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Tuesday
Sep112012

Keywest Technology Releases Videos Explaining The ABCs of Managing Digital Signage

Keywest Technology just released three videos in a growing series that explain the sometimes-mysterious operation of digital signage management. Presented in a conversational style that is akin to the company's popular weekly Webinar, the videos present a clear, logical explanation of the process that creates speedy workflow for digital signage management.

LENEXA, Kan. (September 11, 2012) – After answering hundreds if not thousands of questions about how MediaZone Pro digital signage solutions are managed, Keywest’s Educator-in-Chief, Don Bage, —a.k.a., “The Voice," directed the production of three videos that explain in concise detail how to create a playlist, send a playlist, add additional features, such as, news tickers, TV feeds, and then finally, add text.

Since Bage's digital signage experience began in the early '90s when the only systems available were operated from Amiga Commodore computers, he was the perfect candidate to produce these videos. His appreciation of modern computer software comes across in a perky, straightforward fashion that makes watching the videos enjoyable.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug212012

Real Estate Developer Forest City Ratner Companies Provides a Turnkey Digital Signage Directory from Keywest Technology And ESSENTIALCOM for Multi-Specialty Medical Group

Keywest Technology’s I3 kiosk software provides visitors to the WESTMED Medical Group multi-specialty medical office with an interactive office directory to find their way.

Interactive Wayfinding at Westchester's Ridge Hill office complex

LENEXA, Kan. (August 20, 2012) – Keywest Technology today announced that the newly opened WESTMED Medical Group office at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers, NY, is helping visitors find their way to the correct office with an interactive digital signage directory based on the company’s I3 interactive kiosk software.

The 84,000-square-foot facility, which opened in July of 2011, offers a variety of medical services, including primary and specialty care, radiology, medical lab, and urgent care. In addition to the interactive kiosk software and supporting hardware from Keywest Technology, the touch-screen medical office directory relies on original digital signage content coordinated by ESSENTIALCOM and Keywest Technology’s creative services group.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug102012

Digital Signage Application: Summer Lull Offers Opportunity to Evaluate Emergency Communications Plans

Changes to the nation’s emergency communications infrastructure offer authorities a way to reach out to people on their cell phones, but digital signs remains a vitally important part of the mix.

Summer is the time for fun, sun and relaxation. It’s also a good time to pause and think for a moment about the emergency messaging system your company, school, governmental agency or institution has set up to warn workers and visitors of possible danger.

Why contemplate trouble during such a carefree season? Simple, the summer lull gives many people a bit of a break from the volume of work they deal with the rest of the year.  Emergency messaging needs also become top of mind simply because of the number of severe thunderstorms and tornados that strike during the summer.

This summer in particular is a great time to reevaluate emergency messaging because of the work being done by the government and industries, such as the wireless and broadcast industries, to modernize the Emergency Alert System so agencies like National Weather Service and even state governors and the President of the United States can reach out to individuals’ cell phones and other mobile receivers to deliver vital information in a crisis.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul182012

Digital Signage Viewpoint: Is the Sun Rising or Setting on LCD Display Sales?

A new report from NPD DisplaySearch finds a sequential quarterly decline in flat panel LCD displays that are commonly used in public display applications, but the popularity of the same panels among consumers means the falloff in shipments isn’t necessarily bad news for digital signage.


Global shipments of flat panel LCD displays used for digital signage and other public display applications declined in the fourth quarter of 2011, marking the first sequential quarterly decline in three years, according to recently released data from NPD DisplaySearch, a global research and consulting firm specializing in the display supply chain.

The decline comes after a two-year period of impressive growth for the public display (also called the “large flat panel display”) category. Between 2009 and 2011, this market segment witnessed 65 percent growth in unit volume production, the display market research and analysis firm said.

The data, part of the “NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report,” show LCD display shipments were pulled down by a dropped in the 26-inch to 37-inch category. 

