Displaying items by tag: Scala

A recent multi-million dollar project to renew campus facilities at Mohawk College Student Centre in Hamilton, Ontario had the Student Association looking at innovative ways to improve student communications. As part of this initiative, the association has deployed a student centre-wide digital signage network using Scala software to update students on news and services, and also provide instant emergency alerts should the need arise.

The key reasons why Mohawk Students’ Association chose Scala’s content management software was it enabled them to create a digital signage network that delivered: 

  • Relevant up-to-date content,
  • Interactive and dynamic messages that leverage social media such as Twitter feeds,
  • Ability to make display changes at a moment’s notice,
  • Content which can be scheduled in advance, and
  • Multiple channels to deliver unique messages to specific audiences.

Scala Certified Partner, Gorrie Marketing Services (GMS), delivered the turn-key solution that included Scala 5 and Designer software, Samsung LCD displays, network installation, content design consultation, and operational training on Scala for managing the network and its content. 

“The combination of GMS and Scala software has helped us create a digital signage network to communicate and wow students,” said Steve Kosh, marketing & communications manager, Mohawk Students’ Association. “Our new system makes the messages standout and be fun so they stick with busy students.”

The project included twelve independent channels of content and twenty-six LCD displays ranging in size from 32 inches to 60 inches. The network uses an independent infrastructure to deliver video, audio, and device control signals to run the screens found throughout the school’s high-traffic areas like the main entrance, reception area, and key hallways. The digital network also engages students at essential on-campus services such as the coffee shop, two quick-service restaurants, and a variety store. The most impressive display can be found at The Arnie – part restaurant, part pub, part entertainment venue. As students enter The Arnie, they are greeted by a giant video wall consisting of nine 46-inch displays. Once inside, there are an additional four, 46-inch screens pumping-out the latest scoop via the dedicated Arnie media channel.

“With the amount of information bombarding students on a daily basis, it can be very difficult for colleges and universities to engage with students and deliver effective messages,” said Andy McRae, general manager, Scala Canada. “The Mohawk Students’ Association has been very creative in how they use digital signage with multiple channels and locations – and incorporating social media. Their approach delivers communications in a way that really grabs people’s attention.”

Published in Digital Signage
Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in cooperation with the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) will present a Webinar for professionals in all industries who are considering or want to take the first step in implementing a digital signage program. Anyone interested in learning more about the fundamentals of a digital signage program, what’s new in digital signage technology, and the best practices in digital signage content, are encouraged to register and attend. 

The Webinar titled “Putting Digital Signage to Work for You” will be presented on October 11 from 2:00-3:00 pm EST by three industry experts. Each expert will address a different aspect of digital signage technology:

  • Getting Started in Digital Signage, presented by Alan Brawn, Partner, Brawn Consulting, DSF Education Committee Chairman
  • What's New in Digital Signage Technology, presented by Jeff Porter, Executive Vice President, Scala Expert’s Group
  • Best Practices in Digital Signage Content, presented by Adrian Weidmann, Founder and Communications Architect, StoreStream Metrics

Attendees will learn:

  • What are the key elements for a successful digital signage deployment
  • How digital signage can be used to solve communications problems
  • What value digital signage has in the eyes of the client
  • How return on investment and return on objectives are realized
  • What best practices exist for determining where, when, how and what your audience is looking at
  • How audience behavior relates to optimizing the efficacy of digital signage from both display location and content strategy and design perspectives.
  • How the newest technology innovations make digital signage easy to use as well as affordable

The hour-long webinar will be comprised of three 15-minute presentations, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.

DSE and the DSF are cooperating on this webinar as part of the DSF’s monthly educational series. Through its Education Committee, the DSF is dedicated to creating and disseminating an educational program that will result in member companies operating more professionally, productively, profitably, and responsibly.

Registration may be done online at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/370052274.

About the presenters:

Alan Brawn is a principal of Brawn Consulting, an audio visual and digital signage consulting, educational development, and market intelligence firm with national exposure to major manufacturers, distributors, and integrators in the industry. He was previously president of Telanetix and national business development and product marketing director, Samsung Electronics. Brawn is an AV industry veteran with experience spanning three decades.

Jeff Porter is executive vice president of Scala, Inc. With more than fifteen years experience in the industry, he is widely regarded as a leading expert in the field of digital signage. As a passionate and dedicated member of Scala’s senior management team since 1994, Porter has served the company as EVP, business development from 2003 to 2007, as president and CEO from 2000 to 2002 and prior to that as Vice President of R&D. Prior to joining Scala, Mr. Porter was employed by Commodore International Limited, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and the Eastman Kodak Company.

