Industry News

Joan Earns Red Dot Distinction

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Red Dot Award

More than 5000 entries wanted this year's international Red Dot Award for Best Product Design— and yet someone from our own industry won this prestigious prize.

Joan Meeting Room Assistant took home the Red Dot Award, the first-ever Red Dot winner for a meeting room scheduling solution (and digital door label) to win this highest of international distinctions for high quality product design.

Joan is a next generation room booking device using an E Ink e-paper display with 180° viewing angle, great visibility and no glare (even in direct sunlight).

Joan

The award recognizes Joan's elegant design, reflecting modernistic simplicity with no buttons and an intuitive interface. (Our editors believe the judges might have also recognized the beauty behind an anthropomorphic branding of an elegant product with the face of Joan to personify a room meeting assistant.)

Developed by a global market leader in electronic paper signage, Visionect designed Joan exclusively for room booking signage. Dedicated from birth to its task, Joan is installed in minutes (without cables as it is easily attached to any surface) and she leverages the existing wi-fi network to connect to popular online calendars and to hold conversations with the smartphones and tablets of room users.

Joan is the greenest digital door label on the market with a power consumption that the maker says is 99% lower than other room booking signage solutions. Joan lasts up to three months on a single battery charge, with a lighter environmental footprint. If the battery runs out, Joan even lets you know with an email reminder.

Joan Digital Door Label

Earlier this year, America's famous event, CES, applauded Joan’s extreme energy efficiency by awarding Joan the CES Innovation Award for innovative design and engineering.

While the fundamental appeals of Joan are its accessible price (RRP EUR 349) and ease-of-use, its intelligent technology and appearance, Joan fulfills the needs of a modern workplace that is rapidly morphing to fit the habits of an internet age and its new generation of workers.

Joan’s development has indeed been influenced by its earliest users – Microsoft, Dell and Dreamworks. Microsoft’s “New World of Work” campaign recognizes Joan as one of the tools that improve productivity and rethink how things get done in a modern workplace.

Joan has been entrusted with meeting rooms at more than 100 companies and organizations because—besides being a pretty face—Joan pays for herself by increasing productivity. Those annoying no-show meeting (ghost meetings!) cost business as much as $30 million per year in USA alone— and other organizations (churches, government, museums, non-profits, military...) may not quantify the loss in the same way but they still suffer from similar disruptions.

Joan’s "Check into" meeting function eliminates no-shows (ghost meetings), saves money and time-- and helps optimize valuable office space (allowing the ghosted conference or huddle room to be reallocated for immediate use).

Born in Europe, Joan is also very Continental with a host of languages she can speak. By localizing the technology that employees will use daily—like any good room meeting assistant-- Joan improves communications and efficiency.

She is constantly adding new languages, including some out-of-the-world choices just to show how easily Joan picks up language.

Should any Klingons break free from their space on Star Trek to meet and congratulate her on winning the Red Dot Award, Joan is capable of greeting them properly in their own language.

All we can say is, YI’el, Joan!

Go Joan Learns New Languages

Go Joan Partner Program

Christie Appoints Stampede Europe

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Mark Wilkins

After years of success taking the Christie brand, products and services to the North American market, Christie now appoints Stampede Europe as a distribution partner for its Business Products, LED and Video Wall Solutions.

“For years, Stampede has served as Christie’s largest value-added distributor in the United States, Canadian, and Latin American markets, helping to establish the company as a pioneer in the display and projector industry,” says Stampede CEO Mark Wilkins. [Shown in photo at top left.]

“Christie offers an unprecedented combination of consistent product and high-quality service, allowing us to offer our resellers the right product targeted to the right application, and be completely confident of support. And now, with the opening of Stampede Europe and the acquisition of UK-based Just Lamps, we have the sales and marketing infrastructure in place to extend a very successful distribution partnership to the UK and beyond."

Dale Miller

“Christie has a long and successful relationship with Stampede in North America so it was natural to continue that with their expansion into the UK market. We found that Stampede NA has a fresh, dynamic marketing dimension and have been a proven force in marketing terms to deliver our products and services to a wider audience,” says Dale Miller, Executive Vice President, Global Sales, for Christie. [Shown in photo at right.] We’re confident that Stampede will be able to leverage from their NA experience to help drive forward in developing the market place in new territories.”

Simon Smith, Vice President, Christie EMEA [Shown in photo at bottom left] echoed the sentiment, adding,“In recent years Christie has introduced a huge number of new products and services. For example, we have award-winning flat panels and LED. Christie has the widest range of projectors spanning 1DLP, 3DLP and LCD, and pioneered new illumination sources and technology platforms with laser phosphor and true native 4K. We have here an established and important market for Christie.

Simon Smith

"When you consider the range and level of performance we can offer tailored to specific applications, this is a great time for Stampede to extend the consistent growth we have enjoyed with our existing distributors.”

