Volume 9, Issue 1 — January 24, 2017
|The Outlook for Digital Signage in 2017 Is More, More, More|
By Lyle Bunn
Strategy Architect, BUNN Co.
Yogi Berra wasn’t referencing digital signage when he said, “It’s very tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Digital signage and place-based media can apply present status, and, with a wide enough view of the lens and clarity into the depth, know what is coming in 2017.
The proposition is simple. More digital signage equals more wealth – for end users that apply it, and the suppliers that provide it.
2017 will be characterized by “more.” But it is the life cycles of application and supply that will factor most significantly into the outlook for this media sector in 2017.
The outlook is threefold for end users In the year of the enabled consumer and omni-channel as both drive forward unabated. Firms that have used the media and assess its impact will increase their use, led by gap analysis and growth planning. In realizing its investment worthiness early adopters will drive innovations in content strategy, tactic and composition, viewer targeting and day parting as well as operating efficiencies. Current users will drive significant industry investment as they expand their use. The best of suppliers will benefit most.
New users tend toward simple solutions as they minimize investment and risk in putting their foot in the water. Integrators and small suppliers will benefit most from new users.
The majority of users in the middle of the bell curve with new users at one end and the most experienced at the other will add employee hours to their operations as the medium finds a growing place within their enterprise. These will drive education and publication consumption to much higher levels.
- More innovations will be driven by experienced end users seeking more business value.
- More new deployments will be driven by the later majority of end users based on their confidence through seeing their competitors apply it.
- More investment will be made as virtually all current end users seek to expand their benefits through incremental improvements.
Measurement, (the basis of investment decisions and approaches) has been pregnant with the gestation period of an elephant, though some can rightly say the analogy is closer to that of an acorn. (There is an oak tree in there, but all the conditions have to be right for even a sprout to appear beneath the light of day).
Digital signage has too often been considered in a fairly narrow range of benefits and the lack of tangible impact and attribution data that can validate increased investment has been the failing of end users and operators.
Analytics capability typically has required more effort than brains, so has not distinguished itself in operations. But “content” as the sibling of analytics, requires brains and optimizing content requires analytics if it is to be treated as anything beyond craft and artistry into the science that it is.
Content delivers the value of digital signage once the technology is in place. The technology wants to, and will deliver more messaging productivity with more compelling images and more efficiency in 2017.
Content will be a significant growth area in 2017 as it contributes higher return on investment and validates technology investment. No end user wants digital signage. What they do want is greater efficiency in messaging and engagement impact.
- More content strategy, tactics, audience targeting, day parting will mean significantly more content and innovation in composition.
- More analytics and impact assessment will be used to drive content ROI.
Starbucks, for example recently debuted a cartoon web series titled 1st and Main that has implications for on-location digital signage. In the overlap with “owned” media, brands that have established their social media channels are well positioned to take short-form story-telling content into their physical locations.
The retail infotainment media channel has too many branding possibilities to be overlooked. There is a reason that many retailers have put their online social media channels in place with many taking the early steps with in-store digital media. People love stories and animated content can deliver a moment of joy, add character to a brand, build aspirations, inform and entertain while adding ambiance and vitality to the brand. Reducing perceived waiting and dwell times are the icing on the branding and merchandising cakes. Marketing meets selling with in-store media.
Key markets for 2017 include retail, food services, financial services, hospitality, health care, education and staff communications.
More digital signage in physical retail locations will help retail and other customer-facing brands to move to a new level of location appeal, branding and merchandising. Digital signage will help drive online and mobile success.
Share of wallet for food spending and information about food (e.g., calories, nutritional value, allergens, ingredients, sources) will continue to drive digital signage investment. Order accuracy is a high priority for quick service and fast casual restaurants, and service times have been declining against the backdrop of consumer preference and greater consumer choice.
Financial services must capture the millennials demographic as a primary long- term growth market while increasing the number of products per customer. Insurance, securities, wealth management and accounting service are compelled to innovation in their marketing models in order to compete.
Hospitality as a services industry must increasingly tap into the “experience economy” by making their locations the destination of choice while attracting engagement with onsite amenities and on-premises services.
Health care providers that move beyond outdated magazines and TV in their waiting rooms toward health improvement information and onsite education will enjoy greater branding, consumer selection, revenues and donations.
More architectural media will be added to increase the attraction to physical locations and enable better customer and staff engagement. Advances in OLED production by firms such as LG Electronics provide dramatic improvements in media appeal and the ability to integrate new generation displays into an environment. The capacity of OLED to present High Dynamic Range (HDR) content further enables media presentation.
Integrators of audio/visual, information and security technologies stand to benefit greatly as small and medium sized enterprises follow large businesses in digital signage installation. The onus has been on end user to define the benefits that they may receive, but they must have the confidence in technology supply as well as in the knowledge that integrators are bringing deep awareness and insights into how a digital signage investment will support their achievement of business goals. Integrators have not benefited to the extent possible by engaging with digital signage. Knowledge is their key to success. When Integrators simply respond to a technology requirement they can quickly erode their margins and supply positioning, but being part of defining the solution that addresses business problems and opportunities through digital signage puts their capabilities in high demand and is the stable, certain ride to success. Integrators will bring:
- More capability to planning and technology recommendations.
- More demand for education and training to support end users.
More capacity by large turnkey providers will be added. The integration and network operations services of software, connectivity and media services providers will continue to expand fueled in part by acquisitions in 2016 which have gone a long way toward enterprise integration of the medium. Large providers are poised to add double-digit numbers of new staff members their teams.
