Industry News

KorbytGO: Mobile Hub for Enterprise Communications

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Today’s employee consumes information in so many different ways (text, video, voice, data) in so many different formats (mobile more than desktop) and on so many different devices (tablets, smartphones, desktops, Chromebox etc). 

In response, RMG Networks created KorbytGO, a mobile employee engagement app that takes a new approach to internal communications. 

Designed as a single hub through which all necessary employee communications can run (from news and updates to training, performance management, resourcing and social updates) and in video as much as text (to match current trends). 

Based upon RMG Networks own experience dealing with their Fortune 500 clients, KorbytGO is a one-stop solution to unify staff communications across all the various departments of an enterprise (any business of any size) through any preferred device.

KorbytGO can be customized by the client, giving integrators a great way to add value to internal communications.

KorbytGO is the mobile and desktop extension of Korbyt, RMG’s next-generation visual enterprise communications platform. So the mobile app is backed by Korbyt’s rich data and analytics capabilities  that let organisations track and visualise employee engagement and performance. In real-time, it can pull info from various data sources and present it in a visual format for easy understanding—and to highlight action items. 

“… Our goal is to deliver businesses with the means to truly engage with their employees from one powerful platform and create communications strategies that genuinely add value to an employee’s workplace experience. Whether that’s with tailored content that helps them meet a goal, a company acknowledgement of outstanding work or peer to peer social fun. KorbytGO is a valuable communications tool that is able to speak to an employee on an individual basis whilst also galvanise a workforce and create a sense of unity — we’re excited to see the impact it will have on our customers’ businesses,” comments Martyn Barnett, managing director of RMG in Eurasia.

Key features of KorbytGO:

  • Delivers segmented and personalised messaging 
  • Ability to customise and deliver company branded versions   
  • Ability to use any form of multi-media content 
  • Built-in measurability offering detailed engagement information 
  • User-friendly CMS delivering impressive results 
  • Highly transferable content sharing to multiple varied end points  
  • Contemporary and appealing news and content feeds 

Go KorbytGO

Acer & AOpen: Why Acer Buys into Digital Signage

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AOpen logo

Author Thomas Wolfe was wrong: you can go home again…

Who remembers when AOpen was the Open System Business Unit of Acer Computer?

AOpen was incorporated in December 1996 as a subsidiary of Acer Group with an initial public offering (IPO) at the Taiwan stock exchange in August 2002. 

It was also the first subsidiary spun out of Acer under the supervision of Stan Shih, Taiwan's famous PC entrepreneur and founder of the Acer Group (and perhaps the most important man in the history of Taiwan's desire to build its own consumer brands.)

In 1998, Acer re-organised into five groups: AOpen grew from one of those groups.

To dispel complaints from clients that Acer competed with its own products (branded sales vs. contract manufacturing or OEM businesses) in 2000, Acer spun off the contract business, under the name Wistron Corporation. AOpen went with Wistron as a subsidiary.

The restructuring resulted in two primary Acer units: brand name sales and contract manufacturing. Then in 2001 Acer got rid of its manufacturing units, BenQ and Wistron to focus resources on design and sales.

Yes, I just mentioned the history and origin of BenQ. Another part of Stan Shih’s big legacy.

Today, in this new deal of 2017, AOpen and Acer announce a private placement of shares. With this private placement, Acer became the largest corporate shareholder in AOpen followed by Wistron Corporation.

From history, you can see that Wistron was Acer's "brother" (the manufacturing arm of Acer before being spun off in 2001) and that makes Wistron's AOpen a nephew of Acer.

Now the nephew (AOpen, a subsidiary of Wistron Group) gets adopted by the Uncle (Acer, the new main shareholder). In Asian business, it's sometimes hard to tell relatives apart.

Today AOpen has two strategic divisions. As the PC Components business deteriorate (maybe, imploded is a better word), AOpen was smart enough to see that computers embedded in displays meant the PC business was going to be digital signage. Under AOpen CEO & President, Bernie Tsai (we once called him the Steve Jobs of AOpen) the company leveraged its historical relationship with Intel to pursue successfully digital signage. AOpen went for the full solution: media player, management, deployment, display, extension and software.


While AOpen moved away from the dwindling consumer business, they did stay in the IT business with their Small Form Factor Platform division. AOPEN develops SFF platform products such as HTPC and gaming PC in digital homes, and office PC in digital offices. In addition, AOPEN develops SFF business PC for business applications, such as kiosks and POS. AOPEN also supplies a wide variety of I/O components, including case, motherboard, keyboard and mouse.

