Articles and Whitepapers

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Ability to attract attention driving staggering growth of video walls

Video walls are growing at a 23.8-percent CAGR, according to Zion Market’s 2017 research report. That staggering number is driven by users’ need to stand out, engage and attract attention, according to Daniel Griffin, Userful’s VP of Marketing.

“As more screens are out there, in order to catch attention and engage an audience, people realize single screens aren’t enough and that has helped drive the huge growth in video walls,” Griffin said.

He does not expect this strong growth trajectory to slow down anytime soon.

“There’s no doubt that there’s enough demand out there that everyone in the digital signage industry needs to ensure they have a strong video wall offering that is feature-ful, scalable and flexible,” he said. “The growth numbers make it clear that people are turning to video walls in a very significant way.”

Griffin said video walls have even become a requirement for many big spaces, such as airports, malls, arenas and stadiums. However, Userful is also seeing more immersion in smaller spaces.

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How to Make the Most of DSE

by Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, LLC

With Integrated Systems Europe now in the rear-view mirror, our industry turns its collective attention to Digital Signage Expo later this month in Las Vegas. DSE isn’t the biggest tradeshow we attend in the US, but it’s certainly the show that’s most focused on digital signage. For that reason alone, I find DSE to be an accurate barometer of what to expect in the year ahead.

The digital signage industry is made up mostly of perennial attendees – companies like BrightSign that have been coming to DSE for many years, and that will still be attending years from now. But every year there’s a sizeable crop of first-time exhibitors – last year, of the 255 companies on the show floor, 74 were first-time exhibitors. If those numbers hold true this year, that means nearly three of every 10 exhibitors will be attending for their first time. These new exhibitors seem to fall into two camps: relatively unknown startup companies trying to get into the market, and well-known tech brands trying to make a sideways entry into the digital signage space. I’m particularly intrigued by the latter. Our market has grown far beyond its traditional “signage” roots and it’s understandable that big companies will attempt to wedge their way into our market to make a quick buck.

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Interactive touchscreens benefiting from ‘industry tornado’

RealEyes Displays, a company that provides interactive displays for information kiosks, waiting rooms, trade shows and college campuses, doubled in size last year. CEO Alex Bernier attributes this growth to an “industry tornado” that is driving interactive displays into the mainstream.

“Touchscreens have always been there, but new software technology such as Intuiface, and lower costs of high-powered PCs are moving us to what appears to be an industry tornado,” he said. “The design, deployment and support standardization of these systems is making it easier for every vertical to invest.”

His company, which was started by Bernier in 2010, is especially seeing an increase in large interactive screens for trade show booths.

“Clients now have a strong need to show product lookups, 3D models, games, and highly attractive video sequences of their customer journey,” Bernier said.

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Seven Ways PowerPoint Can Change the Way You Create Digital Signage

By: Kurt Dupont, founder and president, PresentationPoint

PowerPoint-driven digital signage? Most people are surprised when I suggest PowerPoint as an easy method for the development and management of digital signage.

As you know, a simple but powerful, method to grab the attention of anyone, anywhere, is to use a screen. TV, computer or mobile screens are great attention grabbers, and most people would admit it’s hard to stop staring at them each day.

A lot of the time, of course, you’re seeing digital signage on those screens, especially at fast food restaurants, airports, corporate lobbies, schools and hospitals. PowerPoint-driven digital signage, for example, tells you which flights are arriving, which foods are available on the menu or special offers in the grocery store. With screens just about everywhere in our lives today, digital signage provides the perfect way for businesses or public agencies to engage with their customers or constituents.

With this in mind, why is PowerPoint an effective tool for creating digital signage? The fact is it’s flat out easy to create digital signage using PowerPoint. Everything you need is available in this venerable, proven application. No more need to haggle with Adobe and Photoshop for your digital signage needs. To this end, here are seven reasons why PowerPoint is a dynamic tool you can use to create powerful digital signage content.

Fastest Way to Create Digital Signage

If you have a computer, you’ve probably used (or at least know of) PowerPoint. Its features are straightforward, and it takes little time to start creating eye-catching digital signage.

Many PowerPoint Slide Libraries and Templates Available

With PowerPoint, you can start creating digital signage using templates for hospitals, hotels, schools and a wide range of other sectors. Using PowerPoint slide templates is just as effective as creating new ones.