More supply capability through turnkey supply and tighter supply relationships among individual providers that reflect the village of supply. New providers will integrate the management of multiple media types and technologies.
More effort for industry-wide benefits on the part of industry associations must surely be undertaken in 2017. The challenge of patent trolls has been increasing with patent holders harvesting licensing revenue agreements from suppliers and end users. This industry-wide issue is one that digital signage trade associations can play a coordinating role in addressing.
Digital signage associations and event producers can play a key role in profiling how digital signage and place-based media contribute to location-based and omni-channel marketing. “Digital” has advanced with many silos of initiatives within the enterprise and efforts related to customer experience and big data can fuel application of the medium.
At an uppermost level of consideration no supplier has a unique solution. It is at lower levels that differences, in some cases very big differences, emerge. And every application is unique to the priority of problems solved and opportunities realized. Content strategy and tactics enabled by technology infrastructure will increasingly define the return on investment. As It is imperative to diversify the brand in the context of omni-channel, more functionality aimed at integrating media devices will be added in 2017.
In 2017, more success will go to end users and providers who work for it, by gaining knowledge and using this for directing their efforts and consensus development. Gap analysis will be the key enabler of digital signage in 2017.
This column was reprinted with permission from Lyle Bunn.Leave a Comment
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|Service Recovery — Lessons Learned from an AV Guy|
By Tony Sprando
Commercial AV Designer
How do you fulfill service recovery when you are guilty of poor service? This a very viable topic even if you think you are perfect. Yeah, I was wrong once last year… I think. Right.
Seriously though, great customer service is a cornerstone for any successful business. I can be an expert in my industry, but if I am unable to make a connection with my customers, I misunderstand what they want and need. And then if I fail to exceed their expectations, I will lose those customers. So, what happens when I falter in any of those key areas?
Well, when the worst happens (it has and it will), I have learned that service recovery can be simple, but it’s frequently not easy for every business owner to do. According to Patricia Lotich from The Thriving Small Business website, “Service recovery is a theory that suggests that a customer who has a bad experience and receives a prompt, effective response to their issues will be a more loyal customer than a customer who had no bad experience at all.” And this experience does require some skill to recover that customer who received poor service from me. Here are a few I recommend you work on:
Read their body language. Notice their raised eye brow. Before the words even come out of their mouth, you can save some serious embarrassment. Quickly turn the conversation to “I am sorry,” and eat as much humble pie as possible.
Nothing is free, except an apology. We have all heard that nothing is truly free; there is always a catch. Well, actually one thing is free and though it may cost you some pride, no money will be deducted from your bank account. Simply take responsibility and apologize. Say something like, “I apologize, I am deeply sorry and I will do whatever I can to make this right.”
Act fast. Now, pick up the pieces. Do not sulk over your oversight. Get to work harder than you ever have before to remedy the issue quickly. To truly recover you must do all of the above quickly. Any delay implies that you do not truly care and that you are not honestly sorry. For example, get the new TV on its way ASAP. Don’t overanalyze the situation by questioning how it fell off the wall or the customer’s word on “who touched it last.” Just get the replacement on its way and start the RMA process, in that order. Don’t wait for the replacement RMA to come in. Buy a new one and deal with the RMA swap later. Trust me.
And then, communicate frequently. Keep your customer involved and updated with every step of the recovery process. A phone call is best, but at the very least, zip out an email confirming your problem-solving process is moving forward.
What happens next? In a Temkin Group report from March 2016 titled, “What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience,” statistics revealed that a strong service recovery process reduces customer losses from 63 percent to 24 percent. Bruce Temkin reports, “It’s undeniable that a good service recovery after a bad experience provides excellent results… If the service recovery is very good, there’s a 10x improvement in consumers who increase their spending…”
Bottom line: Do your best to avoid problems. But when they happen, do some serious service recovery.
Tony, the AV guyLeave a Comment
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|Five Reasons You Should Upgrade Your Lobby Signage|
By Nathan Spell
Lobby signage provides the perfect opportunity to build your brand and show your visitors what makes your company special. Traditional signage is static and too difficult or expensive to update regularly. By upgrading to digital signage, you can create a more dynamic and impactful experience for visitors while saving time, money, and hassle.
No matter what industry you’re in, first impressions matter. It’s important to get it right on the front lines—and that’s where your lobby signage comes in. With the right digital lobby signage, you can easily create, manage, and display branded content that will impress potential clients, increase brand awareness, and engage with partners and employees.
In the first part of this blog series on digital signage, we’ll take a closer look at five of the top reasons why you should upgrade digital lobby displays. Read on.
1. Digital Signage is Easy to Update
It’s important to keep your signage relevant to your visitors, employees, and partners. Say you want to display information about upcoming events, new product launches, or directions to help visitors locate a conference room—all depending on the date and time. Traditional, static signage was never designed to do that—at least, not all at once. Digital signage, on the other hand, makes it easy.
That’s the great advantage of digital signage—you can easily update your signage as often as multiple times a day if you want. That flexibility means you’re only limited by your imagination as to how to use your signage in any given situation. In the next post of this series, we’ll look at creative ways to use the latest digital signage technology in your lobby. But for now, let’s look at another reason you should upgrade in the first place.
2. Digital Signage is Engaging
Traditional signage can’t rival the engagement of digital signage. With dynamic, interactive and adaptable digital displays, you can create an environment that attracts visitors to your brand message, makes them aware of products and services, and encourages them to interact with your brand in a tangible way. Digital lobby signages can transform your lobby experience from meh to wow in a way traditional signage simply can’t.