Adrian Weidmann has a career spanning more than twenty-eight years in which he introduced emerging digital media technologies and business solutions designed for theatrical, broadcast and music content production and strategy, digital asset management, scheduling, operations, and interactivity. He now assists customer-centric organizations in creating engaging, immersive customer experiences driven by digital media. Weidmann founded StoreStream Metrics, LLC, which provides technical design, data collection, and analysis of audience behavior using quantitative data of actual human action and biometrics. His brand and digital media network experience includes The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Hewlett-Packard, and more.

Published in Digital Signage
Monday, 31 January 2011 17:26

Putting Content on Display

By Mike Antoniak

Most sign shops build their profits by successfully selling their capabilities: the know-how and hardware to provide clients with durable, attention-grabbing signs, banners, posters, and graphics, as needed.

As these solutions providers court opportunities in the expanding market for digital electronic signage, however, they find it's the capabilities of the sign systems themselves that are opening clients’ eyes and closing deals.

“With these signs you can communicate with people in ways that are clear, concise, and relevant to whatever they’re doing at that particular moment,” says Jeff Porter, executive vice president at digital signage solutions provider Scala.

“Digital signage is all about context and how well it provides useful information,” adds Jeff Collard, president of digital signage software supplier Omnivex. “Without good content, [these] systems are just another form of wallpaper.”

Content is Key
For digital signage, content is the determining factor in the benefits and rewards of a system. But what makes for effective content is determined entirely on the installation; different settings require different strategies in content development, rotation, and management.

The demand for content to drive the signage can bring lucrative long-term opportunities for sign specialists who want that business. There are two business models, according to industry consultant Lyle Bunn: (1.) Sell turnkey systems with tools for clients to develop and manage their content, or (2.) sell the signage and develop a new revenue stream in content development and management services.

“Sign shop owners already understand how an organization communicates and have a customer base that needs these services,” Bunn says. “Adding dynamic digital signage can allow them to protect their existing client base, while also prospect for new business.”

It’s an endeavor that can develop into a new profit center, according to Charles Kelly, Jr., president of wholesale sign systems manufacturer and distributor Clarke Systems. “Getting involved with digital signage allows the shop to offer customers complete and ongoing communications packages...[and] sets up ongoing marketing relations with the customer through program development and content management,” he states.

Some Guiding Principles

Concerning content, a few general rules apply to all installations (indoors and out). “[For instance], it takes about one-inch of text to be seen for every ten to twenty feet a viewer will be standing from the display,” begins Bunn.

Programmers must also consider dwell time (the period the target customer spends before the sign, measured in seconds or minutes) and the playlist (the mix of content playing in a loop). The successful combination of the two depends on the installation. For example, a display panel set up near the elevators in a building lobby might include a succession of messages or information only fifteen segments each; but for those  waiting in line at an amusement park attraction, longer segments and a mix of entertaining clips (as well as video highlights of other rides in the park) is better.

The length of each segment can determine the overall impact. Present viewers with too many messages in too rapid a rotation and they’ll miss them all. Play the same short loop over and over for people in the sign’s vicinity for a protracted period and they’ll tune out.

Poor graphics leave a poor impression, so take full advantage of the high-resolution capabilities of LCD display panels, advises Collard. “You need to look at this type of signage as a means of informing or entertaining, as well as grabbing their attention,” he says.

“You’ve got to have motion for these signs to do their work,” notes Porter. “Our eyes are naturally drawn to motion. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use video.”

As a possibility, Porter suggests something as simple as a picture and text moving around the screen or a transition or fade between segments. “The content just has to be clear, concise, and relevant,” he explains.
Kelly agrees. “A person shopping for clothing or electronics might be happy to see a promotion for an item in a retail setting but couldn’t care less if she or he is rushing to catch a train or looking for directions to an office,” he comments.

Developing that content and designing and deploying the appropriate digital signage solution entails conferring with clients about their business and requirements. Communications challenges, goals, and the customer/viewer experience at their locations should all figure in content strategy, whether developed and managed by the sign provider or end-user.

“Until you know what your customer wants to accomplish, you can’t begin to provide the solution,” says Kelly. He suggests asking customers: Who is their target audience? What is the goal? When is the target audience around? Where are the best locations on-site for optimum visibility? How will they judge the effectiveness? And who will actually develop and manage content?