The decline raises an obvious question: “Is the public display market in general, and digital signage market in particular, sliding back into recession?” The answer, however, is far less clear.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun212012

Kiosks4business Install InformationPoint Touchscreen Kiosks into Swansea Schools

Working with Swansea based InfoNation, Kiosks4business have recently installed new touchscreen kiosks at Schools in Swansea. InfoNation is a youth service offering support and advice for young people in Swansea from their main office in the City centre. Kiosks4business were approached to provide an information access portal for young people to use which could help showcase some of the services available and provide users with access to web-based information which can help them.

Eidos Touchscreen Kiosk for SchoolsWith a background in providing public information access Kiosks4business team were able to offer a choice of wall mounted and free-standing kiosk designs as platform to deliver the service. Kiosks4business’ myKiosk wall mounted point is installed at many schools, Sure Start and other services and includes a branded acrylic facia. Like many of the products in the range, this includes an option for a rugged keyboard which was requested as part of the project brief. Eidos, the new free-standing wheelchair accessible kiosk was also offered and eventually selected as the kiosk to install. The Eidos platform uses the same industrial quality components designed for long life, in a compact freestanding enclosure. The kiosk was supplied with white finish and anthracite grey base and connectivity via the integrated 1GB network connection.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun152012

Digital Signage Advertising Hits Its Stride

The latest data from PQ Media reveal 2011 was a good year for digital out-of-home advertising, and 2012 is on track to be even better.

While stock markets around the world retrace, the financial picture of Greece and Spain flounders and the world holds its collective breath waiting to see if there’ll be an attack on Iran and a spike in oil prices, there is a piece of outstanding economic news for those involved in the place-based digital media market.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun132012

Kiosks4Business are Designing Touchscreen Kiosks for Retail

Kiosks4business were approached by a well-known high street computer games retailer with a project to create a touchscreen solution for in-store purchasing while being future-proof for other development ideas. Having looked at products from their existing supplier they felt that the project needed a design more befitting their brand and after discussions we quickly provided a 3D render of three different design concepts along with indicative pricing.
Retail Touchscreen Kiosk from Kiosks4Business
The brief included widescreen display; multi-touch touchscreen; bar code scanner; Chip & Pin card reader with receipt printer; Headphone socket and integrated audio, and webcam. Starting with sign-off of the 3d renders our design team worked long hours to get the prototype drawings created and a prototype manufactured and delivered to the customer in record time. Kiosks4business’ software team were also put to the challenge by providing Chip & Pin integration software for the YesPay system.

Commenting on this, Kiosks4business Division Manager quoted “With four business divisions at Sequoia Technology Group, Kiosks4buiness are well positioned to be able to provide our customers both breadth and depth of technical assistance where needed. I have been really impressed with the speed and professionalism shown on this project by our designers and which has been well received by our end customer.”

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun012012

New Data Reveals Impulse Buying To Be Important Element Of Shopping Behavior

Digital signs give retailers a powerful way to communicate with retail shoppers as they act out on their impulses to buy unplanned-for items.

If there were ever a question about whether or not it makes sense to communicate with customers via digital signs in retail stores, a new survey from the Integer Group and M/A/R/C should leave no doubt.

According to The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior survey, nine out of 10 shoppers report buying an item not on their shopping list. The research reveals several reasons why. Sixty-six percent of respondents reported buying off-list items because of a special sale or promotion; 30 percent said they did so because of a coupon offer; and 23 percent said they wanted to pamper themselves.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May242012

Adtraxion Releases New Digital Signage Platform

Adtraxion Systems presents a new standard for reliability and performance with the release of Adtraxion 2.0. This new release includes Adtraxion Manager 2.0 and a new series of dedicated Adtraxion digital signage players.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May112012

Research Indicates Digital Signage Is On The Right Track

New research from IHS iSuppli indicates growing adoption of digital signage around the world as professionals in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, corporate and government sectors look to the medium to communicate to audiences on the go.

Digital signage is growing in popularityPolitical watchers probably are familiar with that often-asked question –and even more often asked in an election year: Is the country on the right track or the wrong track?

I would propose that those who make their living communicating marketing messages, ads, information and even entertainment on digital signs should frequently ask themselves a similar question. Is digital signage on the right track or wrong track? In other words, is digital signage a growing, vibrant communications medium that is headed in the right direction as a viable communications choice? Or, is it losing favor?