3. Digital Signage Enhances the Visitor Experience
With digital signage, you can go beyond displaying engaging content for visitors. You can meet your customers and guests where they are and give them the information they need before they even ask, or even deliver supplemental information they didn’t think to ask for. Want to showcase your work for potential customers, attract potential buyers to your latest products, or display some “social proof” of your brand’s success? Digital signage is a great tool to help you do that and more.
Digital lobby signage opens all new possibilities for visitor experience. Whether displaying your company’s directory, your brand’s social media timelines, or providing crucial wayfinding for your partners and clients, digital signage is a great way to go above and beyond for your visitors. Creating an environment that enhances their experience has never been easier or more cost-effective!
4. Digital Signage Improves Internal Communications
An often overlooked benefit of digital signage is the effect it can have on internal communications. Your lobby isn’t just an ideal point of communication for visitors — it’s also a great place to communicate important information to employees and partners. Digital signage helps you communicate important internal information more easily than sending out a stack of memos or emails.
Digital signage can also make your employees’ lives easier. Take a retail lobby for example — digital signs can display answers to common customer questions, saving your employees time and freeing them up to spend time on other critical tasks. Or say your company wants to drive home a new marketing initiative that takes company-wide commitment — digital signage can get the word out, greeting team members with a reminder at the door in a visually engaging way.
5. Digital Signage Helps You Grow Your Business
Ultimately, using digital lobby signage helps your business drives revenue. Depending on your business, your lobby signage can be used as a marketing hub or even a place to gain advertising revenue. But regardless of your industry, digital signage can help you get greater brand exposure.
Digital signage may cost more than traditional signage upfront, but the cost of creating a buzz with traditional signage is higher in the long-term. Digital signage is more vibrant than print and lets you use sound and movement in your marketing content, which helps drive home your message. For companies looking to use signage as a marketing tool, the digital route saves time and money while delivering a better solution. And that means you get a much better return on investment compared to traditional signage.
Can You See the (Digital) Sign?
As you can see, digital signage is kind of a big deal.
That’s why we’re dedicating a whole blog series to the topic! Next week we’ll look at creative ways to use the latest digital signage technology in your lobby. Finally, we’ll look at the importance of an often overlooked aspect of digital signage: content creation. Because without dynamic content designed to continually impress your potential clients, increase awareness of your brand and engage with partners and employees, a sign is just a sign.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and I hope you’ve learned a little about how digital signage can enhance your lobby space. Tune in next week for more, and as always — thanks for reading!
This blog was reprinted with permission from Synergy CT and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Seven Ways to Use Digital Signage in Your Lobby|
By Toby Garrett
While digital signage is far from new, the technology has developed a lot since it first emerged. Today, digital signage solutions are more cost-efficient, eco-friendly, and flexible than ever. On top of that, modern video displays are built to last much longer than their predecessors ever could.
In our last post, we looked at five reasons you should upgrade your lobby signage from a static sign to a dynamic, digital solution. This week, we’ll look at the technology that goes into signage and how to use signage effectively in your lobby space. But first, let’s look at who stands to benefit from using digital signage.
Who is digital signage for?
Every business has a message. And every business has a need to share that message better and faster, not only with visitors but internally as well. No matter what industry you’re in, digital signage is a powerful tool for sharing your message. Some of the major industries who can benefit from digital signage include:
- Food/Beverage/Hospitality: Restaurants, bars, and hotel lobbies can all use digital signage to greet new patrons and visitors, communicate unique offerings, highlight reviews from sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, and showcase nearby attractions.
- Offices: Companies of every size can use digital lobby signage to display branded welcome messages and communicate internally.
- Schools and Universities: Digital signage helps students and visitors across campus stay connected and informed.
- Hospitals and Medical Offices: Digital wayfinding signage is a great way for medical care facilities to guide their visitors and patients.
- Financial institutions: Digital signage helps banks engage with customers as they wait to talk to their representative.
- Retail: Digital signage allows stores to craft and display product information, promote discounts, and “wow” shoppers with entertaining brand messages.
The list doesn’t stop there, but it could just as easily go on forever. Instead, let’s just say that digital signage can be used in any industry, as long as you have a message. So without further ado, let’s look at how to actually use digital signage.
1. Display Dynamic Brand Messages
Digital signage excels in creating a dynamic visual experience for your audience. Whether you need to impress potential clients, increase product awareness, or keep your team updated, digital signage lets you do it in a visually engaging way.
Digital signage is as much art as science. It’s tool for using content in a more creative way. For example, you can easily create a collage of video and images that complement your lobby entrance while conveying the brand impression you’re trying to relay to visitors. The possibilities are limitless. If, for instance, your organization wants to convey strength, you could display icon video footage of famous athletes or influential leaders. Or if you want to create a more calming effect—perhaps in a doctor’s office or hospital lobby—a waterfall or garden-scape would be more appropriate.
These are only a few examples. No matter the specific content you incorporate, digital signage is an effective technology solution to help you deliver your brand’s message and create an engaging environment.
2. Combine Digital Display with Physical Environment
One of the more creative uses of digital signage is the combination of semi-transparent digital displays with the physical environment. Transparent OLED technology allows for vibrant visuals while letting viewers see behind the display. Although OLED displays can be used for any sized space, they can have an especially strong impact in smaller lobbies.