Getting Involved
“Sign shops already have an advantage going after this business, as they already have an understanding of their clients’ business and goals,” says Porter. “Now they can offer a more flexible platform for driving their messages.”

Another plus: the range of solutions that now make it easy to develop and manage content remotely, whether it’s destined for a counter-top or a network of display panels. Whether you want to provide that service or merely sell and install systems, opportunities are developing in every market segment.

Retail. These systems are proving to be effective sales aids for promoting in-store events, specials, or specific items. “Digital signage can give a sales lift for a featured product, as much as 17 to 24 percent,” states Collard.

The same system can introduce a new product, highlight key features, or alert shoppers to a great deal. Content should be brief and timed to speak to shoppers for only as long as they’re in that department or store. However when a brief video isn’t warranted, moving graphics or photos can draw shoppers’ eyes to a concise text message.

Waiting rooms, lines, and service areas. Wait time is often down time for consumers, feeding a sense of frustration. A rolling mix of information, entertainment, and sales pitches keeps their minds occupied so they lose track of the wait. “The number of and length of spots should relate to how long the average person will be looking at that sign,” advises Bunn. This might mean a looping ten-minute playlist in a bank lobby, but as much as half an hour in an auto service center.

Whatever the setting, content should speak to why they’re there and what they’re doing. In a movie lobby, movie trailers might alternate with reminders of what’s available at the refreshment counter. At a bank, the focus could highlight the range of financial services and investment programs available through that institution. “If a bank can get a customer it already has interested in just one more account or service, that’s a major win,” says Porter.

Restaurants and fast food. Restaurant menus change throughout the day. “With these systems, you can feature the current menu, provide nutrition information, and promote a specific item,” says Collard.

In a fast food outlet, high-resolution images can be used to encourage impulse buys of current offerings. In a more formal restaurant lobby, the rotation can highlight the day’s specials, promote upcoming offers, and include paid ads for other area businesses.

The ability to easily add or delete content can drive sales in sports arenas. “As the event winds down, prepared content can remind patrons of a pending cutoff of beer sales or announce deep discounts on an item that hasn't sold to expectations,” suggests Collard.

In transit
. Travelers have distinct, immediate concerns, and the flexibility of a digital sign system allows for content to address them. Consider airport shuttle buses. Travelers heading to the airport are most concerned with making their flights. The system can display the latest information on schedules and departures, traffic, weather—anything impacting their plans.

Passengers in those same shuttles traveling from the airport see a different mix—information about services available at their hotel, restaurants, or other attractions in the area.

“Whatever that person needs to know, with a digital sign system, there’s a way to provide it,” states Porter.
Published in Digital Signage
Monday, 31 January 2011 17:05

State-of-the-art Wrap-up

From retail venues to transportation to colleges, digital display technology—with its ability to quickly distribute and change content at high-resolution visibility—continues to transform the definition of modern-day signage. In fact, it appears that many of these types of signs are even plugging into the attraction of instant interactivity with viewers.

This month, we’re traveling around the digital sign industry and touring some of the latest announcements and installations of interest in this field. This section is designed to not only allow you to see where these types of signs are being utilized, but we also want to use this round-up to present a glimpse of why end-users are selecting these displays. Hopefully these reasons will, in turn, help you better understand the many different methods you can use to sell, install, or manage these systems.

Urban Tornado Puts Pedestrians in the Path of a Twister
Last fall, Inwindow Outdoor, a leader and originator of interactive storefront and mall advertising, launched the “Urban Tornado” digital signage display system at two of its premier Storescape locations in New York City to promote the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers.

As a pedestrian approached the storefront screen, they could see the image and hear the sounds of an approaching tornado coming up the street behind them. One location even featured high-powered fans blowing gale-force winds on passers-by to enhance the experience. As the on-screen tornado approached the user with speed and ferocity, virtual debris flew through the air, even sending a stop sign crashing through the storefront window. Once complete, the pedestrian could then opt to receive a photograph of themselves via SMS, as well as have the option of uploading said image to their personal Facebook™ page, as well as the official Storm Chasers Facebook fan page.

“The most effective outdoor advertisements are the ones that not only attract attention but engage a person on the street in an exciting way,” said Inwindow Outdoor CEO Steve Birnhak. “Leveraging the resources of our digital production team, we created a unique experience that was sure to drive awareness of the new season of Storm Chasers.”

Inwindow Outdoor created the campaign, which ran through November 9, on behalf of the Discovery Channel and in conjunction with agency PHD and outdoor buying group OMA.