A new forecast from display market research specialists IHS iSuppli suggests that, indeed, digital signage is on the right track, at least if its adoption is any indication. According to the forecast, digital signage will see impressive growth. Worldwide shipments of signage and professional displays this year will reach 17.2 million units, up from 15.4 million in 2011 and 13.5 million in 2010. For the year, the unit shipments will reach 12.6 percent, and by 2016 they are expected to reach nearly 26 million units, IHS iSuppli forecasts.

The research firm attributes the healthy growth to a few factors, including a greater need for digital signage in public spaces and the rapidly declining price of LCD panels.

The IHS iSuppli forecast also identifies the largest digital signage markets for 2011. They include retail, hospitality/healthcare and government/corporate. The forecast also finds the education, outdoor and control room/simulation markets to be important. 

So why are those with a message to communicate increasingly adopting digital signage? A few reasons are clear. First, digital signage has the unique ability to reach the public with clear, impactful communications when they are on the go. Second, because it's a place-based medium, digital signage communicators can identify areas to locate signs that likely will be frequented by their target audience. For example, a restaurateur has a pretty good idea that the people entering the restaurant have eating on their minds, and the registrar of a college knows students entering the administration building at the beginning of the semester are likely interested in class registration information.

Third, digital signage offers communicators the chance to change messaging frequently –at little to no expense– which makes the medium responsive to rapidly changing requirements.

For all of these reasons and several others that have been well discussed in this space in the past, digital signage increasingly is being selected as an important part of an overall communications strategy.

As this nation enters the political season, journalists surely will report on the public's response to the right-track-wrong-track question. I'm sure each time I hear one of those stories, I am will be reminded of this column and the clear evidence from IHS iSuppli that digital signage is indeed on the right track as a communications medium.

While prognosticating about the results of any of this political season's races is a craps shoot, one thing is predictable. Digital signage as a communications medium will remain on the right track as long as professional communicators need to reach people on the go with their important messages.

Wednesday
May092012

NEW!!! Barco Coronis Fusion Medical Display

                                                                NEW!!!  Barco Coronis Fusion 4MP DL Picture

K9602022



Coronis Fusion 4MP DL is a multi-modality PACS display system designed to further enhance flexibility and productivity in diagnostic imaging.

The ultimate in diagnostic flexibility

With the Coronis Fusion 4MP DL, there are no more boundaries. Its ingenious design allows you to use the 30-inch workstation as two seamless 2 MegaPixel heads or one wide-screen 4 MegaPixel display. The choice is yours. Designed to work the way you work, this display system helps you read more images, faster.

And there's more. Barco's Coronis Fusion 4MP DL offers unparalleled grayscale accuracy, enabling simultaneous viewing of grayscale and full color images. It allows you to read CT, MR, and orthopedic images, or any other combination, side by side on a single diagnostic screen.

A perfect view from every angle

Coronis Fusion 4MP DL features the latest, breakthrough In-Plane Switching (IPS-Pro) LCD technology. This technology brings the most advanced LCD viewing characteristics on the market, setting new standards for brightness and contrast, even from a wide viewing angle.

Tuesday
May012012

Portwell’s New Mini-ITX Embedded System Board Series Provides Low Power with Integrated High Performance Graphics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 


PORTWELL’S NEW MINI-ITX EMBEDDED BOARD PROVIDES LOW POWER WITH INTEGRATED HIGH PERFORMANCE GRAPHICS  
New AMDY-7000 Series combines a high quality display interface and flexible I/O options  


FREMONT, CALIF. —May 1, 2012 —American Portwell Technology, Inc., (http://www.portwell.com) has released the AMDY-7000 Series of new Mini-ITX embedded system boards providing an economical solution for applications that require powerful high quality graphics output with low power consumption.