The best of LCD technology achieves about 72% of the NTSC color space, while OLED can achieve 100% or more, making for a much more vivid display. The combination of vividness and transparency allows you to create a unique and engaging hybrid environment with both physical and digital design.
3. Digital Kiosks
Another good use of digital signage, especially for smaller lobby environments, is the digital kiosk. Kiosks have been around for a long time, and the continued development of touch-sensitive LCD screen has brought prices down and brought about new uses. Wayfinding is one such use that has become ubiquitous, from corporate lobbies to retail stores. Digital wayfinding kiosks allow visitors and customers to both interact with content and navigate larger buildings and campuses.
4. Touch Sensitive Video Walls
Touch sensitive video walls come in a variety of packages. There are LCD and LED touch screens, some with separations between individual panels, and others available as seamless solutions. Deciding which solution is best depends on many factors. You need to take into account the area on the wall where the screen will be mounted, how many hours a day the screen will be in use, whether there is a lot of ambient light, etc.
For instance, lobby areas with large windows aren’t a good environment for infrared-based touch control because the ambient natural light and even too much fluorescent light can negatively impact the performance of the touch-sensitivity. So when deciding which solution is best, it helps to have an AV specialist who understands all the factors that go into finding the right solution.
5. Large-Scale Displays With DV LED
Direct View LED is one of the newcomers among highly-scalable display technologies. DV LEDs come with a few different offerings, all of which vary in cost, viewing distance, viewing angle, and potential content uses.
The image detail quality of DV LED displays is measured in pixel pitch. The denser the pixel pitch, the smoother the image appears—depending, of course, on the viewing position in relation to the display. indoor environments, Many manufacturers are moving from larger pixel pitches (3.1) to smaller pitches like 1.8, 1.5, 1.2 and even .9, especially in displays for indoor environments. These panels are also moving away from NTSC 4:3 format to a 16:9 format. As you might imagine, the smaller the pitch, the more expensive the display module—and the clearer the display.
Another exciting thing about DV LED displays is the ability to scale them seamlessly. Even for large, multi-display walls, DV LEDs can display your image without any seams interrupting the visuals. DV LEDs can also be used as a video floor, or curved to form concave, convex, or wave formations.
6. Curved Display Formations
DV LEDs aren’t the only displays that can be curved. Many OLED displays can be curved too—you can even tile curved displays to create a formation of as many tiles as you want. Many OLED models are also dual-sided, which lets you make the most of your lobby space with your signage.
Many of these OLED displays have 4K resolution, which provides a very lifelike image. Some even have a significant amount of internal memory and even internal processing power, which means you can control your content without needing an external player or connected PC.
7. Mosaic Displays
One of the coolest examples of creative digital signage is the Mosaic product from Planar. Mosaic comprises a series of LCD panels of different sizes that can be arranged in any way imaginable. The Mosaic can display synchronized content without the individual displays needing to be connected to one another. Whether installed in your lobby or meeting rooms, the Mosaic can be scaled to any size and help you create an impressive digital scene.
Mosaic is one example among the many innovative engineering approaches available in the latest digital signage products. Today’s signage solutions come with many cost-saving features as well, such as off-board power and mounting solutions that enable easier installation. Many digital signage solutions allow for easier maintenance, too, thanks to the fact that panels can often be serviced individually (which is a lot cheaper than having to take down an entire video wall).
It Starts (but Doesn’t Stop) With Technology
Digital signage is more than technology (in fact, we’ll be talking about the importance of content in the next post of this series), but the possibilities are only available thanks to the many technology innovations that have come about in the last decade.
If you’re thinking about going with a digital signage solution for your lobby, it’s important to work with an AV specialist who can help you make the best choice for your business. Whether that’s a third-party consultant or a full-service AV integrator, it’s important to find a team you can trust to really partner with you and come up with a creative solution.
If you’d like to learn about Synergy’s process and how we can help you find a signage solution, feel free to contact us. And if you haven’t already, be sure to read our last post on digital signage here. Stay tuned for our next post on digital signage, and thanks for reading!
This column was reprinted with permission from Synergy CT and originally appeared here.Leave a Comment
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|Zappiti Intros 4K HDR Media PlayerZappiti has just launched three new models in its 4K HDR range: the Mini 4K HDR compact set-top box, the One 4K HDR media player with a hot swap internal SATA HDD 3.5” rack drives, and Duo 4K HDR media player with a hot swap internal SATA HDD 3.5″ dual rack for a total capacity of up to 32 TB.
Supporting almost all video and audio formats, codecs and file containers, including all modern video standards such as HDMI 2.0, Ultra HD 4K, HDR and 4K60p, the Zappiti 4K HDR media players are compatible with most audio and video formats such as HEVC video codec with one billion colors (10-Bit color encoding) ISO Blu-ray, M2TS, MKV 4K, MVC 3D with 3D subtitles, home theater audio (including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) and high-resolution lossless audio files up to 32 Bit / 192 kHz. This new player range is also compatible with Zappiti Media Center v4.
- HEVC / VP9: The Zappiti 4K HDR supports H.265 / HEVC up to 4K video. HEVC is the successor to H.264, with up to 50 percent file size savings. It also support VP9, the new open and royalty free video coding format developed by Google.
