assistant MANHATTAN, NY – Duane Reade, New York City’s largest drug store chain in partnership with Lawrence, a Tensator Group Company – and world leader in queue


Technology @ Work

NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers add Planar Video Walls to Enhance Arena Experience

management solutions, today unveiled at the company’s grand opening of its Wall Street megastore, the industry’s first Virtual Assistant. A next-generation digital signage solution, the Tensator Virtual Assistant provides Duane Reade and its customers with an exciting information, brand and promotional messaging medium using the very latest in holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person. The completely customized Virtual Assistant greets New Yorkers to the newest Duane Reade store, immediately engaging customers and providing guidance on everything store related -- instructions on seeing the “Doctor on Premise,” getting a virtual makeover, hours of operation, checkout information and even makes suggestions and recommendations on leading brand foods, drinks, cosmetics, hair and pharmaceutical choices available to customers. www.lawrencemetal.com

Planar’s Clarity Matrix video wall is prominently featured in the new Rip City United Headquarters on the main Rose Garden concourse. This area was designed as a special customer service location where the video wall will showcase different content to appeal to potential season ticket holders and provide existing ones with a variety of unique membership services. The 132 square-foot Clarity Matrix LCD video wall features information about exclusive events with players and alumni, highlights season ticket holder discounts, and provides high-resolution videos and images from Trail Blazers games. The nearby 30 square-foot Clarity Matrix Wall of Fame depicts lifesized images of players.www.planar.com

Digital Signage Industry Decline Disappointing, not Unexpected

NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers add Planar Video Walls to Enhance Arena Experience PORTLAND, OR - Planar Systems, Inc., a worldwide leader in specialty display solutions, announced that established NBA franchise, the Portland Trail Blazers, has chosen the Planar Clarity® Matrix™ LCD Video Wall System to boost fan excitement, brand loyalty and sales of season tickets at the Rose Garden Arena. “If current trends are any indication, large LCD video walls like the Clarity Matrix at the Portland Rose Garden will soon be prevalent in sports arenas across the country.”

use make this innovative digital display an ideal investment for Mad Money to showcase investor data and graphics. The two newly added Digital Widescreens will enhance the show’s broadcast, both for its in-studio and at-home audience, by delivering sharp image quality and incomparable color and brightness with a seamless, consistent display that is clearly visible from any location in the studio. “We’ve always known that a broadcast environment would offer the perfect synergy for Prysm’s unparalleled visual experience on the LPD platform,” said Dana Corey, Prysm’s VP of Global Sales & Services. “Prysm’s ability to deliver stunning images that are crystal clear at every angle in the studio will have a powerful impact on Mad Money’s audience and viewers.” www.prysm.com

Prysm’s Digital Displays Make TV Debut on CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer SAN JOSE, CA – Digital display innovator, Prysm, announced the company’s first broadcast installation on the set of CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer. The powerful visual impact of Prysm’s Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) technology combined with its flexibility in configuration and low power

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

CHICAGO, IL - The Platt Retail Institute’s North American Digital Signage Index shows weak industry performance with an overall decline in Q1 2011 -- the first drop in seven quarters. The Current DS Index is down sharply from the 3.82 percent increase last quarter and fell behind GDP for the first time since PRI began publishing the Index in Q4 2009. Generally, what happened

July/August 2011

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Technology @ Work in the industry during the quarter is reflective of what is happening in the U.S. economy, according to PRI Director and Research Fellow Steven Keith Platt. However, the Near-Term DS Index, an indicator of future business/industry activity, revealed a more optimistic view on the part of survey respondents. “The decline in the Index for the first quarter is disappointing, but certainly not unexpected,” Platt said. “Looking ahead, we anticipate a moderately improving economy and industry during the second half of 2011.” The North American Digital Signage Index is a quarterly report on the state of the Digital Signage industry. www.plattretailinstitute.org

Screenreach Turns Fenwick Department Store Window Into Interactive Display A Newcastle, U.K. based department store has unveiled the city’s first interactive digital window display and will be rewarding customers for playing with it. Fenwick department store has partnered with Screenreach Interactive to use its Screach App to enable customers and passers–by to “check in” to its cutting-edge window display. The Screach Application has been designed to allow two-way, real-time

interactions between a smart device and any content on any digital screen. Once shoppers input a unique code into the app on their smartphones, they will instantly become controllers, allowing them to interact with the content on the screen in Fenwick’s window. The digital display was launched in the Northumberland St. window on June 11, allowing shoppers to simply download Screach, which is currently available on

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iPhone and Android, to their smart device, connect through Facebook when the app prompts them to do so and then check in to the famous Fenwick window. As soon as shoppers check in, their image will appear on the screen, taken directly from their Facebook profile, showing their face in the Fenwick window. To thank shoppers for taking part,

everyone who interacts will be rewarded with a voucher to claim a free tea or coffee with any food purchase made in one of six different Fenwick restaurants. Customers also will be given the option to submit their email address into the app to be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad2 that Fenwick is giving away. www.screenreach.com

Newport Digital Technologies Provides Update on PETCO Park Digital Signage Project NEWPORT BEACH, CA - Newport Digital Technologies, Inc. announced that they, along with SASCO Electric, commenced Phase II project launch with PETCO Park to provide full assessment of PETCO Park’s current infrastructure, including structural engineering, power systems, video data/systems, and aesthetic requirements, to recommend all possible audio and digital signage opportunities that could create an enhanced fan experience in one of Major League Baseball’s premier stadiums. Phase II will also identify the updating points of PETCO Park’s facilities to ready the park for the installation of leading-edge digital signage and audio solutions later this year. Upon completion of Phase II, NPDT will make recommendations to the park for the installation of its leading-edge digital signage and audio solutions that is scheduled to commence later this year. As an authorized LG Electronics commercial display reseller, NPDT plans to integrate LG solutions into the project. www.newportdt.com


Vertical View Education

In the Wake of Tragedy:

Digital Signage Network Keeps Students and Faculty Informed at West Virginia University

On April 16, 2007, 32 people were killed, and many others wounded, by a single gunman on the campus of Virginia Tech University. In the wake of that tragedy, a state-appointed body assigned to review the Virginia Tech incident concluded that the toll could have been reduced if the university had a stronger, clearer initial alert of the presence of the gunman. Within minutes of the tragedy, the concept of the West Virginia University (WVU) Information Stations was conceived — a 24/7/365 information system and network designed to help protect WVU’s nearly 29,000 students and 7,900 faculty and staff members in the event of a campus emergency, as well as provide current and pertinent information to the campuses and encourage student engagement and interaction through innovative social media features.

Students of WVU take time to read the digital signage outside the Information Center.

Developed by WVU Television Productions personnel, WVU’s Information Stations consist of more than 70 digital signage screens located on WVU’s three Morgantown, W.Va., campuses, three miles apart, with displays situated in key pedestrian traffic areas across the university properties, including the public and residential complexes

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with both indoor and outdoor deployments. The system is powered by X2O Media’s Xpresenter™, an end-to-end digital signage platform designed to make creating, managing, and distributing broadcast-quality digital signage available to all. The Information Stations typically display daily events calendars, WVU news and information, WVU video productions, and current information on student organizations, special events, and athletics. A 24-minute loop of information rotates through three-minute client-specific pages such as WVU Libraries, WVU Arts and Entertainment, student organizations, current weather and extended forecasts, and WVU athletics. In an emergency, an RSS feed from the WVU Department of Public Safety switches signage into emergency notification mode, with screens displaying EMERGENCY or WEATHER alerts. In an emergency situation, time is critical — and tests of the digital signage system at WVU show that emergency and weather alerts can be triggered and displayed within a range of nine to 20 seconds, providing up-to-date details and instructions across Morgantown campuses almost immediately. For fast results, Xpresenter provides WVU with a distinct advantage by featuring a template-based approach to content, meaning the look and feel of the screen, as well as any specific instructions, are all included in pre-built templates. With Xpresenter, WVU creates full-screen emergency alert templates to their specifications ahead of time, and then needs only to trigger the alert template when required. Xpresenter’s real-time Players are able to “break in” to the normal programming with any type of alert without having to pre-render any video. As both an emergency alert system and a source of current campus information for WVU students, the ability to provide targeted and timely content is an essential feature of the Information Stations. For example, an alert of a broken water line at the WVU Law School would not be pertinent to the WVU Health Science Center. However, an alert for a gunman on campus would need to


Vertical View Education

Digital screens are placed throughout the entire WVU campus, including student recreation areas.

go to all screens. X2O Media’s content management tools provide this capability from a single easy-to-use interface. Xpresenter Content Manager allows WVU to manage all aspects of content playout, including building playlists, updating template information, and scheduling content delivery to any player or group of players on the network. To keep information fresh for students, while reducing the time spent by staff updating content, Xpresenter integrates with existing campus databases and calendars to provide students with up-to-date information on events, news, video productions, athletics, and much more. Different departments are able to update these databases easily with custom Web forms. The powerful Xpresenter Player broadcast rendering engine then delivers this content in the highest quality output.