The other smart move AOpen made—and their approach saved them from the Last Man Standing position that has trapped many of the PC component companies—was to embrace Google and Chrome.

Today AOpen remains the only commercial device provider developing technology across all operating systems, including Google Chrome OS. AOpen is beloved by Google for their efforts.

So AOpen has two Big Brothers now, Intel (from the PC business) and Google. Good move.

So why is Acer back? Acer recognizes it has gone as far in the PC business as it can and now its going wide. It has embraced many new product categories: while PC gaming is a natural, smartphones a must, and 360 degree camera a typical PC accessory, Acer stretched further with Leap Wear fitness gear, senior citizen tablets, and bicycle tech. They even have a joint venture in VR with StarVR who supplies IMAX.  Yet my favorite from Acer is Pawbo, their Pet Care division

Acer, like all the PC business is looking to B2B for profit these days…and Acer is following the IT industry road map mantra…Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, AI, AR…Close your eyes, and just keep repeating in reverent tones…For these are the future of IT.

And whether an IT company survives depends upon how one weaves together these important trends. Acer has launched, to big fanfare, its own Cloud service aBeing Cloud…its Build Your Own Cloud service. Cloud is one way to weave many of these IT trends together.

Acer Being Signage

And that brought Acer back to (among other areas)…digital signage (Acer Being Signage). Why should Acer go out and compete as a beginner when they can turn to a family solution?

Acer can supply services that AOpen needs and AOpen can lead them down the path digital signage is now headed…cloud services, proximity marketing, AR/VR, sensors and IoT, retail and education opportunities and more…

AOpen brings Google and Chromebox to the party. And Acer can help push their SFF division to its customers, as well as digital signage. It’s a natural match as the companies were once intertwined and there is an in-breeding of executives and shareholders. It’s like family.

You could say AOpen is home, again.

Go Read the Acer and AOpen Press Release and you’ll see why this article explains it all so much better

Ayuda Integrates with Hivestack

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Ayuda Platform

Ayuda Media Systems Inc., a leading ERP company whose technology is used globally to run out-of-home media companies announces integration with Hivestack, a company specializing in garnering new programmatic revenue streams for the DOOH industry.

Hivestack helps marketers target consumers based on where they are and places they’ve been. Hivestack consists of a platform and a demand facilitation strategy. Their "full ad tech stack" platform includes an SSP for DOOH media owners, an ad exchange with APIs to monetize unsold inventory, a geotemporal DOOH ad server, and a DSP used by digital agencies to buy DOOH programmatically.

Ayuda's Splash allows traditional outdoor vendors to transition into digital OOH vendors. With support for place-based digital networks, as well as integrated transit support, Splash is a comprehensive management system for digital OOH inventory.

Splash includes detailed asset management capabilities for sites, vehicles, fleets, screens, faces, and more. And day-part & day of week scheduling, dynamic loop templates, demographic targeting, peer-to-peer content distribution, network monitoring, and more. Splash ties in with the rest of the Ayuda Platform – including CRM, Avails & Proposals, Billing & Invoicing, Leasing, Mapping, Proof Of Performance, and Reporting.

Luc Filiatreault, President of Ayuda commented, “We are thrilled to have completed a deep integration with our programmatic partner, Hivestack. Our clients will benefit greatly from this work as our Splash CMS and Player now have first-class support for programmatic campaigns.”

As part of the integration, Splash uses the Hivestack Exchange APIs to make ad requests from all unsold spots in a loop of a digital unit. If Hivestack has demand for the unit, it responds in realtime with a VAST file that envelopes the creative.

In addition, Splash uses the Hivestack Exchange API to retrieve 24 hours of creative for every unit bought through Hivestack, and then the Splash Player pre-caches the creative locally. Finally, the Splash Player reports back POP by calling a VAST impression URL after creative is played so that Hivestack can keep track of plays.

A synchronization process keeps inventory, campaign and audience impression data synchronized between Splash and Hivestack.

Andreas Soupliotis, CEO of Hivestack commented: “Ayuda’s integration with Hivestack enables media owners who use Splash as a CMS / Player to monetize their unsold inventory. In addition, thanks to a realtime avails integration with Splash, Hivestack SSP can verify impression availability of packaged deals prior to publishing to DSPs. This deep integration between CMS/Player/SSP functionality truly readies digital OOH media owners for new revenue streams from programmatic demand.”