- REC. 2020: A wider color space for more saturated and richer colors
- Display 4K 50p or 60p video content in 3840x2160p at 50 Hz or 60 Hz
- Auto framerate detection 24/50/60p (compatible with both 24.000 Hz / 23.976 Hz video output)
- 3D video support, including 3D image depth, 3D subtitle depth, 3D interface depth, manual reversal of left-right images
- Backlit RC: Control the Zappiti 4K HDR media player with the IR remote control (accessory included). You can also control the player using a user’s wireless mouse or keyboard. In addition, the Zappiti 4K HDR can be controlled by universal remote controls such those from as ProControl, RTI, Control4 or Logitech Harmony.
- Share video files stored on the internal (or external) hard drive with other Zappiti media players (including older generation).
The Zappiti Mini 4K HDR is $249, the One 4K HDR is $299 and the Duo 4K HDR is $399.
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|Barix Upgrades Audio Signage To Support Multichannel Audio Streams for Digital SignageAt the upcoming ISE 2017 in Amsterdam, audio over IP company, Barix, will update its Audio Signage platform with free firmware to deliver multiple audio tracks to single- or multi-screen digital signage installations. Barix will exhibit at Stand 8-N270 in the RAI Exhibition and Conference Center from February 7-10.
The Barix Audio Signage platform helps businesses and visitor attractions deliver audio associated with digital signage to mobile phones over a local Wi-Fi connection. The firmware update will run on a standard Barix Exstreamer Store & Play unit as opposed to an expensive PC-based system that is complicated to manage. The firmware is available for download at http://www.barix.com/downloads.
The updated Barix Audio Signage solution works for any location where digital signage needs the additional boost of streamed audio to effectively deliver its message. Though previously simple and low-cost to support single-channel streams using the Barix Instreamer and a free Audio Signage mobile app, the second-generation Barix approach now solves the challenge of delivering multichannel streams as simply, quickly, and inexpensively as possible.
Barix says its Audio Signage system is purpose-built to deliver audio streaming to mobile phones with very low latency, ensuring that audio tracks synchronize with digital signage content. This is why, according to the company, the single channel version of Audio Signage has already found wide acceptance in hotels and museums using digital signage.
Here is where you can download it and this is where you can learn about their Audio Signage platform.Leave a Comment
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|AOPEN Debuts Chromebase and Chromebox Mini|
AOPEN announced two new commercial Chrome device products for digital signage. The AOPEN Chromebase Mini and Chromebox Mini are part of a new range of products aimed at bringing enterprise reliability and features at an affordable price.
The Chromebase Mini is an enterprise-ready interactive 10.1 inch all-in-one touchscreen solution. It’s designed to be managed with ease, reliability and security — making it ideal for high-traffic enterprise environments including digital signage, POS, self-service kiosks, digital corporate communication, and AV room control. The second device, the Chromebox Mini, is the smallest Chromebox on the market today and also runs on the Chrome OS platform. It is solid state and can be used as an SME or enterprise desktop replacement hosting IoT applications, digital signage, and kiosks, allowing greater control of in-store engagement.
Chromebase Mini: The Chromebase Mini, an all-in-one 10.1-inch solution, does not require a kiosk protective case, is water resistant and tamper proof, unlike a consumer touch device. The enterprise ready all-in-one touch device supports audio-video conference platforms, such as Google Hangouts. It offers mounting options for A/V or desktop use (including a built-in Vesa Mount stand), high-quality camera and audio and a dual microphone. The Chromebase Mini is accompanied by optional accessories such as recess wall mounts, POE adapters and adapters to mount various payment solutions.
By leveraging AOPEN software layer meldCX, the Chromebase Mini is compatible with end-user legacy POS systems – featuring local app instances for offline use and device integration, while maintaining a competitive price point. The Chromebase Mini is ideal for enterprise business solutions. It positions Chrome squarely in the cloud, offering secure flexibility of business cloud solutions and enabling both Google Hangouts and other video conferencing solutions.
Chromebox Mini: The Chromebox Mini is a solid-state, ultra-small form factor device. AOPEN says it is the smallest enterprise-ready Chromebox currently available.
It supports Chrome Device Management, and can be used as an enterprise desktop replacement. Its features include fanless design, Bluetooth, wide-reaching dual-band antenna, and power button extension ports for ease of mounting behind device or having other AV equipment control on/off state. Both the Chromebase Mini and Chromebox Mini are enterprise-grade solutions, at a price point suitable for home use for those wanting a more reliable silent solution. Both feature fanless/non-venting hole designs, can operate in a wide range of temperatures, and meet Google’s security requirements.
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|NEC’s New Digital Signage P and V Series Powered by Raspberry Pi|
NEC Display Solutions Europe today launched the P and V Series, a range of professional MultiSync large format displays for digital signage as well as presentation use. The new displays support the NEC Open Modular intelligence (OMi) platform, enabling the creation of tailor-made solutions for signage. Scalable computing power such as Raspberry Pi compute modules or Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) Slot-in PCs can be seamlessly embedded into the displays to create a fully integrated solution.
The P and V Series line-ups each consist of three models, ranging in size from 40 to 55 inches (P404, P484, P554 and V404, V484, V554). With an elegant and slimline design, both new Series of displays allow for an unobtrusive integration. They are suitable for installations in retail, leisure and museum environments, for corporate signage solutions, passenger information, quick service restaurants and all other public spaces.
The V Series features a display brightness of 500 cd/m², providing effortless readability under common ambient light conditions. The higher 700 cd/m² brightness level of the P Series, guarantees captivating readability in applications where ambient light is high. Both Series use an anti-glare surface to reduce reflections effectively.