The Information Stations’ leveraging of social media technology creates a “culture of recognition” to encourage interactivity with the signage. The idea is that if the screens become a normal part of students’ and employees’ lives, then they’ll more quickly notice an emergency or weather alert. Integration of the X2O Media platform with technology from LocaModa allows students to use their cell phones to text and interact with the digital signage in real time via applications such as Wiffiti, Foursquare, and Jumbli. For example, the LocaModa Wiffiti programming allows students to send text messages and photos that show up on the Information Station screens. Integrating the system with WVU’s Foursquare locations allows the “mayor” of a location to be displayed on the screen. This feature has proven highly successful, with the number of Foursquare check-ins increasing by several hundred every week. 99.9 percent of the time, the digital signage system is used for university messaging, such as a spot for the health sciences division or a video from a studentcreated TV show about the school’s nationally ranked sports teams. With 45,000 people passing it daily, this content has become a trusted source of timely, engaging information that effectively draws crowds. Even more important, however, is the fact that immediately behind that content is emergency alert messaging that has the potential to save lives. SSM

West Virginia University campus in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

July/August 2011

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Vertical View Corporate

Centralizing the control of Joy Mining’s branding and messaging About Joy Mining Machinery: Active on five continents and with a network of 55 facilities spanning China, Russia, India, Poland, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and the United States, Joy Mining Machinery, a subsidiary of Joy Global, Inc., is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of underground mining equipment. Wherever coal, iron ore, copper, gold, and other embedded materials are mined, chances are good that Joy Mining loaders, conveyors, haulers, and other products are hard at work. Joy Mining Machinery’s headquarters are in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. Although the majority of the company’s equipment is assembled at its main factory in the town of Franklin, approximately an hour’s drive south of Erie, many other facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere manufacture various components and secondary products. Sales, warehousing, and equipment service functions are conducted at many of these locales as well. Its objective: consistent branding, instant communication: With Joy Mining customers and employees spread from Tychy, Poland to Tianjin, China, implementing and maintaining a common corporate culture is a challenge. To help solve the situation, the Joy Mining Machinery marketing team proposed a network of digital video displays in facility lobbies that would convey both local and companywide information, unified under a consistent graphic look. “We knew that to control the branding and messaging, we would have to manage the network from our graphics and video production unit in Franklin,” recalled Chuck Fickter, Marketing Information Manager for Joy Mining. “The only way to do that is with a powerful, easy-to-operate content management system.” The solution: After a couple of “fits and starts,” as Fickter described it, the Joy Mining team discovered the iCOMPEL™ digital signage appliance platform from Black Box. “Many of the units we looked at were complicated to use. Others didn’t have all the functions we wanted,” he stated. “But iCOMPEL is very easy to hook up, with very intuitive software that’s easy to learn.” Suitable for both standalone and networked environments, iCOMPEL is an all-in-one device that supports the full range of content management including subscription, organization, design, and publishing. Controlled by a standard Web browser, iCOMPEL is flexible in a variety of deployment situations. Users can combine video or live TV with scrolling text, photos, Flash, and Web content to create dynamic, multipurpose displays that serve multiple needs. “Almost all of our 55 facilities eventually received a digital display in their lobbies, all controlled by iCOMPEL devices,” said Fick-

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Example of Joy Mining's content displayed at one of the 55 worldwide locations.

ter. “The screens are typically subdivided, with about two-thirds of the message area reserved for companywide content such as product information, company news, videos, and the like. Stock prices, local weather, and general news are conveyed by a crawler at the bottom of the screen. There is also a message center that can be controlled by the local office to post specific messages like on-time delivery statistics, or to welcome guests or customers.” Fickter noted how little time was required to install the initial iCOMPEL unit - only a half hour. Training was fast as well. Before long, a dozen iCOMPEL devices were installed around the world at various Joy Mining Manufacturing locations, all controlled by the company’s video production staff in Franklin. An asset takes off: Little did anyone know at that point how far the project would go. First, Joy Mining Machinery’s engineering staff came to Fickter with an idea. “We were presented with the notion of using the digital screens to provide engineering metrics - performance data and the like. We saw the potential and immediately began rolling out the information to 19 screens around the network,” said Fickter. Next the Human Resource Department approached. “They told us about how they are required to post job bids and awards in the company’s union facilities. Normally, that requires a whole day or more of driving from one location to the next, just to post information on bulletin boards,” Fickter recalled. “If we installed dedicated screens in employee-only areas, HR said we could instantly eliminate that step and save the company a ton of time and money.” Possibly the most innovative idea, however, came from Opera-


Vertical View Corporate

tional Excellence, a company task force working to optimize manufacturing quality and efficiency. Its proposal: Use digital screens on the factory floor to display “Kanban” inventory information in real time. Kanban, a Just-in-Time manufacturing discipline, tells workers which parts are in inventory, which are in transit, and in what bins particular parts are found. It also feeds information back to offsite fabricators, ensuring that appropriate parts are being produced only as needed, and just in time for use. Traditionally, the Kanban system uses paper tickets to relay inventory information. By switching to digital displays, the company could eliminate paper and provide faster, more detailed updates. “To execute the Kanban idea, we needed to pull information from our SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system. All we had to do was create a Web service by pointing our iCOMPEL units to the correct IP address,” said Fickter. Joy Mining has installed a number of Kanban displays at the Franklin manufacturing plant with impressive results. Its next move is to link the Franklin facility to other Pennsylvania plants as well as its South

African operations. The solution will instantly communicate manufacturing and inventory information about essential equipment parts, even around the world. Productivity and morale improve: “We discover new uses for digital displays almost every day,” Fickter stated. “A recent employee survey, for example, indicated a desire for more awareness of what different Joy Mining facilities around the world are doing. That sparked the concept of ‘Joy TV’ - an in-house video channel that will produce and distribute ‘Facility Focus’ documentaries about various Joy Mining activities and people.” Fickter, as well as the marketing and production teams, are both excited and a bit surprised by the hugely positive and imaginative response to the introduction of the iCOMPEL powered digital display network. “Suddenly, what was once intended to be simply a coordinated display system for lobby guests has become a global, interconnected and highly strategic set of tools,” he said. “We’re continually impressed by the potential of our displays.” SSM

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Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

July/August 2011

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Vertical View Education

Video Wall Adds Class to Design of New Dining Hall Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder eagerly awaited the opening of The Center for Community, a brand new facility that is home to a variety of departments and university services. Anticipation was particularly high for the Center for Community Dining, the largest dining hall on campus, featuring food from a wide variety of countries and cultures. Now that the center is open, students can order almost anything from tacos to sushi to Kosher and much more. And to help them decide, planners of the facility — including Digital Roads, an audio and video systems integrator based in Wheat Ridge, Colo. — speci-

fied a unique, high-definition video wall for the dining hall entrance. This nearly 200 square-foot expanse of liquid crystal display (LCD) video wall technology, developed by Planar Systems, presents a varied combination of graphics and video, capturing the attention of anyone wanting to grab a bite to eat while hurrying to class or coming off an all-night study session. It also informs passersby of what’s happening on campus. “This is a sophisticated display system,” says James Hickey, field operations manager of Digital Roads, describing the Planar Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall System, which his firm selected

The new 2X8 video wall at the entrance to the new University of Colorado at Boulder dining hall.

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Vertical View Education and installed. “But for all its sophistication, components and capability, it installed and went live more smoothly and easily than practically any other video wall we’ve ever implemented.” That says a lot considering the challenges involved in bringing online an array of 16 LCD panels, each 46 inches in size, in a eight-wide by two-high (8x2) configuration. The video wall is 15 feet above the floor, and near-perfect alignment of the 16 LCD panels was required in order to create an almost-seamless display vista that can accommodate virtually any kind of visual content. “Students here are bright, quick and tech-savvy,” says Janice Torkildsen, the university’s director of dining marketing and customer service. “They don’t read posters, tent cards on tables or other paperbased information. But they do stop and engage with this video wall, and they do say ‘Wow.’ This technology orientation, combined with the university’s sustainability orientation — a strong initiative to reduce paper — positions the ‘Wow’ wall to become our communication tool of choice.” She added that goals are to display the obvious content such as meal menus, and at some point to have live feeds from various chef stations. “But, we want the video wall to have interchangeable, engaging content, whether it’s a live feed from a game in progress or information about other things happening on campus. That’s the goal, and all the aspects of the video wall — its size, attention-grabbing imagery and flexible content — support that goal.” Commenting on the installation of the wall, Digital Roads’ Hickey says Planar’s innovative EasyAxis™ Mounting System was a key factor. “It made aligning the panels very easy and allowed us to capitalize on the thin-bezel design of Clarity Matrix, creating a video wall with gaps between each panel that measure less than three-tenths of an inch.” Other key attributes of the EasyAxis system include the quick and easy access it provides to any LCD panel within the video wall, so service can be performed without LCD panels being removed. The system allows Clarity Matrix LCD panels to be mounted less than 5 inches from the wall, in keeping with the clean and sleek design of the facility. Further, EasyAxis capitalizes on the design of Clarity Matrix,

which allows power supplies and controllers to be located away from the video wall, thus removing sources of heat from the LCD panels that could induce failures or shorten their 50,000 hour backlight life span. Shelby Hood IV, account manager with Digital Roads, reminds us that at the end of the day, the image quality of Clarity Matrix is perhaps the most important factor. “The video wall will ultimately support a variety of content that is both engaging and informative, so it has to look beautiful.”

Transportation

Clarity Matrix delivers on that promise with industry-leading resolution (3000:1), brightness (700 nits), and color handling (16.7 million colors). “The ‘Wow’ wall accentuates the look and feel of the Center for Community Dining,” the university’s Torkildsen says. “It complements the facility’s design, and catches your eye in just the right way. It’s what we envisioned, and we know it will serve us well for a long time, in many important ways.” SSM

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Digital Dialogue

Q & A With Jennifer Bolt

Digital Out-Of-Home and Mobile Technologies Are Powerful Media Tools for Shopper Marketing We spoke with Jennifer Bolt, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer of rVue, a demand-side platform for DOOH, about the shifts she sees in retail advertising and Shopper Media. Fueled by a need to communicate directly with shoppers at the point of sale, advertisers are turning to new technologies to facilitate this interaction. In the past, Shopper Marketing consisted of static, printed displays and messaging. Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH), in combination with other technologies, has put more detailed, targeted messaging into stores, and broken out of store boundaries to reach consumers wherever they make buying decisions.