Go Ayuda Media Systems

Go Hivestack

RMG NETWORKS: Justin Peyton Heads up European Channel Strategy

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Justin Peyton

RMG Networks enlists Justin Peyton as its new European Channel Director to help expand its offering across Europe.

With two decades of experience from across the AV, consumer electronics and telecoms industries around the world, Peyton will help RMG tap into the channel potential for digital signage in Europe.

As Director of European Channel, Peyton will be responsible for extending relationships with partners across Europe and building out RMG’s portfolio of distributors, resellers and system integrators in line with growth goals. With immediate plans to extend RMG’s offering beyond Enterprise solutions, Peyton will help lead the movement into key sectors of the digital signage market, by introducing RMG’s new sophisticated cloud based content management system (CMS) platform into the market.

Peyton joins the team from ONELAN, where he was responsible for EMEA and LATAM sales and played a pivotal role in steering new partnerships in over 30 countries in those regions. 

“I’m really happy to be joining RMG and to get started on expanding and opening new European opportunities for our partners,” comments Peyton. “With our new product launches in the coming weeks, we will be actively signing up new partners to represent us and then continue to support them throughout what we anticipate to be an exciting period of growth for our partners and RMG in 2018.”

RMG is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with additional offices in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

Go RMG Networks Names Peyton to Lead Channel in Europe

The Second Act: norxe

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norxe P1m

Can they do it again?

The founder of projectiondesign, along with a number of his former colleagues, launches a new high-end projector company: norxe.

Pronounced “Norse,” norxe debuted the first of its P Series in America at I/ITSEC. The norxe P1 projector features 4000 ANSI lumens using solid-state LED illumination.

Located in Fredrikstad, Norway, where projectiondesign was started, norxe founder Jørn Eriksen says the new company will aim for high-end projection including simulation, VR (virtual reality), control rooms and medical applications — all above 4000 lumens.

Founded in 2001, projectiondesign grew to 17 international offices, about 200 people, and approximately 60 million euro in sales in 2012.

Norxe logo

In December of that year, Herkules Private Equity III (a private equity venture capital company) sold its shares, the majority of projectiondesign to Barco NV. The next year the remaining shares passed to Barco.

“We are very pleased to become part of the Barco family, and this agreement is a significant step forward for our company,” commented Jørn Eriksen at the time. He was CEO of projectiondesign and added, “We share a common philosophy and entrepreneurial culture, driven by a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. Joining forces with Barco, a market leader in projection technology, enables us to expand our geographic footprint and allows us to tap into Barco’s global sales team and channel portfolio.”

“The acquisition of projectiondesign plays a key role in Barco’s strategy to offer high-class projection technology to both large and mid-sized venues,” said Eric Van Zele, President and CEO of Barco in 2013. “Barco and projectiondesign complement each other on the levels of technology, product portfolios and geographic coverage. Thanks to this acquisition, we can expand our portfolios for the Simulation, Virtual Reality and Corporate AV markets as we continue to leverage our global sales coverage and our channels to grow this business, particularly in Asia and Latin America.”

Norxe Staff at I/ITSEC

Now Barco Fredrikstad is part of the Belgian-headquartered Barco and is recognized as a Center of Excellence for single-chip DLP projection technology in the visualization industry. Barco Fredrikstad works on high-resolution and compact single-chip DLP projectors-- designed, developed, and manufactured in-house for a wide variety of applications such as training and simulation, visitor attractions, planetariums, and scientific visualization.

With any post-acquisition non-compete clauses now expired, norxe is located in the same town. And targeting similar high end applications. It hopes to re-create some of the attraction projectiondesign had as it grew— a flat management organization with a faster reaction to market and a company size that brings it closer to the size of many of the channel partners. The product designed by norxe seems to be made at nearby Norautron, a contract manufacturer.

In fact, norxe executives publicly claim they started the company in response to partners’ demand. The clear advantage of a team of experienced executives is that you can start off with a channel that already knows you.

Go norxe

Sony Returns to ISE in 2017

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Sony will return to ISE in 2017 and the company says visitors to their ISE stand should expect:

Big Screen CLEDIS Technology. Sony’s ultimate big-screen display solution, CLEDIS, delivers 8K visual experiences by combining a high-contrast image (more than 1,000,000:1) with an 1000 nit brightness, and "no artefacts due to uniform brightness intensity." Unique pixel drive circuitry achieves an ultra-fast video response time with a frame rate of 120fps for fast-moving content across a nearly 180 degree viewing angle.

