There was an overwhelmingly positive response for DSE's Content Day, which was held on Expo's pre-show day, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009. Entitled "Creating Compelling Content," the sold-out, standing room only session featured panels such as "Interpreting a Creative Brief," "7 Proven Strategies for Better Digital Signage Results" and "Creating Unique Content for Competitive Differentiation."
The enthusiasm for content spilled onto the expo floor when it opened on Wednesday. The Content Pavilion was set aside for companies such as St. Joseph/Alchemy, Eyeplay, Beantown, Genr8 and Screenfeed. Each exhibiting company in the content pavilion was also entitled to a presentation in the Content Theatre at selected times throughout the Expo.
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Here we feature some of those content providers, as well as select software companies that power that content to screens:
ENQII EnQii released its latest software at the show, which Chief Executive Ajay Chowdhury said is built on three pillars: Create, Control and Capture. The product is called EnGage, and is Java-based and can allow connection to point-of-sale systems and mobile phones.
EnQii demonstrated its EnGage and Messenger software.
EnQii also announced that EnGage is now being offered integrated with TruMedia's iCapture solution which measures audience information through the use of embedded cameras in the screens. Chowdhury said the TruMedia integration will also help EnGage customers comply with OVAB's Audience Measurement Guidelines. --BY
EYEPLAY With "going green" one of the hottest topics around, what better content to put on your digital sign than Green Tips? The collection of Eyeplay's 52 engaging tips on how to live green can be used to draw attention to signage no matter where it's placed. Customers can choose HD or SD resolution, horizontal and vertical display orientations, along with a choice of Windows Media Video (.wmv), QuickTime (.mov) or DVD formats for playback on virtually any digital signage system, flat-panel screen or Web site. --JG
HARRIS CORP. Harris introduced two digital signage tools while at Digital Signage Expo, InfoCaster Online and the Punctuate scheduling tool. InfoCaster online is a Web-based tool for creating, scheduling and distributing digital signage content over a geographically dispersed network of screens, designed for large digital signage networks.
Punctuate, is a suite of Web-based tools that enable automatic targeting of precise messages to specific signs for digital signage and digital out-of-home networks.
"Punctuate has a tagging functionality which allows users to assign attributes or tags to specific types of content," said Michael Bernhardt, director of product marketing for Harris. "This allows you to tailor your content to exactly what your viewers want." --BY
HELIUS The big story here was the new relationships the company has formed. First, the Blue Man Group announced they would use Helius digital signs in their performances in addition to employing them already for corporate communications. But perhaps a bigger if less enticing deployment was worked through the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept., in California. Helius installed a fleet of signs serving the department's 18,000 users, ranging from law enforcement folks to clerical help to the inmates themselves. Communications help process the evil-doers, spread the word on important policies and procedures, even post the time and locale for the precinct picnic. Finally, the Las Vegas police department has entered into a similar arrangement with the company. --JG
MAGICBOX The new Web-based solution from MagicBox is designed for individuals without I.T., A.V. or graphics savvy—say, a lobby receptionist or the administrator of a hospital—who suddenly find themselves responsible for digital signage content. With a desktop feel and offline editing capabilities, the product enables users to work among five levels of admin and manage multiples slices of individual screens in multiple locations. --JG
NANONATION Company suits like to say their big news is always Nanonation's core platform, but in terms of wow factor, it was hard to beat their new Microsoft Tag work. The 2D barcode shows up on a screen and anyone with one of about 70 approved smart phones with Microsoft Tag software loaded onto it can photograph the tag and be instantly linked to download content, URLs and more. The color barcodes allow more accurate photographing from more angles. Also at the booth were digital menu boards developed for quick-service restaurants. --JG
Reflect emphasized its partnership with Target's Channel Red.
REFLECT SYSTEMS Reflect Systems, which made headlines last year for its deployment of the GameStop Network, announced its involvement with Target's next-generation digital signage network, Channel Red. Channel Red is just one part of a large multi-channel communications effort from Target to reach customers. Research has showed that when fully operational, Channel Red will reach Target guests through more than 50,000 screens.
"Target has approached this network scientifically," said Stephen Nesbit, president and COO of Reflect Systems. "We're delighted to be a long-term partner with them."
Best Buy representatives also announced in several breakout sessions that Reflect digital signage software will be powering its next-generation in-store network to be rolled out this year.
ST. JOSEPH CONTENT/ALCHEMY In the Content Pavilion, Mark Mantha of St. Joseph Content/Alchemy was on-hand to describe some of the content provider's past work with high-profile clients such as General Motors, Thompson Reuters, Dunkin' Donuts, the U.S. Navy and Labatt's Brewery. He also gave some insight into the company's content creation philosophies.
"We don't just provide content. We're not a content library," Mantha said. "I call it â€˜custom creative,' and it really is the first step in any digital signage project. The content provides a digital signage roadmap for the rest of installation." --BY
SYMON COMMUNICATIONS Drawing attention to the Symon booth was a Microsoft Surface Table, which was running on Symon's SCS 10.0 software. Symon also made good use of its Smart Screen, a self-branded integrated touchscreen in 42- and 47-inch sizes with a pull-out media player, which Bob Brittan, director of product marketing, said comes in handy when it comes to repair the unit.
Symon's highlight was a demo of Microsoft Surface.
Also notable at Symon was its Door Signage display, which featured a media player that could power up to 12 channels. Used for medical facilities, conference centers and hotels, the Door Signage software can integrate with the facilities' event management system, such as Microsoft Outlook or Delphi. --BY
VISIX Visix, in business since 1980, just executed their one-thousandth deployment to its target markets, campuses and businesses that need internal communications technology. By mixing interesting aggregated content with essential messages, Visix helps ensure the word is not only disseminated but viewed as well. Campuses employ the technology for publishing alerts, schedules and transportation visualization, that is, passengers waiting at stops can see the location of their shuttle on a digital map. The easy-to-use technology allows third-parties, such as the National Weather Service, to trigger messages by SMS, making the product more than a digital signage application, but a sophisticated communications platform. --JG WIRELESS RONIN TECHNOLOGIES Wireless Ronin's Linda Hofflander, vice president and chief marketing officer, was exhausted from giving presentations to potential customers all day, but found time to demonstrate the AutoPick, a context-driven touchscreen designed for auto showrooms. The out-of-the-box module runs a comparative car program that allows users to decide between several models of cars by lining up attributes side to side.
"This is great for the dealer and the auto customer, neither has to be an expert to use it," Hofflander said. "With the economy the way it is now, auto dealers are reinventing their business, focusing on the closing ratio. This is a great ROI tool." --BY