Q: A:

How do you define Shopper Marketing?

It’s the ability to influence consumer behavior along the path to purchase. The path to purchase is no longer destination-based, so that path may be winding. Because the consumer has the ability to make a purchase almost anywhere with a smartphone or other digital device, Shopper Marketing has moved from a store environment to a much broader definition. As an advertiser, I no longer have to draw you to a physical location to engage you to purchase a product or service. Any form of media can influence a shopper’s behavior if you use it in the right way. Shopper Media in all its forms is the conduit for Shopper Marketing strategies. If you’re trying to get consumers to make a purchase, an effective media plan needs to use all the tools available to deliver the most relevant message in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Today’s tools make that targeting more precise than ever before. And, because these messages are digital, many of them can be customized by daypart, specific location — almost any criteria you can imagine. Just a few years ago, media planners could reach people at home, in their cars or at work. But now that reach extends all the way to the store shelf and everywhere in-between with messaging that can be just as engaging — and often more informative — than traditional mass media. Digital signage, smartphones, electronic billboards — these are all tools for delivering up-to-the-minute, relevant messages that can drive purchases closer to the point of sale. Instead of interrupting people when they’re doing something else, like traditional brand advertising often does, we can reach people when they’re in shopping mode. This relevance and immediacy are key to a successful Shopper Marketing strategy.

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Q: A:

Why is Shopper Marketing moving to the forefront of advertising?

Clients want more accountability from the money they are putting into marketing and advertising. They want to know that it’s working and moving their product. So dollars are shifting to media that close the sale rather than just drive brand awareness. Brand awareness is a staple that isn’t going away. Advertisers and brands need it as a cornerstone of the marketing mix. However, in the past there has been an emphasis on marketing dollars behind brand awareness tactics as opposed to Shopper Media tactics. This shift will influence agencies and clients alike because it requires everything to become more accountable and measureable.

Q: A:

What is the relationship between DOOH and Shopper Marketing?

Digital Out-Of-Home and Shopper Marketing have a symbiotic relationship. Shopper marketing has risen to the forefront because retailers have become more concerned about their own brand. They used to be more focused on the brands they carried in their store, and they still are, but private-label products have become more consumerfriendly. These days, more people are seeking the value of private labels. Those private-label brands are an extension of the retailer’s brand. At the same time, retailers are implementing clean-store policies because they want to improve the consumer experience and make their stores easy to navigate, friendly and engaging. Retailtainment entices people to stay in the store longer, which increases their basket size and drives impulse purchases. As stores develop a cleaner look, you see less and less POP and cardboard — that has given way to digital media. Within the store environment, those two things go hand-in-glove. Digital


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Digital Dialogue Out-Of-Home is a very important piece of what’s happening from a Shopper Marketing perspective and is a really important component of how retailers are making over their brand. They can engage the shopper in their store, they can let them know about specials, direct them in the aisles and deliver content when it’s needed. If the consumer is trying to make a decision at the shelf and needs more information, there are all sorts of ways that digital media can deliver that information and help complete the sale.

Q: A:

What role will DOOH play in the future of Shopper Marketing?

One trend we need to be aware of is that people want to be able to get as much information as possible when considering a purchase. Consumers are doing a lot of pre-shopping and reviewing of products and offers from retailers. Word-of-mouth, online, social media — it’s all playing a big role when it comes to product selection or where to buy a particular product. Digital Out-Of-Home has the ability to close that loop in a local or hyperlocal geography. So even when it’s not at the point of purchase, being in proximity is important. Let me give you an example: Let’s say there’s a café in a shopping center with a number of stores that sell blenders. In that café are several digital screens that are available to the local community of retailers. If I’m a consumer eating in that café searching on my smartphone for a new blender, and one of those retailers has a message on those screens about a sale on small appliances, I’m more likely to go buy my new blender from that particular store. Now, let’s take that a step further: Let’s say that retailer adds a text or QR code to that digital screen in the café. By using that code, I can receive an additional discount or targeted offer — maybe I get four margarita glasses free with my new blender — that gives me an incentive to go straight to a particular retailer as soon as I’m done with lunch.

Q: A:

How are DOOH and mobile converging?

Shopper Media includes mobile. Basically, the ability to interact between your smartphone and Digital Out-Of-Home through QR codes, SMS — and things we may not even know about yet — are going to be huge. A lot of what is occurring now in-aisle will expand in the future. If you’re making a high-ticket purchase, you’ve done your research. But even if you’re in the store, you still have the ability to price shop the competition while you’re standing in the aisle to see if other retailers have it for a lower price. You could even buy it right there online from someone else if you wanted to. Digital Out-Of-Home has the ability to work closely with mobile, especially as near-field communication becomes more widely available with smartphones. It can get someone’s attention to say “hey, buy that item right now and we’ll give you 10% off. Text this code to get your coupon.” This way they don’t cross the parking lot or buy online – you can use a combination of digital media to close the sale in the aisle.

Q: A:

In your opinion, how does DOOH compare to other media in delivering consumer engagement?

If you think about consumer engagement and how to maximize it, Digital Out-Of-Home has a leg up on the competition to deliver a contextually relevant message when someone is more receptive. This is different than other media that cast a wider net, such as TV and radio. DigitalOut-Of-Home has the ability to be more narrowcast, depending on the network and venue. If you have the proper message in the right place at the right time, and it’s relevant, you can deliver “contextual engagement.” SSM

About Jennifer Bolt: Jennifer Bolt, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer, for rVue, an advertising technology company, which provides the leading demand side platform for Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) place-based media. Bolt is recognized as one of the Nation’s leading experts on media strategy with specialties in innovative technologies, digital out-of-home and place-based media. She serves on an advisory board for the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association and is an active member of the Digital Signage Federation’s Board of Directors. You can contact Jennifer Bolt at jbolt@rVue.com.

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The

changing, converging

Digital Out-Of-Home future of

By Garry McGuire

I

n the digital out-of-home industry, things are changing—and fast. The days of the one-way content push are over. Now, digital content exists in a media ecosystem that is reaching consumers all day long and across multiple intercepts. The future is about reaching active consumers outside the home. Many of these media experiences will reach people by sight, sound and motion. In addition, place-based screens will serve as a catalyst for multi-faceted, activation-based marketing aimed to attract, engage and initiate new customer relationships.

New Tech, New Capabilities

The digital OOH industry has always been about active consumers, but powerful new technologies are now able to help marketers deliver socially and locally relevant content, opinion, offers and commerce all day long. Every day, we read about new mobile apps, location-based services, social tie-ins and hyper-local services that are designed to drive commerce and brand awareness.

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Keeping up is a daunting task, and for these services, getting noticed and utilized by consumers is equally daunting. To succeed, they first need to drive awareness and reinforce value, and no medium can do that better than digital OOH. The networked digital screens that digital OOH firms set up in public places reach consumers all day long, while they work, shop and live. Screens running a blend of premium content and advertisements are seen by consumers as they work out at their fitness center in the morning, stop for coffee on the way to work and grab lunch. They’re even in taxis, on commuter rail platforms, on the backs of airplane seats, in hotel rooms and public spaces. And what’s even better is that consumers are demanding this content now. More than half of Americans noticed at least one of these ads in the last month, and the majority enjoyed the experience. These screens have the on-site presence that mobile, social and location-based services covet. Digital OOH screens are informing consumers about services, telling them why they should care

and what they can do and then rewarding those consumers who engage. Right now, a lot of mobile services are being marketed with tent cards, window stickers and early-adopter word of mouth. With digital OOH, those deals, check-ins and social streams are part of the content mix that consumers can’t help but notice as they go about their day. Those offers and programs are reaching people when they are most open to the messaging and likely to act on it.

RMG’s Approach

RMG Networks is based in San Francisco and has roots and deep ties to Silicon Valley. The company has been watching these new technologies emerge and mature. As other companies that shared their vision began developing technologies in the social, local and mobile space, they formed partnerships and started deploying products that influenced digital OOH’s transformation. Across a network of more than 200,000 screens—and seven networks that


range from point of care and fitness clubs to coffee shops and executive travel lounges at airports—RMG Networks is deploying programs that tie in social, location and smartphone technologies that make campaigns truly integrated and impactful. Until now, the company’s efforts have followed the more conventional path of selling audience reach, driving awareness and influencing purchase activities at the

ways. Right now, people are scanning QR codes and downloading information to their phones, such as offers or detailed product specs. But in the near future, technology called Near Field Communication will allow people to simply tap their phones on a printed tag and automatically launch and download rich content, coupons and offers, as well as join rewards/loyalty programs and pay for goods and services.

right times. They also understand the need to take things even further and close the loop on purchase. Through a series of partnerships, they have developed intriguing new dimensions that are firsts in this industry and a solid sign of what’s to come.

Enhanced Consumer Engagements

Smartphones are fast becoming as precious and protected as wallets, and within a few years, they will replace many wallets. Consumers’ credit and debit cards and personal IDs will be securely and digitally stored on devices that are as powerful as laptops and tablets. As smartphones gain this computing power and connectivity, they will become a pointof-sale device that people can use to make purchases anytime, anywhere. Those mobile devices are hubs to consumer activities, and digital OOH screens are the mechanisms to drive awareness of programs and interactions between brands and consumers. This interaction will happen in a few

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

The networked digital screens that Digital public places, reach consumers all day long while they work, shop and live.

