Wednesday, June 30, 2010

QUICKY: June 30th, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

JOBS: Digital Signage Programmer in Montreal

Telecine Multimedia, a content creation firm in Montreal, Quebec, is looking for a Digital Signage Programmer. What does that mean you may ask? Basically some one with some knowledge of Python or VBscript and the willingness to take Scala training and learn ScalaScript.

Here's the Workopolis link.

3D Shelf and Aisle Displays?

Aiptek has a new product that could make 3D shelf displays possible and even affordable. Aiptek's new Portable 3D Display allows you to view your pictures and videos in 3D without glasses utilizing an 8" Parallax LCD Screen. Aiptek has a 3D camcorder available to capture the 3D video, or use the included software to convert your existing works into three-dimensional masterpieces that you can share with all of your friends and family...or perhaps your clients.

The Portable 3D Display probably won't be the most robust of products for a commercial environment but at about $230 it sure makes it affordable to be the first store on the block to have 3D shelf displays.

Editor's note: It's funny how we posted this following a post about the possible harmful effects of 3D
;)

Can 3D harm your children?

3D TV is getting a lot of hype. Probably too much.

It's starting to bother me how short the consumer electronics industry is trying to make their product life cycle for home entertainment products. You used to be able to buy a CRT and keep it for 15 years without problems. Nowadays, you buy an LCD TV and it craps out on you in a year and a half (obviously right after your warranty expires).

CE industry marketing is making your brand new TV obsolete the day after you buy it. First we needed to buy LCD / plasma panels. Then LED TV's were released. Little did the consumer know that those TV's were available in previous years but were called LCD TV's with LED back-lighting because that's just what they are.

Now they're trying to sell us on virtual reality...oh wait, no that was 15 years ago. VR was all the rage in the mid-nineties: it promised a more immersive experience, it was in the movies, it was getting a whole lot of hype and a bunch of great VR headsets were going to be released within months and we were expecting to be running through 3D environments with better, more realistic graphics than before.

Hey, that sounds a lot like 3D TV. But then the whole VR thing just disappeared with no as much as a word why.

Audioholics, was able to interview virtual reality researcher and co-developer of VRML Mark Pesce who worked with Sega to develop their VR headset. Sega buried their VR headset after rigorous testing. Third party lab, the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) at Palo Alto California basically told Sega: "Don't give this to kids!"

Those stunning results were covered up by the CE industry but research on 'cybersickness' has been published as an unclassified document from the defense department of Australia regarding the harmful effects of 3D environments.

One of the major problems with 3D and how it gets you to see/think in 3D is that it plays around with your stereopsis, or your ability to perceive depth, an ability humans developed to be better hunters. Children sometimes get lazy-eye, an abnormal alignment of the eyes that can compromise depth perception. Every time we watch a 3D movie we temporarily get a form of lazy-eye to make the images 'pop'. We do that with "Magic Eye" images too.

Research has obviously been studied by the CE industry and more studies on 3D are likely being run now. There's a reason that the Nintendo 3DS that may show up on your child's next list to Santa Clause will carry a warning about dangers to children under 7 playing.

Can prolonged exposure to 3D TV's harm your children during their stages of critical development? Will 3D TV's go the way of the VR headset? Are we destined to see legions of kids wearing eye-patches? Read the Audioholics article for a little more on the subject.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Classic Care Pharmacy Chooses ScreenScape's Web 2.0 Digital Signage

Classic Care Pharmacy has chosen ScreenScape, to develop a digital signage network that will be progressively deployed to 170 Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Residences in Ontario. Classic Care Pharmacy provides medication and consulting services to over 170 Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Residences totaling 13,000 senior residents. They will use ScreenScape to promote senior health and provide information on educational events and on-site services to residents.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cineplex to buy DDC

According to this release, Cineplex Entertainment LP, Canada's largest motion picture exhibitor, said it agreed to acquire DDC Group International Inc for about $3.5 million CAD to boost its digital media business.

Waterloo-based DDC designs, installs and operates digital signage networks on software platforms in retail, financial, hospitality and entertainment markets across North America. DDC has collaborated on such projects as the 320-screen digital signage install at Toronto's Air Canada Centre and Labatt's in-store "PODS".

The deal is expected to close on or about July 2, Cineplex Entertainment said in a statement.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Synergy Screens rapidly expanding with ScreenScape Community

Location-based advertising company Synergy Screens is rapidly growing its digital signage network and has expanded its ScreenScape license, announced company President and Founder, Mark Simmons.

“Our network is growing faster than we anticipated.” said Simmons. “Businesses of all kinds and sizes are recognizing the power in onsite digital marketing. We've introduced new venues to this platform and we have also drawn on the ScreenScape Community to turn existing ScreenScape customers onto our ad brokering services. There is definitely power in a network. ScreenScape helps us to scale our network while keeping capital costs under control. We look forward to becoming a go-to partner of choice for more new members as they discover and join ScreenScape.”