State-WrapUp-2City College Installs Freeform Marquee Displays
The campuses of Long Beach City College (LBCC) in Long Beach, California are now attracting more attention thanks to new marquee video and messaging displays designed, manufactured, and installed by Daktronics Inc.

“We live in a world where communication is the key,” said Chi-Chung Keung, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Marketing for LBCC. “These new Daktronics marquee displays will enhance our ability to effectively and attractively communicate with our students, faculty, staff, and community.”

One marquee, located on the Pacific Coast Campus, is uniquely designed; it features the LBCC logo above a curved eight-foot-tall-by-seven-foot-wide LED video display made up of ProPixel® freeform LED sticks. Designed to be incorporated into a structure of any size or shape with video, animation, color effects, text messages, and live data, the ProPixel® LED elements use ultra-bright LEDs to transform structures into vibrant displays.

A second marquee on the Liberal Arts Campus of LBCC features a two-sided five-foot-high-by-almost-nine-foot-wide Daktronics video display that, with pixels spaced 16mm apart, is able to show recorded video, animations, graphics, text, and announcements.

“These freeform video elements allow flexibility and creativity with the marquee,” said Marlo Jones, sales representative at Daktronics.

Reno Casino Adds Sports Tickers to its Lineup
The Peppermill Casino’s Race & Sports Book in Reno, Nevada now includes state-of-the-art display technologies, including Trans-Lux Sports Multi-Color Tickers. And for patron convenience, the immediately adjacent Sports Bar and Sports Deli, as well as the Poker Room, now feature Trans-Lux Sports Tickers to keep guests informed with up-to-the-minute sports data in a steady stream.

State-WrapUp-3“The Peppermill Casino is an award-winning gaming facility that excels by providing its patrons with high-tech services,” said J.M. Allain, president & CEO of Trans-Lux Corporation. “Our sports tickers deliver on that service and help keep the casino sharp in a highly competitive industry.”

Electronic LED DataWall® technology from Trans-Lux is used in many casinos to display real-time information and is perfect for posting odds, game schedules, results, or other applications where text information changes frequently, is centrally controlled, and is viewed continuously by patrons.

The Peppermill Reno has four sister properties in Sparks and West Wendover, Nevada. All five casinos have the same configuration of electronic LED DataWalls®, which allows them to control all the data from one central location. If there’s a change in the odds, all of the properties change at the same time.

The Multi-Color Sports Tickers installed at the Peppermill Reno display a continuous flow of sports information 24/7. A data feed provides information directly to the display in a “graphical electronic ticker” format. The patrons love it because the ticker displays team logos and updated scores; the team that’s winning is shown in green and the losing team in red. The data feed also allows for the insertion of ads, promotions, upcoming events, etc., in a variety of colors and type fonts.

Integrating Multiple Products into One Unique Experience
In partnership with Send A Message, Inc., and Fujifilm’s “See Here,” Omnivex Corporation is providing the software platform for the touch screen interface and backbone management of photo kiosks located in hotels and at tourist attractions.

The multi-purpose Send A Message (SAM) digital media kiosk is located at hospitality properties and allows users to quickly upload photos from their digital cameras, create customized postcards, and print them on high-quality photo paper. In addition, they can directly access Fujifilm’s “See Here” photo Web site for uploading their pictures for online storage or creating photo gifts that can be ordered directly from the kiosk.

Revenue is generated from the kiosk through the sale of on-screen ad space and by charging users a fee for creating their customized postcards. All of the functionality of the kiosk can be managed remotely through Omnivex digital signage software. Fujifilm North America installs and maintains these units for Send A Message, Inc.

The system has recently been deployed at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World. Omnivex value-added reseller Digisplay, LLC brought all of the different aspects of the project together to combine the strengths of each of the companies involved into one unified solution. “Omnivex software allowed us to incorporate advertising space, along with a touch screen interface and the ability to print the postcards,” said Jim McNeal, president of Digisplay, LLC.

State-WrapUp-4Driving Home Digital Signage
Flagship Toyota dealer Camelback Toyota in Phoenix, Arizona just built a 62,000-square-foot showroom alongside a 65,000 square-foot service facility, but it’s its state-of–the-art digital signage network from Unified Brand and Scala that’s making the biggest impression on its customers.

The new facility is equipped with high-end amenities, including free Wi-Fi, a café, a high-tech media room, a kids’ play area, and a massage area with in-chair TVs. Accordingly Camelback did an in-depth search to find a sophisticated digital signage network that would be able to match all of its other five-star improvements.