RMG partnered with mobile solutions firm Blue Bite to start deploying these technologies in the field, beginning in San Francisco. For the initial rollout, Hotels. com and The New York Times signed on as advertisers. Consumers in RMG venues will see branded content with calls-to-action to “tap or scan” the RMG/Blue Bite mTAG placards that are installed at the point-ofsale.

For early adopters already walking around with an NFC-enabled phone, simply tapping the mTAG will push location-specific content and offers to that phone, using Blue Bite’s back-end system. As the deployment of NFC phones moves toward critical mass, people will be able to access the same content by launching any QR scanner app on their phone. As consumers grow more accustomed to this technology, the mTAG platform introduces infinite possibilities for brands to easily engage and activate target consumers. One day fairly soon, this will be as normalized and non-descript as picking up a brochure—but hugely more impactful. And digital OOH is the medium that will activate this exciting mobile technology.

Huge New Reach

Groupon’s compelling Web content, which delivers discounted local offers, draws millions of online viewers each month. Everyone loves a deal, and Groupon’s business model delivers them

July/August 2011

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RMG chose LocaModa for the first national rollout of location-based services for the digital out-of-home market. RMG ran the Boston-based company’s moderated Foursquare application on the NYTimes.com Today cafe network. LocaModa is the ideal partner because they’ve developed tools to optimize the venue location services and social streams. LocaModa’s Foursquare service has, for example, “venue-safe” features that ensure what is displayed on screens works for the venues and brands, not against them. Consider the consequences of an unfiltered service that displays a Foursquare check-in pop-up onscreen messages for an offer at a rival shop, or unflattering comments about the venue.

Bridging Mobile Devices and Digital OOH Screens

constantly. Leveraging this content, RMG’s digital OOH network will deliver daily deals content across 75,000 screens. RMG and Groupon will now deliver timely and relevant offers to millions of active consumers who are away from their PCs and TVs, and are out buying stuff. So far unique to digital OOH, the relationship RMG built with Groupon means daily deals that had been limited to users’ PCs, tablets and smartphones are now running on more than 75,000 digital screens around the United States, reaching 35 million viewers each month. That’s a big reach, and the offers are getting in front of all those people at those optimal consumer moments.

Social Location-based Services

Location-based services have created a huge amount of buzz, but there are questions about their effectiveness and sustainability as a medium. RMG has re-imagined how location-based services work in venues and resolved what has been a significant but largely overlooked challenge. Venue signage—the beacon that activates, engages and rewards checkins—is a critical part of the on-site marketing mix and moves customers along a path to purchase through tips, offers and intangibles, such as the sense of community and fun that come through social streams. Consumers are active with social and location-based services but most venue partners simply didn’t

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Location-based services for consumers and venues have created a huge amount of buzz, but also many questions about their effectiveness and sustainability as a medium. We like the possibilities, but we’ve re-imagined how location-based works in venues, and resolved what has been a significant but largely overlooked challenge. want to publically open themselves up to the potential backlash from a few bad apples. Having an expert partner that truly understands the social phenomenon, its opportunities and perils, is very important.

The last piece of the puzzle is creating a bridge directly between digital OOH screens and mobile devices, to go beyond that one-way push of content to activities that are genuinely interactive. Through a technology partnership with Screen Reach, RMG will develope integrated marketing campaigns for brands that turn passive media viewers into engaged participants. The Screen Reach platform allows marketers to run campaigns that allow people to interact with screens in real time. This exciting technology lets people play games, post pictures and participate in quizzes and polls. Activity and habitual use will be driven by rewarding people with instant prizing, coupons, vouchers and gifts. The opportunity for inventive marketing with this sort of platform is staggering. Screen Reach is already getting soccer fans who are at the game to vote for the Man of the Match and drive the results to a big screen. Extend that to anything from NFL football and “American Idol” to local politics, and it’s pretty easy to get excited.

This is Only the Beginning

The blistering pace of change in new media is not likely to slow. But emerging media is much more than tapping into the latest technology that’s generating buzz. It’s about technology that fits with marketing plans and has real impact. SSM Garry McGuire is the CEO of RMG Networks, a digital media company. RMG Networks is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Detroit, Chicago and Beijing.


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Creating the

DIGITAL BEAST

Investor or Venture Capital? By Linda Hofflander

As the digital screen media ecosystem evolves

the inevitable is occurring. Companies that once ruled the roost are now nowhere to be seen, not at industry events, conferences, tradeshows, or in industry advertisements. Some say the economy continues to affect “the spend” while others say the return on investment (ROI) just isn’t there. Regardless of one’s take on the health of the industry, for those watching the industry one fact is abundantly clear: the times they are a changin’. Brand names in hardware, software and services are aligning into partnerships, and in some instances creating their own in-house labs to drive innovation, exposure to capture the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of communication and eMerchandising VP’s and executives.. For many in the digital screen media market, today’s business environment isn’t about selling new innovative products and services, it’s about financially surviving the economic the lull. Beyond mere survival, growth strategies, innovation of emerging technologies, and building a sustainable infrastructure are all dependent upon having access to the funding necessary to support the initiatives. Where do the requisite investment dollars come from? Capturing the eye and ultimately the financial support of angel investors, venture capital (VC) firms, or institutional banking and lending organizations is currently at the top of mind of many, if not all, digital solution providers trying to survive within amidst the markets fragile ecosystem.

CATCHING THE EYE OF INVESTORS 2011 brings a plethora of opportunities to the investment community, from social networking, data storage/management, wireless/mobile technology, health care, and business or consumer services, all the way to clean energy technologies. The results of a recent The Walls Street Journal poll stated, “Venture capitalists are chasing after companies that develop Web-based software and digital services, looking to invest in what could turn out to be the next Facebook or Twitter…in what may be a sign of a re-inflating Web bubble, venture funding has especially been flowing to technology companies, many with an Internet and consumer focus. Even those companies in fields without a particular tech focus, such as health care or business services, have incorporated social-networking or mobile technology into their offerings or business models.” Digital screen media appears overlap the technology growth zone as identified by the article, though its model is built on a platform that focuses more on developing business tools and applications to communicate, educate, inform, and convert, in contrast to merely providing social entertainment content.

Debt Capital Or Equity Capital? If you are raising capital for your digital signage network you have options ranging from angel investors, silent business partners, private investors, venture capital (VC), to private equity. Raising capital can be a full time job. Once you’ve educated yourself on the array of options available, the daunting task of finding investors or funding from within your selected segment begins.

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Debt capital and equity capital are the most common business investment vehicles. Debt capital is a business loan through a bank or financial institution with a set lending agreement, and pays back the principle to the funding institution over a designated period of time, with interest. The lender doesn’t own and portion of your business, but the loan is secured with company assets. Equity capital is financing raised in exchange for a share of ownership in the company. Your business has access to funds without accruing debt or obligation of requiring a set term in which to pay back the money. Hence the trilema, bank loan, angel investment or venture capital?

BANK LOAN In today’s depressed United State’s economy grants and loans are increasingly harder to secure. However, if you desire to seek capital quickly you may still want to explore a business loan through a financial institution. Business loans can be turned around faster than other forms of financing, typically in 2 to 3 months verses up to a year or longer for other sources of funding. When raising capital, regardless of the source, you will need to present a business plan and strategy to the lender. It is a good idea to source funding early and ask for more money than you initially think will be required, to cover the seemingly inevitable unexpected or overlooked expenses. Remember, loans are debt capital and you will be required to repay the loan principle over a set, negotiated term, with interest.

ANGEL INVESTORS Angel investing has gained in popularity over the past decade. Investment from private investors or bands of angel investors is a common current day business practice in the United States and Europe, and often take on different names depending on the country of origin. In the U.S., the term angel investor is used whereas throughout Europe, an angel investor is known as a “business angel.” These investors provide startup or growth equity capital, and expect a percentage of owner equity in return. Investments by business angels occur in new or pre-existing businesses. Their investment incentive is based in the belief that their investment or involvement with the company will bring them a higher rate of return than other investing options available to them. So preparing your story to woo angle investors as to the opportunity at hand to make a significant return on their investment is paramount. An advantage in having angel investors over other more advanced funding options such as venture capital is that many business angels offer firsthand experience and expertise as to how the relevant market works, possess extensive networking circles, and can assist in planning and developing partnerships. Angel investors each have their own individual requirements for involvement. Some may want a level of control in the strategic planning of the company, and they may require a stake in your business, or a position on your board whereas others may take on a more passive role, requiring only periodic business performance reports. It is important to recognize that inviting an angel investor into your company may shift the corporate culture, and significantly influence or alter the growth and direction or your organization. Spend time with investor candidates; get to know them to understand their style and how they communicate. Manage expectations through open, honest and candid conversations regarding the current and future direction of the company.

VENTURE CAPITAL Venture Capital is similar to angel investing, but considered the next

level of equity investment. Investments are made in your company with the intent on ultimately profiting on your company’s IPO or sale to another concern or entity. Venture capital usually requires giving the investors shares in your company in return for the infusion of financial capital from the investment firms or groups of angel investors. Companies reaching out for venture capital have typically already gone through angel investment cycle and are in need of additional investment in order to achieve the next level of growth. In essence, this funding vehicle is a high risks loan in which VC’s typically secures a portion of the company’s ownership. Because they usually enter the picture after the angle investors have been leveraged, venture capitalists typically consider the previous angel’s investment outcome as a determining factor for additional providing a business with additional funding. Keep in mind, usually VC’s have far less passion for your business than you do, and are simply and perpetually counting the minutes until the IPO or sale of your company, and their big payoff.

