Digital signage solutions abound at Infocomm '09

June 19, 2009 -- By Matt Vincent, Senior Editor -- As one might expect, this week's Infocomm 2009 (June 17-19) in Orlando saw the release of a variety of digital signage platforms and products from a range of vendors. Here's some of the highlights.

June 19, 2009 -- By Matt Vincent, Senior Editor -- As one might expect, this week's Infocomm 2009 (June 17-19) in Orlando saw the release of a variety of digital signage platforms and products from a range of vendors. Here's some of the highlights:

ViewSonic (www.viewsonic.com) announced the availability of its: NMP-550 and NMP-200 RISC-based media players; NMP-700 high performance X86-based media player; and small format signage displays including the 10-inch CD1010, 10-inch VFP1038 and 8-inch VFP838 models.

The NMP-550 and NMP-200 offer a solid state alternative to PC-based media players. Working with IAdea Corp., a provider of middleware technology for RISC-based media players, ViewSonic developed the two RISC media players to be compatible with Release 5 of the Scala Content Manager software for digital signage applications, also introduced at this year's Infocomm. The SMIL compatible NMP-550 features 1080p resolution for HD video along with 4 GB of local storage; the NMP-200 supports a resolution of 480p and local storage is optional. Both devices also include Viewsonic's Signage Manager Express software for content management. The NMP-550 is available for an MSRP of $799; the NMP-200 will be available in July 2009 with an MSRP of $299.

The NMP-700 X86-based network media player features an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 2GB memory, 160GB storage and a high performance hardware video decoder. The NMP-700 is designed for applications requiring 1080p HD video and complex graphics. This device is also compatible with a range of digital signage software from other vendors. The NMP-700 is now available for an MSRP of $1,099.

The 10-inch CD1010 commercial display features built-in 802.11b/g/n compatible wireless and is also compatible with the Scala content management software. ViewSonic says it is the only supplier to offer this class of product to date; the CD1010 commercial grade frame will be available in Q3 2009. ViewSonic also expanded its small format signage lineup with the two Wi-Fi, 4:3 aspect ratio, 800 x 600 high-resolution frames, the multimedia enabled 10-inch VFP1038 and 8-inch VFP838 models. Compatible with a subscription-based digital signage service, SignChannel, available from FrameMedia, Inc. and Scala, these models can wirelessly stream a variety of digital content including news, local weather, sports, traffic reports and custom advertisements. As a result, SMBs and other cost-conscious customers now have access to a personalized, low-cost digital signage solution, contends Viewsonic. The VFP1038 and VFP838 offer access to photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa, in addition to music and video functionality. Teamed with calendar, alarm and clock applications and internal memory for large storage capacity, these frames are targeted for consumers and small to medium businesses. The VFP1038 and VFP838 will be available in Q3 2009 with MSRPs of $229.99 and $169.99, respectively. SignChannel services will be available on these frames for an additional monthly service charge.

Omnivex (www.omnivex.com) showcased examples of its enterprise-class Moxie software for digital signage applications in fields such as retail, healthcare education, recreation, and transportation. "The majority of digital signage systems use a loop of canned content, which doesn't adjust to real time business conditions or viewer preferences," says Jeff Collard, president of Omnivex. "By contrast, the Omnivex Moxie software responds instantly to current conditions and business rules, in real time. By focusing on information as a strategic asset, the right message can be delivered to the right person, at the right time. The software has the ability to automatically respond to conditions and make changes to content, dramatically reducing operating costs when compared with our competitor's products."

Belkin (www.belkin.com) announced the general availability of a pair of digital signage connectivity products for higher-resolution performance over long distances. The company says its AV360 modular AV system and CAT5e extenders offer faster installation for high-performance digital content distribution.