The MultiSync P and V Series also delivers enhanced imaging performance via its SpectraView Engine, a colour stabilisation solution which for flagship P Series allows full control of brightness, colour, gamma and uniformity for precise and natural reliable images. Additionally, the combination of high end colour performance with extreme viewing angles driven by hardware calibratable 12 bit Look Up Tables (LUT) enable viewers to benefit from consistently accurate rendering ofimages such as branding and corporate identities.
The P and V Series large format displays are easy to install and operate. Using the free multi-display management software NaViSet Administrator 2, companies can manage all connected display devices from a centralised location. Suitable for 24/7 mission critical applications, the meticulous selection of industrial-grade components and careful design of the P and V Series ensures continuous operation in demanding usage scenarios.
The new NEC P and V Series large format displays will be on show at the NEC Display Solutions booth 5-R24 at the ISE trade fair in Amsterdam 7 – 10 February 2017. Here are all the details.Leave a Comment
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|Ricoh Targets Casio’s Virtual Presenter in Hologram for Digital Signage|
Ricoh today unveiled a virtual presenter hologram that’s very similar to the CASIO virtual presenter system. The RICOH Virtual Self-Service Hologram uses artificial intelligence (AI) holograms and Ricoh’s ultra short-throw RICOH PJ WX4152N projectors to greet, inform and bid farewell to visitors.
RICOH Virtual Self-Service Hologram can be deployed in a variety of ways to address the needs of many retail, tradeshow, sporting and other venues. Holograms can be set to project computer generated images of people, animals, mascots or even real-life people, such as executives or celebrities. Using Ricoh’s ultra short-throw technology, the holograms require a 16″x15″ footprint. Additionally, updating messaging for the CGI receptionist is quick and easy, making it simple to address common questions or changing messaging needs. For example, a retail location could use a RICOH Virtual Self-Service Hologram as a virtual greeter who receives visitors, answers basic questions and provides coupons for discounts.
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|Videotel Digital Launches New Industrial-Grade Auto Looping DVD Player with Touch Panel Smart Technology|
Videotel Digital announced the launch of the HD2600 XD industrial-grade looping DVD player. But, instead of using what’s known as membrane switches, the HD2600 XD has face plate technology. Referred to by Videotel Digital as a “touch panel,” the new feature is much like the technology used on smartphones.
An upgraded version of Videotel’s legacy HD2600 DVD player, the new design can trigger an auto-start and auto-repeat in only two modes, rather than the four it used to take (in addition to a manual mode). The new DVD player will also bypass menus and previews and instantly play the main feature of a movie in Title Mode.
All the complete specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|KanexPro Adds Active Optical Cable to Product Lineup|
KanexPro announces what they are calling the Active Optical Cable (AOC) — an HDMI 2.0 cable with Ethernet up to 18 Gbps. The Active Optical Cable accepts the same electrical inputs as traditional copper cables and instead utilizes optical fiber between the connectors to extend HDMI signals with zero loss or latency.
The Active Optical Cable (AOC) from KanexPro specs say uncompressed 4K resolutions with 32 audio channels for multi-dimensional immersive audio with up to 1536 kHz sample frequency for high-quality audio. Available in lengths of 30 meters, 50 meters or 100 meters, the Active Optical Cable has an integrated USB connector to draw power from the display and dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams. KanexPro says the cable supports sub-sampling rates of 4:4:4, 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 YUC with deep color and HDR, the AOC is resistant to EMI and RF interference to provide users with noise-free video and audio. The Active Optical Cable is HDCP compliant and supports wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio, 3D and 4Kx2K.
The details on the cable are here.Leave a Comment
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|rAVe’s 2016 Year-in-Review VideoOne of the most anticipated videos we produce, annually, is our Year-in-Review Video where we take a look at everything that shaped the year in ProAV, HomeAV and Digital Signage. 2016 likely set a record for new technology as more companies spent money on developing new products and pushing the market forward. So, we encapsulated the entire year 2106 in this short, fast-paced, 4-minute, video.
So, without further delay, here it is – the official debut of rAVe’s 2016 Video. Watch it as you very-well may be in it – or certainly a lot of people, products and technology you use!Leave a Comment
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|VISIX Opens 2017 Expression Awards|
VISIX is now accepting entries for the 2017 Expression Awards in the categories of Best Still Design, Best Motion Design and Best Screen Design from AxisTV software users.
The Expression Awards recognize excellence by AxisTV users responsible for planning and designing digital signage campaigns and content. Work ranges from PowerPoint slides – to audio and video production – to interactive projects – to layout design.
- No entry fees
- Unlimited entries allowed
- Easy online entry form
Winners in each category will receive fantastic prize bundles, including a 43″ Smart TV and a Theme Pack from VISIX’s creative team.
Enter here.Leave a Comment
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|Matrox Maevex 6100 Quad Encoder Card Now Available|
Matrox announced the immediate availability of the next generation of Matrox’s H.264 AV-over-IP portfolio, the Matrox Maevex 6100 quad encoder card. Delivering quad 4K input capture, the Maevex 6100 also offers multiple encodes, variable bitrates, and a broad choice of protocols, allowing simultaneous streaming and recording of four or more channels.
The Matrox Maevex 6100 quad encoder card delivers 4K/UHD (4:4:4 @ 30Hz) and Full HD multi-channel capture, encoding, streaming, and recording. Built on H.264, the world’s most common codec, this plug-and-play solution fits seamlessly into existing infrastructures and interoperates with any device on the network, ensuring high-density content distribution and system scalability.