SOURCING FUNDS If you need additional funding to take your business to the next level begin by weighing the pros and cons of each available funding option. Identify the amount required, the timeline in which you need funding, assess the benefits of debt capital verses equity capital, consider the effects of introducing additional senior players and possibly decision makers to your team, collect all of the relevant business plan collateral and then reach out to: financial institutions, investment networks or venture capitalists. Access online lists and directories of venture capitalists and angel investors; attend VC and angel investor events serving the technology industry. Remember be prepared. Be focused. Be unique For inhabitants of the digital signage ecosystem, offerings of unique digital media solution will be what intrigues potential investors most. The market as it currently exists isn’t offering enough “cool” factors to woo any serious investors or their money. Your solution needs to be reaching farther, faster, or bigger than anyone else in the market. A new product, something along the lines of Sony’s Organic Thin-Film Transistor Screen, electronic paper married with a touch screen or wallpaper size paintable surface for large format application is the sort out-of-the-box thinking that the industry needs. If inventing new products just isn’t your thing or you don’t have the time or budget to do it yourself, brainstorm a solution that merges the competencies of a group of dynamo partners that will create a killer team and/or solution. It’s been tough going in the digital media industry for some time. I love the old sayings, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” and “If you want to change the dance you need to change the music.” The same concept hold true for the digital media industry. Act as if you were investing your own money: is your offering, presentation, and team a winning concept worth investing in? SSM Linda is the Chief Strategy Officer of The Handa Group and is an active Advisory Board Member for the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA). She can be reached at lhofflander@ thehandagroup.com. July/August 2011

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the new

ROCK STAR By Perry Goldstein

When I think of a rock star, I think of a long-haired guy with crazy colored clothes, cool shades, and lots of pretty girls hanging around him. However, there is a new rock star in your office and you may not have noticed him or her. This person is the one sitting in a small, windowless room and hiding behind a computer screen (usually much bigger than the one you have at your work station). The new rock star tends to be a bit quiet and looks like the “brainiac” type. They also have a special title, which includes “IT” in it.

“The IT Director is a rock star?” If you are in the process of planning or implementing digital signage, you need to treat your IT manager like a rock star. The reason being, is that all digital signage ends up going in and out of your network. Your IT department possesses a wealth of knowledge regarding the network and all of the moving parts which make it up. They also control what goes on that network, which makes them the official “network traffic cop.” The Marketing department has a very important role in digital signage, especially if it is being used for advertising purposes. After all, they are the ones creating the beautiful content that will eventually end up on a screen in front of a potential customer wherever it may be, attempting to persuade them to buy your product. If you are using it in an office environment for calendar management and room schedules, chances are you will be dealing with Operations and maybe an

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Executive Administrative Assistant. They are the ones who keep the master calendar and prevent eighteen different meetings from converging on one conference room at the same time. All of these people will be contributing to the content that eventually ends up on that monitor you have placed somewhere. However, you can spend countless hours creating the most beautiful graphics to describe the latest “thingamabob” that is on the shelf at your local store, but if the IT department doesn’t have enough bandwidth to get it out of the network, all it will do is make a great PowerPoint presentation for your annual performance evaluation. And if that thingamabob doesn’t sell very well, you can guess what the upcoming performance review will look like. The IT department has a wealth of knowledge. It can be anything from operating systems and hardware recommendations to content management. They can help you review the size and types of files you are trying to run based on the size of the file, processor speed, and bandwidth available. I am going to bare my soul here. I am a sales and marketing type, with limited knowledge of how IT works. When I am in a meeting

IT KS ROC


O E E D M I VMOVES

PLUG IN

with those guys, I am usually the dumbest one in the room. They use strange words I’ve never heard and keep referring to something called H.264. I don’t know what it all means, but I certainly understand that I need them to make my project a success. I recommend that you engage the IT department every step of the way when implementing digital signage. Don’t wait until the end of the project to discover what you built will not work. Hardware purchases, operating systems, content management, and content creation should all be reviewed and approved by IT before it is presented to anyone else. Your employment will be on the line if you go back to your boss and tell her that the digital sign system you developed does not work.

I SPEAK DIGITAL

I recommend that before you start that digital sign project, be sure to take your IT manager to lunch. Have a heart-to-heart conversation and don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything (or in my case, anything). Lay out your project in detail and find out what will work. Design it based on the parameters they lay out. Review your progress step-by-step. Have them test it in a lab environment before executing. If you follow this advice, your project will go as planned and you will be a better person for it. The next time the Director of IT passes you in the hall, let out a scream, ask for an autograph, and then faint in front of them. After all, they are the new rock star! SSM

SIGNAGE

The IT department has a wealth of knowledge. It can be anything from operating systems and hardware recommendations to content management.

Perry Goldstein is an AV and electronics industry veteran and can be reached at perry. goldstein@gmail.com.

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Content is King; Content is the key to success in digital signage through its power to draw audience eyeballs to the screens. Weather content; with its demonstrated drawing power across all media, is uniquely able to attract and engage viewers and hold their attention for key advertising messages. Thus sourcing the most effective and reliable weather content can be a key factor in the success of a digital signage system.

The Power of Weather How often have you observed this phenomenon on the evening news? The anchor says, “Coming up: a look at the weekend’s weather. We’ll be right back.” She knows

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Weather is the King of Content By Scott Homan


viewers will sit through the upcoming commercial to learn what Mother Nature has in store for them. That’s the power of weather. This power has been demonstrated across all media in one audience survey after another. Consider these facts: • Weather is the number-one type of data downloaded on mobile phones. • On the Internet, two-thirds of all users view weather information. • An accurate local weather forecast is the top reason viewers give for choosing a television news broadcast. • The weather forecast is one of the top three reasons listeners choose a radio station. In short, on every new medium, weather information has quickly become a top audience draw. Digital signage is no exception.

Content for Digital Signage Success As with all other media, audience reach is the clear determinant of digital signage success. Regardless of the venue (retail locations, airports, gas stations, restaurants and more) and the message content (advertising, information, or entertainment to reduce perceived wait times), digital signage works only if people are watching. Unless the digital signage system includes content that is eye-catching, engaging and relevant enough to viewers to hold their attention, the deployment is unlikely to achieve its goal. Hence the power of weather!

Why Weather Works If content is king, then weather is truly the king of content. Its drawing

power exceeds that of sports, and of financial or political news because it is the one part of life that truly affects everyone! The power of weather derives from several inherent characteristics. One reason is found in the many ways in which weather affects the potential viewers of your digital signage. The importance of weather in daily decisions about travel, recreation, health, fitness and family life ensures that even busy passers-by have a moment to look at the weather. Weather is always new news, always fresh. Unlike other forms of content, your viewers know that the daily weather forecast never goes into summer reruns and thus never becomes seen-it-before electronic wallpaper. These characteristics deliver drawing power that has been demonstrated repeatedly in real-life deployments.

Audience Engagement Specialized local weather forecasts are remarkable for their ability to deliver contextual engagement. Regardless of the signage venue, weather can respond to point-of-display audience interests in a way that few other forms of content can match. Here are some examples: • A weather forecast on the display of a convenience store gas pump can feature the current temperature, whether hot or cold, reinforcing the accompanying ad – and the viewer’s desire -- to go inside for an icy soft drink or a piping hot cup of coffee. • The weather forecast on digital signage in a pharmacy waiting area explains how the upcoming changes in the weather increase the likelihood of arthritis or migraine pain or asthma attacks – creating

Digital Signage Made Simple! MagicBox designs systems that emphasize ease-of-use with the flexibility and power to take on any task. Custom hardware and software packages provide a turnkey solution that gets you online quickly, and keeps you there.

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541.752.5654 sales@magicboxinc.com

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demand for over-the-counter remedies. • Visitors to a big-box food and home store view the day’s weather forecast for popular outdoor recreation sites, for sports ranging from running to fishing, or for entertainment activities such as backyard grilling.

Weather-Triggered Marketing® Just as advertisements can be day-part targeted, so too can they be triggered and served according to the weather forecast in the viewer’s location. Is it snowing in the Northeast? People in those locations might see an ad for hot chocolate, snow shovels or a Florida vacation! This new targeting concept is known as Weather-Triggered Marketing®. It is an automated, rule-based targeting capability that maximizes the engaging power of weather. In such a system, weather is not only the content that is displayed. It also plays a key role in determining what advertisements will be displayed in each location, based on weather conditions, forecasts and other weather-related information. Is the Arthritis Pain Forecast high today? Present the forecast in company with an advertisement for a pain medication. Does the Outdoor Activity Forecast project a perfect day? Couple the specialized local forecast with advertising for sunglasses or sunscreen.

