It is simple -- if you want to make a touch screen anything, for it to be successful, the experience must be intuitive. And if you want to make it intuitive, here’s a few suggestions:
1. Look at what Apple has done
2. Look at your mobile device(s)
3. Look at your favorite websites
4. Watch children interact with them
That’s right. Children. The key to making successful touch screen experiences might just lie in the children.
Watch how my daughter, age 6, works through this experience that we came across at the Dallas Zoo:
And, now, watch how my son, age 3, works through the same experience:
Both, intuitively know what to do -- press a picture or a button. In my daughter’s case (who has had computer training), her first instinct is to look for the pointer and drag it to the button or picture. Im my son’s case (who has only had phone/iPad training), his first instinct is to press the colorful thing(s) on the screen. This particular experience was laid out in a very simple format and flow. Simplicity certainly helps.
I found it interesting that they both instantly wanted to interact with these screens. I did see a few adults interacting with the screens, but the children that I saw just wanted to touch it and play with it. I think they might liken anything touch screen to games, but their curiosity drives their wish to interact.
Isn’t it funny that our curiosity becomes much more selective as we grow older, specifically around new technology? How can we capture the curiosity of a child for an everyday, grown-up experience? We have to continue getting creative, continue pushing. But we also need to get back to basics and create things that are simple and intuitive.
Ah, 2011 has come and gone... but not without leaps and bounds and turmoil among the industry. But, why dwell in the past when 2012 is going to be an amazing year in so many ways?
Welcome to 2012, this is the year of the converging consumer. The accelerated purchase. This year we can buy anything, anytime, anywhere, any screen in any reality, whether I am standing in line, watching TV, walking down the street, in the mall, carrying my tablet or dining. Converging technology is here.
Amalgamation is the mega trend for 2012.
So the question is how will this mega trend affect our industry and the very core of all media, the brand? Let’s face it, the brand is back; the brand is the key, the brand is looking for cost efficient, measureable results when they put down their marketing dollar. Why? Technology has accelerated and the consumer with it. Now the brands and agencies are driving new initiatives based on economic trends that will change the traditional media landscape forever. The pebble has hit the water and the reverberation will be felt for many years to come. We have arrived in 2012.
You can see my picks for 2011 trends to see how I did at prognostication last year, and at the end of this year's trends piece, you can vote on the one you think will be the #1 trend in 2012.
Hold on to your seats: These are the 2012 predictions!
1. The Union of a Medium, The Golden Triangle
Digital signage, placed-based media, DOOH - no matter what you call it, it is a recognized media. Just like any media, one needs three basic things; technology, content and an audience. This very idea will drive bundled solutions in the marketplace. Yes, we need good reliable technology. Yes, we need good relevant content and we need to understand and analyze the audience to prove our medium. The industry is headed for partnered, consolidated and bundled solutions. Brands and agencies do not have the time to figure it all out. The industry will serve up solutions. Technology-only bundles are not the answer and authentic, fully integrated partnerships are needed. A few companies are already providing total solutions through partnerships or mergers and more will follow.
Look for the bundling of technology, content and audience measurement with new partnerships that drive the new networks in the marketplace.
2. Combination of investment will be at an all-time high
In general there is a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines right now. The investment in the space has increased annually. This year will be no exception. The difference is the investment is not just cash from VCs; it’s through large companies pushing the agenda forward as an industry. It is medium businesses that are making investments to improve their bottom line and the customer experience with true ROI. Restaurants (digital menu boards) and hospitality (wayfinding) will continue to invest in digital signage. Telcos will also contribute to the investment in the industry through marketing and pushing cellular digital signage deployments. The investment in the space will be greater than ever before.
Look for major corporations to continue to push into the marketplace with significant investment and investment from investment bankers and more rollouts based on medium size businesses investing in their business.