Flexible Updating

Just as it’s easy to create compelling content and appealing PowerPoint digital signage, it’s simple to change anything you want and update with new information.

Powerful Visual Transitions and Animations

One feature that makes PowerPoint a powerful tool for digital signage is its built-in transition and animation functions. You can animate text and images and play videos. People love animation, and PowerPoint provides great attention grabbers. Transitions also add a creative side to your digital signage presentations, keeping users interested in what you need to communicate.

Innovative Tool for Real-Time Data Updating

For operations personnel at airports, flight and critical travel information change constantly and needs continuous updating with new arrival schedules or take-offs. One master slide is all you need after creating your digital signage: the new information or data can be automatically updated, with new data from Excel, RSS feeds, databases and more.

Using PresentationPoint’s DataPoint, for example, acting as a PowerPoint add-on module, real-time data is updated, and automatically appears on all screens. All your data signage stays up to date. Any changes you make are quick and prompt.

Unique Software for Digital Signage Creation and Management

Suppose you have multiple digital signage screens in different locations in the same shop or spanning several business areas. With PresentationPoint software and PowerPoint, you can create playlists for different digital signage display.

The digital signage in various screens or locations is remotely controllable and can run on any schedule you set. If the digital signage in the morning is showing a video of hardware tools, you can create a program that will start displaying a video of groceries during the afternoon.

Works on Any Digital Signage Screen Size

When you create digital signage, PowerPoint will display it on a monitor or television screen of any size. With our software, you can even spread out a single presentation over multiple screens of a video wall setup.

Ultimately, you can radically enhance how you distribute your information when you use PowerPoint – coupled with our DataPoint module – for digital signage. Digital signage, to be sure, is the best way to showcase new business or public information of all kinds. All you need to get started is a screen, a computer and PowerPoint – and you’re on your way.


The Total Guide to Fine Pitch LED: A 16:9 Special Report

There’s a lot of buzz in the digital signage industry, as well as the markets the industry serves, about fine pixel pitch LED displays, and their ability to create bright, seamless visuals that transform spaces.

It’s easy to find technical documentation about LED displays and diodes, but a lot harder to find solid information, written in non-technical terms, that explains the technology, the marketplace, ecosystem and applications. That’s why this Special Report – The Total Guide To Fine Pitch LED – from 16:9, was put together over the last few months. It reflects many, many conversations, as well as a specific trip to Taiwan and China to visit manufacturers and fully understand the ecosystem.


Projection imaging on the forefront of technology sea changes

Washington, DC-based media production and live events company, Quince Imaging is concluding its 20th year in business with an upgraded corporate headquarters to accommodate its rapidly growing staff and service offerings.  The company’s flagship work is 3D projection imaging and if you’ve attended a professional sporting event recently, chances are you’ve seen some of Quince’s work.

Bill DuLaney, business development manager, has watched the digital signage industry grow throughout the past 25 years. He said the industry, particularly projection, is in the middle of a massive sea change that is putting the technology on-trend with what consumers want – experiential, entertaining, immersive experiences.

“Projection has been around since the late 1890’s. Over the past 25 years, it’s gone from CRT technology – big, heavy, analogue-based technology – to total digital-chip based digital light processors with high brightness lamp technology. Now we have further improvements as we are transitioning from lamp to laser or solid state technology,” DuLaney said. “Every time someone says projection is dead, it’s not. It continues to keeps growing. In fact, designers and clients continue to push the technical and creative limitations and want to do high-end, spectacular installations using the highest resolution you can achieve.”

In fact, according to a market report from Technavio, the projector market (globally) is expected to be in excess of $132 billion in 2019, growing at a CAGR of more than 18 percent.

Projection offers “the highest resolution you can achieve,” DuLaney says, because there is no limit on pixels – you can continue to add projectors, and servers to fit whatever size or shape you’re aiming for.

“It’s the only video technology that’s not constrained by screen size. That’s valuable,” DuLaney said. “Because of that, it’s the most cost efficient technology when you break it down by cost-per-pixel.”

Quince Imaging is seeing some trends emerge within its business, such as retailers using projection imaging to create storefront windows or illuminating a certain area of their store, or projecting rotating outfits on a mannequin.

