Signage Solutions January/February 2012
The Technology and Solutions Magazine for Digital Signage, DOOH, Mobile and Place-based Digital Media
LEgends in the
Phoenix Suns, Diamondbacks invest in Digital outdoor marketing, entertainment district
Game On Texas Rangersâ€™ stadium goes high-tech p20
MOB Mentality How to move mobs and make sure they engage with your brand p26 www.signagesolutionsmag.com
The Value of Feedback The integratormanufacturer relationship is a two-way street p30
You are the ones who make the AV experience exceptional.
This stadium revitalization project relied on 652 Chief Fusion® Series mounts to support a complete digital signage overhaul.
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Publisher’s Perspective SignageSolutions
January/February 2012 • Volume Three • Issue One
Lots of Options This fall I was fortunate enough to attend an American League playoff game to cheer on the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington. I was given a tour of the entire ballpark, from the locker rooms in the basement to the announcer’s box, where the “Voice of the Texas Rangers,” Chuck Morgan, gets the crowd excited during the game. Throughout the tour, I could not help but notice the ballpark’s thousands of digital screens. Outside Morgan’s office is the Ben Skidmore in the Ballpark in Arlington's control room “nerve center,” where the ballpark’s for their digital media. digital content is managed and pushed to the screens. There are digital screens for way-finding, IPTVs in the restaurants and suites, digital menu boards at the concession stands and of course, the-impossible-to-miss enormous fan boards and score boards. The thousands of screens all run through this one room that sits right in the middle of the fans in an unassuming box overlooking the field. It’s amazing to see the amount of technology needed to run such a large-scale, high-tech facility. It’s easy to forget that behind every screen is a great deal of technology and innovation. When admiring attention-grabbing content on a digital screen, there are media players, software and network technologies built within the wiring, extenders and filters--all working behind the scenes. It’s a good reminder that digital signage is not as simple as hanging some screens and running a few slides. It takes a lot of thought, time and quality-tested hardware and software to bring the screens to life. And let’s not forget about the content that engages, attracts and properly communicates with your audience. The theme of this issue of Signage Solutions is one size definitely does not fit all. You’ll find articles that explore the great innovations--complex and simple--that are currently available for your existing and future systems. You may not have a system as demanding as the Texas Rangers, but reading about it is great fun and knowing how such a system works is clutch. I hope to see you in Las Vegas at the Digital Signage Expo.
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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, 6401 W. Eldorado Parkway, Suite 307, McKinney, TX 75070. 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, 6401 W. Eldorado Parkway, Suite 307, McKinney, TX 75070
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Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
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 e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org January/February 2012
The Technology and Solutions Magazine for Digital Signage, DOOH, Mobile and Place-based Digital Media
Technology @ Work A brief look at company/industry news within the digital signage industry.
COVER Story Legends in the Making
Phoenix Suns, Diamondbacks invest in digital outdoor marketing, entertainment district
Vertical Views Power Push
St. Louis Rams score touchdown with upgraded Russell Athletic Training Center
Texas Rangers’ stadium goes high-tech
Real-time visual communication solutions provide exciting new ways to create, distribute content to a variety of platforms
26 Mob Mentality
How to move mobs and make sure they engage with your brand Vertical 12 Views
A Grand Welcome
NEC displays help Montérégie Tourism show the region’s “wow” factor
By The Way Revisiting the 70 Percent Rule
By Steven Keith Platt
Managing Content in a Multi-Screen Universe
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.
28 Illuminating the Solution
NanoLumens shines in front of hundreds at fund-raiser event
30 The Value of Feedback
The integratormanufacturer relationship is a two-way street
specifications subject to change without notice
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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.
Technology @ Work
A Site To Behold at Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics CYPRESS, CA – Christie® display technology is at the forefront of Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) College of Informatics with a striking Christie® MicroTiles® array, four Christie projectors, and two Christie Spyder X20-1608 image processors managing and controlling the content. Located in the Digitorium of Griffin Hall – the university’s first LEED-certified building – the 19 wide by 15 high Christie MicroTiles (25 feet wide by 15 feet high) array is drawing rave reviews for its bright, vivid colors and its flexibility in displaying images, videos and graphics. The 120-seat Digitorium hosts virtual performances, simulations, collaborative gaming, workflow modeling and 3D visualization, all fed to the Christie MicroTiles by the Spyders. “This project had a strict deadline and it wasn’t an option to miss the opening date of Griffin Hall,” said Kevin Collins, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Diversified Systems, project integrator. “The timeline for installation from paper to completion on this entire project was just six months but integration
went smoothly. In fact, it went up just like 1-2-3 and was a textbook integration. The MicroTiles definitely have a very high cool factor.”
Harris and Automotive Broadcast Network to Deploy Scalable DOOH Solution to 1,000 Dealerships MELBOURNE, FL — The Automotive Broadcast Network (ABN) has selected Harris Corporation as its vendor of choice for a dynamic, scalable Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) solution to augment its popular Dealer TV broadcast at auto dealerships across North America. The solution will deliver superior technology, network operations management, and turnkey field services, including dealership installations and support. Harris was awarded the contract
due to its full-service approach for ABN. “Harris has the depth and efficiency as an organization to deliver a full range of products and service across the entire network, allowing us to focus on sales and marketing. They also can scale with us quicker and more efficiently than any other vendor,” said Jerry Daniels, president and CEO, Automotive Broadcast Network.
Clear Channel Spectacolor and Times Square Alliance Unveil Digital Billboard Dedicated to Serve the Square’s Small Businesses NEW YORK, NY - Clear Channel Spectacolor, the U.S. market leader in spectacular sign displays and a division of one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising company, Clear Channel Outdoor, has partnered with the Times Square Alliance to launch a state-of-the-art digital billboard in the heart of New York City’s famed Times Square dedicated to providing the area’s many small businesses with competitive marketing opportunities. New to the market, the digital screen will help local businesses reach the crowds who pass through Times Square every day. Situated on a new marquee above the entrance to the Times Square Visitor Center and Museum on Seventh Avenue between 47th and 46th streets, adjacent to the TKTS booth and Duffy Square, the LED video display was designed to give area businesses the ability to boost their presence, build their brand and drive consumer interest by utilizing the power of out-of-home (OOH) advertising
in Times Square. With approximately 280 restaurants and bars and 40 theatres vying for attention in Times Square, Clear Channel Spectacolor and the Times Square Alliance have created a platform with unparalleled visibility that reaches a crucial audience — half a million daily visitors. The display will broadcast a mixture of on- and off-premise advertisers, in addition to serving as a community message board for the Times Square Visitor Center and Museum. The Times Square Visitor Center and Museum includes a Broadway Ticket and Concierge Center, city sightseeing tours, the official Times Square gift shop, a city information desk, the New Year’s Eve Centennial Ball and Confetti Wishing Wall.
MMD Launches Next Generation Philips No-Glasses 3D Displays ATLANTA, GA – MMD, the exclusive marketer and reseller for Philips-branded LCD monitors and commercial signage displays worldwide, announced today a new line of no-glasses 3D displays with auto-stereoscopic technology, the 23” BDL23301VS, 42”
Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
Technology @ Work BDL4251VS, and 55” BDL5571VS. Developed in conjunction with Dimenco, a leading technology company in the field of no-glasses 3D, the new displays are designed to make people enjoy the sharpest and most vivid 3D resolution in the market. The no-glasses 3D displays can achieve up to 28 viewing angles via lenticular technology. With this technology, audiences are able to see the best quality around objects from the standing spot in front of the display itself. With the widest 3D viewing angle available in the market today and the ability to change the optimal viewing distance of the no-glasses 3D displays, audiences will benefit from an even more memorable visual experience.
“With more and more screens all competing for your attention, this is the one that stands out from the crowd with a deep and truly stunning 3D experience,” explained Craig Rathbun, Sales and Marketing Director of MMD North America.