Visual simulation and entertainment applications. Sony will showcase its range of SXRD projection solutions to enhance industrial design, CAD, flight simulation, scientific research, healthcare, theme parks, planetariums, visitor attractions and beyond. Models on display at ISE 2017 will include the VPL-GT280 with 5000 lumens brightness.

Real-time multimedia sharing and collaboration, designed to inspire active learning in universities, colleges and corporate meeting rooms. Sony’s new collaboration solution will enable users to share multimedia content in real time from their own portable devices within lectures, brainstorming sessions or collaborative workgroups. Participants can join the discussion remotely and share material using traditional video conference systems. Content can be streamed online or archived with Optical Disc Archive, and by connecting to the Ubicast recording system sessions can be recorded for review at any time. The easy-to-use SRG-120DU Full HD remotely operated PTZ camera will be demonstrated at the show, along with a new Sony laser projector.

Corporate and touchscreen solutions. Sony will demonstrate the breadth of its BRAVIA Professional Display range, combining industry-leading image quality with excellent reliability, low running costs and interchangeable professional features. This includes TDM Digital Signage software that makes it quick and easy to create eye-catching multimedia experiences, great for reception areas, school sports halls and cafeterias. Our new touchscreen solution turns BRAVIA into a super-size touch display – great for engaging customers at offices, universities, retail stores, and visitor attractions. The best-ever BRAVIA B2B family now includes the 100” FWD-100ZD9501, delivering 4K HDR picture quality for high-end corporate, signage and post production applications.

Live production solutions for capturing team meetings, presentations and conferences. Sony live production solutions make it easier to capture team meetings, presentations and conferences in Full HD or 4K for streaming and sharing with audiences worldwide. Stream and share content with the Sony HXR-NX5R Full HD handheld camera, MCX-500 4-channel switcher and RM-30BP multi-function remote, and use the latest generation of Optical Disc Archive solutions to deliver safe and long-term storage, with instant access to all of your files in a new workflow.

“We’re looking forward to returning to Amsterdam and to unveiling our latest innovations for revitalising working and learning environments around Europe,” said Damien Weissenburger, Business Head of Corporate & Education Solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Europe.

Go Sony at ISE 2017

Barix Founder Johannes Rietschel Returns

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Johannes Rietschel

Audio over IP pioneer Barix brings back company founder Johannes Rietschel as CTO—just one of several executive-level changes as Barix prepares to introduce new product strategies and innovations to its many markets, including professional AV, broadcast, retail and security.

Rietschel [shown in photo at top left] founded Barix in 2001 upon anticipating the need to move audio and control signals over IP networks. The company has since shipped more than 300,000 Barix and private-labeled OEM hardware devices worldwide, and has more recently evolved into SaaS and managed services with SoundScape, its business music and advertising platform for retail, hospitality and other location-based businesses.


Pro Audio Video--Market Drivers and Forecast

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Technavio Logo

Technavio analysts predict the global pro audio video (AV) market will grow at a CAGR of close to 12% during 2016-2020. And cites digital signage as one of the main drivers of growth...

The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global pro AV market (various applications such as collaborative conferencing that include video, audio, web, and data conferencing, digital signage, command and control centers, tradeshow exhibitions, presentations, medical communications, virtual events, and corporate events) for 2016-2020. The report also lists the key vendors in the market (but does not present the market share of vendors in the market).

"The growing need for controlled systems from corporate firms drives the global pro AV market. With the use of control systems, all the AV equipment get interconnected and can be controlled from a single access, which reduces the extra effort needed for manual control. The increased use of digital signage as an effective marketing and promotional tool is another major factor, which is likely to fuel the market growth during the forecast period," says Ujjwal Doshi, Technavio analyst.

Technavio analysts highlights three factors contributing to the growth of the global pro AV market:

  • Increased demand for controlled systems
  • Increasing adoption of digital signage content management software
  • Growth in movie industry

Increased demand for controlled systems: As the AV technology develops, most of the AV devices are interconnected with the process automation. Control systems take control of all the connected AV equipment and other related accessories like display screens, PCs, microphones, lights, and cameras. Control systems are designed to simplify the AV process so that the meetings, events, and other collaborations that are inter dependent run seamlessly. The demand for controlled meeting and teaching spaces has increased in corporate, education, government, and other end-user segments. With the controlled systems in place, all the connected pro AV equipment can be operated with ease.