Finding the Weather You Need For your weather strategy to work, you require reliable delivery of the most accurate,

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Weather is always new news, always fresh. Unlike other forms of content, your viewers know that the daily weather forecast never goes into summer reruns and thus never becomes seen-it-before electronic wallpaper.

local, up-to-date information. Your customers will not tolerate blank screens and service interruptions. And your business model says that technical hurdles and legal licensing hassles are equally unacceptable. This means you must choose your weather vendor carefully. Not all weather sources are equally capable. To achieve the benefits noted above, it is necessary to source weather forecasts from a provider with the scientific expertise and the technical infrastructure to prepare and deliver specialized, localized forecasts on a constantly updated basis for all locations worldwide where your signage is deployed to meet unique needs. Be sure your data source is associated with a recognizable brand name and is reputable and reliable and is delivered in a variety of data formats to match all display platforms and is available through multiple, reliable, uninterrupted delivery methods. The data needs to be quality controlled and fully licensed for your digital signage applications. Finally, the data should be available pre-formatted as full screens or as components you can include in your own custom screen layout, or as data feeds that allow you total flexibility in screen design. While Content is King, Weather is the King of Content and can be the key factor in the success of your network by attracting people to your screens. SSM Scott Homan is the Executive Director for Digital Media at AccuWeather and can be reached at homan@accuweather.com


Tips for

Future-Proofing Your CMS Decision

By Mike Zmuda

I

t seemed like a good idea at the time.” That’s a phrase most of us have probably used at one time or another. Where you don’t want to find yourself saying it is at work, which is why

many digital out-of-home (DOOH) executives have been so reluctant to commit to a content management software (CMS) system. With more than 300 to choose from, the prospect of culling through them to find the right one is a bit overwhelming. Then there’s the realization that the potential for making a major mistake is huge, and something you may have to live with for the next few years. It doesn’t have to be that intimidating, though. By understanding the importance of a few key parameters, you can narrow your choices considerably and ensure that the CMS you choose works as well in the future as it does today. Here are some questions you will want to consider before making any decisions.

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Do I want the CMS to be built on off-the-shelf supported components or open source software? Incorporating open source software has its advantages. It keeps the cost of the CMS system low, and it’s easily modified. But there are some serious drawbacks, too, including that the freeware used in CMS applications often wasn’t designed for CMS use. That means it may not function as well as CMS-specific software. If there’s a problem with freeware, you can ask the community for a fix, but you have no way of knowing whether repairs are being made. With off-the-shelf supported components, you have a company that’s responsible for fixes. If you’re looking for the type of reliability that drives long-term profitability, look for a CMS built on structured components. Should I use a proprietary or open system? Using hardware and software designed to work together as a closed-loop system sounds like a solid idea. The expectation is that the system has been tested, so very little can go wrong. And that may be true – in the short term. But we live in a volatile world. What if the proprietary manufacturers go out of business? What if they decide to stop supporting the hardware or software? What if you come to realize the system you


purchased doesn’t have all the capabilities you want? In each case, you’re stuck. The better choice is to use software and hardware that can be interchanged easily. Keep in mind that content management is still evolving. No one really knows what new capabilities will be available in a few years. If you’re planning on growing the system, a best-of-breed approach will help you stay on top of the latest market innovations and improvements, and protect you against the whims of an uncertain business world. Should I host my own CMS system or go to the cloud? Some organizations like the idea of maintaining internal control of the network behind the CMS. They may feel it’s more secure or believe internal resources will be more responsive than an outside supplier. The problem is most users of CMS are not software companies; they have another business to run. A hosted CMS using Software as a Service (SaaS) eliminates the need for IT departments to learn and maintain yet another individual system. The SaaS company has specialists who focus on CMS 24 x 7 rather than as a small part of their total workloads, which means they have the knowledge and incentive to keep your system up-to-date and operating smoothly. Unless you need certain capabilities that are only available in an internal system, you can eliminate a lot of headaches by going with an SaaS CMS system. How high a priority should I put on ease-of-use? There are a lot of sophisticated systems out there that offer a wide range of features. But if they’re not easy to use, most of that investment will be wasted. Focus on software that’s drag-and-drop or widget-driven, and you’ll derive far more value from it. When making the decision, also look at how much free content is available, such as news and weather feeds, that can help draw your target audience to your screens. The top CMS suppliers have

agreements with content providers that allow you to incorporate their content at no additional cost, helping deliver greater profitability. Are there opportunities beyond my own use? Absolutely! DOOH network owners have a valuable asset in their ability to deliver targeted advertising messages right at the point of sale. While selling advertising time may not be the total ROI solution, it will definitely help you generate revenue that can reduce your initial costs and give you capital for growth in the future. One easy way to take advantage of this opportunity is to work with a CMS supplier that can link you into a larger network of advertisers. Rather than having to go out and sell the space, you’ll simply list the inventory you want to make available, and the CMS supplier will make the connections to help you sell that inventory. When choosing your CMS suppliers, look for ones that position your inventory in real-time, rather than on spreadsheets or through other manual means. Real-time inventory management ensures that you won’t be selling the same screen space twice or creating other conflicts. It also means advertisers can plan their campaigns closer to the time they will actually run rather than months in advance, which gives you a real advantage over competitors with manual processes. This puts time in your favor to help eliminate mistakes where advertising space could have been sold or regained. With the rapid change occurring in the CMS industry, the last thing you want to do is make a decision that looks good on paper today but leaves you with regrets in a year. By thinking longer-term now, and doing a little extra homework, you can easily future-proof your CMS. Because you never want to have to tell your CEO or CFO, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” SSM Mike Zmuda is Director of Solutions Development at NEC Display Solutions. He can be reached at mzmuda@necdisplay.com.

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Signage Solutions

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 features 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 www.signagesolutionsmag.com Mobile Applications for Interactive Digital Signage Aerva's MoApp Platform lets people create campaigns allowing interactivity through mobile applications and SMS. Easy-to-use MoApp widgets enhance your display network by adding dynamic data, mobile interactivity with all carriers, and integration with social media including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Popular mobile widgets andapps for targeted campaigns include mobile coupons, mobile alerts, contests, text2screen, poll2screen, pic2screen and more that let users connect back to your campaign, providing measurable results. www.aerva.com Narrow Bezel Displays for Video Walls The Clarity Matrix 55" delivers Full HD resolution and exceptional visual performance with the narrowest image-to-image gap (5.7 mm) and thinnest profile (3.6"/ 93 mm) in the industry. Planar’s newest large-format LCD video wall combines an ultra-narrow bezel and the company’s exclusive distributed architecture design to create stunning, mission-critical video walls. Clarity Matrix 55" expands Planar’s Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall family, incorporating LED backlight technology with superb brightness and full HD resolution. The ADA-compliant Clarity Matrix 55" video wall makes the most of LCD technology’s slim profile and vibrant visual performance while easing the difficulties in achieving perfect alignment, optimal cooling simplified service and extended operation. www.planarcontrolroom.com HD DLP LED-lit Video Wall Barco’s OL-521 features award-winning design, the sharpest, most saturated colors and an ergonomically excellent viewing experience in full HD resolution (1920x1080). Sense6, a unique sensor technology, provides brightness and color stability over time and across the entire display, eliminating the need for manual adjustments. It is entirely maintenance-free, without any need for consumables. Thanks to the small depth of the projection module and front accessibility, the OL-521 display cube can easily be installed in confined spaces. www.barco.com

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Professional Outdoor LCD Displays The LFP30-Series Professional LCD Displays are dustproof and water resistant to IP66 standards, creating an ideal signage solution for outdoor locations. The LFP30-Series’ aluminum cabinet provides corrosion-resistance and tempered front glass gives additional strength . As a result of these standard features, the device can be deployed without the need for additional protective casing. The LFP30-Series will be available in October 2011 as the 42-inch TH-42LFP30W and the 47-inch TH-47LFP30W. www.panasonic.net/proplasma

Campus Presentation Templates Dynasign released DYNASIGN Campus Live, a series of presentation templates that integrates with the popular university applications to display the live feeds on DS screens. The ready-to-use templates include e2Campus, Resource25, EMS along with DYNASIGN’s AP News, AccuWeather, Twitter bulletin, Flickr, Google Calendar, bus tracking, etc. The Managed SaaS and Campus Live features enable universities to deploy campus TVs immediately with professional presentation and relevant live feeds. www.dynasign.net


Signage Solutions Portrait Pull-Out Wall Mount The Medium FUSION Portrait Pul l-Out mounts (MSMVPU) allow installers to hang displays in a vertical orientation perfect for digital menu boards, recessed walls, advertising displays and video wall applications. User-friendly features include ControlZone Leveling, Centerless Shift, ClickConnect and fingertip tilt. With Chief’s Portrait Pull-Out mounts, installers and maintenance crews can access the rear of the display during and after installation. Comes in models designed to support displays ranging from 26”-47” for use in single display applications or in video wall matrixes. www.chiefmfg.com Professional 2 port AV Transmitter The ALAV102T is a highly compact AV transmitter that allows you to deliver professional quality AV content to ALAV100 series receivers. The module connects to the video, USB, audio and RS232 ports of your computer and then connects via CATx cabling to the ALAV100 receivers, each of which can be located up to 300 meters from the module. ALAV102T features RS232 control allowing you to switch nodes on and off using Adders display manager software, or any RS232 control application. www.adder.com

PoE Interactive Room Sign The 15-inch interactive display allows a single Ethernet cable to supply both power and data to the room sign, addressing concerns of both physical concealment and AC proximity for power bricks. The PoE interactive room signs extend existing digital signage communications directly to new meeting room signs. Digital room signs provide a more versatile solution, allowing clients to leverage their digital signage software to publish a variety of media and messages in addition to room schedules. www.visix.com Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

Products

New Wayfinding Module Moxie 6.08 includes a variety of usability and performance enhancements to better serve Omnivex customers and their unique needs. One highly anticipated addition is the new wayfinding module which enables customers to quickly and easily create and deploy dynamic interactive wayfinding maps. The map may vary depending on current conditions, sending traffic along the most efficient path not necessarily the shortest path. Moxie can even send you an SMS message with the directions or print a copy of the map. www.omnivex.com