The new AMDY-7000/7001/7002 Series models are powered by AMD® Fusion™ G, Turion™ II Neo and Athlon™ II Neo processors with powerful ATI HD 6320 and HD 4200 graphics engines. Depending upon the model, the low power consumption ranges from a mere 12W to 25W; DDR3 SO-DIMM memory supports up to 8GB; dual display is achieved through VGA/DVI/HDMI/LVDS and dual LVDS is available on model AMDY-7002; the series supports PCIe x1, PCIe x16 or half-size mini-PCIe depending on the model; dual GbE is based on a PCIe x1 high bandwidth I/O interface; and ATI HD 6320 and HD 4200 provides powerful graphics performance. 

American Portwell’s AMDY-7000 Series Mini-ITX embedded system board is available now for applications such as point-of-sale (POS), lottery, medical, gaming, high-resolution digital signage, surveillance security monitoring and supports a low power, high performance x86 fan-less DC option for information kiosks. 

American Portwell Technology, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Portwell, Inc., a world-leading innovator in the embedded computing market and a Premier member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance. 

Vivid graphics with enriched colors  
“Customers using high quality graphics in today’s market expect their images to snap and that’s just what the AMDY-7000 Series is designed to do,” says Robert Feng, American Portwell Technology’s product marketing manager. “The AMDY Series not only supports comprehensive options for display connectivity including DirectX 11 3D, but an additional PCIe expansion interface is also available for ATI Hybrid Crossfire technology that can support up to six independent displays for high-end digital signage applications. What’s more,” Feng adds, “the new AMDY-7000 Series’ rich I/O provides industry control with optional features such as powered COM ports and four to eight USB ports for POS peripherals, plus SATA II/III and CFast.” 

Powerful graphics performance and longer product life cycle  
Frank Shen, American Portwell Technology’s VP of product marketing, points out that the new AMDY-7000 Series meets the needs of applications that require high performance graphics with low power consumption. The dual LVDS capability will definitely benefit applications in the gaming and medical markets that require two LCD displays.

“All in all,” Shen confirms, “our customers not only benefit from American Portwell’s ability to consistently provide the most up-to-date technology and features, but they also gain peace of mind from the long life cycle support inherent with every Portwell product.” 

Product details:
AMDY-7002 (based on dual-core AMD Fusion G T56N processor): http://www.portwell.com/products/detail.asp?CUSTCHAR1=AMDY-7002 
AMDY-7001 (based on dual-core AMD Turion II Neo N54H and AMD Athlon II Neo N36L and single-core AMD Athlon II Neo R44L processor): http://www.portwell.com/products/detail.asp?CUSTCHAR1=AMDY-7001 
AMDY-7000 (based on single-core AMD Athlon II Neo R44L processor): http://www.portwell.com/products/detail.asp?CUSTCHAR1=AMDY-7000 

# # #
About American Portwell Technology
American Portwell Technology, Inc., is a world-leading innovator in the embedded computing market and a Premier member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance. American Portwell Technology designs, manufactures and markets a complete range of PICMG computer boards, Embedded computer boards and systems, rackmount systems and network appliances for both OEMs and ODMs. American Portwell is both an ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 certified company. The company is located in Fremont, California. For more information about American Portwell’s extensive turnkey and private-label branding solutions, call 1-877-APT-8899, email info@portwell.com or visit us at http://www.portwell.com

All products and company names referred to herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. 

# # #
Product Contact:
Robert Feng
Product Marketing Manager
American Portwell Technology, Inc.
510-403-3371
robertf@portwell.com  

Media Contact:
Susan Wei
Marketing Executive
American Portwell Technology, Inc.
510-403-3354
susanw@portwell.com

Monday
Apr302012

QUBYX Releases PerfectLum Suite Medical Monitor QA Software With a Remote Display Management System

QUBYX Releases PerfectLum Suite Medical Monitor QA Software

With a Remote Display Management System

QUBYX has announced the official release of its medical display calibration and QA software PerfectLum Suite. The software, designed to improve imaging precision of medical monitors, used for X-Ray viewing, mammography, MRI and other radiology sub industries, is now able to not only calibrate a display, but also perform acceptance and constancy tests to AAPM TG18, DIN 6868-57, JESRA X-0093 and IEC 62563-1 standards. With the free Remote display management capabilities PerfectLum Suite medical display QA tool allows centralized medical monitor quality assurance.

