Industry News

Time for NEC Solutions Showcase 2016

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NEC Solutions

Visitors to the NEC Solutions Showcase on 18-19 May in London can once again expect a visual experience as NEC and its partners collaborate to demonstrate fully integrated solutions presented in real-life scenarios.

The NEC Experience installation will showcase: Laser Projection with Projection Mapping, Fine Pitch LED and LCD Large Format and Desktop. Visitors will then progress to the 29th floor where the experiences continue with real-life interactive scenarios recreating how visual technology touches every part of our lives. There will be a hands-on with specific applications in Transport, Broadcast & Media, Corporate, Education, DooH, Retail and Command & Control—to name just some of the areas to be represented at this year’s event.

Why go? To experience how intelligent digital surfaces help to visualise Big Data; to learn how context aware software solutions and touch functionality enhances bi-directional communication; to see how cloud based videoconferencing and collaborative Huddle spaces are shaping the way we work and to understand how the Internet of Things is transforming Digital Signage… visitors to the Showcase will be better informed-- and even inspired-- by the future of our industry.

“NEC is fortunate to be part of a highly dynamic industry which is constantly evolving. The annual NEC Showcase offers visitors an opportunity to experience these evolutions first hand and to view the solutions which may form part of their decision making in the future,” says Neil Hartigan, GM UK and Ireland, NEC Display Solution

Offering a wide and advanced range of display technologies including Laser, LED and LCD enables NEC to be technology-agnostic. They say they are “uniquely positioned to offer the perfect-fit solution to virtually any customer installation scenario.” Through partnership and collaboration- - as demonstrated at the NEC Showcase where over 30 best of breed partners will collaborate to present fully integrated solutions-- NEC wants to promote its role as a Total Solutions Provider.

This year will see the Showcase taking place in another exciting venue; 29 floors up in Westminster’s tallest building affords a stunning visual experience featuring London’s famous skyline. The convenient central London location at Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank offers visitors excellent transport links.

Go NEC Solutions Showcase 2016

Portrait Displays Buys SpectraCal

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Two display enhancement and calibration tool developers become one as Portrait Displays acquires SpectraCal, creating a "leading end-to-end provider of display control, custom software and colour accuracy-solutions."

“Joining forces with SpectraCal was a natural next step for us in broadening our product offering to meet more sophisticated customer requirements,” Portrait Displays says.

“SpectraCal’s success with CalMAN color calibration software applications and turnkey integration with the leading color measurement devices is highly complementary with Portrait’s product focus. Portrait’s customer concentration targets OEMs in the PC display industry, while SpectraCal’s CalMAN is the globally-recognised display calibration software used by studios, Pro AV, broadcasters, home theatres, etc. CalMAN is also commonly used by test centers, analysts, and video installers throughout the world.”

Once the deal is finalised Portrait plans to integrate both products and future development, even if the two companies should retain focus on their own core products. Financial details of the acquisition are not available.

Go Portrait Displays Acquires SpectraCal

Daktronics Snaps Up Canadian Digital Signage Company

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Adflow Networks

Daktronics buys Canada’s Adflow Networks to bring Adflow’s digital media platform capabilities to Daktronic’s customer segments.

Adflow Networks offers a dynamic platform for digital signage across telecom, retail, banking/financial services, hospitality and others.

Check out this graphic on “the new adaptive shopper experience” to see the new doors that Daktronics will open for itself with this acquisition…

While Adflow Networks is primarily a software company, like many digital signage software companies it has become a de facto integrator—gaining knowledge on hardware along the way and offering that knowledge to complete solutions.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. But the deal makes sense for Daktronics, an industry leader in DOOH displays, whose recent fiscal Q3 performance saw a substantial loss. (Q3 is normally their weak quarter but Y-o-Y results showed disappointing results.)

Their usual business is based on awards of large projects and, by their ownn admission, those large account orders are difficult to predict, may not be repeatable, and are outside their control.

Orders for their fiscal Q3 2016 (the nine months ended January 30) decreased 7.0% as compared to Q3 fiscal 2015. Orders declined in the billboard segment of the Commercial business unit where customers decreased spending during this year primarily due to changes in their capital allocation plans, the economy, and lengthened replacement cycles. The Live Events business unit orders were down, blamed on order timing differences of large projects. Meanwhile High School Park and Recreation orders did increase as Daktronics continues winning a number of sports video projects.