Interactive Digital Nutritional Information Solution Detailed nutritional information is a touch of the fingertip away. WAND Corporation, a leading Quick Service Restaurant Technology provider, introduces its new Interactive Digital Nutritional Information/Promo Board. This interactive digital board is based on a vertically mounted 42-inch touch screen monitor running WAND Digital software. When not being used to educate the customer about nutrition information, the screen is automatically used to up-sell combos and shift buyers to higher margin items. www.wandcorp.com

Integrated Digital Signage Solution CoolSign allows companies to create, manage and deliver digital signage content across an entire network, regardless of size, topology, or connectivity. CoolSign is a powerful platform scaling from basic corporate signage network applications to complex, multisite, informational or adbased networks with advanced scheduling, management, and reporting tools. With CoolSign, content can be scheduled and dynamically controlled to give contextual information to any point of display, with broadcast quality playback of graphics, dynamic overlays, and video content. www.haivision.com

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Signage Solutions Products Enterprise Signage Solution Black Box has introduced iCOMPEL™ EDS, a scalable, enterprise platform for global control of content on 100-plus screens. The line includes VESA-mountable subscriber units and a choice of either a preconfigured server appliance or a VMware® application. The included software features playlist development tools, advanced editing functions, and drag-anddrop control. Players anywhere in the world can be synchronized and managed from a single Web browser point, and the system is designed to work seamlessly with third-party advertisers. www.blackbox.com/go/iCOMPEL-EDS

All-in-One Mobile Charging Kiosk The KEO kiosk provides all-in-one service including free phone charge with safe lock and charge technology, updatable video content including travel tips, entertainment, seasonal guides and product recommendations. Located in Hudson News, KEO features touch screen technology which updates travelers with up-to-the minute flight info, news, weather, sports and more. KEO will also be incorporating multimedia capabilities including movies, music, magazines, and books in the near future. www.frankmayer.com

Digital Video Wall Solution NEC offers a complete digital signage solution with the 55” 2x2 P551-TMX4D bundle. This Digital Video Wall Solution uses TileMatrix to deliver an all-in-one, easy-to-configure and cost-effective package ideal for dynamic digital signage, information display and command & control applications. Exclusive technologies combined with the thin bezel design of the NEC P551, provide for a near seamless video wall without the need for additional third-party equipment. The DVI daisy chain board is added to each display to allow the loop-through of a digital video signal, ensuring the best quality picture. www.necdisplay.com

Outdoor LED Tile Barco's TF-16 (16mm pixel pitch) is ideally suited for digital signage and sports applications. The TF-16 features environmentally friendly technologies that reduce light pollution, enabling users to lower brightness while achieving higher visual performance via a downward angle on the LEDs. This ensures that light is targeted at your audience with less light spillover, reducing power consumption and extending lifetime. A new 10mm tile is also available. www.barco.com Scale videos over nine screens Black Box’s new VideoPlex9 Video Wall Controller enables the scaling of two video feeds across nine displays of any size and resolution. This rackmountable controller has independent DVI and analog video inputs, and nine DVI-D display outputs. Plus, it offers the flexibility to create uniquely shaped wall designs, with source video freely scaled and positioned. Gap compensation prevents unnatural jumps from one display to the next. Read more by downloading the brochure at www. blackbox.com/go/V9-brochure. www.blackbox.com

Digital Signage Projector The Casio XJ-A250 Green Slim Projector incorporates a Casio developed and patent-pending 3000 lumens Hybrid Light Source that combines Laser and LED technology for amazingly high brightness. It's bright enough for projection in a well-lit environment including tight space, floors and full walls. The Casio XJ-A250 will provide years of reliable operation without ever having to replace a mercury-lamp. And it's virtually maintenance-free, saving time, money and the environment. www.greenslimprojector.com

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Signage Solutions

Products

LED/LCD display for videowalls that can run 24/7 The Samsung UD Series (UD55A) is designed for customers looking to deploy efficient and intuitive videowalls and information stations that can run 24/7. Boasting ultra-thin bezels of 5.5mm total from bezel to bezel, direct-lit backlight panels, advanced cooling, a high resolution of 1920 x 1080 and brightness levels of up to 700 nits, the Samsung UD Series offers a virtually seamless experience and delivers an excellent quality picture for displaying information or entertainment in high-traffic areas. www.samsung.com Digital Menu Board Kit for 13" to 102" flat-panel displays Designed for infinite number of display configuration possibilities, the Peerless Digital Menu Board Kit combines multiple wall plates and vertical attachment rails to create a virtually seamless in-line display appearance at any desired height. The mounting solution offers infinite setting adjustable tilt from -5° to 15° to set the ideal viewing angle. Tampering and theft is prevented with included security hardware. An optional cable management accessory finishes the installation for a clutter-free appearance. www.peerlessinfo.com/menuboard

High Bright Digital Signage Display The DynaScan DS46LO4 is a 46 inch ultrabright digital signage display featuring 1080p HD resolution. With a brightness rating of 2500 cd/m² the display produces an image which may easily be seen in storefront windows and other brightly lit indoor environments. The DS46LO4 features a patented local dimming LED back light technique for remarkable, high contrast picture quality and utilizes a fanless design capable of 24/7 operation. www.dynascanusa.com

Live HD In and Out The ChyTV HD-250 is a HD Dynamic Digital Signage System with HD Video Squeeze, HD Clip Playout, and layered 3D Graphics. System has live HD input, both windowed or full-screen overlaid. Various HD video formats including HDSDI, layered page elements include live video, clips, text, graphics and backgrounds. Full-screen HD clips as animated backgrounds overlaid with dynamic text and graphics. Dynamic real-time 3D Text and Graphics. Landscape and Portrait display modes. Squeeze and position live video and clip player windows, including dynamic transitions. www.chytv.com

Interactive Wayfinding WayPoint™ combines interactive wayfinding with digital signage communications for a one-stop information center. This bundled solution combines selected content modules in layouts customized with the client’s logo, colors and branding. Content modules include message playlists, Google Maps, and auto-updating news, weather and RSS feeds. www.visix.com

Web-based Digital Signage Platform signagelive® is a multi-award winning digital signage software platform. Using your Internet browser to enable users to manage and update screens at the ‘click of a mouse’. The Display Edition works on any Windows PC and, when installed, will turn a PC into a dedicated digital signage device offering full support for full screen, multi-zone and interrupt functionality. www.signagelive.com

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Signage Solutions Products Interactive LCD Display The 47-inch TH-47LFT30W, combines high brightness, integrated touchscreen capabilities, trans-reflective technology and a forced-air cooling system that allow the display to be used in direct sunlight. These features create the ideal solution for applications that require a reliable touch response, including interactive kiosks, public way finders and for interactive advertising. The device, certified with an IP5 3 rating, also has considerable resistance to dust and water. The display will be available in January 2012. www.panasonic.net/proplasma

Digital Signage Player - OPS Compliant New Axiomtek digital signage engine box compatible with all brands of the Intel Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) displays. The new engine box is powered by the Intel ® 2nd Generation Core™ mobile processor, supports

1080p full HD & a second display, allowing a more simplified media & monitor connectivity making digital signage development and deployment easier than ever. Axiomtek also offers other OPS compliant displays for an allin-one digital signage solution. www.axiomtek.com

Professional-grade LCD Displays The new NEC P402 and P462 professionalgrade LCD displays offer industrial-strength, 24/7 operation for the most demanding digital signage installations. P Series displays offer full high-definition resolution, advanced connectivity with digital loop-through and Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) support via the built-in expansion slot. With TileMatrix™ technology, you can build a video wall up to 100 displays to maximize impact with your audience, while monitoring your network from a remote location with the most advanced control and communication options available. www.necdisplay.com

Compact Digital Media Player AMX recently announced a new version of its Inspired XPert digital signage platform that improves support for large signage deployments. Included in this release is a new, compact IS-XPT-2000 player that fits easily behind displays and simplifies installation. The new player is paired with an enhanced version of Inspired XPert Composer content management software. Composer incorporates a range of advanced content management and work flow features that help manage larger installations with numerous content contributors. www.inspiredsignage.com HDMI Digital Signage Distribution Amp Atlona’s HD19SS digital signage distribution amplifier is designed to route a single video signal to up to eight remote monitors over CAT5 cable. This cascadable solution features EDID and HDCP management that allows units to be stacked to facilitate up to 312 displays from a single source. With multiple receiver options to expand distance limitations, the HD19SS can be used at distances ranging from 50-825 feet. www.atlona.com

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HDMI 4x4 3D 1080p Matrix Switcher w/ IR Remote & RS232 Control The HD4-44, HDMI Multi-Function Switch allows multiple and single display of HDMI sources simultaneously. Switch source device for each display by using remote control, manual push button, or with RS232. Any source to any display matrix switching allows for maximum versatility for integrated digital signage systems. It features mounting wings and slim design for installation flexibility. Supports Full HD HDMI 1.4a / HDCP, 3D, 1080P, Deep Color 36bit, Xv-YCC, DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD multi-channel digital audio, LPCM7.1, DSD, Blu-ray player for 24fs film format, and 6.75Gbps data transfer speed. www.QVS.com


Signage Solutions

Products

Overhead Signage Solution Designed to seamlessly display digital signage when mounted high overhead, the 54FBPT-CT is a flat panel portrait mount with compound tilt to ensure that panels achieve desired screen angles. The compound tilt design allows a panel to be pulled out and tilted down for up to 30º of tilt. Thanks to the precise locking pin tilt mechanism (set in 5º increments), the mount is well suited for applications requiring multiple panels. www.omnimountpro.com

