Industry News

Extron’s New Era for Control

  • PDF

Pro Series Control System

With the new Pro Series Control System, Extron offers more than 40 Pro Series control products-- all designed to make complex systems simpler and simple systems more powerful, and backed by the Extron Quality Guarantee and S3 customer support.

“With the introduction of Extron Pro Control Series, we are entering a new era for Extron configurable control where powerful hardware and software work together to accommodate more elaborate AV system designs,” says Casey Hall, VP Sales and Marketing for Extron. “At the heart of these new systems is Global Configurator Professional, which is loaded with advanced configuration tools including conditional logic, variables, and macros.”


Scala Meets the Partners at International Conference

  • PDF

Scala Conference 2013

Digital signage is almost a religion for Scala—and that explains why the company's turned a hall in the Zuiderkerk, the 17th century church at the Amsterdam Nieuwmarkt, into the temple to the industry that was its 2013 International Conference.

In attendance were 293 visitors, together with mix of exhibitors occupying a second floor.

Following a vaguely surreal opening musical act starring a gospel trio and an MC clad in priestly garb was the keynote from Scala CEO Tom Nix titled "What Was, Still Is & Will Be." Effectively an analysis of the state of the digital signage industry today, Nix repeatedly insisted of the importance of partners within vertical markets, particularly in these post-2008 market crash days.


Professional Development to Feature at ISE 2014

  • PDF

ISE 2014

ISE 2014 (the 11th edition of Integrated Systems Europe) will boast a more comprehensive training and development offering than any previous ISE.

The organizers announce focal points for the new Professional Development program will include two new theater spaces on the show floor of ISE 2014 — one in Hall 7 aimed at the residential systems and another in Hall 8 with a commercial application slant.


$2.3 Billion a Year Wasted. That’s a lot of DOOH.

  • PDF

How do you quantify wasted opportunity?


Digital out-of-home advertisers lose up to $2.3 billion a year because their campaigns fail to use the unique features offered by the medium, according to a study from Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO).


Clear Channel Outdoor, a leader in digital out-of-home, operates some 4700 digital screens in 18 global markets. The company says 3 out of 4 campaigns run on digital screens do not use digital features and capabilities to their full potential-- and advertisers lose billions in potential revenue as a result.


Clear Channel Outdoor sampled activity across its global network of digital screens, calculating that just 1 in 4 campaigns were maximizing the benefits offered by digital technology. With the worldwide digital out-of-home sector valued (by Kinetic) at $3 billion, this equates to $2.3 billion worth of ‘digital asset wastage.’


The issue of digital asset wastage is just one topic of CCO’s ScreenPlay study, which identifies the unique features and benefits of digital panels to advertisers and brands. The study includes research with consumers in shopping mall and rail station environments, including over 1000 shoppers and rail commuters in four French malls and in Belgium’s Brussels Centraal rail station. CCO found that consumers have very high expectations of digital out-of-home, but brands fail to make the most of the unique opportunities for creative richness, relevance, immediacy and engagement that digital screens offer over static panels.


The ScreenPlay study found that by a clear majority, digital out of home advertising is considered modern (79%) and innovative (69%), appealing (67%) and entertaining (63%), and it stands out from other forms of outdoor advertising (70%).


The research also identifies five ways in which digital creative content can unlock the full potential of digital out-of-home advertising. CCO has found that the most powerful digital ads:

  • Play with people and spaces
  • Use movement
  • Tailor executions or messages to reflect relevant consumer needs
  • Deliver real-time information and live messages
  • Build strong brand narratives
  • The study found that brands which successfully incorporate one or more of these features into their digital campaigns connect more powerfully with people, build a stronger brand identity and ultimately have greater impact.

Go Clear Channel Outdoor Study: Digital Asset Wastage

How's Your Optiportal?

  • PDF


From academia comes the new word for videowall: optiportal. Calit2 invented this term during their Optiputer Project to create interconnected computing resources over high-bandwidth networks.

Calit2 is one of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation that comes from a partnership between University of California, Irvine and University of California, San Diego.

Their Optiputer Project goal is to encourage collaboration through the use of optiportals, a goal very dear to the heart of any AV integrator in the corporate world.

Education always prefers free or low cost solutions…and Calit2 researched and collected an important list of enabling software for display walls. In the link below, you can find some middleware options that are used on many optiportals… “all are either free for institutional use or completely opensource”.


JCDecaux: Now Sans JC

  • PDF

Founder Jean-Claude Decaux, the 75-year-old head of JCDecaux will step into a new role as honorary chairman to the company he founded, while his youngest son and granddaughter join the executive and non-executive boards respectively.

JC Decaux

Jean-Claude Decaux told the Annual General Meeting he wanted to see the involvement of a third generation in this publicly-listed family-run company, which he founded in 1964 (and took public in 2001). His two elder sons, Jean-François and Jean-Charles, are joint chief executives of JCDecaux.

The youngest of Decaux's three sons, Jean-Sébastien Decaux, will join the executive board, subject to approval at the company’s AGM in May.