NCR Helps Century 21 Department Stores Enhance Customer Experience with Expanded Use of Digital Signage DULUTH, GA – NCR Corporation announced that Century 21, a discount designer department store chain, will expand its use of digital signage to stores throughout the metropolitan New York area, including its flagship location in lower Manhattan. As part of
its expansion, the chain will upgrade its digital signage software to the most current version of the NCR Netkey digital signage solution. The chain made the decision to expand its use of digital signage in order to enhance the shopping experience for customers, by delivering informative, rich multimedia content. Another goal is to enhance the effectiveness and reach of its marketing programs, including its branded rewards program, as well as in-store promotions and discounts. "Century 21 is an essential part of the New York shopping experience, and we look forward to applying the NCR Netkey product to further differentiate our stores, while better engaging our customers with marketing and other relevant information through advanced in-store technologies like digital signage," said Harry Roberts, chief information officer, Century 21 stores.
Screenscape's Community-Based Digital Signage Solution Allows Aspen/Snowmass to Develop its Own Place-Based Media Network
TE Connectivity Expands Interactive Digital Signage Portfolio Adding New 55-Inch Display with Optical Multi-Touch and IntelliTouch Touchscreens menlo Park, ca – TE Connectivity announced the launch of its largest Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) touchscreen display and the enhancement of existing models with innovative optical multi-touch and IntelliTouch surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreen technologies to continue to provide boundless options to the growing market for interactivity. “By adding optical multi-touch functionality to the already existing 4200L and 4600L displays, we are providing customers with a wide breadth of cost-effective interactive display options.” The new Elo TouchSystems 5500L 55-inch touch display, available with either optical multitouch or IntelliTouch SAW touchscreens, is thinner than existing IDS displays and compatible with optional computer modules. In addition, the company has enhanced the 4200L and 4600L (42-inch and 46-inch) IDS models with optical multi-touch technology, allowing more customers to benefit from the latest technology advancements. Elo TouchSystems IDS displays are designed specifically for demanding applications such as shopping malls, retail outlets, hotels and public venues of nearly every kind.
ASPEN, CO – Aspen Skiing Company announced a new partnership with ScreenScape Networks, a leading provider of community-based digital signage solutions. Using ScreenScape, Aspen/Snowmass will develop its own place-based media network to provide rich media content, promotional messages, news, weather and other information to locations throughout the resort area. ScreenScape is a fast-growing community-based digital signage platform and key enabler of place-based media. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform helps businesses engage audiences inside real locations using Internet-enabled digital displays. “We made the decision to go with ScreenScape because we wanted to speak more effectively to our customers in the right place and at the right time,” said Jeff Hanle, Director of Public Relations, Aspen Skiing Company. “ScreenScape allows for a timely and easy to execute coordination of messaging at the many physical sites within our organization.” “To Aspen/Snowmass, ScreenScape provides a cost effective, high-quality way to extend their promotional reach,” said Kevin Dwyer, CEO of ScreenScape. “They join a dynamic skiing and recreation community already using ScreenScape that includes ski areas, resorts, athletic clubs, pubs, retailers, and leading brands.”
© 2011 Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. All rights reserved.
Design. Build. Deploy. Monitor. Your digital signage partner at every stage. Working with a national dealer network, Christie collaborates with you to design, build, deploy and monitor a solution that’s right for you. We’ll help you select and design your displays and integrate your systems. We’ll even deploy your digital signage solution and continue to monitor and service your hardware so you’re always ‘on’. The world’s leading Fortune 1000 companies do business with Christie, so you’re in good company.
Visit us at Digital Signage Expo March 6-9, 2012 – Booth 1051 christiedigital.com/dse2012
Vertical Views Stadiums/Arenas
St. Louis Rams score touchdown with upgraded Russell Athletic Training Center For the St. Louis Rams, training camp for the 2009 NFL season kicked off with a huge technology upgrade to its training facility and office complex in Earth City, Mo. Bringing the organization to the cutting edge of IT and A/V technology, the Russell Athletic Training Center’s makeover included a new HD IP-TV system to replace the facility’s standard-definition analog SMATV, a ShoreTel VOIP phone system to replace the old analog system and a facility-wide digital signage network. To design and install the new systems, the
Rams turned to Missouri-based integrator TSI Global.
Going Digital “The addition of a digital signage network at the Russell Training Center was a key feature of the upgrade, and one which the Rams planned on using in a couple of ways,” said Paul Murdick, vice president of A/V for TSI Global. “The organization required two discrete content zones: one for publicly displayed signage, offering general information on the team for facility visitors; and one
strictly for players and coaches to keep them up to date on scheduled activities in real time. In addition, the organization wanted the ability to easily create its own broadcastquality content. “To meet the Rams’ requirements, we utilized X2O Media’s Xpresenter™ digital signage platform,” Murdick said. Xpresenter takes dynamic digital display communications to the next level, combining ease of use with broadcast-quality video graphics. An end-to-end platform, Xpresenter is a complete suite of applications that allows
Vertical View Stadiums/Arenas users to create dynamic content for their digital displays quickly and easily, distribute the content and monitor activity on the displays using powerful remote management tools.
A Smarter Approach X2O’s Xpresenter “smart” templates allow users to create and update content directly inside Microsoft PowerPoint. The product ships with a smart template and object library, allowing for the quick and simple creation of content featuring videos, images, PowerPoint slides, RSS feeds, live information sources and more. The Xpresenter Player maps the live information to the templates and renders them in broadcast quality and in real time, ensuring displays are always up to date. “Xpresenter’s smart template approach to content creation has made it perfect for the Rams,” Murdick said. “The templates are literally a blank canvas, so the design created for them is truly original. And by working in the familiar PowerPoint interface, the platform makes it simple for the Rams to create content themselves, incorporating virtually any content source, including RSS feeds, HD video
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Vertical View Stadiums/Arenas and facility scheduling software. And of course, X2O has a proven creative services team to assist in content creation along the way. If you can think it, they can do it.”
Content for All Content at the 9,000-square-foot Rams’ facility is displayed on Sony 42-inch and 52-inch LCD screens located at 20 digital signage points. In the public signage zone, content includes Rams videos, local weather, special announcements, news and customized greetings for VIP visitors. On the internal side of the network, Xpresenter is synched with facility scheduling programs, such as daily training schedules and other agenda items. Through the Web-based X2O Portal, which incorporates different security levels for users, this content can easily be scheduled to display in broadcast quality. “Our new digital signage network has proven to be a popular addition to our training facility,” said Larry Clerico, video director for the Rams. “Not only does it provide a more exciting experience for facility visitors, but coaches and players have come to rely on it as a valuable tool in managing their day-to-day training schedules.” SSM
Interactive Digital Signage (IDS): Right to the point Touch brings new options to your customers With the exciting dimension of touch, the Elo TouchSystems Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) displays from TE Connectivity generate more customer engagement and metrics than traditional signage. Our IDS displays are attractive, large format, and professional-grade, rugged enough to provide consistent performance in public environments. Unlike consumer panels or displays, they are able to withstand the rigors of day and night operations. They are available in three touchscreen technologies and four sizes: 32", 42", 46", and 55 inches. Integrated computer modules are optional. To learn more about the Elo TouchSystems Interactive Digital Signage family, visit www.elotouch.com/IDS
www.elotouch.com ÂŠ 2012 Tyco Electronics Corporation, a TE Connectivity Ltd. Company. All rights reserved.
Vertical View Public
A Grand Welcome
NEC displays help Montérégie Tourism show the region’s “wow” factor
Walk into a typical visitor center, and consider what you see. A nondescript room with some photos on the wall, an aging map, a rack of randomly organized pamphlets, a small staff on-hand to answer questions and perhaps takeaway guides listing local businesses. While this arrangement provides basic information, it does little to get visitors excited about the adventures available to them or sell them on the unique experiences awaiting them when they visit local businesses.
A Hidden Gem In the case of Montérégie Tourism center, officials realized this traditional approach was doing a particular disservice to the region. Conveniently located south of the Island of Montréal, midway between the cities of Québec and Ottawa, the Montérégie is a vast region of mountains, hills, valleys, rivers and lakes offering picturesque views, with a unique blend of culture, agriculture and heritage. In fact, the region gets its name from the abundance of Monteregian hills that define the area. Montérégie’s rich soil makes it an ideal location for the many orchards and vineyards dotting the region. In-season visitors can pick their own fruit, and winemakers often offer samples of their creations. While in the Montérégie region, visitors can also stop at its many museums and historical sites. Montérégie is also home to a number of shops, restaurants and museums, and hosts events and festivals throughout the year, attracting visitors from all over. Overseeing the efforts to drive visitors to these various activities is Montérégie Tourism. Established in 1978, Montérégie Tourism is one of 20 regional tourism associations in Quebec. The mission of this non-profit organization is to promote tourism in the region by coordinating publicity, promotion and commercial activities. Local businesses make up
the membership of the association. From its beginning, Montérégie Tourism had established several small, plain offices to make information available at various points throughout the region. But in 2006, the board came to realize the association could do more. Rather than simply inform, they wanted to entertain, entice and excite visitors about the region. Their vision was to create a visitor center that delivered such a unique experience that those who came would want to fit in as much as they could and make plans to return to do even more. In other words, they wanted to create a “wow” factor.