Emergency Visual Notification System CastNET announced that it has developed an Emergency Visual Notification system for its digital signage software that interfaces with the Bosch Praesideo digital public address and emergency sound system. www.castnet.com

Digital Signage Solution with Broadcast TV LG’s EzSign TV is the company’s first digital signage solution to embed a broadcast television feed within the display. With EzSign TV, business owners can simultaneously show branded advertisements and television broadcasts. Content creation is simple as owners can use their own computers to access a selection of attractive templates and to add their own images and text. Content can be easily uploaded to the display via a USB drive. www.lgsolutions.com

MegaPixel Wall Display Planar introduced the first video wall that packs ultra-high resolution image quality, a seamless look and industry-leading brightness and contrast into a compact footprint. The new Clarity™ MegaPixel Wall display incorporates Planar’s innovative Clarity Interlock™ screen design, which delivers brightness and contrast not possible with traditional large-format seamless designs. With up to 8 megapixels ( 5,760 x 2,160) resolution and a total system depth of only 18 inches (45.72 cm), the Clarity MegaPixel Wall is ideal for the display and sharing of high-resolution information in collaborative environments. Stateof-the art pixel processing software delivers exact geometric alignment and color and brightness uniformity across the entire display, ensuring excellent image quality. www.planarcontrolroom.com All-In-One Digital Signage Solution This award-winning, innovative, all-in-one signage solution for SMBs consists of an LG flat panel display (model M4214C) and the LG NC2000 media player, which provides access to content management software and content options. Embedded into the product are more than 50 templates, 100 stock photography images, 14 different CNN image-based newsfeeds, weather feeds and access to four Certified Content Partners. Its SaaS cloud-based computing model allows SMBs to update, edit and change their messaging from anywhere in the world via the Internet. www.lgsolutions.com Large Flat Panel Ceiling Mount Adapter The PDS-LCM2B adapter allows our PDS-LCB large flat panel tilt ceiling mount to accommodate two 37- to 63-inch flat panel displays back-to-back with a combined weight of up to 360 lbs. Designed for both practical and aesthetic purposes, the PDS-LCM2B is the ideal multi-function option for a host of applications, such as in restaurants, bars, health clubs, and arenas. With the PDS-LCM2B, multiple flat panels can be mounted together, combining for both aesthetic and practical purposes and with a 360 degree rotation and telescoping mast, the dual ceiling mounted flat panels can be seen from nearly and direction and angle. www.videomount.com

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Signage Solutions Products Professional LCD Displays The new Panasonic LF30 Series Professional LCD Displays offer exceptional brightness that accurately conveys information even in areas with high-levels of ambient light. The series is ideal for open spaces, like shopping malls and transportation depots and comes equipped with Panasonic’s Slot 2.0 function compatibility, allowing users to change interfaces or internal computers quickly and easily depending on the signal source. The 42-inch TH-42LF30U and 47inch TH-47LF30U will be available in October. www.panasonic.net/proplasma

The BurstPoint VCP in Action

Delivery Node (Site 1)

BurstPoint VCP Manager

Archived Content

BurstPoint VCP Delivery Node

Delivery Node (Site 2)

BurstPoint VCP Conference Point

Live or Conference

BurstPoint VCP Encoder

BurstPoint VCP Display Engine

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Video Communication Platform The BurstPoint Video Communication Platform™ (VCP) is an end-to-end platform that allows organizations to fully integrate, initiate, control, and manage all video communications activities in one place. A cost effective and powerful alternative to multi-vendor solutions, the BurstPoint VCP provides the functionality required to create and capture, edit and publish, distribute and deliver, and consume highdefinition live and stored video content via a variety of devices such as digital signage. www.burstpoint.com

Advertiser Index BLACKBOX www.blackbox.com .............................................................................................................................................. 15 CHIEF www.chiefmfg.com ........................................................................................................................................................ 29 CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY WORLD www.cetworld.com ............................................................................. 17 FLYPAPER www.flypaper.com ................................................................................................................................................... 11 ITSENCLOSURES Viewstation.com .......................................................................................................................................... 13 MAGICBOX, INC. magicboxinc.com ........................................................................................................................................ 27 MITSUBISHI www.mitsubishi-presentations.com ........................................................................................... Inside Front Cover NEC DISPLAYS www.necdisplay.com ....................................................................................................................................... 7 PEERLESS MOUNTS www.peerlessmounts.com ...................................................................................................................... 3 SAMSUNG www.samsung.com ..................................................................................................................................Back Cover VIDEO MOUNT PRODUCTS www.videomount.com ................................................................................................................. 9 VIEWSONIC www.viewsonic.com/ssm ..................................................................................................................................... 21

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By The Way

Long Live The Content King by Stephen Nesbit

F

ive and ten years ago, if one was to attend a digital signage industry trade show or seminar, the predominant theme heard was that “Content is King”. A more sophisticated breakdown would have identified content together with screen placement and a robust technology infrastructure as the three legged stool necessary for successful deployments. As we enter the second decade in-store digital media, content continues to indeed be “king”. Long live the king!! The industry has learned much about screen placement and in all but a few isolated instances; users of in-store digital

Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications

media, together with their shopper marketing confidants typically find A-1 spotting for the screens where shoppers can absorb the digital messages. On the technology side, there are a wide assortment of economically priced displays and hardware players to fit any budget offered by well financed and reputable providers. Bandwidth is readily available for distribution of large HD files and playlists. More troublesome is the content distribution software field where there are over 80 alternatives from a myriad of providers. A user can find high functionality at very reasonable prices for both running

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Signage Solutions

By The Way

Content continues to reign supreme. Paying attention to the lessons learned as demonstrated in the four touch-points, will help users of in-store digital media to realize the results they aspire to achieve.

one’s one network or for using a SaaS service. Providers such as EnQii/Minicom, Symon, RMG, PRN, Broadsign, Scala and a few others represent the elite members of a cast of thousands. The troublesome part here is that many providers of software are risky propositions since most are thinly capitalized, unproven in scalability and miniscule in revenue size. The selection of one of these smaller companies might prove over time to be a burden. Analytics and measurement have greatly improved and are approaching standardization which further legitimizes the medium. The big new addition to in-store digital, which was not even on the radar 10 years ago, is the instore-digital plays in a broader shopper marketing consumer behavior model called the “Path to Purchase”. In-store digital is but one element that includes mobile device marketing, social media and online; thus exposing the shopper’s journey to all aspects of life in-thehome, on-the-go, via traditional media exposure and finally in the store at the point of purchase. As much as things have changed in our industry, and regardless of which medium is used to reach the shopper, content still holds the seat at the end of the boardroom table. It is the single most important component for persuasive in-store digital signage, just as it was at the beginning of the digital media generation 10 years ago. There are four touch-points that should be taken into consideration when confronting the area of content. Each of the four-touch points have matured through the past decade to transform the area of content into what can now be called a science as well as an art. The first area is what I will call “technique”. Waltely Longo of Subway Link in Sao Paulo Brazil has outlined a number of items that are critical to quality / winning content creation and design. They range from linking the message in DOOH to the main campaign, all the way to insuring that the movement on the screen is proportional to the movement of the targeted shopper. But the movement should not be exaggerated and text must be big enough to read. He also says that text is an important ally to telling a story but it must be short and to the point. Also, the use of primary and secondary colors is better than tertiary colors. The entire industry has learned much with regards to “technique”. The second touch-point is “creativity”. There has never been a better creative medium. But, as in all advertising, it is important for the advertisements to be about the brand and NOT about the creative nature of the advertisement.

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Creative awards for an ad are notable but selling something or memorably branding a product is more notable. Success for our new medium has proven to be attainabale when we avoid the pitfall of so many television spots where we remember the creativity of the ad but forget who paid for the advertisement. The third area is “methodology”. Clearly there is an opportunity for traditional advertising production houses to thrive in this new media area. Agencies such as TracyLocke, DraftFCB, R/GA, Met/Hodder, Arsenal in Montreal and traditional powerhouse PRN have demonstrated that they understand the medium and have produced very effective and creative spots. There is a new generation of CloudBased content creation tools from companies like VSI and ConnextMedia, both out of the Chicago area, that hold great promise in enabling broadcast quality content, but doing so while bringing the cost per spot down significantly. With a dramatically lower cost per spot, the volume of content necessary to enable targeting which produces greater advertising recall results becomes economically feasible. Finally, in content one size does not fit all. Once was the day when the 42” display was the Ford Motor Company equivalent of “any color as long as it’s black”. Today there is a major movement to the shelf edge with smaller 7” screens and even iPAD-type devices. We also have seen the emergence of modular building block displays like MicroTiles from Christie Digital that allow for creative design of the physical screen configuration as well as creativity of the content on the displays. The content for different size displays must adhere to the DNA of the size of screen. Using 42” content on a 7” screen is a serious violation which the “fashion police” will penalize. Content continues to reign supreme. Paying attention to the lessons learned as demonstrated in the four touch-points, will help users of in-store digital media to realize the results they aspire to achieve. Repeating mistakes of the past is expensive, frustrating and unnecessary. 10 years hence, when the second decade of in-store digital media ends and we kick off the third decade, …. it is likely that Content will still be King. SSM Steve Nesbit has been in the digital advertising and merchandising industry for almost 15 years. He currently assists companies both inside and outside the digital media industry in M&A activities, business development and fund raising and is an advisor to a major Private Equity Firm that is active in the digital media space. He can be reached at snesbit@sbcglobal.net


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