According to both Wilkins and Miller, the newly-signed agreement currently includes the UK but the plan is to continue to expand the Stampede-Christie network globally.

Go Christie Digital Systems

Go Stampede



DSS Europe 2016 Breaks Own Record

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DSS Europe

This year’s Digital Signage Summit Europe broke its own records: the event saw more attendees, more exhibitors and more speakers discussing more important topics for the future of the sector than ever before.

All in all, 503 attendees filled the two-day DSS Europe conference to listen to 40 plus speakers and the 40 exhibitors making their way to the Munich-based conference. Despite summer temperatures, all presentations and panels were well attended.

Florian Rotberg

This year’s DSS Europe was also historic: the largest and most successful conference to-date was also the event’s 10th anniversary. Furthermore, with the news of Brexit running parallel to the event, questions were raised regarding the inevitable changes both to the economy in general and the digital signage industry as a whole.

Aside from both of these external factors, the DSS Europe could be a historic conference for other reasons: the rising trends IoT and smart cities, two of the most important topics at the event, both set to have a huge impact on the world -- for companies, individuals and potentially all vertical markets.

After 10 years of DSS Europe, the organizers say the event has taken place in the Hilton Airport for the last time. From 2017, the event will most likely take place in Munich’s ICM.

While the DSS Europe may be over for another year, there are many reasons why 2016’s event is sure to be remembered as a turning point. Organisers invidis and ISE hope that everyone made it back home safe and sound and would like to extend thanks to all people and companies that made 2016’s DSS Europe an extremely special one.

Go DSS Europe News


Scala Names Harry Horn as General Manager of EMEA

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Harry Horn

Scala names Harry Horn as VP and General Manager to lead their EMEA operations. Horn will oversee efforts in sales, marketing, finance, services and support and daily activity in the Sittard, Netherlands-based EMEA office.

Horn will continue overseeing Scala’s marketing strategy as Global Marketing Vice President. Scala has digital signage solutions driving more than 500,000 screens worldwide, connecting networks of digital devices and has operations throughout the EMEA region including Norway, Germany, Spain, UK and UAE.

“Harry’s marketing efforts have consistently supported and reinforced Scala’s sales and services goals, and his broad knowledge of the EMEA digital landscape and partner network makes stepping into this role a natural fit,” says Rune Halvorsen, chairman of the Scala board. “This also brings continuity to the EMEA leadership.”

Leading to his new role, Horn has worked to align sales, services and marketing to ensure a consistent, cohesive message and high-quality digital solution is delivered to customers and communicated to partners. Horn joined Scala in 2010 with more than 20 years of experience and in 2012 took over the direction of the global marketing strategy driving digital marketing, events, thought leadership and communications, awareness campaigns and prospect nurturing.

As general manager, Horn will extend his current presence in lending his expertise to speaking engagements and industry interviews.

Go Scala Names Harry Horn as GM for EMEA

Rising Adoption of Digital Signage in Corporate Spaces

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Nielsen Offices

Based on feedback from 500 organisations across W. Europe and the US, Futuresource Consulting says, the corporate vertical continues to show a strong propensity for growth in the adoption of digital signage at a time where the wider market is beginning to show signs of maturity (in some segments) and emerging territories are posting declines in the face of worsening economic conditions.

In short, look to the corporate market for growth.

The corporate market offers a large addressable audience, existing communications infrastructure (which signage solutions can leverage) and the growing desire of companies to communicate with employees and partners in increasingly diverse ways.

Ben Davis, Senior Market Analyst, reports annual volume growth for commercial Large Format Display (LFD) product (excluding videowall and interactive whiteboard product) reached just 6% globally in 2015, down from 10% the year before and 20% in 2013.

HuddleRooms

“Large chained installs in sectors like automotive, QSR and retail banking continue to prop-up rising volumes in larger Western markets but a growth ceiling is becoming an increasing concern for suppliers as penetration in these early adopter verticals rises.

“Over 30% of organisations surveyed in our latest round of research are using screens outside of meeting spaces for the purpose of digital signage. Large organisations with headcounts of 500+ show the highest rates of adoption but it’s the SME market, below the top tier of enterprise, which provides the largest addressable opportunity in terms of scale. Requirements in this sector are typically heavily cost driven, often based on small networks running template driven signage, with the potential to overlay signage content on existing screens used to deliver broadcast content.

“From a supply side perspective, the last few years have seen increasing diversification of solutions as vendors seek to align products to individual verticals, opening up new customer bases. A key facet of this strategy has been the rising availability and declining cost of lower end solutions designed to service small network environments like those seen in SME office spaces.

“The rising penetration of SoC solutions in screen hardware, the decreasing cost of low end media players and the increasing availability of template based content management solutions have all made digital signage more accessible to corporate customers. Penetration in the segment is rising and this positive trend is highlighted by our survey with 14% of companies that do not currently operate digital signage in office spaces expecting to do so during the next two years.