PerfectLum Suite medical monitor QA application performs AAPM TG18, DIN 6868-57, JESRA X-0093 and IEC 62563-1 acceptance and constancy tests, as well as calibration conformance, white level and uniformity checks. When a display is first installed, an acceptance test is performed to verify if it meets the requirements necessary for the usage in diagnostics and reviewing of medical images. As soon as the acceptance test is passed, the medical display QA application schedules corresponding constancy tests automatically, calculating due dates for them and reminding the user to perform them when they are due. The quality assurance tests in PerfectLum Suite are designed to make the test procedure as easy and accurate as possible.

In addition to acceptance and constancy tests, quality assurance features of PerfectLum Suite include white level check, calibration conformance, and uniformity check. These features allow the user to verify that the white level of the display is within the required range, to assure that calibration parameters remain in accordance with targets set in calibration preferences, and to measure luminance deviations across the screen. The quality assurance capabilities of PerfectLum Suite ensure that the displays, used for diagnostics and reviewing of medical images, meet the requirements of key medical standards and remain within these requirements over time. Medical monitor quality assurance with PerfectLum Suite will provide confidence in the accuracy of diagnosis for medical imaging professionals.

PerfectLum Suite features a free Remote display QA system that enables a QA supervisor or a system administrator to schedule and start tasks for an unlimited number of workstations and healthcare facilities remotely. Staying in the office, the administrator can control performance of multiple displays from a locally installed or a web server, with a 24-hour access to any of the connected client machines. An e-mail alert system notifies the administrator whenever a task is failed on a client machine. The ability of PerfectLum to set up calibration and monitoring tasks from a central server contributes to considerable time and cost saving. With PerfectLum Suite Remote display management system, QA supervisors will benefit from not spending money on travelling from one facility to another, and the hospitals they manage will not have to interrupt the workflow and will be able to focus on diagnostics.

Besides cutting down expenses on medical monitor quality assurance, PerfectLum Suite enables hospitals to make additional cost savings. Utilizing the combination of quality consumer displays and PerfectLum Suite, healthcare facilities will make substantial cost savings, as compared to specialized medical displays, without having to compromise imaging quality.

A trial version of QUBYX PerfectLum Suite is available here: Download PerfectLum medical display QA tool. A demo of Remote Control is available here: Try Remote display management system.

Friday
Apr272012

Smartphones, Tablets are Likely to Impact Direction of Future Digital Signage

Smartphones and tablets present digital signage with new opportunities to evolve.

The broad adoption by consumers of media tablets and smartphones, such as the Apple iPad and iPhone, is certain to impact digital signage in ways that today aren’t fully imaginable.

However, there are a few important data points about these devices that offer a clue as to what some of the effects will be and their potential magnitude.

First, the number of media tablets and smartphones in use is staggering. In the two years since they have become available, 55 million iPads have reached consumers’ hands. IHS iSuppli forecasts 275 million tablets worldwide (all tablets, not just iPads) will be sold by 2015. At home in America, 65 percent of the population, some 200 million, will have smartphones and/or tablets by 2015, an In-Stat study says.

Those numbers mean that whatever the ultimate impact will be of these devices on digital signage, it’s bound to be huge.

Second, these devices are changing how people like to interact with technology. Multi-touch screens, a critical component of the success of tablets and smartphones, will likely become an important component of some digital signage applications, too. After all, people by the millions are being trained by their devices on how to interact with screens.

Soon the desire to have multi-touch will shift from a want to an expectation in the minds of consumers who access information via a screen. This naturally will carry over to digital signage, particularly hybrid digital signage used in interactive kiosk applications.

It’s worth noting that the popularity of multi-touch is nearly overwhelming –literally. In late March, IHS iSuppli reported that the “runaway success” of the iPad and iPhone has created a boom in the shipment of touch screen display. That in turn will cause the market for the silicon that makes multi-touch possible to nearly triple in size over the next five years –from 865 million touch screen controller integrated circuits in 2010 to 2.4 billion in 2015.