In sporting arenas, teams are going for the “wow factor” at every turn and the ROI comes with the fan engagement these projections are yielding on social media.

“People like it because of the engagement. The number of eyeballs on these displays, not only in the venue or facility but also on TV, and streaming sites, all of which translates to hits on social media. Engagement is proven ROI,” DuLaney said.

He adds that the market has changed in that brands are looking for new ways to present and differentiate themselves.

Cavs’ motion tracking image project

“Experiential is a hot trend and rightly so, whether you’re a brand or an agency.  This is a proven way to hit certain demographics through unique, fun and engaging types of technologies. It could be purely immersive and interactive, bringing in the power of personal and shared experiences, augmented reality, or a combination of each.” he said.

Projection is an ideal way to achieve an immersive digital experience because there are no seams or bezels. The improvement of the technology is enabling projection to become a better experience as well. Both the image quality by virtue of new video standards (HDR, 4k, 8k) and the server technology have made strides in the past few years alone.

“The past three years especially has been a sea change and it has to do with advances in video card technology, software, and solid state lighting.  We don’t have to replace lamps every 500 to 1,000 hours anymore. And the color saturation and gamut of LED and laser as a (solid state) light source is much wider than lamp technology can give you,” DuLaney said. “All of this is going on at the same time. Thus every six months there are improved products.”

Real-time rendering is another significant advancement, DuLaney said. Clients can preview what the project is going to look like before it goes live.

“If you’re in a stadium and you have a touchdown catch, you can replay that back in slow motion on all of the digital signs immediately and have it streamed simultaneously. We are rendering high resolution video files in real time. We don’t have to wait anymore,” DuLaney said.

He also notes other trends quickly coming down the pike in projection and digital signage, notably augmented reality and hologram technology. Lowe’s and Home Depot, for example, are working on AR where customers can use photos of their dining rooms and pull the kind of style they’re looking for to pre-model in a 3D environment.

“When you do this in a 3D environment, versus a standard display or phone, it changes everything,” DuLaney said. “The AR and VR technology is making these experiences more personal than ever before.”

Though Quince is positioned well amidst all of these changes, challenges remain in keeping up with the swift pace of technology advancements.

“All of these video and creative standards are changing. We have to have the best team in place with the best solution to keep up with the latest products and trends,” DuLaney said. “Then there’s the budget challenge. We have to educate clients on why our solution costs more than what they can purchase at Walmart or Amazon. There is no list price on creativity. There is a sweet spot between activating something really creative and not breaking the bank.”

Quince Imaging case study

Though Quince Imaging got its start 20 years ago specializing in high-end events, it has found its sweet spot in sporting arenas. To illuminate an arena, it takes anywhere from eight to 12 top-of-the-line projectors and lenses. There is also the mounting, the electrical, signal flow process, servers, programming, and then adding in custom 3D animations.  The price tag isn’t cheap, but the ROI speaks for itself.

“Sports is our biggest market dollar for permanent installations. We’re still in the beginning of this because we’re figuring out the sponsor equation,” he said. “This is valuable for sponsors. They can own a moment and grab eyeballs for a minute, 90 seconds, two minutes, and not have to share it. That’s the holy grail of advertising.”

Teams are using signage to sell not only ads but also tickets. DuLaney said the market will continue to grow because sports is an ever-evolving marketing machine, always in search of new and competitive ways to reach customers.

“Once the Cowboys or Manchester United do it, everyone else will want to do it, albeit better” he said.

Because of this growth, Quince keeps redefining its successful case studies. The United Center in Chicago, for example, posed a structural and mounting challenge for projection because of its existing roof structure and the huge video boards that affect the angle of the projections. Quince’s engineering team came up with a solution to do one system for two sports – the NBA’s Bulls and the NHL’s Blackhawks – including the content.

“Clients now see the value of a company that understands this technology not just from the science/engineering part, but also the creative side. The United Center project is one we can really hang our hat on,” DuLaney said.

Another of Quince’s milestone achievements was the viral success of the Cleveland Cavaliers pregame court projection at the ceremony honoring the jersey retirement of Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2014.  Since then, Quince went on to permanently install the Cavs 3D projection system, as well as develop creative content for major events and projects, including the “Cavs Arcade.” Quince Imaging was selected to design and adapt a full-court projection reminiscent of the classic arcade game Pong.