The bundled Matrox PowerStream Plus software application and the available API provide flexible management of local or remote data, ensuring full reach and control over the entire network. PowerStream Plus allows access to Matrox’s powerful advanced hybrid streaming (AHS) features, including multiple source capture, multiple picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-by-picture (PBP) composite options, and multi-protocol and multi-bitrate streaming. Designed to control all Maevex products, including the Maevex 5100 Series of encoders and decoders, PowerStream Plus allows for the expansion of existing Maevex networks and allows users to pick and choose the Maevex product which best suits their AV streaming needs.
Matrox Maevex 6100 is a 3/4 length PCI Express 3.0 x8 card with 4 Mini HDMI (type C) inputs that allow the capture of up to four 4096×2160@30Hz sources. Offering RTSP, RTP and MPEG2.TS streaming support with an onboard RJ45 network connector (RTMP support to soon follow), the Maevex 6100 can encode a multitude of H.264 streams at the same or varying bitrates. Capable of simultaneous streaming and/or recording to shared network drives or network attached storage, the Maevex 6100 features programmable start time, recording duration, maximum file length and file frequency.
All the specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|BrightSign Offers Four Free Training Sessions at ISEBrightSign is offering four different training sessions on Wed., 8 Feb., 2017 during ISE to cover a wide range of topics. The morning sessions are introductory, while the afternoon sessions cover advanced topics. Register using the link below. If you would like to attend multiple sessions, please register separately for each.
Each training session will be held at the RAI in the Amsterdam Suite which is on the first floor of the Auditorium Centre, and can be reached through Entrance G. Space is limited to only 22 attendees per session, so register here today.
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|Advantech Launches Fanless Digital Signage Media Player|
Advantech has announced the launch of UBX-310D, a fanless, embedded POS (point-of-sale) media player system. Powered by an Intel Celeron J1900 quad-core (2.0 – 2.42 GHz) processor with up to 8 GB of memory, UBX-310D has one VGA, one GbE network port, one HDMI, three RS232 ports (can be extended to six ports upon request), one RJ11 phone connection and five USB 2.0 ports (can be equipped with one USB 3.0 upon request), as well as one mini-PCIe expansion slot for WWAN and mSATA connectivity, UBX-310D can be equipped with modularized peripherals and customized I/O to greatly extend the system functionalities.
The UBX-310D includes Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 operating systems (Linux is available upon request) as well as Advantech’s WISE-PaaS/RMM software package and embedded software APIs. Complete specs are here.Leave a Comment
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|CDS Intros Killer Transparent LCD Panels for Retail ShowcasesThe hottest thing in LCD right now isn’t size — it’s transparency. Using transparent LCDs, you can augment a retail display with digital content in real-time. And, CDS (Crystal Display Systems) has both raw-component kits (from 5” to 84”) and finished transparent boxes for integration into systems (from 10” to 70”).
Dubbed the ClearVue Transparent Showcase, they are designed to help retailers demonstrate products in a dynamic and innovative way that has that wow-factor. Anyone can integrate and sell a flat-panel display, but not everyone has had access to transparent solutions — until now. CDS is helping AV integrators get into the digital signage retails display market by setting you up as a dealer. The transparent showcases are completely turn-key as they include the transparent display, the box-housing as well as the media player — all integrated into a finished solution (from 10” to as large as 70”). The complete lineup of sizes (and aspect ratios for the boxes) are here.
And, this include refrigerators with transparent doors, too! Called the IceVue, they are refrigerators with transparent LCD doors available in 24” or 49″ versions. Both have an integrated Android-based media player that plays content via USB or the network (or via HDMI) and include sound. You can see the refrigerator line here.
As I mentioned above, CDS also have raw-component kits for integrating in to your own systems — if you want to customize into something other than a refrigerator or display box. Each transparent LCD is sold as a kit, and includes the display, media board, cables and power supply and you can add touch interaction with multitouch sensors. You can see all the details here.
CDS is the actual raw-component manufacturer and they have a multi-layer LCD that includes an optional IR touch-sensor outer layer and behind that their the tempered glass, them the transparent LCD and finally all that is attached to a powder-coated steel enclosure. The enclosures and displays are available in landscape or portrait form factors and use an LED array for backlighting. All the specs are here.
Here’s a video that shows the transparent boxes.Leave a Comment
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|CNN Adds Highest Resolution LED Videowalls in Broadcasting After Installation by Advanced|
Informative news reporting uses facts, footage and explanatory graphics. That’s why CNN decided to redesign their studio in Washington D.C. to include the highest-resolution, lowest pixel pitch LED displays in the world for “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer and “The Lead” with Jake Tapper. Knowing that the complex project required expert consultants and premiere videowall designers, CNN called upon Advanced to renovate the studio just in time for election season. The entirely revolutionized set, completed after a year of LED testing and designing, with one 25’ wide 1.2 mm pixel pitch Leyard LED display, one 108” diagonal 1.2mm pixel pitch Leyard LED display, and one 30’ wide 1.6 mm pixel pitch Leyard LED display — solidifying CNN as the only televised broadcast network to utilize the latest 1.2mm videowall technologies on air.
“CNN is a pioneer in the televised broadcasting space. This installation set the bar for quality in visual reporting,” Advanced President David Weatherhead said today. “CNN’s former LCD modular displays were difficult to shoot. They called on us to rectify the issue with high-resolution LED displays that would allow them to film creative, tight shots of the videowall itself. No other network in the world has a studio with 1.2 mm pixel pitch LED videowalls. CNN has truly set the standard for modern television.”