“To meet and exceed customer and market demands for long-term success, we believe solution development investments are critical. Our near-term efforts are focused on ultra-high definition, software integration, control systems, and a new generation of outdoor products,” notes Reece Kurtenbach, Daktronics CEO and chairman of the board.

The value of Adflow Networks to Daktronics is cear: it’s an opportunity to grow a business unit that has constant, regular opportunity, the profit margins of software—as well as a chance to add the platform into their megaprojects. No more sitting around waiting for the Big Guys when you can go out and knee-cap the mid-market.

Daktronics says the Adflow business will operate as a subsidiary of Daktronics, remaining at its Ontario Canada headquarters, with its sales, service and software engineering teams continuing to focus on delivering digital media solutions to new and existing customers.

Kurtenbach acknowledges Adflow brings an impressive list of existing customers and their interior and interactive offerings complement Daktronic’s current commercial business unit for on-premise solutions.

“Over the coming years, we plan to integrate our sales and market channel efforts and extend Adflow’s digital media platform capabilities to all Daktronics customer segments,” Kurtenbach says. “We also look forward to developing and delivering new combined offerings to the market through this partnership.”

The Q3 results suggest that Adflow Networks may be even more important than Daktronics bargained for—and a business unit that jumps ahead of other traditional priorities.

Go Daktronics Buys Canada’s Adflow Networks

Solus Robots at DSE 2016

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Solus Robots

Solus Robots, maker of life-size robots between $5000 & $12,000, were on show at DSE 2016.

This supports, once more, our contention that “robotics” are a new category of digital signage that should be recognized—and exploited by integrators. We are hardly over the battle of “Are We in the IT Business?” and reluctant to start the new dialogue about drones and AV… but the truth is we must go where video messaging goes in order to thrive.

Solus wants to provide commercial enterprises with affordable and easy to use robots to engage in customer service, advertising and even loss prevention.

Solus Robots is backed by Solus One-- a multi-national software company, founded in 2004, that specializes in call center software, customer service interfaces and polling software solutions. They’ve built on their software to deliver affordable, life-sized robots for between $5,000 & $12,000 with a ROI they say is “under 1 year.”

Robots will integrate video, holography and other technologies—and they will become a hybrid of digital signage, security, and customer service.

The big question is what is the route-to-market for robot manufacturers? Will these robots be sold by new distribution channels which will introduce themselves to your customers in retail, hospitality, corporate reception? As we shrug our shoulders and take the video high road, will that distribution channel ultimately feel obliged to add our AV products as a one-stop solution?

If we sound crazy or far-fetched, you need not go too far for an analogy—look at all the digital signage specialists that have appeared out of nowhere, filling a vacuum that opens whenever new technology comes along and extent industries don’t rush to fill.

Go Solus Robots

Seneca and Navori Labs Align

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Swiss digital signage software specialist Navori Labs and American hardware company Seneca (an Arrow Electronics company), enter into a non-exclusive partnership to bundle reliable, high-quality hardware and software solutions for digital signage networks.


The alliance teams Seneca’s purpose-built media players with Navori Labs’ QL digital signage engine, with the intention of minimizing costs and labor for systems integrators; and simplifying ease of use of network operators.

To accelerate deployments, Seneca will pre-install QL Professional or QL Express software on its media players, allowing integrators to focus on hardware installation. Customers will have the option to self-host the QL software – used for content creation and management – or leverage Navori Labs’ cloud hosting options to outsource system maintenance and management.

The latter offers customers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) operation that further reduces total cost of ownership for the end user. And whether deployed on-premises or in the cloud, QL’s intuitive user interface offers a quick learning curve and ongoing ease of use for operators of any experience level.

Jami McGraw, product manager, visual media for Seneca, says “Navori Labs matches our dexterity and high performance when it comes to software innovation, making this partnership the perfect recipe for integrators and end users alike. Additionally, Navori Labs’ global presence and strong customer base opens many new opportunities for our bundled solutions.”

The turnkey systems include Seneca media player and Navori Labs QL software licenses in each bundled solution, eliminating unexpected costs and configurations for customers upon deployment. Systems integrators will also benefit from a wide variety of Seneca accessories to support challenging installations, including player mounting systems and internal power supplies that reduce the amount of visible components.

Navori Labs exhibited its latest generation QL digital signage engine with Seneca media players, at the recent Digital Signage Expo.

Go Seneca and Navori Labs