Mark Hemphill, Founder and Chief Product Officer of ScreenScape Networks stated, “Synergy Screens has recognized the power of the ScreenScape platform to drive rapid growth in their network. ScreenScape offers a business model that makes digital signage simple and cost-effective both for small business and for network operators. The key is the ScreenScape Community and the partnering that goes on within it. Synergy Screens is an excellent case-in-point. By linking venues and advertisers they help to drive new revenue streams for all participants. It's been fun to watch them expand and we thank them for their part in helping to grow the ScreenScape Community.”

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Banh Mi shop wants to rule Montreal sub market with hi-tech menu board

Mirada Media, a Montreal-based digital signage integrator, has announced that they were chosen to install a digital menu board at Vua, a new Vietnamese submarine sandwich quick-serve in downtown Montreal. The restaurant was fitted with a 5-screen digital menu board and two dining area screens that combine broadcast TV and in-restaurant promotional messages.

Four of the five LCD menu screens display menu items with an animated area informing the patrons about product category details, specials, and high-margin items, and inciting them to upgrade to a "combo" meal. The fifth central screen displays a loop of promotional videos to push Vua's loyalty program, prepared counter items, like sushi, and refreshing smoothies and bubble teas.


Vua, which literally means "king" in Vietnamese, wants to rule the submarine sandwich market with its value-priced baguettes and novel marketing efforts. "I'm always searching for the best equipment and the newest technological tools to stay ahead of my competition and make a splash with my patrons," says Mr. Nhu Ngoc Ho, proprietor of the new Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich quick-serve. "Mirada Media's digital menu board is an investment I'm proud of," he adds.

The screens are powered by MenuView, Mirada's SaaS offering for managing digital menu board items and media via a web interface.

"Restaurants have special digital signage needs," says Eric Morello, marketing director at Mirada Media Inc. "Given that requests for digital menu boards are ever-increasing and that we've built so many custom modules, it followed naturally for us to package these into a single content management system," adds Mr. Morello.

Mirada will be launching a MenuView website, http://www.menuview.com, this summer, providing customers with a menu board configuration platform and menu management demos.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thorvin appointed Canadian distributor of BrightSign players

Thorvin Electronics Inc. was named as Canadian distributor for BrightSign's solid-state digital signage and kiosk controllers. Since 1974 Thorvin Electronics has been distributing quality audio electronic and products and systems to Canadian communications dealers. They more recently added video and digital signage to better serve their client base.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to expand our presence in the Canadian
digital signage market with a leading distributor like Thorvin,’’ said Jeff Hastings, CEO, BrightSign, Saratoga, Calif. “Thorvin and BrightSign share a commitment to taking the complexities out of the latest signage technologies while delivering high quality and reliabilityat a price today’s budget-conscious businesses can afford. With BrightSign products and Thorvin’s experience and broad customer base, we view this as a win-win alliance.”

BrightSign's solid-state media players allow the easy setup of digital signage whether it be a stand-alone or networked display and range from basic looping models to fully interactive and networked models.

“We like the fact that BrightSign’s family of digital sign and kiosk controllers are designed with individual features that meet the needs of the most popular types of applications,” said Wilf Langevin, president of Thorvin Electronics Inc. “Instead of offering fully loaded models with features that may not be required for all applications, each model comes with specific features and connectivity options, so customers only pay for the capabilities they need. They’re also fully scalable, so displays can be upgraded from a basic single-screen solution that can be operated with a removable flash card, to a multi-screen, multi-site managed installation.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Flag Architectural Projection

Architectural projections can look pretty cool, especially when the both the visual and the message are creative. In the video below dubbed "Giant Ants Take Over Houston", house-hold pest-control product peddler, Black Flag, promotes its crawling pests solution by blasting giant Formicidae off the side of a building.

This took place following the Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs game on June 4th, right before fireworks as the stadium lights dimmed. Creative was by Marcus Thomas, a Cleveland, OH, integrated marketing communications agency.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vertigo Digital now integrate Prysm LPD

Vertigo Digital Displays, a designer, engineer and manufacturer of digital signage, street furniture and backlit displays, partnered with Prysm, Inc., the leading provider of ecovative Laser Phosphor Displays (LPD's) for large format display applications, for the development of display enclosures. Vertigo and Prysm have agreed to work together to provide enclosure and solution options, designed around Prysm’s LPD panels, for a wide range of applications and customers.

“Vertigo is proud to have been selected to design enclosure solutions around this very exciting new display technology,” says Brad Gleeson, President and CEO of Vertigo Displays. “We look forward to designing and offering solutions which utilize the limitless potential of this flexible new display medium with Prysm.”



“We are excited to be working with a global leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of digital display enclosures,” said Dana Corey, VP Global Sales and Marketing for Prysm, Inc. “With state of the art products that have been used by many companies within the indoor/outdoor advertising industry, we are confident that our tiles will be well-guarded against the elements, providing unique configurations with dramatically less heat and power consumption than conventional displays.”    


Vertigo also worked with Prysm to design the enclosures for Prysm’s screens to be shown at the InfoComm conference taking place from June 9-11 in Las Vegas, booth #C5038.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ontario justice system revamps video network

In an effort to create a barrier-free court system, Ontario instituted a province-wide revamp of its video network infrastructure to allow people who can not physically appear in court participate in proceedings.