The Challenge Montérégie Tourism’s vision for their visitor center was unprecedented. There was no template to follow and there were no proven
ideas to adapt. “It was definitely a ‘blue ocean’ strategy,” said Éric Fournier, general manager of Montérégie Tourism. “We wanted to give visitors the feeling that they’re actually out in the region while they’re still in the visitor center and appeal to their emotions rather than just to their minds. We felt video would be a very important part of creating that excitement.” The opportunity to create this new visitor center concept came with the creation of a new “power center” in Brossard across the river from Montréal. Similar to a lifestyle center, the new complex would incorporate both large stores and boutiques, hotels, restaurants and other buildings. It seemed like the perfect location to create a gateway for tourists who wanted to explore what was available in the region, outside of the major cities.
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Vertical View Public
A Unique Direction Montérégie Tourism secured a high-visibility location within the power center that offered a view of the highway and was just two minutes from the bridge connecting it to Montréal. Then came the task of designing the new visitor center. “We hired an architectural firm and explained what we wanted to do,” Fournier said. “The building had to be unique and eyecatching on the outside to draw the attention of drivers on the highway, and to give them a promise that they would experience something special on the inside. And once inside the images and the atmosphere had to transport them into the region immediately, and keep them there throughout their visit.” Montérégie Tourism expected plenty of visitors at the new facility, which was part of the reason they wanted to incorporate video into the design. Today, Fournier says, consumers are used to seeing video everywhere they go. Whether it’s on their laptop or tablet computers, their smartphones, a digital sign in a store or hotel or some other medium, video is a part of their daily lives. Montérégie Tourism felt it would be a good way to capture visitors’ attention and keep in touch with what they want. The interior is divided into eight tourist zones, each covering a different aspect of the region, such as cycling and wine tasting. The flow of traffic is designed to carry visitors from one zone to the next, with each zone creating a unique experience without conflicting with the others. The visitor center also includes a boutique where visitors can purchase cider, wine and other products along with gift certificates for the region. “It feels more like an attraction at a theme park than a visitor center,” Fournier said. “The videos are a big part of creating a very modern atmosphere. We chose to work with Arsenal Media because we thought the digital display would be more appropriate than conventional videos.” Typically, the design process for a building such as this begins with the architects, who create the concepts and receive approval. It is then up to the integrators and other partners to determine how to fit video hardware and software into the approved design. In this case, however, the architect involved the video producers, Arsenal Media and integrator Genesis Integration Inc. from the beginning. That proved to be an important decision. “We are able to produce the video to whatever parameters work within the environ-
ment,” said Dennys Lavigne, president of Arsenal Media. “We take into consideration every step on how the content will be viewed. Given how central the video was going to be, it made sense to involve Genesis Integration and ourselves early. Together we were able to make recommendations on screen placement, including heights and angles, to make sure the video portion was integrated into the surroundings rather than looking like an add-on. It made a huge difference.”
Once the team had an idea of where they wanted the screens, it was time to decide which screens to use. For Montérégie Tourism, Arsenal Media and Genesis Integration, that was one of the easier solutions. Genesis Integration recommended the use of NEC Display Solutions screens throughout the visitor center. A total of 23 screens were specified, from small 23-inch screens for use in interactive information kiosks to large 52inch HD displays that are spread across the eight tourist zones. “We’ve worked with all the display manufacturers and chose NEC on the basis of the breadth of its product offering, the quality of the visuals and their reliability,” said Marc Lacroix, assistant director at Genesis Integration. “We have equipment that’s been in the field more than 10 years and is still working. Montérégie Tourism only gets one chance to make a good impression on visitors so it’s critical that everything operate the way it should. Given how heavily these screens will be used, we felt going with NEC was the best choice.” One of the features all three organizations liked was the built-in scheduler that allows Montérégie Tourism to adjust its programming as needed. Seasonal videos can be added and deleted easily, and the timing is quickly changed if necessary to match traffic flow. Having commercial products with a three-year warranty (versus consumer products with a oneyear warranty) was also comforting to Montérégie Tourism. On the large-screen displays, the thin bezels of the NEC P Series enhance the visitor experience by improving the aesthetics of the overall installation. NEC’s customer service also played a part in its selection. “The support we get from the NEC team is outstanding,” Lacroix said. “Getting timely answers where there are concerns makes the process transparent. That can’t be said about every manufacturer.”
Brought to Life Once general construction was completed, Genesis Integration installed the screens, and Arsenal Media began loading content. Among the videos developed are a capsule history of the region, long and short promotional videos, a discovery video, one focusing on products of the region and more. All of the work went smoothly and was completed in February 2011. That left two months for training the staff and getting ready for the launch in May. “We had many dignitaries from the Québec government including the Minister of Tourism, Mme Nicole Ménard, here for the grand opening, as well as the mayors of the various towns in the region,” Fournier said. “They were all knocked out by how impressive it was and how well it showed off Montérégie. They really enjoyed wandering from zone to zone and seeing how we had brought its wonders to life.” Each of the zones includes an interactive information kiosk that visitors can use to obtain more information about different activities and places to visit. The touchscreens allow them to select an area of interest and then drill down to obtain more information. For example, in the history zone, visitors can find information about museums, battlefields and other historical sites. “Having the touchscreen kiosks makes finding more information very convenient for many of our visitors,” Fournier said. “They will come in and head right for a kiosk. Not everyone is comfortable using them yet, though, so we also have a staff on hand to help them, either by walking them through the kiosk or leading them to other information. No matter how technologically sophisticated we get, we never want to lose the human touch.” Currently, Montérégie Tourism is receiving a few thousand visitors per month. Once construction is completed at the power center in 2012, Fournier expects that number to go up to 100,000 visitors a year. Future plans call for adding 15 NEC displays in the hotel, the power center and other high-traffic areas, which is expected to drive even more traffic to the Montérégie Tourism visitor center. One of the more exciting developments in recent months have been the visits from tourist groups in other provinces of Canada, as well as France, to see what Montérégie Tourism has done. “When we started, there was nothing like this,” Fournier said. “Now we have become the new standard of what’s possible. That is very exciting and rewarding for us.” SSM
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Legends in the
Phoenix Suns, Diamondbacks invest in digital outdoor marketing, entertainment district By Sherleen Mahoney
In an unprecedented partnership between two professional sports teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns have joined forces to develop an outdoor marketing and entertainment district in downtown Phoenix called the Legends Entertainment District. The 55,000-square-foot district is located between the US Airways Center and Chase Field, on Jefferson Street between First Avenue and Seventh Street. The $8.6-million project, contributed to in equal parts by both teams, was inspired by L.A. Live, New York’s Times Square, Las Vegas and Tokyo. Its goal is to energize downtown Phoenix, attract advertisers and visitors and keep them in the area longer. Advertisers have the opportunity to reach the 5.3 million visitors who flock to the area’s more than 700 events annually, and the city and both teams benefit from the revenue. Area visitors are greeted and entertained by fullmotion digital signage and custom large-format super-graphic billboards, including the largest digital sign in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. “We wanted to redecorate downtown Phoenix and create a live experience to infuse some energy into the city,” said Judd Norris, general manager of Legends Entertainment District.
head east toward the US Airways Center, they won’t be able to miss the 46-foot freestanding tower that includes three 22x13-foot full-color main video boards and two LED halo rings that broadcast upcoming events in the district. On the US Airways Center’s exterior are two 50x25-feet glass displays that beautifully curve around the venue and two 50x25-foot displays and custom designs that proudly feature CocaCola and Fry’s Food Stores advertisements. An array of signage that features Chevy, Fox Sports Arizona and Fry’s appears on the Jefferson Street Garage and Phoenix Convention Center and garage. Further east, on the façade of Chase Field, is a 70x40-foot full-color, full-motion LED board, an 18x37-foot design that features Pepsi marketing
and a custom design that features a Verizon ad. In addition to marketing and entertainment events, the digital signage is also used to educate the community. APS, Arizona’s electricity and power company, has signed on as an advertiser to educate their customers about renewable energy and promote energy- and money-saving products and services. “The District enables APS to contribute to the development of an important section of downtown,” said Don Brandt, chairman and CEO of APS and chairman of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “The digital signage and billboards are visual and eye-catching and will help us communicate with our customers on ways to conserve energy and save money.”