3. The merging of technology
Mobile is big. This trend was the number one trend last year and will continue well into the future. The integration of mobile applications and tablets is huge. The good news is digital signage is a key activator for mobile engagement in the market place. This latent conversation that the brand can have with the consumer has to start somewhere. It is a moment of inspiration that can drive the sale. And when one is in the marketplace, the inspiration and purchase can begin and even end with digital signage. Buy anywhere, anytime, anyplace and in any reality. Mobile is forever part of the engagement. But, this needs to be done with common sense in mind and drive real results to move the industry forward.
Look for new and refined mobile applications that ricochet off DOOH.
4. The alliance of content
Content is king... forever. And it’s not just any content, its relevant contextual content that is useful and helpful. Digital signage and DOOH content is an inconvenient truth among agencies and brands. Television is what drives the creation of content in the big picture of advertising. In merchandising its print. The problem is the creative is built with a single focus in mind. It is all about TV and then down the road it’s... "oh yes let’s convert that to a DOOH ad... uh... no, that won’t work.” But, this reality is like a merry-go-round that never stops. When this happens over and over and it’s not working, most would call that insanity. So with the acceleration of technology that supports five technological independent screens in the marketplace, the creation of content has to fundamentally change for the entire digital media landscape. Standards for content are not a simple answer. Fundamentally we have three types of networks -- Point of Wait, all about dwell time; Point of Sale, all about the shopper; Point of Transit, all about people on the go. Each network needs a re-work of the content to meet the needs of the consumer’s frame of mind. As a brand, this is challenging. So start at the beginning of the creative process to accommodate all platforms, Movies, TV, PC/Tablet, Mobile and including DOOH.
Look for a shift in the way in which content and brands interact with agencies to tackle this new digital world that we are coming to grips with and how we create the media to support the digital landscape.
5. The pairing of analytics and measurement
Although part of the golden three, this needs special attention. AVA (Anonymous Video Analytics) is here and real world applications are fast becoming a trend. To detect who is actually watching the message on the screen and for how long is a reality that many networks fear. They fear the real verification of their network may not live up to their expectations. The truth is the verification drives amazing changes that makes the network more valuable. These are changes that one would not ever contemplate without real data to back it up. Arbitron, Nielson and People Count know this stuff inside out. But when you are getting real-time data streaming in, what is missing is the analysis of the data. The AVA data can be overwhelming and needs to be put into perspective.
As predicted also in 2011, if you own a network or you are putting in a network, AVA will give you valuable data. Look for more and more responsible deployments based on real AVA data and services to provide the analysis.
6. The merger of technology software companies
2012 is the year for a shake out of software companies. Who will merge, who will be sold and who will disappear? With 350 software companies in the world, only a few will survive the next wave. ISV’s that are funded by investment have been stalling and the smaller they are, unfortunately, the less likely they will be able to maintain. So consolidation based on customers, not technology may be in order this year. Buy the customer base and eventually replace the technology with one system.
Look for purchases, consolidation and a failure of ISV’s this year.
7. The fusion of media social
Digital signage is part of the whole. The whole involves our social lives. How a consumer shares, adopts and promotes a brand is based on the experience each consumer has with that brand. Retailers in particular are still looking for ways to enhance the experience for their customers. What better way to drive more sales by providing a social platform that can help drive sales? And I am not talking about the “like me” button. Digital signage helps drive that experience and engagement. Fusing the DOOH with social aspects of brand promotion can be promoted through the use of natural social interactions in the marketplace. DOOH is one of those interactions and companies that track the social integration of the consumer’s life are going to bat 1000. This might be sports, back to school, summer or a holiday. Integrating the reality of what’s going on in the consumers lives to the screen will help drive sales. The context of social can be seen as a new wave in creating value for the brand and for the consumer. But one must embrace social as part of a total big picture of the experience.
Look for social integration of one’s life onto the DOOH screen with interactive and engaging solutions that are meaningful and helpful to the consumer and the brand alike.
8. The incorporation of virtuality
Yes, virtuality. This can be augmented reality, mirrored reality or warped reality. This is a new trend we saw begin to rise in the DOOH space in 2010. In his new book “Infinite Possibility,” Joseph Pine II points out the different realities in our digital frontier. There are number of areas where this will improve the customer experience. InWindow OutDoor is doing quite a lot in this area successfully. Augmented reality is the most popular method of improving the experience. This is where I can add virtual environment or virtual characters to a live scene that “augments” the experience. Agencies love this stuff and it works.