Aged 36, Jean-Sébastien has worked for JCDecaux since 1998 and is managing director for Southern Europe and Africa-Israel, as well as running the Belgian and Luxemburg subsidiaries.

Jean-Claude's granddaughter Alexia Decaux-Lefort, the eldest daughter of Jean-François, will join the non-executive board.

The 27-year-old is a graduate of the University of Warwick and she has been watch product manager at Piaget, part of luxury goods company Richemont International SA, since April 2012.

In other board-level changes, Gérard Degonse, the managing director of JCDecaux Holding, will replace Jean-Claude as non-executive chairman. Michel Bleitrach, the vice-chairman of Séchilienne Sidec, a French company producing biomass and solar energy, will also join the non-executive board.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting, Jean-Charles Decaux, Chairman of the Executive Board and Co-Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux, said:

“Mr. Jean-Claude Decaux has informed us of his decision not to renew his mandate, taking the opportunity to reaffirm that JCDecaux SA, which has been listed on the markets since 2001, has always been a family business and his desire to see it passed on to the third generation that will continue to invest in its future.

I believe that I speak on behalf of everyone in expressing our admiration and gratitude to Mr. Jean-Claude Decaux who, having invented the concept of street furniture advertising, first founded our Group in 1964.

Driven by his unique vision for towns and cities, he has devoted close to 50 years to improving and transforming the day-to-day lives of millions of people through the design and development of a range of street furniture that combines public services with aesthetics and functionality, and provides a powerful medium for advertisers.”

The Supervisory Board finally appointed Mr. Jean-François Decaux as Chairman of the Executive Board and Mr. Jean-Charles Decaux as Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux SA for a term of one year.

For commercial and public representation purposes, Mr. Jean-François Decaux and Mr. Jean-Charles Decaux use the title of Co-Chief Executive Officer of JCDecaux.

Key Figures for the Group

  • 2012 revenues: €2,623m; Q1 2013 revenues: €565.7m
  • JCDecaux is listed on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris and is part of the Euronext 100 index
  • No.1 worldwide in street furniture (434,700 advertising panels) 
  • No.1 worldwide in transport advertising with more than 150 airports and more than 280 contracts in metros, buses, trains and tramways (358,100 advertising panels)
  • No.1 in Europe for billboards (199,600 advertising panels)
  • No.1 in outdoor advertising in the Asia-Pacific region (205,000 advertising panels)
  • No.1 worldwide for self-service bicycle hire 1,002,800 advertising panels in more than 55 countries
  • Present in 3700 cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants
  • 10,484 employees

Go JCDecaux

No, It's NOT Digital. It's Just Clever.

  • PDF

The GREY agency in Spain is running a campaign on child abuse for the ANAR Foundation. They created a poster which appears differently to children than to adults.

Grey's ANAR campaign in Spain

Some observers suspect modern targeting technologies (even face recognition) might be involved but the truth is there's no digital screen.

It's a display trick created via a lenticular printing technique, a type of  solution so different that it requires no electricity or internet.

Lenticular printing is a technology in which lenticular lenses (same technology used for some 3D displays) produce printed images with an illusion of depth, or even the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.

Examples of lenticular printing include prizes given in some snack boxes that showed flip and animation effects such as winking eyes. This technology was created in the 1940s but has evolved in recent years to show more motion and increased depth. Recent advances in large-format presses have allowed for oversized lenses to be used in lithographic lenticular printing.

It's worth a look at the video...

Go Grey's Campaign in Spain

LCD Inventor Wins Prestigious EPO Award

  • PDF

Martin Schadt

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced the winners of the European Inventor Award 2013.

Some 500 guests attended the award ceremony in Amsterdam, including Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Sander Dekker, the Netherlands Minister for Education, Culture and Science, and Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

The 2013 awards were presented in five categories, in addition to the Popular Prize:

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Martin Schadt (Switzerland), inventor of the world's first flat-panel liquid crystal display.

It looks like rather an ugly award but nonetheless the EPO President wears an expression that the award will have to be taken from him forcibly.

But well-deserved is well-deserved and here’s why Martin Schadt deserves it:


Maturing Without Slowing Down; Digital Signage Keeps On Pushing

  • PDF

by Neil Felton, FESPA Managing Director, Exhibitions & Events

Throughout history, new technologies have often needed ambassadors and evangelists to highlight key benefits and demonstrate best practise examples to enthusiastic - though uninitiated - potential users. This has certainly been the case with digital signage, but the work of various industry bodies is now showing signs of bearing fruit. The industry is moving into its next phase of maturity, as events such as European Sign Expo (ExCeL London, 25-27 June 2013) start to address issues such as system integration, convergence with other media, and ensuring that systems are robust and easy to manage.

Display wall at European Sign Expo

The emergence of new digital signage techniques and products is not slowing, and there are many innovative and exciting new ideas that need to be explored and understood. In the past social media  has generally been regarded as fringe or trivial aspects when integrated with digital signage. More recently, however, successful campaigns have shown how they can be used to encourage audience participation and enhance the ability of digital signage to support engaging real-time communications. Accordingly, mobile and social-media integration has been moving into the mainstream over the last couple of years, and is probably one of the most important developments in digital signage today.