CNN’s need for high-resolution videowalls is grounded in their distinct filming technique. In traditional television network broadcasting, news anchors report in front of a videowall, but the camera focuses primarily on them. CNN, on the other hand, uses unique camera shifts and tight zoom-shots that require a display with stunning resolution up-close and from a distance. With out-of-date LCD displays, CNN’s zoom-in shots created blurry moiré and color-shift effects that lessened the quality of their program. To resolve the issue, Advanced suggested that CNN use LED videowalls that go above and beyond the norm with incredible, next-generation capabilities that will remain cutting-edge for years to come.
“We presented CNN with the most innovative displays on the market, and Leyard instantly captured their attention,” Weatherhead continued. “Together, we proceeded to conduct a wide array of camera tests to ensure that Leyard’s display technology looked nothing short of stunning on the screen.”
Proving just how vivid Leyard’s resolution is, Advanced positioned two camera feeds next to each other with one direct graphic feed and the other with the Leyard display’s image of the graphic feed. “No one could tell the difference between the source and the display of the source,” Weatherhead said. “This certainly demonstrated that these displays offer unprecedented imagery never before used on live television.”
After CNN selected Leyard, Advanced Vice President of Engineering Kevin Linton conducted extensive testing at the factory in Beijing as Advanced does with all large LED projects. “The pre-installation testing is crucial to make sure that the videowalls deliver the quality required by the client,” Linton emphasized. “We had a very small window of time for the actual installation, so every element had to be perfect before it began.”
The deconstruction of CNN’s old system and the installation of the new system took two weeks total. Since the newsroom never sleeps, the installation was well underway at CNN’s studio while shows were still broadcasted live, meaning that the Advanced team had to be efficient and extremely quiet. “It was an interesting experience for our crew,” Linton said. “But our team is equipped with experts that work quickly and carefully, so we were able to do it.”
With Leyard’s LED 1.2mm and 1.6mm pixel pitch displays, CNN is now able to achieve excellent image uniformity and no challenges with moiré on television. Additionally, since the new LED technology has no bezels, there are no distracting black-lines on the videowalls. Unlike modular LCD displays, Leyard’s videowalls allow the production team to easily manipulate color balancing, calibrating, and brightness levels. Advanced helped to train the team so that they could easily control the videowall after the project’s completion. “Leyard’s 1.2mm and 1.6mm pixel pitch displays allow CNN’s production team to control the displays in a way that LCD products cannot,” Weatherhead explained. “Beyond the visually stunning element, Leyard’s displays also offer the team an easy-to-use software so they can effortlessly control what appears on screen.”
To maximize on-site use, Advanced designed the large 1.6mm videowall with the capability to split it into two and flip over to be used in either Studio A or Studio B, both of which are set back-to-back. To do so, they used a Christie Spyder X20 video processer that evenly divides the screen into two separate content streams. Now, CNN can visually divide the video wall in half, and use it in either Studio A and Studio B. To physically divide the studio, a retractable and movable wall was installed into the ceiling.
Advanced also went through great lengths to ensure that the video walls were extensively protected in case of a malfunction or power outage. “The last thing that CNN wants is for their graphic display to black out on air,” Weatherhead explained. “To prevent this from happening, we designed a backup system for every single component for each videowall. If one power supply dies, another power supply kicks in automatically with no delay. This is the most resilient piece of equipment you can have, and it’s necessary in this particular application.”
At the project’s conclusion, CNN was extremely satisfied with the final result. “We’re so proud to be apart of this televised broadcasting revolution that CNN has started,” Weatherhead said. “These innovative displays will assist them in delivering the most comprehensive and compelling imagery, now and in the future.”Leave a Comment
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For all you REGULAR readers of rAVe DS [Digital Signage] out there, hopefully you enjoyed another opinion-packed issue!
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read how we are — we are 100 percent opinionated. We not only report the news and new product stories of the ProAV industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories — that’s why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
Don’t like us, then go away — unsubscribe! Just use the link below.
To send me feedback, don’t reply to this newsletter. Instead, write directly to me at email@example.com or for editorial ideas, Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at firstname.lastname@example.org
A little about me: I graduated from Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where I am adjunct faculty). I’ve been in the AV-industry since 1987 where I started with Extron and eventually moved to AMX. So, I guess I am an industry veteran (although I don’t think I am that old). I have been an opinionated columnist for a number of industry publications and in the late 1990s I started the widely read KNews eNewsletter (the first in the AV market) and also created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue, which is now known as InfoComm IQ. rAVe [Publications] has been around since 2003, when we launched our original newsletter, rAVe ProAV Edition.
Everything we publish is Opt-in — we spam NO ONE! rAVe ProAV Edition is our flagship ePublication with what we believe is a reach of virtually everyone in the ProAV market. rAVe HomeAV Edition, co-published with CEDIA and launched in February 2004, is, by far, the largest ePub in the HomeAV market. We added rAVe Rental [and Staging] in November 2007, rAVe ED [Education] in May 2008 and then rAVe DS [Digital Signage] in January 2009. We added rAVe GHGav [Green, Healthcare & Government AV] in August 2010 and rAVe HOW [House of Worship] in July 2012. You can subscribe to any of those publication or see ALL our archives by going to: http://www.ravepubs.com
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Copyright 2017 – rAVe [Publications] – All rights reserved – All rights reserved. For reprint policies, contact rAVe [Publications], 210 Old Barn Ln. – Chapel Hill, NC 27517 – (919) 969-7501. Email: Sara@rAVePubs.com
rAVe contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.