Look for even more deployments that use this technology to drive the brand experience.
9. Infusion of more ad spend in the DOOH networks
Bookings for established ad networks are up in the beginning of this year. I expect to see this trend continue and for established networks to take advantage of political ad money that will be pouring in the marketplace later this year. This will help sustain the uptick in the 4th quarter. One can also speculate that better built content will also be available to be placed on these networks. In addition a big push will continue to be in Healthcare with some government and health agency’s looking to capitalize on Ad Networks revenue to help contribute to the bottom line.
Look for higher returns and growth in the ad spend from brands on DOOH in 2012.
10. We will have integrated 2.5M screens/players in North America; 4.8 million screens/players worldwide in 2012
At the end of 2011, we are somewhere around 1.3 million screens in North America and 3.5 million globally. With the investment from companies and serious roll out plans on the way, I believe we will hit the 2.5 million screen/player mark this year in North America and 4.8 million worldwide. This does not include refresh of current networks. So here is to that one special installer that will be somewhere in world hanging up a screen mid-year and that will mark the historic 4 millionth screen/player for our industry. Will it be you?
Content Supply: What Retail Digital Signage Can Learn From the Internet
By Perry Goldstein Sales & Marketing Manager, Marshall Electronics
Information is king. Most everyone does some sort of research on the Internet before making a large purchase. From handbags to homes, the brand that gives the customer the most information usually gets the sale. The information has to be easy to find, and easy to understand.
Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, the demand for fresh content is insatiable. Very few e-tailers can keep up with that demand.
A Content Conduit
The manufacturer pays for the cost of content creating, updating and hosting. SellPoint maintains the relationship with the e-tailers and feeds the data to as many websites as it can. Each tour is skinned to look as if it is a custom presentation on each individual site. Metrics of how many tours are viewed and the average view time is registered and shared with the manufacturers, who know how many views the tour gets, how long the tours last, which types of product information were viewed and what sites were visited.
It would be very difficult for manufacturers to reach all of these websites on their own. The e-tailer could never manage this much content from so many vendors. SellPoint serves as the middleman, a sort of “cloud” service, publishing content for thousands of products. And best of all, the tours sell product. Information is king!
What does this have to do with digital signage? The SellPoint model is easily adapted to digital signage, especially in the on-the-shelf small screen application. The content is developed for the small computer screen. It is fed through the network, and it is interactive, though it could be a passive slide show as well.
Chicken or Egg
The content and hardware conflict is like the chicken and egg syndrome. No one is willing to invest in hardware unless there is content available. The content creators are not going to invest their funds unless there are screens to play it on.
Large retailers are in a position to request content from the manufacturers. They have enough traffic to offer the manufacturer, and they can sell enough product to create positive ROI. Content for them is easy to obtain. They also have the resources to staff a digital signage department.
But the small and medium dealer is the critical mass of the industry. In an age where the large retailers are squeezing out the small and medium chains, these businesses need to employ the most current marketing tools to stay competitive, and that is digital signage at the point of sale. They just don’t have the muscle to require the manufacturers to pay for the creation of the content. So where will they get the content?
This is where the SellPoint model comes in. The company has product content, optimized for the point-of-sale, that can easily be repurposed for digital signage and fed to the retailers, in the same way that it is fed to the e-tailers. There are all kinds of metrics that can be culled from the interaction of the touch screen. Since the content is already created for the small monitor, there will be very little additional expense. And what is best is that the content designed for the Internet gets to work overtime, making it even more cost effective for the manufacturer.
A central library of content already exists in the Internet world. It’s what the digital signage industry needs to kick start it. It creates an economy of scale for retailers and manufacturers. With that, it creates work for all of the small and medium businesses serving the digital signage industry.