Market Research

Increasing adoption of digital signage content management software: In 2009, there were just above 50 vendors providing digital signage content management software and in 2015, this number grew to more than 500 vendors. This growth is due to the increase in the usage of digital signage. With the availability of out-of-the-box pro AV equipment and digital signage content management software, it is easy for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to directly implement digital signage for their business without any customization. The availability of easy to use digital signage content management software has enabled many retail players to use digital signage for their brands.

Growth in movie industry: "The growth of the movie industry in US was one of the major reasons for the growing movie industry globally. The movie industry has grown by 33% in 2010-2015. The storylines along with the presence of visual effects, 3D effects, and IMAX theaters improve the experience of the moviegoers. Advances in home theater set up as well as in television series that are produced, are unable to give a tough competition to the movie market," asserts Ujjwal.

The global box office market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.95% in terms of revenue during the forecast period. The introduction of 3D and IMAX theaters provide a much better viewing experience and allow the global box office market to claim higher revenue. Ticket prices in 3D and IMAX theaters are substantially higher than standard tickets. With the increase in a number of screens, the opportunity for audio and projector manufacturers in the pro AV market increases.

Go Technavio Forecast

Samsung Buys Harman in $8 Billion Cash Deal

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Samsung Office

It's the biggest acquisition in Samsung's history: $8 billion for Harman International in an all cash deal.

And for Samsung it is less about audio/video and digital signage, and much more about automotive electronics.

Harman leads the connected car solutions market, with more than 30 million vehicles equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security.

Approximately 65% of Harman’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related-- and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.

Upon closing, Harman will operate as a stand-alone Samsung subsidiary, led by Harman’s current management team.

Samsung says it is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and therefore plans to retain Harman’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands.

Samsung’s own Automotive Electronics Business Team, established in December 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the Harman management to realize the expected growth potential.

It hasn't been a good year for Samsung. The Note 7 recalls are still in the headlines and at home Samsung is being grilled by prosecutors over why Samsung transferred 28 billion euros (about 30 billion U.S. dollars) last year to a company in Germany co-owned by Korean President Park's longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil (under arrest for abuse of power and attempted fraud) and her 20-year-old daughter.

Samsung Electronics Co. nominated Jay Y. Lee to its board in a move that allows the son of its ailing chairman to take a more active role as Korea’s largest company faces its deepest crisis in years.

Meanwhile new CEO and vice-chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon moves ahead with an agenda thought to be inspired by Jay Y. Lee: the shift from organic growth to growth by acquisition. And it's a strategy that if it succeeds, will be copied by other Asian companies that look to the Korean conglomerate for leadership ideas.

The deal to buy Harman International Industries all about the purchase of an American automotive technology company,  a deal that would combine Samsung's display and semiconductor operations with a business that already builds sound and smart components for digitally connected cars.

Samsung wants to be part of the supply chain for technology that will transform cars in the way that smartphones transformed mobile devices. This market, Samsung says, will grow to more than $100 billion by 2025.

In addition, the combination of Harman’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics could deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.

“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” notes Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics.

“As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform.  Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and Harman’s talented employees. Harman’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”

Dinesh Paliwal

Dinesh Paliwal, Harman Chairman, President and CEO, [shown in photo] explains, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company. Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders.

"Samsung is an ideal partner for Harman and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world.  Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with Harman’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers.

"Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.  This transaction will bring Harman and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space.  More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of Harman’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets.  We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”

Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and Harman’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.

These are the complementary technologies mentioned in its press release...

Automotive: Combining Harman’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance Harman’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.

Audio: Harman’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel.  The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins and Bang & Olufsen brands for automotive.  All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.

Professional: The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards.

Connected Services: Samsung will gain access to Harman’s 8000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market.  This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices."

The transaction, subject to approval by Harman shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.

Many industry commentators noted that AMX, one of Harman's recent acquisitions, did not get mentioned specifically in the press release.  That, to some, signals the possibility of a de-acquisition. On the other hand, AMX could play an important role in the Connected Services (and IoT) and large scale professional AV installations.

Acquisitions are new territory for Samsung (who once believed in only organic growth) so no one --including Samsung itself--knows what to expect. It's a new era.

Go Samsung Buys Harman