Smartphones and tablets also will likely affect digital signage by giving this emerging communications medium a way to reach out to consumers in the proximity of a digital sign and wirelessly deliver information, coupons and QR codes. With so many smartphones and tablets in the hands of consumers, doing so seems like a natural way for marketers and other communicators to extend the digital signage experience beyond the public square and into the purses and pockets of the general public.

To be sure, my crystal ball is as clear as the next fellow’s. But it seems to me you don’t need to be Nostradamus to look a little bit down the road and see that smartphones and tablets will play an increasingly important role in the direction of digital signage.

While predicting exactly how these new devices will shape future digital signage developments is impossible to say, it is certain that digital signage vendors and the people who communicate with these signs will be hard at work seeking to find ways to benefit from the swelling ranks of their users.

Monday
Apr162012

Where Does Digital Signage Fit in a World Where TV is Ubiquitous?

Digital signage communicators must begin looking for ways to leverage the ubiquity of smartphones and media tablets.

If you are like me and drawn to science fiction, fascinated by quirky views of the future, you might remember a mid-1980s TV show called Max Headroom. While the particulars of the series have blurred in my memory over the years, the one thing that hasn't is the ubiquity of television in the society portrayed in the show.

I'm not talking television simply being convenient; in the world explored in the series, TV literally seemed to be everywhere. Not just in homes and apartments, but on the streets, resting on a pile of trash, in the trunk of a car. You get the idea. It was impossible to get away from the blasted things.

That feeling of society being overwhelmed by the tube -now there's an antiquated term- seemed so impossible, so remote, so "sci-fi" just a couple of decades ago. But today, I would argue, we are well on our way to similar television omnipresence.

In May 2011, the Nielsen Company estimated the number of TV households in the United States to be more than 114 million, or 96.7 percent of all households in the country. In January of the same year, Nielsen estimated there to be on average 2.5 TVs per U.S. household. Impressive, but nowhere near ubiquitous -at least not by "Headroomian" proportions.

But TV households don't tell the whole story. According to an online Time Business article published a few weeks ago, Apple has sold 55 million iPads in the two years they have existed. When all media tablets -not just the iPad- are factored in, market research firm IHS iSuppli projects that 275 million tablets will be sold by 2015, or about 16 times the number shipped in 2010.

Getting a little closer to ubiquity? Perhaps, but don't forget about smartphones. A CNN report from July 2011 quotes a report from the Pew Internet and the American Life Project estimating 35 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Another study from research firm In-Stat, quoted in an August 2011 CNET article, forecasts that 65 percent of Americans, some 200 million people, will have smartphones and/or tablets by 2015.

Now, it seems to me, we are approaching the Headroom threshold of TV ubiquity. Granted they are more likely to take the form of a sleek tablet, smartphone or flat panel TV than a beat up set teetering on a mound of broken TVs in an alleyway, but ubiquitous nonetheless.

This sort of near omnipresence would seem to raise a fundamental question for digital signage communicators: What is the value of communicating via a digital sign, if hundreds of potentially competing screens are literally a few feet away in the pockets and purses of passersby?

I would argue digital sign communication is not threatened by the broad availability of smartphones and media tablets, but potentially enhanced in at least three important ways.

First, those portable devices offer a means for digital signage communicators in the future to continue their dialog with their audience once they leave the store, arena, lobby or other venue.

Second, if television-viewing habits are any indication, many people don't replace their TV viewing with online viewing, they complement it. Millions of people today regularly interact with their friends online via Facebook and other social media about a show while they are watching. It's not too far-fetched to envision similar sorts of interaction while in front of a digital sign, depending upon the circumstance.

Third, total viewing time of video entertainment is increasing. Rather than cannibalizing an existing audience, new media devices are driving greater viewing. For digital signage communicators, this increased viewing means it should be easier, not harder to attract people who have demonstrated a willingness to watch media on flat screens.

To me, it seems the Headroom-like availability of screens on the whole will complement the communications efforts of those who market and message with digital signs. Not embracing the ubiquity of these screens and looking for ways to leverage them would represent a major missed opportunity.