Perry Goldstein is a veteran of the electronics industry. After spending 30 years in consumer electronics, he has transitioned into the Pro AV industry. Currently, he is sales & marketing manager with El Segundo, Calif.-based Marshall Electronics, where he heads the company’s Digital Signage and MXL Pro Audio division. Goldstein will be hosting an On-Floor Workshop at DSE 2012 titled “Digital Signage Content Creation for Use in Retail Stores.” To contact for questions regarding the information in this article, email
This article was reprinted with permission from Digital Signage Connection and originally appeared here.
Communications Are Critical When SaaS Loses The Second S
By Dave Haynes
Much of the software side of this business runs on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis, meaning it is the job of those companies to fully support the servers, power, security, data pipe and other elements that allow them to share computing across multiple customers and thousands of client players/accounts.
I don’t recall hearing of any digital signage software company having a catastrophe that took those services offline for hours or days, but I am sure it has happened. What I do know, as a consultant who gets asked to review and recommend software options for clients, is that some due diligence reveals really quickly who has a reputation for crappy customer service and recommendations.
I can ensure a SaaS provider that no matter how awesome its platform may be (or thinks it may be), it’s not getting recommended if the prevailing attitude among users (and other people who’d know) is that customer service is under-resourced, indifferent or inept.
A big problem is the quality of communications. I have personally seen and experienced problems with non-DS hosted services that would have not got end-users steaming mad if the vendor had just been smart enough to communicate what was up. I host some stuff with GoDaddy, and have been hopping mad about their collective indifference. I spent hours and hours trying to sort out a big email problem I thought was on my end, and then called in to find out there had been a problem at their end for A FEW DAYS and they were working on it. No proactive communication by email or social media. Nothing.
As I write this I have a sense a different site is down right now and I’ve seen no emails. It’s not a heavily trafficked site, so I am not too stressed. But it would be nice to at least get an email.
Which brings me to the point of this. I use a company called ZOHO for invoicing and for a CRM package. They’re low-cost SaaS options but very robust. They have a big, loyal customer base, and one of the reasons for that loyalty is they actually communicate with its customers in ways other than trying to sell more stuff.
ZOHO went offline recently because of problems out of its control at the co-locate facility. Instead of hiding under its collective desk and going silent, it went on Twitter and told followers what was going on, and steadily updated people with status reports of where things sat in the recovery process. I couldn’t get at my invoicing systems for a few hours, but I also knew the issue was being addressed.
Today they sent customers an email:
On Friday January 20th, all Zoho services suffered a long and unexpected outage. The cause was an abrupt power failure in our collocated data center in the Silicon Valley area, California.
This meant pain and disruption for many of our customers and we sincerely apologize for that. We understand you rely on Zoho for running your business, and on this particular day we let you down.
They gave me a modest refund – more like an extension of my service term – and included a link to a lengthy blog post that explained what went down and what they learned. I haven’t read the whole thing because I don’t really need to know what they’re doing. They’ve communicated sufficiently that they ARE doing something. That’s all most customers probably need or want to know.
Any digital signage software company that’s hosting services for clients will have – unless they’re insane – full disaster recovery plans in place. But almost as important is a communications plan. A huge part of fixing a problem is keeping customers informed, and I wonder how many customers have that part sorted.
When SaaS goes offline, do you have a plan to not only restore service but effectively maintain – through emails, calls and social – confidence?
Challenges Facing Retail Adoption of Digital Signage
By Steven Keith Platt
The digital signage industry is poised for sustained growth (the economy notwithstanding), in verticals such as education, place-based advertising and hospitality. Retail adoption, on the other hand, is slower than many had anticipated for a variety of reasons. We address some of those reasons here, as well as discuss how integrating digital signage into other emerging technologies will be critical to the industry’s future.
Size estimates for the digital signage industry vary greatly. For example:
MagnaGlobal estimates that the 2011 worldwide spend on digital place-based advertising is $2.6 billion. Including cinema advertising, this increases to $5.5 billion.
PQ Media pegged the 2010 worldwide spend on digital place-based advertising (including cinema) at $6.47 billion.