Today’s consumers, who are familiar with multi-touch smartphones and tablets, now tend to expect almost any type of screen to be touchable. Consequently, multi-touch capable digital signage is emerging, enabling communicators to mimic phone-like controls that invite interaction from viewers. Similarly, Near-Field Communication (NFC) is another technology from the mobile industry that is likely to feature prominently in digital signage campaigns of the future. NFC provides a channel for communicating with mobile devices and is easy to use, offering an enjoyable experience for consumers. It can allow communicators to extend the level of engagement with their target audiences, as well as capture data for purposes such as measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns. Widespread use of NFC in digital signage will, of course, be contingent upon the uptake of NFC-enabled phones reaching a critical mass.

Digital screen media also brings opportunities to integrate sophisticated technologies that are not directly linked to the mobile world. Facial recognition is one example. Over the last few years the technology has moved from scientific laboratories into real-world applications, and offers benefits for certain types of campaigns such as those involving advertising or a call to action.

There are, of course, simpler ways for communicators to grab the attention of their focal public, as demonstrated by the steadily growing adoption of displays that enable creatives to work outside the confines of the 16:9 box. These include videowalls and other displays built using panels with the latest ultra-thin bezels, as well as display systems that can be built into concave and convex curves allowing the construction of videowalls of almost any shape or size and enabling deployment in challenging or unusual locations. 

Overall, the technical developments currently emerging, or about to emerge, demonstrate how digital signage provides extra flexibility and new opportunities for brand owners to satisfy their core goal. This is, and has always been, to draw the attention of their target audience by standing out against the host of other factors competing for attention. 

The increasingly widespread use of digital signage, and integration with other digital technologies to enhance the effect of campaigns, provides evidence that understanding of the medium is growing. The role of industry associations and other not-for-profit organisations, in presenting the case for digital signage, has been significant in enabling such growth. It is critical that their initiatives should continue and become even more effective in showing potential adopters how to enter the arena and contribute to further advancement.

Class at European Sign Expo

Digital screen media is still a very new and rapidly evolving field, bringing numerous opportunities. It is also subject to few restrictions. In such an environment, it can be difficult for communicators to set targets and establish strategies to achieve them. This is why knowledge sharing is vital; the industry needs effective platforms such as conferences, educational programmes and awards schemes that create a suitable environment to encourage information sharing and industry networking. Knowledge sharing is critical to realising the full potential of this sector, and this is a role that associations such as FESPA continue working hard to fulfil.

The huge opportunities that are now becoming apparent mean that digital signage is today an extremely highly energised sector drawing in developers, vendors and end users characterised by a tremendous thirst for learning. One striking aspect is the positive response from among those working with established communication technologies such as print and signage. Printers and sign-makers are seeing the potential that digital signage offers when combined with their existing service range, and are keen to find out more about the technologies and the opportunities it can bring them. Registrations for this year’s European Sign Expo include a significant number of attendees from the graphics sector, who will be visiting to see the latest developments on display in the exhibition and to learn how to get the most from digital signage by attending the free content programme.

The topics to be tackled by the various conference threads at European Sign Expo show how the digital signage sector is maturing. Leading practitioners from developer and end-user communities will present on important practical issues; for example, how digital signage comes together with other media channels such as mobile, social and online, and how signage can be designed to work effectively with the surrounding built or natural environment. There is also a special thread on Digital Signage Integration, which will discuss how the many techniques and products now available can be combined to create a solution that is both robust and easily managed. Other threads, such as Signs & Stores, will look closely at how digital signage is being used effectively in specific industries like retail. 

The fact that the industry is having these types of discussions, led by experts who are accomplished and highly regarded in their respective fields, shows that digital signage is transitioning successfully into a serious visual communications medium. 

Neil FentonNeil Felton is the FESPA Managing Director, Exhibitions & Events. Neil joined FESPA in May 2011 as Managing Director in charge of exhibitions and events.

Neil is a highly experienced exhibitions director. He held a variety of senior exhibition roles prior to joining FESPA, culminating as executive director at William Reed where he presided over a three-fold growth in event revenues from his division. 

Neil is a board director of the AEO (Association of Event Organisers), an influential organisation in the international event industry. 

Go European Sign Expo incorporating Screenmedia Expo, is a dedicated signage event at ExCeL London from 25-27 June 2013. It provides a comprehensive demonstration of the latest developments in visual communication channels from conventional signage, digital signage and out-of-home media. During European Sign Expo visitors will be able to take advantage of free high quality educational information through two conference theatres on the exhibition floor. European Sign Expo is managed by FESPA.  The exhibition and conference is free for visitors who register online  in advance (£55 on the day).

Go FESPA  Founded in 1962, FESPA is a global federation of 37 member associations for the large format print community. FESPA’s dual aim is to promote the industry and to share knowledge with its members across the world, helping them to grow their businesses and learn about the latest developments. FESPA adopts a Profit-for-Purpose business model, reinvesting millions of Euros into the global printing community over the last seen years to support its growth.