Friday
Mar232012

Interactive Digital Signage: New Smart TVs Will Create New Opportunities for Interactivity

Smart TVs with interfaces based on voice control and other cool technology may one day change how digital signs integrate interactivity.

It wasn’t too long ago when a digital sign consisted of a TV set and a VHS deck or DVD player. In what seems like a flash, tube TVs are passé, and VHS cassette players are beginning to look a little like antiques.

Driven largely by the overwhelming popularity of HDTV in America (recent research from Leichtman Research Group finds high-def sets are now in two-thirds of U.S. homes), flat panel displays are achieving ubiquity. Along the way, they transformed the look and appeal of digital signage.

As striking as that change has been, digital signs appear to be on track to see an equally dramatic change over the next few years, once again driven by the consumer television set. At the recently concluded 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, several television vendors rolled out their vision of what a “smart” TV should look like.

Among them were Samsung, LG, Sony and Lenovo, each with their own versions of smart TVs. Google already has taken a run at this market, and Apple is long rumored to be working on its own smart TV with a consumer interface similar to its Siri personal assistant for the iPhone 4S that would let owners control their TV with their voice. Samsung, too, reportedly is at work on adding voice and motion control to new televisions.

For the interactive digital signage industry, these new smart TVs will open doors to greater possibilities for digital sign-based interactivity and further reshape consumer expectations. How long will it be before we see digital signs that allow a hotel guest not only search a list of available restaurants from a digital sign in the lobby but also make reservations simply by speaking to the screen?

Beyond voice interaction with smart TVs, what other benefits might this new generation of televisions bring to digital signage interactivity? Perhaps, these TVs will lead to easier syncing with personal smart phones and tablets offering the public interactive takeaways from the sign. Or, they might make it possible to migrate the digital signage experience from outside the home into the living room –sort of an offshoot of the TV Everywhere concept being promoted these days by pay TV operators, such as cable TV companies.

To be sure, my crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s. However, it seems obvious that this next-generation television technology will open up new and exciting possibilities for those who communicate via interactive mobile devices. I’m not suggesting these opportunities to employ a higher degree of interactivity will be available in the short term. But when they do come, what it means to communicate with a digital sign will undergo a dramatic transformation.

Where we are today and where we might be headed in the not-too-distant future with this new technology might be as stark of a contrast as the difference between Tom Hanks feverishly plugging in numbers to an early microcomputer in his role as astronaut James Lovell in “Apollo 13” and Leonard Nimoy as Spock saying from his science station aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, "Computer, compute to the last digit the value of pi," and the computer replying: “You’re kidding, right?”

Wednesday
Mar212012

Barracuda Waterproof LCD Monitor

Completely submerged in a fully-decorated fish tank while showing fan favorites such as Finding Nemo and Spongebob SquarePants, as well as the requisite fish tank screen saver, the Barracuda is often hailed as the center of attention when displayed in our booth at trade shows. Owing to the cynicism of the times, many express doubt that the Barracuda is really submerged at all, thinking instead that the setup is some sort of elaborate trick. But this is no hoax; the Barracuda™ is engineered for the harshest environments.

Designed to meet IP67 and NEMA4X standards, the Barracuda holds up against the assaults of complete immersion in liquids as well as exposure to humidity, dust, blowing sand and the like. These qualifications make it ideal for use in military and mining applications.

In this brief video, we demonstrate the Barracuda’s ability to function while completely submerged. The fish tank, decorated as it would be at any of the trade shows at which we exhibit, is filled with water and the Barracuda is powered on and displaying simulated fish. For the purpose of the video, the Barracuda is left in the water for a short period. At the trade shows, the Barracuda remains submerged for up to eight or nine hours at a time.

Mentioned in the video, though not demonstrated, is the fact that the connectors on the monitor are also fully sealed regardless of connection. It is this attention to detail and functionality that you’ve come to expect from the innovators of flat panel technology.

Friday
Mar162012

Digital Signage 101: The Three Approaches to File Transfer

Modern digital signage players support three ways of transporting files from here to there and back again.

Transport, transfer, conveyance, movement –that is, getting from here to there and back with the “stuff” of digital signage may seem a bit mundane to those who are knee-deep in the digital signage deluge. But to many, it’s probably never been given a second thought.