ABI Research believes that spending in the global digital signage market (including displays, media players, software, and installation/maintenance costs) was $1.3 billion in 2010. ABI also projects that spending in the global digital signage market, including hardware and software, will grow to $4.5 billion by 2016.
When viewed in its entirety (including advertising), IMS Research estimates that the digital signage industry represented nearly $7 billion worldwide in 2010.
MarketsandMarkets estimated the global digital signage market (including advertising), at $3.95 billion in 2011.
Notwithstanding these varying forecasts of the size of the industry, estimates of retail adoption of digital signage have been widely overstated. One firm projected that between 2004 and 2011, retail adoption would grow by 49 percent annually. The same firm went further and predicted, “...90 percent (of retailers) will have installed digital signage networks in their outlets by 2011.” A simple hand tally of the leading North American retail networks illustrates that these projections are not realistic.
Retail implementation of digital signage lags behind that of many other industry segments for various reasons. Cost is a major impediment of course. But beyond the financial considerations, more fundamental issues continue to challenge retailers. These include a lack of understanding of how to leverage the medium, how to operate it within their stores, and how to integrate digital signs into other emerging in-store technologies. More specifically, these include:
Lack of strategy: Few retailers understand what is and is not achievable with a digital signage network. This makes even a simple articulation of goals and objectives difficult. Related common mistakes include, among others, neglecting to define success and failure, poor consideration of brand positioning, and a lack of adequate testing and measurement.
Undefined management responsibilities: Running a network requires resources. Consideration as to who will run the network, provide content oversight, as well as oversee scheduling, in-store placement and technology are among the issues confronting a management team.
Inability to integrate into other retail areas: Coordination among various activities in a retail setting is necessary to the success of a network. This includes visual merchandising, as well as marketing across platforms such as the Internet, mobile, and catalog, merchandising and IT. Getting these functions to work together is one issue; finding the staff to implement is another.
Lack of content planning: A common mistake among retailers is failing to develop a content plan and budget. For example, who will be producing content? How often will it be changed? Will ads be acceptable? If so, who will monitor them? Who will sell them, and for how much?
Inconsistent Ad Metrics: Measuring the effectiveness of retail digital signage advertising does not only fall into the familiar analyses of reach and frequency. According to industry expert Steve Nesbit, “I believe that one needs to approach analytics from two distinct angles. On the one hand, traditional metrics like reach, frequency, and awareness continue to be required. Therefore, traditional measurement techniques like audience observation, intercept interviews, surveys, etc., are needed. In addition, one needs to consider the measurement issue with a whole new set of tools specific to digital signage. These tools focus specifically on digital media and provide the capability to produce ‘real time’ data on a screen-by-screen, zone-by-zone and store-by-store basis. This actually allows for both ‘optimization’ as well as measurement.”
Despite the general trend, some retailers are embracing the technology either out of recognition of its vast capabilities, or for simply pragmatic reasons. Says Nesbit, “I know there is a general slowdown due to the economy that has hit retail. But some retailers are actually viewing their digital in-store media projects as strategic initiatives that have to get done regardless of the state of the economy.”
In the future, retailers will also require that digital signage messaging be seamlessly integrated into a multitude of consumer communication platforms. According to Rob Brazell, executive chairman of InStore Broadcasting Network, “If retailers do not honor the consumer demand for message integration and personalization, they will find themselves losing customers literally overnight.” He continues that, “the overall experience that includes choice and personalization will dominate the landscape going forward.”
As e-commerce and the use of mobile devices continue to grow, so do the implications for in-store shopping. Beyond ordering merchandise, many consumers conduct product research online and on their mobile devices. For example, by educating themselves on the Internet, 72 percent of consumers know which car they want to purchase and the price they would like to pay before entering a car showroom. Therefore, continuity of the online experience into the store offers potential buyers a seamless path to purchase.
Message coordination and integration across platforms will be necessary to ensure consistent brand communication. Common storage and processing will be required to coordinate and stimulate customer performance across platforms to improve the customer experience, build loyalty, and increase sales.