CorporateSpaces

“A primary driver for the adoption and expansion of digital signage networks in the corporate space is the increasing influence of IT managers and IT integrators on AV purchase decisions. This trend is happening at a time when the AV signal distribution market is making its first significant inroads into replacing conventional matrix switching products with IP based solutions. Residing on a company’s central network, these video distribution platforms sit alongside other network based communications tools, providing IT and communications managers with opportunities to create increasingly centralised and integrated solutions.

“IP solutions account for a small proportion of the AV matrix switching market at present (<5%) but the cost of these solutions is falling as the cost of Ethernet switches comes down and video compression standards improve. These solutions can offer numerous benefits and significant cost saving potential for larger networks spread across corporate campuses. Perhaps most importantly for the signage market is the flexibility these solutions offer. Any screen in any location can receive any video stream on the network and adding additional screens is as simple as adding an additional Ethernet switch to existing infrastructure. Over 50% of companies we surveyed which currently use digital signage in their offices expect to expand that network within the next two years.“

Davis adds, “The future adoption of IP based video switching solutions will aid network expansion and help maximise the utility of signage installs in office spaces.”

Go Futuresource Consulting

2016 Digital Signage Tendencies In Russian Retail

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Sergey Galeev

by Sergey Galeev, CEO, AddReality

According to Rosstat (Russian Federal State Statistics Service), the retail business in Russia has decreased by 10% in 2015, including a 15% drop in December. The main factors that have caused this situation include an insufficient demand from the population, high taxation level, lack of financial resources. The retailers are now faced with the goal of increasing an average bill, improving customer loyalty and attracting new clients.

Resources control and rational management are very important for retail businesses, especially large chains with a wide network of shops. There are many solutions in the market that aim to automate business processes in retail: warehouse and sales management, systems for procurement departments, software for the management of digital POS-materials.

The IT expenditures of Russian companies have decreased by 10-20% in 2015. The retailers prioritize those IT solutions that directly influence additional revenue attraction or cost saving, solve everyday tasks: for example, cutting the cost of marketing materials and increasing the sales of high-marginal goods. Fashion and beauty retail are actively implementing digital POS-materials- since the beginning of 2016 screens, video walls and sensory panels have been installed in many clothing, shoes and cosmetics shops.

Digital POS is a worldwide trend and due to the solutions for centralized media content management, the investments for the installation of digital screens pay themselves back very fast. The expenses for the logistics and manufacturing of printed banners recede into the past, as any marketing campaign is now created, renewed and launched remotely in every shop of a chain in a few minutes- from a PC or a tablet.

Alongside the optimization of expenditures, another factor that drives the transition to modern digital devices in Russian market is the introduction of EGAIS in 2015 (Unified state automatic informational system-- a state system dedicated to the control of alcohol production and turnover) and the new requirements for cash registers. The use of modern equipment, software and online data exchange instead of legacy devices with the limited functions helps to utilize the cash desk for marketing purposes. Integration with the analytical services and digital POS-materials provides retailers with an opportunity to optimize marketing funnel, monitor the effectiveness of advertisings in real time- for example, to track how a particular marketing campaign has influenced sales of a particular SKU.

There is a definite dependency between the retail and IT industry- we live in a time of a consumer type change and the retail is obliged to comply. What do the modern shoppers, the so called “Generation Z” need? They are the adepts of modern digital technologies and don’t want to watch “everyone’s” advertising- they need a personalized offer. They are open towards the virtual reality, put less and less trust in “real life” sales- including the shop assistants.

Russian retail is becoming more and more technological- and that is the forecast for the upcoming years, not only 2016. Digital technologies open a wide range of opportunities for retailers to optimize the expenditures. The main benefit of the digitalization of a shop is that the customer behavior, effectiveness of every marketing campaign, interaction of the visitors with the touch devices, quality of services- are now becoming measurable, meaning that the control and adjustment of retailer’s expenses will be faster and more efficient.

Sergey Galeev, CEO of AddReality. Sergey is the ideologist, co-founder and general manager of AddReality LLC. Has an extensive managing and entrepreneurial experience in IT, advertising and retail, directed the realization of complex digital projects. Sergey has conducted joint work with the industry leaders Ratmir Timashev, Steve Blank, David Cooks and many others. Sergey is a regular speaker at international conferences and an acknowledged expert in Digital Signage and retail.

AddReality is a cloud-based Digital Signage platform, enabling enterprises worldwide to create, edit, manage and deploy digital content. The solution comes with an intuitive editor for marketing campaigns personalization. AddReality provides a powerful tool for centralized remote management of the entire network of digital devices at the Point of Sale: audio players, tablets, video walls, touch tables, interactive kiosks and mirrors. The platform is especially effective for clients in retail, banking and HORECA businesses, governmental and educational organizations. AddReality customers include Microsoft, Nike, Yves Saint Laurent, Lancôme, Russian Railways among others.

Go AddReality


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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SpectraCal

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