This column is devoted to the topics of moving digital signage “stuff,” what that “stuff” is and how to do it. If you’re a digital signage veteran, you might want to move on; but if you just recently discovered digital signage and are new to the party, read on. You’re bound to find something useful.

So, what is the “stuff” of digital signage? A few things come to mind, including the playlist –in other words the sequence of all events that will be played out and displayed on the sign as well as commands that trigger a device that’s external to the digital signage player, such as a monitor, to do something – a master schedule that can include multiple playlists and the actual media files, including video, audio, text, graphics and animation, required for playout.

Transporting this material can be accomplished in three basic ways: first, via IP over the public Internet; second, via IP over a local area or wide area network; and third via a portable digital storage device, such as a USB drive or SD memory card, and the use of your Keds, which otherwise is known as “sneakernet.” There are more advanced methods of transport include cellular and IP multicasting via satellite links, but these methods are not very common and are outside the scope of this article.

Clearly, different digital signage applications require different approaches to the transport of media, schedules and playlists. A retail store, for example, with a basic installation of one or two digital signage players is a perfect candidate for the sneakernet approach. It’s quick, convenient and removes a layer of complexity that would be required otherwise if a LAN/WAN or Internet transfer were employed.

A bigger installation, such as a large hotel with convention and meeting facilities scattered throughout the complex, would be better served using IP transport via a LAN or WAN.  No one must carry a USB drive from player to player because schedules, playlists and media files are easily transported to individual players or groups of players on the network. Each player is assigned its own IP address in this scenario and can be pinged from a central computer on the network to determine that it is functioning. Existing content and control files can be inspected, and new schedules, playlists and content transferred with a simple mouse click.

Digital signage applications that are larger still –say statewide, national or international in scope- are candidates for transport via the public Internet. With the proper security measures in place, the Internet offers a highly efficient way to transport digital signage “stuff” around the globe.

There is another important part of this transfer story that must not be ignored. Digital signage playback can require a tremendous number of files that must be organized and stored so they can be easily retrieved by the player when needed. Whether files are transferred via a USB storage device or an Ethernet connection, the right version of the file better end up in the right folder.  Otherwise, the playlist won’t find the media needed for playback.

Add to this the complexity introduced when multiple people build content and playlists for a sign or groups of signs, and the need for software that tracks versions of media files, manages permissions for who is authorized to make changes and maintains consistency in file structure and placement between the player and content workstations becomes all the more important.

Wednesday
Mar142012

Cleaning the Mean Screen

Cleaning an LCD monitor isn't difficult, but should be performed properly to ensure a long, clear life. We provide a brief outline on the proper cleaning of an LCD monitor.

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Tuesday
Mar132012

Kiosks4business Exhibit Their Excellence in Bespoke Kiosk Design at the Retail Business Technology Expo

Kiosks4business is getting ready for the Retail Business Technology Expo which is a two day event at Earls court on the 13th and 14th of March. Exhibiting companies are technology rich experts that have something to offer to the retail industry to help with the running and increased sales. Kiosks4business are their in their capacity of point of sales retail kiosks with touchscreens and multi touch touchscreen self service solutions.

Kiosk4business will be demonstrating their brand new range of kiosks including Okul, Nixi Micro Kiosk and their DDA kiosk, Eidos. In addition to these they will also be taking along abespoke kiosk design they have been working on to demonstrate their capabilities of custom kiosk design. The featured touchscreen kiosk was designed by Kiosks4business from an initial design brief of what the kiosk needed to do and the sphere in which it needed to fit. The Kiosk design team created a bespoke kiosk design which was imaginative, ticked all the functionality boxes and came in on budget.

Kiosk4business have worked on a number of projects where a bespoke design was required with great success and resulting with very happy customers who own unique kiosk systems, designed, branded and uniquely exclusive to them alone.

If you are looking for something more than ‘off the peg’ kiosks and might be interested inbespoke kiosks designed by Kiosks4business, visit us at the Retail Business Technology Expo at stand 499 and find out what we could do for you.