While still relatively early in the adoption stage, in-store hand-held devices will become important for shopping and paying. It is a fact that customers who visit more areas of the store and those who shop in groups tend to purchase more. To encourage this behavior, digital signs and hand-held devices make a great team. Communicating messages from phone to screen, such as a product review while a group is considering a purchase, can impact social shopping and lead to more sales. Running advertising on digital signs with the ability to download information about a product’s location, availability, features, and discount coupons can enable one-to-one personalized customer communication.
Customer self-service is another technology that will grow in importance. Digital signage messages delivered at the head of the queue of a self-serve checkout can thank customers for shopping the store, alert them to upcoming specials and promotions, and educate and entertain to reduce perceived wait-time. Interactive devices, both assisted and non-assisted, also have outstanding potential.
In summary, customer-facing technologies will continue to evolve and impact the retail customer shopping experience. To execute these platforms successfully requires a lot of planning and coordination at many levels. As these technologies continue to merge, an understanding of how to deliver relevant messages to influence consumer behavior is required to realize their potential. As our experience with these newer technologies increases, so will the resulting impact on the customer.
Steven Keith Platt is Director and Research Fellow of the Platt Retail Institute, a leading consumer behavior research and consulting firm focused on improving the customer experience. To gain unique insights into multi-channel marketing, how leading retailers are leveraging in-store technologies, and how to position and sell digital marketing messages to brands, plan to attend the PRI Retailer Education Forum on March 6 at Digital Signage Expo 2012.
This column was reprinted with permission from the Digital Signage Connection and originally appeared here.
This is pretty darn cool -- an infinitely zooming interactive touch application developed by Toronto-based Content Interface. You pinch an image and zoom in to realize the pixels that define that image are actually images themselves, and when you zoom in more, the effect repeats. Endlessly.
Every straight teenaged boy on the planet wants this particular content piece with supermodels in teeny bikinis in their bedrooms... now. Their moms... not so much.
Called iZoom, the Infinite Zoom feature likely involves advanced mathematics -- which means I will now stop even attempting to explain it.
Writes Le on his YouTube Channel: CIC iZoom allows infinite zoom of an image or video. As zooming takes place, a pixel is gradually morphed into another image or video. The process can be repeated over and over. A feasibility study was conducted for the usefullness of CIC iZoom using various YouTube videos. In this case, Sports Illustrated swimming suit (HD only) videos from YouTube were used. We found that CIC iZoom is extremely handy for browsing (or video mining) thousands of Sports Illustrated video clips – with lots of fun.
Content Interface founder and President Hao Le has been at this stuff for years and I recently saw the company’s pots and pans at a Toronto interactive show. The demo material I saw looked like the stuff I’d seen five years ago, but they weren’t showing this... at least not to me. Le sent me this video link last night to gently point the company’s work has progressed.
Compelling stuff. A lot of interactive stuff I come across is interesting for a matter of seconds. You could imagine in the right setting how people would be engrossed by this. I have asked for more details on what all is involved. The company has offices in Vietnam, Tokyo and Toronto.
DSE’s Content University and Hands-On Content Workshop Offer Sourcing, Creative Solutions and Programming Guidance
DSE will present an all-new Content University Seminar Program and Hands-On Content Workshop designed specifically to help those who are now managing and operating place-based or out-of-home networks develop successful content strategies and improve their content creation.
DSE’s Content University Seminar Program, to be presented in Las Vegas March 7-8, 2012, is part of DSE’s eight-track educational conference and is designed specifically for network operators of both revenue- and non-revenue generating systems and digital signage (DS) end users responsible for programming their in-house systems. This educational track will not only offer guidance in sourcing content, but it will also provide examples of creative solutions and outline a strategy for programming network content. Topics to be covered include:
How to Source Content for Your Digital Signage Network
Digital Signage Content Lightning Round
A New Language to Connect People & Places
Building Dynamic Playlists – How to Bring Fresh, Relevant Content to Your Audience
DSE’s Hands-On Content Workshop, which are modules built within a half-day program scheduled for March 6, will feature ideas and inspiration from a faculty of well-known content creators who will focus instruction on content creation for retail, restaurants, banks and corporate communications.