Strategies for Success Panasonic, and its full-motion digital technology, was selected as the project’s technology provider, and Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO) beat several competitors by presenting a unique reverse engineering strategy to serve as the signage manufacturer and consultant. Since a project of this size and scale was unprecedented for Phoenix, YESCO assembled an internal team dedicated to conceptual design, construction, engineering and installation. They developed a comprehensive master sign plan that was approved by the city of Phoenix. Finally, Xeriom was selected to provide the infrastructure to connect the district’s network. Currently, there are 26 static opportunities that support super graphics and wallscapes, five custom locations that support 3-D and 4-D graphics, and 13 full-motion high-resolution LED boards that are featured on the façade of the US Airways Center, Chase Field and the Metro light rail station. Two 46-foot-tall freestanding towers with giant LED screens bookend the district. The first is located by Chase Field, and the other is located by US Airways Center. As visitors enter the downtown area for games, shows, concerts or dining, the first digital sign they encounter is a 69x14-foot illuminated vinyl super-graphic display on the Luhrs Building on First Avenue and Jefferson Street. As they Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
Advertisers have the opportunity to reach the 5.3 million visitors who flock to the area’s more than 700 events annually, and the city and both teams benefit from the revenue.
A Delicate Balance Managing all the content, keeping it fresh and ensuring sponsors satisfaction is no easy feat. For example, the US Airways Center partners with Coca-Cola, while Chase Field partners with Pepsi. Norris and his content team must be mindful of ad placement locations and designs. “I often say it is like putting together a very strategic marketing puzzle,” Norris said. “Many factors go into what partners we accept and where we ultimately place them. The good news is that we have a rather large district to work with so we have room for everyone. We also try very hard to work on a line- of-sight set of principles when it is applicable.”
The content system allows the management team to manipulate the content quickly and easily so every time people visit the LED billboards and screens, there’s something new to draw their interest and attention. The entire project uses 2 billion LED lights, 228 miles of fiber-optic cables, 23,000 feet of electrical EMT conduit, 47.3 tons of steel to create static and LED signage, and 140,000 feet of electrical wire. “The signage is in full swing, and the project has created a new state of comprehension regarding the art of communication with signage mediums,” said Glenn Probert, senior account executive at Young Electric Sign Co. “You
could say that Legends Entertainment District has ‘hit a home run.’ YESCO looks forward to assisting in the continued development of this spectacular project. “
Light it Up Thousands of people pass through the district every day, but now that the NBA season has finally started, fans are getting a chance to experience the district for the first time. “We watch people hop off the light rail, start walking and then stop to look around,” Norris said. “You can tell by their reaction that they are surprised to see the ‘redecorating’ that is occurring in downtown Phoenix. The Suns were also so excited about their new five-screen 50-foot-tall LED light-activated tower that they showcase to open their television broadcasts.” New signs are constantly being added, but for Norris and his team, 2012 will focus on brainstorming new ways to enhance visitors’ experience. They’re striving to stay on the cutting edge of technology to bring the latest and greatest to Legends. According to Norris, the future may bring exciting new ways for people to interact with the technology; for example, they may be able to send messages, tweets and even photos to the billboards. The Legends Entertainment District has elevated Phoenix as a must-visit city for travelers and sports fans. SSM Sherleen Mahoney is a writer and editor for Signage Solutions magazine and is the co-founder of Mighty Pen Media.
ON Texas Rangers’ stadium goes high-tech
By Sherleen Mahoney
A Major League Baseball stadium is so much more than a venue for America’s favorite pastime. It’s the setting in which history is made, underdogs win, epic comebacks happen, second chances are granted and dreams become reality. Loyal MLB fans will tell you, when they step foot into their beloved teams’ stadiums, it feels like home. They’ve come to be united by the promise that a win is within reach and anything is possible. And when you root for a team as beloved and powerful as the Texas Rangers—the 2011 American League West Champions—the management is certainly aware of what this team means to fans. That’s why they decided to upgrade The Ballpark at Arlington, Texas, with the best HD technology available on the market.
A Seasoned Partner As stadiums age and new technology becomes available, the facilities are upgrading to highdefinition large-screen video because fans today expect it; they want to see all the stats and information at the ballpark as if they were watching the game on their HDTV at home. And they don’t want to miss any of the action when they’re walking along the concourse, ordering food and drinks at the concession stands or shopping in the team store. The Texas Rangers, led by Chuck Greenberg
and Nolan Ryan, selected Daktronics, a world leader in providing scoreboards, LED video displays, message displays, digital billboards and sound systems for sports stadiums, to provide a high-definition upgrade for The Ballpark. The upgrade was completed in time for the April 1, 2011, Opening Day and incorporated largescreen LED displays, professional-grade LCD screens and a powerful control system to deliver high-definition digital content throughout the venue. The total cost was approximately $17 million. "The ballpark belongs to our fans," Greenberg said to mlb.com. "We wanted to make a wide spectrum of improvements that will touch every fan that comes to the ballpark, while keeping the aesthetics of the ballpark." Daktronics’ relationship with The Ballpark began prior to 1994, when the ballpark opened. They secured an order to supply incandescent scoreboards and displays. At the time, full-color LEDs were not commercially available for outdoor video screens. “Since 1994, we’ve worked with the Rangers on a couple different significant upgrades to their display system,” said Brent Stevens, regional sales manager for Daktronics. “So I think it is safe to say that they were very comfortable after more than 15 years of working with us, to keep their ballpark
up to date with the latest display technology.” Daktronics has more than 40 years experience with outfitting stadiums, including Arizona Diamondback’s Chase Field, Kansas City Royal’s Kauffman Stadium and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heinz Field. However, the company is still mindful to create a unique solution for each client. The process begins with understanding what the client is trying to achieve. “We work with facility managers, marketing, business development, operations staff and ownership to understand each group’s expectation and meet their needs,” Stevens said.
Main Video Board The Rangers had an incredible season last year. The most exciting and memorable post-season game of the year was the ALCS Game 6 against the Detroit Tigers, where the Rangers scored nine runs in the bottom of the third inning. With their commanding lead of 15-5, they won a trip back to the World Series for the second consecutive year. During the World Series, for all the action and stats, fans turned to the Rangers’ new main video board behind right field. The 41x115feet main display is six times bigger than the old video board, which measured 24x36 feet. The new display features the latest HD-15
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technology with 840 lines of resolution in a super-wide aspect ratio. With the latest pixel design, pristine color clarity, blacker blacks and wide viewing angles, fans caught all the awe-inspiring moments as well as must-see instant replays that made this World Series one to remember. In addition, enhanced weather protection and other features improve reliability and operational efficiency. The super-wide aspect ratio allows for nearly unlimited possibilities in formatting content. It can display one giant live video screen or multiple zones to show lineups, line score, in-game stats, fantasy stats, promotions and whatever else the Rangers want to display.
Coke Board The same technology is used in the center-field auxiliary video board, a.k.a. the Coke board, to show additional video, stats and other information. Measuring 25 x29 feet, the display features HD-15 LED technology with 504 lines and 576 columns of resolution. It also can be integrated with other video displays in the stadium or show unique information.