Designed for use in conference rooms, higher education, and hotels, the AV360 modular AV system can support video displays of up to 1080p at 100 meters and up to UXGA resolution at 300 meters. Using a smart modular system of cables and wall plates, AV360 provides color-coded, plug-and-play connections for digital signage and audio/visual deployments. The unit's pull cap is designed to rotate 360 degrees to enable easy routing from any angle, while also withstanding up to 90 pounds of pulling force. The CAT5e extenders deliver the continuous uptime, long distances, and high resolutions that installers require, contends Belkin. The cables provide long-distance, point-to-point audio/visual connections between content-management systems and public displays. Featuring better performance over greater distances, the CAT5e solution runs HDCP-compliant HDMI technology over a single CAT5e cable.

Also at Infocomm, described as an emergency broadcast alert system for education and corporate digital signage networks, MediaTile (www.mediatile.com) unveiled a cellular digital signage platform that incorporates proprietary EMT (Emergency Media Trigger) capabilities, enabling emergency response teams to take immediate and complete control of a network in crisis or emergency situations. The company says the digital signage solution now enables educational institutions and corporate enterprises to easily deploy digital signage networks across their campuses while providing an efficient mechanism to deliver emergency broadcast messages. As an addition to the MediaTile line of Digital Sign in a Box displays and MediaCast content delivery and management system, the Emergency Media Trigger (EMT) platform is designed to integrate with existing campus emergency notification systems and control centers. The SaaS-based EMT allows network operators to use an external triggering mechanism, such as email, to interrupt a regularly scheduled program, while automatically triggering an emergency message to play across a campus-wide digital signage network. A second 'all clear' external trigger resets the network to its previously scheduled programming. The EMT feature is scheduled for release in late summer of this year, and will be supported on all installed MediaTile displays and networks.

Finally at the show, DT Research (http://signage.dtri.com; www.dtresearch.com) announced the release of a pair of digital signage appliances:

Powered by the Intel Quad-Core i7 processor, the MS1600, or WebDT Multi Screen Appliance, enables HD content streaming over multiple displays, and offers content blending, or tiling, across screens. The MS1600, powered by the WebDT Content Manager application, provides an integrated system with 1080p resolution over up to 16 screens, and multi-zone management for up to 16 zones. The company says the MS1600 enables dynamic digital signage deployments in spaces where multiple screens are indoors and viewed by audiences at close range, such as shopping malls, entertainment venues, and airports. The unit is aimed at applications that require high-resolution on multiple screens, including menu boards, flight/transportation information, and creative display arrangements. Bundled with the appliance, the WebDT Content Manager provides multiple zone support and planning for each display, so that a screen can be divided into up to 16 zones with different content in each zone. With WebDT Content Manager, all screens can show the same content, or each screen can play different content, or content can be blended over several screens. The software also allows users to create many combinations across multiple screens, such as four zones on two screens, two zones on five screens, and hundreds of other possible screen layouts.

Also from DT Research, the SA3000 is a new signage appliance in the WebDT Signage System line, providing HD 1080p video quality performance capability. The company says the SA3000 enables superior content delivery for a digital signage network, featuring a powerful and energy-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processor in a compact and robust package. Based on 45nm transistor technology, the SA3000 provides significant gains in video processing speed, improving content playback quality for smooth streaming. With low heat generation and reduced power consumption, the SA3000 is billed as an energy-saving "green" appliance. Used with the Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system, the SA3000 is designed for easy integration with other applications. High-definition graphics provide 1920x1080 resolutions for all media content, and all major media files are supported. The fanless SA3000 has no moving parts; options include wireless networking and hard-disk or solid state drives for storage. The SA3000 can also be remotely managed with the WebDT Content Manager software, which is bundled with the appliance.

"We are pleased to work with Intel to deliver the highest-quality, leading edge appliances to set the standard for performance and energy savings in the digital signage market," says Dr. Daw Tsai, president of DT Research. "As the digital signage market evolves, and customers become savvier, the need for better performance and green operation will become stronger."

On the Web:
www.infocommshow.org

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