“Providing content that is compelling and relevant is an ongoing challenge for every type of network operator and DSE’s Content University curriculum and Hands-On Content Workshop are designed to help attendees develop a realistic and successful strategy to create, source and manage messaging that is most relevant to their audiences,” said Richard Lebovitz, educational director for Atlanta, Ga.-based Exponation, LLC, which produces DSE.
Registration for DSE’s Content University Seminar Program or any of the DSE 2012 educational conference seminars is now available online at www.digitalsignageexpo.net.
This article was reprinted with permission from the Digital Signage Connection and originally appeared here.
Montreal, Nashville Firms Combine on Super Bowl Projection Mapping
By Dave Haynes Editor, Sixteen:Nine
If you watched the Super Bowl and weren’t in the kitchen at halftime frantically looking for more beer you probably saw the "Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show" featuring Madonna and a pile of people, most of whom don’t feature in my iTunes collection. OK, none.
What was great to me and countless AV/digital signage nerds was the 3D projection mapping used at the show -- arguably some of the best event-based stuff seen outside the mega-budget Olympics ceremonies.
The company that made the technical side happen was DWP Live, an event AV company based near Nashville, while the actual animations were the work -- not all that surprised when I think about it -- of a Montreal company. Some of the most creative work on the planet seems to come out of that amazing city, and this time it was by a multimedia firm called Moment Factory.
DWP used 32 Barco FLM HD20 projectors suspended 150 feet in the air, blasting images on to 11,000 square feet of projector surface material pulled out over the turf. The company says the projectors were operated, converged and edge blended by DWP Live using the Barco Projector Toolset, at a main control computer.
Moment had 12 people working on the creative, having been hooked up with Madonna through Cirque du Soleil, which is also based in Montreal. Moment has done several interactive visual projects with the performing group.
It took more than three weeks of dedicated set up time in Indianapolis to pull off 13:33 minutes of some very cool visuals by Moment -- though I think I most enjoyed the guy doing crazy “slackline” bouncing and balancing on a rope.
UK Startup Builds Digital Signage Networking Into Power Sockets
By Dave Haynes Editor, Sixteen:Nine
A lot of digital signage installs use Wi-Fi, but the most stable, reliable way to connect networked media players remains hard-wired Ethernet connections. That has meant pulling Cat5 or 6 cables all over the place, which can be a bear in terms of cost, time and hassle.
Using the electrical infrastructure of a building (its power lines) to also run network has been around for a few years, and there’s a new product out by a UK company that looks like a pretty slick way of doing these “Powerline” networks for digital signage.
British technology start-up, Power Ethernet, has launched the 'PE Socket,' the first product to integrate Powerline data networking technology directly into an electrical socket. It offers AV installers a simple and non-disruptive means of streaming video for home audio visual and digital signage installations. Power Ethernet has signed a distribution agreement with specialist AV connectivity distributor, Arktron for the UK and the ‘PE Socket’ will be in the market from January 2012.
Based on the HomePlug AV standard for Powerline networking, Power Ethernet’s all-in-one PE socket combines four Ethernet network ports, a fully-managed network switch and a filtered power socket into a single socket which fits into a UK Standard 35mm double gang metal back box. The PE socket uses a buildings electrical wiring to create a high-speed and secure data network for connecting digital signage, Internet-connected TVs, digital STBs, CCTV systems, IP phones, home automation systems and other connected-devices.
The PE socket offers AV installers a professional alternative to running additional data cabling and switching for both home and business installations. It can be used to extend an existing Ethernet network, to accommodate new devices such as digital signage screens,IP CCTV cameras or as a stand-alone network in both residential and commercial premises. Installing a Power Ethernet network is as simple as unscrewing and replacing existing power sockets and it can be installed by anyone with the relevant electrical installation certification.