Out-of-town Scoreboard/Ribbon Boards Located by left field, the full-color—4.4trillion-color capability, to be exact—field-level out-of-town scoreboard has the ability to simultaneously present real-time out-of-town scores, information from other games in progress, video clips, head shots and animations. Three ribbon board displays circle the ballpark, measuring a total of 1,230 feet in length. Mounted on the lower-suite-level fascia, on the lowerhome-run-porch fascia and below the Diamond Club, the ribbon boards display lineups, stats, pitch speeds, sponsor ads, home-run and towelwaving animations, graphics and video clips. When Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz in the ALCS Game 6 hit his sixth homerun of the series,
setting the Major League record for home runs in a postseason series, the ribbons boards lit up his name, “Boom Stick” and the home run animation. And when the Rangers won the pennant, the ribbon boards displayed a fireworks animation while the players celebrated on the field and the fans went wild in the stands.
In Control Controlling all the content, including more than 800 Sony LCD monitors installed throughout the venue, is the Show Control System. Operators have complete flexibility in programming. They have the option to deliver the same content to all the screens simultaneously with the push of a button, divide the video boards into multiple zones and send different types of content to multiple channels on multiple displays—all thanks to IPTV technology. Even the concession menu boards are tied into the control system. Specific menu items can be promoted, items can be added or removed and prices can be changed in seconds. Content can be scheduled ahead of time on one display or on a group of displays and can even be streamed to digital billboards on the property or to remote locations around the city. And of course, content can be synced with mobile devices to interact with fans. Sports isn’t complete without sponsorships. To provide true sponsor exclusivity, content can be overridden on any or all LED or LCD displays in the ballpark to show a sponsor’s logo or advertisement, guaranteeing venue-wide exposure. The IPTV solution at the Rangers Ballpark was made possible in part through Enseo, a provider of digital media solutions for stadiums and arenas, digital signage and hospitality. Enseo’s HD3000 digital media player and Author application are integral to the technology
upgrade at the ballpark. The HD3000 can receive content over a coax network. With the Author layout tool video, graphics and text can be combined on the screen to present a unified, branded message across the stadium, regardless of the channel watched. The Enseo solution overlays a visually appealing interface for fans onto live content. And since Enseo digital media players effectively work with existing coax infrastructure, this was done without the expense of re-cabling the ballpark. An added benefit of Enseo digital media players is that they provide a central point of TV control for all displays in the venue. “Taking advantage of IPTV technology gives customers the ability to drive high- definition content to screens throughout the facility with very low latency over a new or existing inhouse data network,” Stevens said. Through their products and services, Daktronics delivers a “digital canvas,” which allows a facility to “paint and brand” their entire building in different ways for different events, different times during an event and different sponsors.
No Sweat The usual challenges exist with these largescale, venue-wide super systems, such as removing existing displays, adding and modifying structure as necessary, scheduling installation around the facility’s calendar, managing subcontractors and getting all the displays communicating as part of a single network. But Daktronics excels at these projects and, with the help of a talented technical team, these aspects of installation are expertly handled. The relationship doesn’t end when the last screw is in place; Daktronics continues to support the system today. “In every way, shape and form, the visual images, the technology, the sound and our ability to present it in a cutting-edge way, thanks to a $4 million state-of-the- art control room, give us the ability to enhance the fan experience for every single fan, no matter where they’re sitting, standing or walking around the park,” Greenberg said on a press tour. SSM Sherleen Mahoney is the co-founder of Mighty Pen Media and a writer and editor for Signage Solutions.
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Managing Content in a
Real-time visual communication solutions provide exciting new ways to create, distribute content to a variety of platforms By David Wilkins Our multi-screen world has fostered numerous challenges for content creators, managers and developers. While consumers demand high editorial and production standards delivered in real time, developers are faced with obstacles as they st munication solutions, content producers can access exciting new methods for creating, managing and distributing content to a variety of platforms and screen types.
Content for All We now live in a world where multiple devices are commonplace, and users are consuming content at their desktop, mobile phone or tablet, via a digital sign or on YouTube. More than ever, it has become crucial for content to effectively reach all these devices in real time. Some content producers choose to distribute the same content across multiple platforms, with few or no modifications, which often results in less appealing and
effective messages. After all, content that works beautifully on a large plasma screen will most likely not translate to a mobile phone. It is important to be aware that layout, font size, imagery, pace and the overall graphical experience will not reformat properly or work on various screen sizes. Likewise, audiences on other screen types experience content differently and expect a presentation that is geared for their device. This forces producers to create unique content for each device, adding significant cost to the content production process. The ideal solutionâ€”balancing efficiency with creativity and optimizationâ€”lies somewhere in the middle. The best scenario will allow users to select key individual content elements that make up a project and take advantage of automated processes, repurpose the content and rework it into formats that are optimized for the target device while creating the very best user experience.
Breaking Through the Clutter Corporate communicators, retailers, universities and governments are realizing that their audiences access and interact with content in a variety of ways. They understand the important roles that social media, user-generated content, real-time data and rich-media content play in keeping audiences engaged. They equally appreciate the need to present a consistent, branded message to audiences or risk getting lost in communications clutter. Resolving these challenges, along with the technical issues involved in creating and delivering to different devices, is incredibly demanding. But with proper planning, it is
possible to implement a successful multi-screen strategy that satisfies even the most demanding of communicators.
Optimizing Workflow Stepping up to the challenge begins with examining and optimizing the content workflow and inserting automated processes wherever possible. Every step of the way, content creators must look for processes that are repetitive and be willing to create scripts that accomplish tasks without human intervention. This allows content managers to realize efficiencies that accelerate and streamline the content creation process while maximizing the ability to distribute content to various screen types. This results in significant cost savings while dramatically improving communications opportunities. Leveraging template-based tools will give content creators of all skill levels the ability to create professional-
looking, dynamic content quickly and consistently. Pre-created â€œsmartâ€? templates and objects that are connected to production logic, real-time data sources, graphics and other elements provide producers with incredible creative flexibility to build complex media channels easily. Take this concept a bit further, and even the layout of content can be rearranged dynamically based on the form factor of the target device. This is especially important as content creators choose to modify their projects while requiring that they work effectively on a different platform. Though a single universal standard is not a reality, automated format conversion is another solution that can be implemented to help overcome the challenge of multiple formats. By processing media according to preset rules, tedious, time-consuming tasks can be minimized. Staff can then be freed up to contribute their time and talents to the creative process. When this type of automation is taken another step forward, it can support dynamic video format conversions according to the screen on which content will play. Distribution can also be automated by publishing to specific devices or groups of devices according to a predetermined schedule. Distribution can be based on preset rules that take demographic or geographic factors into consideration. A centralized traffic tool will serve to manage content and send it out to the right audience, at the right time, utilizing the right format, onto the right device, thereby optimizing the communications effectiveness of the messaging.
The Big Picture Communication professionals understand that their audiences are now consuming content via multiple devices. Producing, managing and distributing multiple versions using multiple manual processes in parallel simply doesnâ€™t work. It is only by taking full advantage of automation, advanced templates and preset rules that the process can become efficient and effective and drive ROI. A real-time visual communications solution must be able to accomplish this while guaranteeing creative flexibility, consistent branding and impactful messaging across any screen, anywhere. SSM David Wilkins is president and CEO of X2O Media, a provider of software for real-time visual communications applications, including digital signage. January/February 2012
Mob Mentality How to move mobs and make sure they engage with your brand By Marcus Fischer Brands had it way too easy for way too long. If a marketer had the right concept and a wellexecuted campaign, from the Mad Men era of the 1960s until recently, they could throw it up on one of four media outlets and make a big splash. Consumers might even stop what they were doing and read, watch or listen. How quaint. Fast forward to today. It’s a given that consumers’ media consumption has become fragmented well beyond watching TV, reading the newspaper or listening to the radio. They’re often not even at home, tethered to the desktop anymore. They’re more likely running between appointments, juggling calls, texts and e-mails—and that’s just stayat- home moms and dads. Today’s consumers are mobile and wired, and getting them to engage with your brand is about reaching them and stopping them where they are—
in the real world: on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, a Saturday night, on the streets and in their hands. Welcome to the emerging frontier of “crowd stopping,” or, put another way, manipulating digital technologies to create immersive, engaging consumer experiences that occur in the real world. Large-scale, interactive or show-stopping use of digital technology and amazing ideas create spectacles beyond just the brand. space150 worked on a series of installations in Times Square, the most trafficked and busiest commercial intersection in the world. Here’s what we learned about the things marketers really need to do to move the mob.