Through Video-over-IP, The Criminal Justice Video Network allows for active participation in the justice system to vulnerable witnesses such as children, remotely located experts, sick or handicapped individuals, and incarcerated individuals in other jurisdictions.

After an initial pilot phase, the network has now been in place for 18 months and is in 400 locations across the province. The network was setup with the help of Toronto-based communications provider MTS Allstream Inc.

Via it World Canada.

Friday, June 4, 2010

VUKUNET Free...

A lot of buzz these days about NEC's VUKUNET. Although the Ad venue management and screen content CMS has always been "free" to NEC resellers but now anyone can use it.

Unfortunately, what hasn't been very transparent is that when you get to the part of the CMS which allows you to "Download VUKUNET software" you encounter:

Currently this selection isn't available.
You will receive an email shortly when the functionality becomes available.
Please make sure your system meets the minimum system requirements as listed below.

Don't get me wrong, I really like NEC's commercial LCD products, they're rock-solid, but this is bordering on vapourware. When are you going to show us the goods NEC?

Onestop Distributes Wall Street Journal Conference in Canada

Onestop Media Group is powering the conference digital network for D8: All Things Digital, the Executive Conference of the Wall Street Journal for the 7th year. The conference plays host to Silicon Valley, and Hollywood's leaders, in a 3-day conference, highlighting what is hot in the world of media and digital technology, hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

This year, content from the sessions will be distributed on Onestop's Media Agency Network in Canada. Session highlights, including a keynote from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, will be published to the Agency network using Onestop's SmartAD technology, bringing as it happens moments to the Canadian media industry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Omnivex Moxie Wins Microsoft Blue Sky Award

Earlier today at the Microsoft ISV Summit, Omnivex was announced the winner of Microsoft's Blue Sky Award for their digital signage content management software product, Omnivex Moxie. The Blue Sky Award honors Canadian developers who combine insight with passion to create new innovative solutions to address global challenges. Omnivex Moxie was developed to manage enterprise-level digital signage networks and represents a radical departure in the way digital communications are approached.

This is the fourth major award Moxie has been recognized with since its release just over one year ago. For more information about Microsoft's Blue Sky Award, please visit: www.microsoft.com/canada/bluesky.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

QUICKY: New Astal Branding


Montreal-based media giant Astral Media...dropped the Media, in their corporate re-brand effort (although legally they are still Astral Media Inc). Astral now uses a "mosaic" theme and a new logo with lower-case "a".

The new visual identity is meant to reflect its new corporate profile, evolving culture and expansion across Canada:

“Astral has grown significantly over the past two years adding diversification to our media product offering, and extending our reach across Canada,” said Ian Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer at Astral. “Our new identity reflects the attributes of our unique culture, focused on providing innovative and tailored advertising solutions to clients, and on delivering rich and exciting content to consumers through a variety of platforms all across the country. Most importantly, it recognizes our exceptional people without whom none of this would be possible.”

I'm not a big fan of their new branding and its seems to be getting mixed reactions. Although the logotype looks more modern, the "a" is somewhat ugly. They went with a logo and scheme that to most westerners would likely say "multi-cultural"--but I think somebody forgot to tell Astral they are not the World Cup of soccer. The white cutout line also seems to disrupt the integrity of the logo.

The colors in the "a" would seem to represent their four media divisions...but there's a fifth color. Maybe the fifth color is for their employees.

Although the website hasn't changed much, the new logo placement seems very unbalanced. Seems like knit-picking but it really makes the website look awkward.

Do you like Astral's new visual identity?

Thanks to Gail over at DailyDOOH for noticing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CBC Rolls out Digital Signage in 5 Airports


CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster, has rolled-out the CBC News Express broadcast service, a joint venture with Clear Channel Outdoor, to five major airports across Canada. The service is powered by Capital Networks Limited's Audience digital signage solution.

The broadcaster was replacing a previous system and needed a solution with advanced content management capabilities that would be able to support the expansion across multiple airports. The Audience solution was chosen because it integrated easily with existing hardware and software so CBC didn't have to 'rip and replace' its entire infrastructure, which helped minimize costs.

"As Canada's national broadcaster, CBC takes the management of public dollars extremely seriously. And, CBC: News Express is an important source of commercial revenue for the Corporation. Similarly, we can't compromise quality for cost because we have a reputation for delivering technologically advanced broadcasts across every medium," commented Robert Bishop, executive producer at CBC. "After a rigorous selection process, we chose Capital Networks as our digital signage partner because it delivers on both these points: the solution is cost-effective because it's so scalable and open; and the quality of broadcast is second to none, as is content management."

CBC's editors create all the video news content in the corporation's Toronto Broadcasting Centre. Digital files are managed through Flip Factory and delivered into the Audience system at the click of a mouse. This creates a seamless flow so editors don't have to spend time uploading, and news items go into the system immediately. Added to this, local data from news and weather reports are integrated into the system via live data feeds so travelers see local information as soon as it's reported.

CBC News Express is currently deployed at Toronto Pearson, Vancouver International Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Ottawa International Airport and the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. CBC plans to to deliver its News Express service to more airports and more public spaces in the near future.