The quest for the right vendor led Camelback Toyota to full-service media agency Unified Brand, which developed a digital network that offers custom content and a high-end brand experience. Using Scala 5 Content Manager and Player software, Camelback Toyota runs rotating images of famous people, motivational quotes, and custom-written “thoughts of the day” to motivate and entertain customers and employees.

The new digital signage system includes: seven unique channels playing a mix of custom high-definition content and real-time news; forty-five Samsung HD screens scattered throughout the showroom, lounge, four-bay service area, café, new car delivery area, and parts and accessories department; two jumbo HDTVs mounted on a column twenty-five feet in the air; custom-built PCs; Control 4 Systems to change channels and switch to live TV; and a library of dealership-specific content.

In addition, a movie theater-sized, high-definition projector screen dominates one wall of the dealership, giving the lobby the look and feel of a grand hotel. New financing deals, car accessory upgrades, service discounts, manufacturer’s specials, and other promotions constantly rotate on the network of screens to up-sell customers while still providing entertainment.

Scala and Unified Brand also developed custom messages for individual customers who purchase a new Toyota. “Customers wait for their new cars to come out to them in the delivery garage area, which is decked out with more networked flat screens,” said Mike Spector, Facilities and Inventory director at Camelback. “On each, we stream messages directly to the proud new car owners that say ‘Congratulations [Bob and Mary Smith] on the purchase of your new 2011 Toyota Prius,’ for example. Customers absolutely love being recognized like this.”

Camelback Toyota utilizes the Scala system to run an ad in Unified Brand’s local community network of signs (an ad-based network), helping to draw new customers to the dealership. “We host Camelback Toyota’s Content Manager and Players and use custom Scala solutions to create, manage, and distribute their content to the end-user site,” says Pete Doolittle, president at United Brand.

Camelback Toyota is finding once customers see the new showroom, they come back. “I believe that customers are enamored by this facility and the digital technology in particular. The entertaining environment makes any kind of service or sales wait more palatable to customers, so they leave our dealership with a positive feeling,” said Kim McKay, customer relations manager at Camelback.
Published in Digital Signage
Monday, 26 September 2011 20:39

New Appointments: September 2011-II

Filmolux has signed a distributor agreement with Pregis Corp.’s Hexacomb business unit to represent its Falconboard™ family of products in France. The Falconboard products will fill the environmentally responsible, all-paper based option in Filmolux’s offerings.

Fisher Textiles announces its expansion into Canada with a new distribution center. Benefits to Canadian customers include faster delivery time, decreased shipping costs, same-day shipping, and the ability to request styles to be stocked. As part of the new distribution center, Fisher Textiles will work with Accord Transportation on distribution and logistics expertise, as well as TG Graphics for sales assistance.

GMG Americas has made a number of management additions and changes. Joseph Varone has been appointed vice president, sales, North America. Varone will oversee GMG sales in North America, and he previously worked for Kodak. Marc Welch will serve as the new director, Strategic Accounts. Welch will focus on expanding the range of solutions and work more closely with key customers. He has forty years of printing industry experience, including stints at Scitex, Pitman, and Tripp. Birgit Plautz has relocated from GMG in Europe to become the new manager of Technical Services. She previously worked at GMG in Germany as project manager and technical development engineer, and she is proficient in color management, print drivers, and media. Juergen Roesch has also relocated to serve as the business development/solutions architect. Roesch is an expert on color management for printing, prepress, digital, and wide format production; he has an IT education background; and he most recently worked in business development. Paulo Monteiro, business manager, Latin America, has relocated to new offices near Orlando, Florida to provide better service to the rapidly expanding Latin America customer base.

Scala announces Tom Nix as the new CEO. Nix will continue to focus on building customer satisfaction and will expand Scala’s role in the evolving global market for digital signage and digital communications solutions. He most recently served as vice president, Americas and Oceania, for Scala.

SIMONA AG has appointed Fredy Hiltmann as a member of its Executive Board. Hiltmann will oversee the area of Corporate Finance (CFO). He previously worked at Siemens AG, Georg Fischer AG, and the Metalor Group. In addition, Chief Sales Officer Detlef Becker will step down from his role on the Executive Board, and Wolfgang Moyses, CEO of SIMONA AG, will take on his position.

World Wide Sign Systems, Inc. has acquired the sign product division of Ad-Tech International. The new Southern Division manufacturing facility will be World Wide Sign Systems’ fourth wholesale manufacturing location, and it will help to fulfill the plan of having the wholesale sign products delivered the next day or second day freight delivery.

Published in Industry Appointments

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