Design for Human Behavior The idea is simple enough. Design for the way consumers live and interact with the world;
this is sometimes very different from what might be considered best practices in advertising. In the new digital world, it’s truly time for all marketers to stop clinging to the life raft of the 30-second TV spot as the thing that keeps an entire ad campaign afloat. It’s time to really embrace and engage the new digital, socially connected and on-the-go consumer in a meaningful and unexpected way. The boom of mobile technology partnered with the rapid advance of social media connectivity has at long last cut the cord to the desktop. Consumers who want a digital experience or need access to the Web aren’t stuck indoors anymore. They’re on the move, on the street and out in the real world. And just as mobile technology development has freed consumers, so too have advances in digital signage technologies created massive, exciting new opportunities for brand marketers to reach them on
the go. Billboards can deliver real-time, interactive and unexpected content and concepts that, when done right, can literally stop a crowd in its tracks.
Don’t Outsource Innovation At space150, we’re lucky—we’ve been digital since day one. So we haven’t had to go through what a lot of other traditional agencies are now figuring out: how to transition traditional agency models and disciplines into an effective solution for the digital landscape in which everyone now must play. One thing’s certain: the successful agency model today has to be all about absolutely seamless integration of digital into every aspect of its business. But it needs to go further than that. You can’t outsource innovation. You can’t dream up a creative digital concept and then send it down the street to a coding shop to have it built. That just doesn’t work anymore. Some agencies still try it, but that is not where crowd-stopping concepts come from. Instead, have developers sit in on brainstorms with the creative team to help push ideas and ensure that the creative department really understands the rules, guidelines and new opportunities presented by building digital content the right way. Do this and an agency can really design a technologically sound and advanced
concept that engages the crowd in unseen ways.
Embrace the New Digital Ten years ago, digital was all about building websites, banner ads and maybe a billboard that changed sponsors after 30 seconds. Today, we’re on the brink of “the new digital,” a true symbiotic world of socially connected, digitally savvy consumers plus digital hardware and media delivery systems that can almost meet consumer demand for ever-increasing “wow me” content. You see it in Times Square, where we built a digital billboard for Forever 21 that allows on-screen models to interact in real time with crowds on the streets, a concept that has become street entertainment, instead of brand advertising, for tourists,. And you see it in other mediums. Just
"Soon, your TV won’t automatically start on the channel you watched late last night, and channel surfing will soon be a thing of the past."
look at how TV is changing. Experts have been saying TV is dead for years. But now, new connected TV is changing the medium’s future in an entirely new way. Soon, your TV won’t automatically start on the channel you watched late last night, and channel surfing will soon be a thing of the past. Instead, the new connected TV offers a portal to all kinds of broadcast, online and social content at the same time, as well as the ability to see friends’ preferences and share content and comments. That’s a massive shift to new digital technology and behaviors—and it’s picking up pace. Experts say that by 2015, there will be 1.5 billion connected TVs in the world. In fact, there will be more connected devices than people. Do any of these three things well and it’s possible to be incredibly successful in the new advertising landscape: design for real behavior patterns, integrate digital and embrace new technology concepts. But combine all three, and you’re a lot closer to groundbreaking concepts and content that will actually get people to look up from those mobile devices in wonder. SSM Marcus Fischer is the CEO of space150, a digital agency with offices in Minneapolis, New York and Los Angeles.
To learn more, attend the 2012 Digital Signage Expo, Seminar 14, which is more broadly entitled: "The Power of Interactive: From Drawing Crowds to Engaging Individuals".
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Illuminating the Solution NanoLumens shines in front of hundreds at fund-raiser event By Rick Cope
Advanced flexible display technology is making flexible communications displays cost effective and allowing for the positioning of digital signage in locations previously thought impossible. Make no mistake about it: the advent of flexible digital displays isnâ€™t going to transform the digital signage industry; it is going to revolutionize it beyond our wildest imaginations.
The Coming Revolution Because of the infinite number of uses and applications that benefit from lightweight displays, the flexible display revolution is starting to unfold. Whether itâ€™s small, backlit countertop displays, hanging window displays, electronic message boards, digital billboards or large-scale digital video displays, the uses for digital communications displays are as varied as the brands that manufacture them.
So many industries utilize signage— store fronts, event venues, event production companies, billboard advertisers, transit centers, bars and restaurants, stadiums and arenas. As such, the digital signage market is fragmented with unique products specifically designed to cater to every possible need.
Case in Point Let’s use the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party’s 2011 Greater Toronto Area Dinner as an example. To make sure every attendee at the event could clearly view party leader Tim Hudak’s speech, the event’s production company, Metalworks Production Group, knew they needed a super-bright and vivid display that could be viewed from any angle, up to hundreds of feet away.
They approached the audiovisual experts at APG Displays for a solution. The company recommended installing two NanoLumens NanoFlex 112-inch flexible digital displays on both sides of the podium. This proved to be the perfect solution. The event turned out to be the largest and most successful dinner in the party’s history, drawing more than 800 supporters and candidates and raising nearly $1.5 million for the party.
A Clear Success Because the dinner was only a few hours long, it was vital for the solution to be easy to set up and removed, without requiring a crew of workers. The NanoLumens NanoFlex displays were able to satisfy this
For retail companies, digital signage can be an efficient and effective platform for increasing revenue and influencing consumer purchasing behavior. For example, in quick-serve restaurants, more than half of consumers make purchasing decisions after arriving at the venue. requirement as they weigh 85 pounds, need minimal labor to install and don’t require any heavy or cumbersome rigging. “Metalworks Production Group had never used the NanoLumens displays, so
Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
they really were shocked when we told them about the NanoFlex 112-inch display that could be set up and broken down in less than two hours,” said David Weatherhead, vice president of APG Displays. “Using a projection screen or a traditional digital display would have required more people and much more time to install, so the NanoLumens displays turned out to be the perfect solution for the event. The picture quality is amazing, and they looked beautiful from every spot in the room.” The staff and Metalworks appreciated the NanoLumens screens delivered a sharp picture quality from all angles. The picture had the same vibrant, bright colors from 20 feet away or 200 feet, and there was no loss in quality from off-angle viewing. Even when viewing from an extreme angle close to the screen, it exhibited none of the color drop-off or fading typical of other display technologies. “The Greater Toronto Area Dinner is exactly the kind of environment that NanoLumens Flex displays were made for,” said Rick Cope, president and CEO of NanoLumens. “Special events are a rapidly growing market for digital displays, provided that the displays can be moved in and out quickly and can be deployed in every type of room environment with minimal structural requirements. NanoLumens Flex displays make it possible for events to be held in any environment, indoors or outdoors without regard to weather, and provide the opportunity to create a mobile messaging platform by moving the lightweight display to different locations throughout the event.” SSM Rick Cope is the president and CEO of NanoLumens. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. January/February 2012
The Value of Feedback The integrator-manufacturer relationship is a two-way street By Charlie Leib
In my 15 years of attending tradeshows, I’ve noticed the dialogue between integrators and manufacturers has not changed much. “Hi; I use your products all the time,” the integrator says. “That’s great; thank you. Can I scan your badge?” the manufacturer responds. The badge is scanned, the integrator grabs a free pen and catalog and walks away to have that same 17-second interaction with countless other exhibiting companies. Opportunities on both sides are lost.
Getting the Word Out Many, if not most, manufacturers invest a significant portion of their time and budget toward marketing their products and services to the masses. As such, their goal is to show that their products and services have been successfully implemented in the field. Free publicity is good, and showing off your handiwork to thousands of potential customers can be great for business. Opportunities to showcase your latest and greatest install in an industry-leading national trade publication may be just the launching pad you need for generating business opportunities beyond word of mouth. This is especially true for those who don’t have the budget to consistently advertise. Being showcased in a national trade publication has its merit on a local and national scale. The mere fact that your install has garnered national attention holds incredible marketing benefits for your business and your manufacturer.