Sponsorship opportunity via projection.

Sponsorship opportunity via projection.

Cable news channels picked up footage from Ilgauskas jersey retirement and it received 2 million + hits over a couple of weeks. Since, Quince and the Cavs have worked together extensively to coordinate pre-game shows, halftime shows, time-out entertainment and more.

“Once we saw that go viral and the team saw that, it became valuable to tie it in for fan engagement and interactivity,” DuLaney said. “The theme is creating memorable experiences for people and using imaging technology to do it. It’s very exciting for brands and anyone in the entertainment biz who wants to separate themselves from the noise.”

 

View the Cavs arcade here.

View Quince’s MARS Petcare video project.

 


What will be trending at ISE 2018?

by Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, LLC

People often ask me what to expect from ISE, and I think this year will mostly be a year of incremental upgrades, rather than a breakthrough year. Everything I’ve seen points to there actually being fewer vendors in attendance due to massive consolidation across the industry. People are focusing on quality and come to shows like ISE with the mindset of “I’ve had this experience already, what can I learn at ISE to help me do a new roll-out with different technologies that provides a better experience?” We love that because at the core of our product is great technology and high reliability, so customers – old and new – are coming to us for that better experience. Knowledgeable customers are good for BrightSign, and we definitely welcome them with open arms.

In terms of trends, I think we’ll see a focus on new interfaces, such as voice and AR plus a demand for media players that can deliver 4K live-streaming media.

I think we’re still a ways off, but digital signage interacting with voice-enabled products is certainly exciting, in particular for retail. We’ll undoubtedly see demos of voice interaction at ISE, but the actual roll-outs in 2018 are less realistic.

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Is cloud vs. on-premise software a debate in digital signage?

The “cloud” was first referenced at a conference in 2006, when Google’s Eric Schmidt referenced his company’s services as belonging “in a cloud somewhere.”

Twelve years later, cloud computing has become nearly as ubiquitous as Google itself. Still, many businesses that use digital signage continue to use premise-based software systems – systems set up and maintained on site by a company’s licensed enterprise software – versus cloud services, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which is software that is owned and managed by one or more providers.

There are differing opinions about how quickly the ratio will shift in favor of SaaS.

Ryan Cahoy, managing director at Rise Vision, believes the debate is over on premise-based versus SaaS.

“SaaS clearly won. Ten years ago, the debate was about how you could put your company at risk in the cloud. Ten years ago, it was a scary conversation. Now I think the debate is dead. Now, there is no space in companies anymore for servers and the assumption is becoming that everything is in the cloud,” Cahoy said.

However, Jeff Collard, president of Omnivex Corp., doesn’t think it’s so black and white.

“I don’t think it’s a debate. I think they are two different options in the way you deploy technology and both of them work depending on your business,” he said.

For example, Collard’s Omnivex works with airports, military organizations, major banks and manufacturing facilities.

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Q3-2017 IHS Digital Signage Industry Tracker Now Available to DSF Members

IHS and the Digital Signage Federation have partnered together to offer DSF Members exclusive access to IHS’s Digital Signage Industry Tracker Executive Summary report each quarter.

For nearly 50 years, IHS has assisted customers harness the power of information to improve their business results. IHS seeks to provide its customers with the technical information, tools, and operational and advisory services necessary to help them make critical business decisions, maximize their core business processes, and improve productivity.

The Executive Summary report available to DSF members highlights research and findings pertaining to:

  • Hardware (media players, set-top boxes, & PCs)
  • Screens
  • Software
  • Services (installations, project management, & technical support)
  • Media sales

Are you a DSF Member?

Download the Q3-2017 Executive Summary by clicking the member access button below.

Member Access

 


Hidden Costs and Hassles of PC-based Digital Signage

by Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign, LLC

You know the drill – you go to book one of those surprisingly low airfares, but once you’ve paid to reserve a seat, check a bag and order food you realize the true cost of your flight is much more than the teaser fare that caught your attention. The same could be said for PC-based digital signage. Customers are often attracted by low hardware acquisition costs, only to learn the hard way that their low-cost PC-based digital signage solution is anything but affordable.

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