An Ear to the Ground Staying in touch with customers regarding past installs also has proven valuable for digital signage companies. “We are always in the market to hear about our products in use, both for the potential future R&D benefits and for the possible short and long-term publicity gained from it,” said Keith Fulmer, president of Stevensville, Md.-based Video Mount Products. “Building a one-on-one relationship with our customers is crucial, especially in today’s economic climate. Just like our customers who appreciate a human being answering the phone when they call us instead of getting lost in automated phone recording prompt limbo, we appreciate their feedback—pro or con. It’s one of the primary ways we can make our products even better for them in the future. We shouldn’t be telling them what to use. They should be telling us what we can design and make for them.” When you offer R&D input to the manufacturer and they include your ideas in their next generation of products, your customers and, inevitably, your business will benefit with an even better install. End users are not only the pulse of the industry, but what keeps us all in business. “Whether it’s an integrator telling us about how we can better design a product, or telling us how our products perform in the field, we want to know about it,” Fulmer said. “And, if we can promote that integrator by pitching his install to an industry publication, it’s a win-winwin for them, us, and the publication and its readers, as well.”
More than likely you’re already taking photos of the beginning, middle and end of your projects in order to document what you’ve accomplished. (If not, now may be a good time to start.) These images, and the story behind them, are gold to manufacturers—who are consistently looking for such high-profile end use of their products—and publishers—who are eager to show the world your project. Remember, this is free publicity. You are not buying space in a publication for this, and neither is the manufacturer.
Reaching Out Now, where do you get started if you don’t have the opportunity to meet faceto-face with manufacturers at tradeshows? It’s really quite simple. Go to the supplier’s website and look for the marketing contact. It could be as easy as picking up the phone or e-mailing the marketing department or their public relations firm and pitching your story. If you already have a relationship with a manufacturer’s representative or distributor, contact them first. “Use the rep as a conduit to the right people or department within the
Worth Your While Now you may be thinking your install and insight into a product certainly can benefit the manufacturer, but if you’re based in Los Angeles and just completed a retrofit install in Santa Monica, Calif., what good is it if someone in Boston is reading about it? Is it worth your time and effort? All signs point to yes. “[Being published] helps solidify the credibility of the dealer in the eyes of their clients,” explained Paul Epstein, president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based manufacturer’s representative Current Marketing. “It can act much like a personal referral from a past customer or other trusted source. The publicity can also be used in marketing materials and on social networking sites. Integrators often have magazine articles, publicity and awards on display at their office or place of business to further add credibility for all of their visitors and prospective clients.” Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
manufacturer,” Epstein said. “Having [a bigger and more interesting] installation professionally photographed and providing details of the installation is a plus.” Besides articles, there are various other ways to gain publicity for your business once you let the supplier know how and where you are using their products. Some publications may ask you to provide your own product review, while others may want to interview you about your business, how you got started and how you grew your company. You might be a star and not even know it. All that it takes is a little initiative by contacting and telling the manufacturer about your latest installs and what you think of their products and services. They will take it from there. So, at and in between tradeshows, pipe up! Manufacturers want to know about your installs, your thoughts on where the industry is headed and how they can keep ahead of the curve. With a simple phone call or e-mail, your business may soon reap some very beneficial rewards. SSM Charlie Leib is president of CRL Public Relations and can be reached at email@example.com.
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510.405.5988 January/February 2012
&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.signagesolutionsmagazine.com/products People Stopping Displays HolograFX’s Real ImageTM is a patented emerging technology that allows your display to stand out from others by projecting fully animated 3D images: characters, logos, or products into free space. Images from 9” to 28” “float in mid-air” and can be projected 14” to 55” from the projection source without the need for special viewing glasses. The HolograFX technology can be coupled with infra red, ultrasonic and gesture technologies enabling viewer interactive touch with the floating images; providing not only a memorable experience, but a magic one. Units are being deployed in theatre lobbies, supermarkets, and department stores. Recent tests have yielded documented 20% increase in lift at the point of sale and a 94% recall rate. www.signagemag.com/2469 All-in-one Digital Signage Player SignEdge is a simple, highly affordable bundle All in One hardware and software solution that enables any small business operator to quickly and very easily start communicating with customers and staff using eye-catching, impactful digital displays. UCView’s SignEdge display combines everything for digital signage needs including content creating, content store Apps, management software and player all in one creating one powerful device that does it all in just seconds at a fraction at the cost taking any small business to the next level of advertising. www.signagemag.com/2514
Digital Signage Media Player with Tuner Cassini® 5000, the latest addition to Enseo’s line of proven and effective digital media players, provides playback of stored content from an HDD or SD Card. The fanless Cassini 5000 is capable of receiving content via QAM, 8VSB and NTSC over coax, and UDP, RTP and RTSP streaming via IP. Cassini 5000 supports MPEG2, h.264, and HTML5 Web content. With Cassini 5000, end users have advanced graphic overlay capabilities and playlist control from the unit or a central server. www.signagemag.com/2509
Universal IP Network Device The Microspace MCC-SCW1 is a multi-function and multi-frequency digital modem and distribution device. The device can connect to multiple sources such as satellite, cellular, internet and 802.11 networks for the delivery and interaction of digital IP Networks. This technology is designed to optimize savings of larger networks such as DOOH / Digital Signage, Digital Cinema, Business Television Networks & Cable Headends offer through fixed costs. Models are available with SD backup storage and audio outputs. Also compatible with most client software and applications. www.signagemag.com/2460
Design. Build. Deploy. Monitor. Your digital signage partner at every stage. Working with a national dealer network, Christie collaborates with you to design, build, deploy and monitor a digital display solution that’s perfect for you. We’ll also help integrate your systems and ensure your displays are always ‘on’. Visit us at Digital Signage Expo March 6-9, 2012 – Booth 1051 www.signagemag.com/2601
Ultra-low Profile Swing Arm Mounts Chief’s Thinstall Series of ultra-low profile swing arm mounts now includes new models to accommodate displays ranging from 10 to 58 inches. In addition, the mounts can now be combined with a dedicated line of Thinstall accessories. The new accessories include component shelves, speaker adapters, in-wall boxes and a portrait adapter – all of which add less than 0.25” to the depth of the installation. www.signagemag.com/2465
Audio/Video Matrix Switch via CAT5 to 1,000 Feet The VEEMUX® Audio/ Video Matrix Switch routes audio and video inputs from many video sources to multiple displays and speakers via inexpensive CAT5/5e/6 cable. It is capable of connecting to as many as 16 video sources via transmitters and 64 video displays via receivers with a maximum extension of 1,000 feet between the transmitters and receivers. The switch features one directconnect VGA and stereo audio input/output for every 16 remote RJ45 connectors. Resolutions up to 2048x1536 are supported. www.signagemag.com/2161
Simple and Innovative Digital Signage Solutions Intello introduces its new Small Form Factor i-mpact Media Player. Intel Duo Core Processor, 4Mb memory, NVidia Video Card, WiFi ready. Hosted solution - no server required. Multilingual management interface, content and userlevel security available, Proof of play lists, WYSIWYG interface. Automated lists, templates and screen layouts, scheduling, schedule preview, interfaces to CSV files and Newmarket Delphi, Screen RS232 support, available daily news and weather reports, full-screen or split screen content. www.signagemag.com/2181
Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
VGA with Audio Single CAT5e Wall Plate Extender Kit The QVS extender kit sends VGA video and audio using a single CAT5e/6 cable. It is the perfect economical set up for all your VGA devices that need to extend up to 1,000ft (300M). Features 350MHz video bandwidth, adjustable EQ control, and support resolutions up to 1600X1200 @ 60Hz at 330ft, 800x600 @75Hz at 660ft, and 640x480 @ 75Hz at 1000ft. It is ideal for conference rooms, training rooms, and classrooms. Kit includes transmitter & receiver modules, and universal power adaptors. www.signagemag.com/2173
Narrow-Bezel, 55-inch LCD Mitsubishi Electric announces its new narrow-bezel, 55-inch monitor (MDT551S), the latest addition to its high-end line designed for video conferencing, gaming, retail kiosks, digital signage and other applications needing robust, long-lasting static or interactive display monitors. Mitsubishi’s new MDT551S offers optional single- and multi-touch screen interactivity in a sleek, modern, brushed aluminum design and brings video to life with dynamic and customizable advertising, exciting welcome messages, and vital, up-to-the-minute news and information. www.signagemag.com/2180
Signage Solutions Products
Mid-Size Flat Panel Flush Wall Mount The low-profile FPMFTB Multi-Just™ mid-size flat panel wall mount with tilt capabilities is ready-to-go out-ofthe-box and includes a “kickstand” for post-installation cable management abilities. The FP-MFTB holds most medium-sized flat panels from 27- to 42-inches and up to 100 lbs., has adjustable tilt of -5 degrees to +15 degrees while keeping the flat panel just 2.3 inches from the wall. It also provides list adjustment and vertical and horizontal level adjustment which allow for perfect positioning once already wall mounted. www.signagemag.com/2510 Industrial Digital Room Sign Monitor Marshall introduces the newest offering to its Digital Room Sign line up. The sign, designed to operate easily with any digital signage player, is built with a 12.1” LED backlit monitor and housed in an all metal industrial cabinet, designed for high traffic areas. It has HDMI and VGA video inputs, with RS-232 control interface. The panel is rated at 50,000 hours, designed for long life 24/7 operation. It has both surface and flush mount capability. It comes with a 3 year warranty. www.signagemag.com/2467
iPad Based Interactive Digital Signage Platform The DynaPad platform allows businesses to quickly deploy applications without the long and costly development cycle of traditional digital signage. Beyond using iPads as stationed interactive display, DynaPad can be used as a business tool to deploy business communications and marketing applications to keep the employees and clients informed. Typical applications are employee benefits, user training, product catalog, portfolio showcase and real estate listings. DynaPad is available today at Apple’s App Store. www.signagemag. com/2599
Presentation Scaler Switcher The ASP-S123V is a presentation scaler switcher designed for multi-signal processing of Composite Video, S-Video, Component Video (YPbPr), VGA (Computer Graphics), and HDMI inputs which can be scaled to 1080p in VGA/HDMI format. In addition, the ASP-S123V has a built in HDBaseT CAT extension, microphone input, and 20 Watt amplifier which makes it a cost effective solution for digital signage. www.signagemag.com/2464
Multi LCD Video Wall Solution Multi LCD screens with full HD resolution, builtin processing, and Ultra Narrow Bezel (5.5mm total). The OLM5550 is infinitely configurable for limitless size and resolution. Orion Multiple Screen Control Software is included with the OLM5550 and an optional mounting system with ease of z-axis alignment via guide pins during installation. The OLM5550 is equipped with eco-friendly DIRECT LED BLU consuming less power than conventional CCFL BLU models. www.signagemag.com/2192
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Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
Signage Solutions Products
Small Form Factor, Big Feature Media Player The HD2.8 is specifically engineered to meet the demands for discrete graphics in a small form factor design. Supporting both Intel Core i3 and i5 processors, the HD2.8 delivers the ultimate dynamic signage experience and can simultaneously operate analytic solutions. Expansion options include discrete graphic cards, wireless networking and TV tuner. The HD2.8 is exclusively available from Seneca, a premier manufacturer of digital signage solutions and custom systems. www.signagemag.com/2600
Tester for Cable Length Measurement and Finding Electrical Open/Short Faults The SS200 Snap Shot TDR uses new SSTDR technology to accurately and easily measure cable length up to 3,000 feet and to detect and locate Open and Short conditions in all types of cable, power, coax, video, and data lines. The unit has a large backlit display for all lighting conditions, a built-in tone generator for tracing cable runs and a memory capability for storing most used cable types. Compact and rugged. www.signagemag.com/2505
Universal Ceiling Mounted Quad Display System Quad display ceiling mount system for four 37-63" displays weighing up to 150 pounds (each). VESA compatible system features a Universal mounting interface, through-column cable routing, and 360¼ of post-installation lockable rotation, for the entire assembly or individual screens. CQUAD63 provides up to 20¼ of pin-locking incremental tilt adjustment and ships with a 10' pipe drop and a heavy-duty ceiling adapter for structural or Unistrut installation, and a 10-year warranty. CQUAD63 ships in standard-size shipping boxes, making it both economical to ship and easy to handle at the job site. www.signagemag.com/2196 Digital Signage Media Server Introducing the updated WEGENER iPump 6400 Media Server with flexible i/o design for multi-screen strategies. Seamlessly blend live and file-based content for digital signage, media library and mobile video. Use the iPump 6400 Media Server and Compel 2 network control to manage digital signage, HD and SD video channels, satellite & internet file delivery, regionalization of content insertions, media libraries, mobile video and ad play verification. www.signagemag.com/2182
Video, Audio and RS232 over UTP Receiver with RJ45 Daisy-Chain Output The URA-232-XT Mini-Cat® is a daisy-chainable Video, Audio and RS232 over UTP (Cat5/5e/6) receiver. It has an RJ45 input, with a compensated RJ45 output for driving downstream receivers. This eliminates the need for running separate cables from every receiver back to the sender. It can accommodate a total daisy-chain length of 3,750 feet (> 1 km) with up to 5 devices in each chain and supports resolutions of up to 1920 x 1200 at 60Hz. The URA-232-XT is used as a receiver for UTP transmitters/splitters and switches with RS232. www.signagemag.com/2172
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By The Way
Revisiting the 70 Percent Rule Evaluating consumer in-store decision-making and the transformational impact of digital signage By Steven Keith Platt
It has been said that 70 percent of purchase decisions are made in-store. This surprising figure raises the question of how to best influence consumers who are making purchase decisions in-store. Support for the 70 Percent Rule is based upon a 1995 study initiated by Point-of-Purchase Advertising International. Independent studies confirm that the majority of purchase decisions are, in fact, made instore, but not as much as 70 percent. In an academic study conducted in 1967, it was found that 50.5 percent of in-store purchase decisions were unplanned. A later study, conducted in 1998, concluded that 59.1 percent of store purchases were unplanned. Thus, it has been demonstrated that 50 to 60 percent of in-store purchases are spontaneous.
Four-Stage Decision Process In their study, Dr. J. Jeffrey Inman and Dr. Russell S. Winer created a model that details the process by which consumers make in-store decisions. Their research advanced a four-stage model for in-store decisionmaking and the factors and their relative impact on consumers’ unplanned in-store purchases. Their model is as follows: 1. Exposure to Categories and Displays: This is impacted by the trip type, number of aisles shopped, display type, and location and purchase involvement. 2. Motivation to Process In-store Stimuli: This includes deal proneness, age and the need for cognition—that is, the influence of a message on a consumer’s decision-making process. 3. Planning: This is the use of a shopping list, shopping trips per week and deal proneness. 4. Need Recognition: This includes compulsiveness, gender, household size, shopping party size and income.
Digital Signage Technology for Today’s Applications
By The Way
While digital signage and mobile messages cannot affect all factors that impact in-store purchases, such as household size, creative content can have an influence on many other factors. Both brands and retailers can benefit from such a content focus. Considering this process supports the decision by retailers and brands to invest in digital signage because digital signage is unique in its ability to leverage many of the in-store elements that factor into targeted messages to convert shoppers into buyers. Stated another way, digital signage content can easily be geared to impact those factors found to have the most effect on consumer in-store decision-making. For instance, the above-noted study found that the most important influence on in-store purchase decisions was the number of aisles shopped. Thus, creative content geared toward encouraging consumers to visit more parts of the store can increase retail sales. An ad that introduces, “Buy peanut butter here and get 50-percent off jelly on aisle 21,” may be an effective way to augment the number of aisles shopped. If this content does not produce the desired result, it can easily and quickly be altered to find the most effective messages.
The Role of Mobile Devices Another important in-store medium was not considered in the noted research: mobile devices. According to its third quarter 2011 Insights Report, JiWire found that 18 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices to make purchases when inside a store, and 28 percent comparison shop on mobile devices when in a store. The conclusions of the WSL/Strategic “Retail Buzz to Buy 2.0” trend report were more aggressive, finding that as many as 50 percent of smartphone owners use the devices when shopping in-store for comparing prices (56 percent), taking pictures of products (53 percent), and finding coupons and discounts (46 percent). While digital signage and mobile messages cannot affect all factors that impact in-store purchases, such as household size, creative content can have an influence on many other factors. Both brands and retailers can benefit from such a content focus. A more detailed article on this topic can be purchased from the PRI Resource Library by visiting http:// www.plattretailinstitute.org/Library.
Steven Keith Platt is the director and research fellow at Platt Retail Institute. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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