Power Ethernet Managing Director Daniel Rogoff: “Powerline offers such a simple and cost-effective solution to the challenge of streaming video around homes and businesses. However, we quickly realised that it needed a makeover for it to reach its full potential as an alternative to structured data cabling or Wi-Fi. By integrating Powerline directly into electrical sockets, with the PE Socket, we are able to offer a simple and professional approach to creating a high-speed network that will look the part in both homes and enterprises.”
Arktron Managing Director, Roy Kirsopp : “The PE socket meets a very real need for a non-disruptive video networking solution for home AV and digital signage installations. Wi-Fi and data cabling are unsuitable for many video installations, whether because of patchy Wi-Fi reception or the challenge of installing additional data cabling into existing buildings. By using existing electrical wiring, the Power Ethernet solution is capable of streaming video almost anywhere in a building.”
Power Ethernet’s PE Socket is unique in integrating Powerline into the electrical fabric of a building and its sockets. It’s a professionally engineered, reliable Powerline solution which has been aesthetically designed to ensure that the sockets can be installed in the most prominent of positions. It provides a far more robust and discrete solution than plug-in Powerline adaptors, which are easily knocked out and damaged, or unplugged by maintenance staff and liable to loss in commercial installations. Its design also incorporates almost 100 additional electronic components in order to improve both the network quality and also the durability of the unit.
Installing two or more PE Sockets instantly creates a high speed, secure Ethernet network running across the existing electrical mains cabling. Connecting any PE Socket to a broadband service enables the sharing of Internet connectivity and digital content among all the devices plugged into them. More devices and additional rooms can be easily added to the network simply by installing additional PE Sockets so creating a truly flexible, affordable networking solution. A Power Ethernet network delivers the advanced networking features that are required for both streaming video around the home and for enterprise-grade business networks. However the simplicity of the product installation ensures that networks can be set-up without the need for specialist networking knowledge.
The company’s website only shows a UK-style electrical plug, but it’s a logical leap that a version that would work with plugs for the larger Canada/U.S. market would be either ready or coming.
Digital Signage Saving Millions In Plant Costs For Flooring Giant
By Dave Haynes Editor, Sixteen:Nine
LA-based software firm UCView has posted a nice white paper about work it did with the world’s biggest flooring supplier, Georgia-based Mohawk Industries.
It’s interesting because along with sorting out how to get HR and other company information out to masses of workers who don’t have or need company emails, the software is being used to save millions in production costs by tying into the giant machines that make carpeting.
Reads the paper:
An unexpected, but powerful spin-off benefit of the UCView digital signage software platform is the integration developed with the tufting machines – essentially huge sewing machines – that make carpeting. UCView’s software engineers developed the necessary interface to read and dynamically display the efficiency levels of each machine as they run. A display centrally mounted on the plant floors, within easy view of operators, shows a color-coded roundup of all the running units, offering real-time video cues of any looming problems.
(Mohawk’s Vincent) Grosso says UCView’s relatively simple integration work warns operators of falling efficiency levels on the machines, preventing costly breakdowns before they happen and prompting adjustments before the machines start producing flawed, unmarketable carpeting. “Company-wide, we think we’ll be saving millions of dollars.”
(Disclosure: My company pressDOOH developed the paper, but it’s being relayed here because I think it’s genuinely interesting)
I can’t find a whole bunch of detail about the timing or status of this project, but it’s another example of effectively using the long runs of digital screens in a concourse at JFK’s American Airlines International Terminal in New York. This is the same run of screens, I think, that went in five years ago and were first used to hump the then-new Microsoft Vista software.
Here’s the description of this effort:
“Orbital” is like a flying dream set in 3 cities. It places viewers at the center of cosmopolitan locations, slowly and delicately rotating across 40 HD screens in the American Airlines International Terminal. The piece was designed to work in relationship with the viewer’s movement through a long hallway, filling their field of view with vast time lapsed urban panoramas moving through space to create the illusion of hovering at a dreamlike speed through a rotating cityscape. The audio was carefully crafted, inspired by the likes of Steve Reich, to create a forward momentum and almost hypnotic pulsing effect while incorporating subtle washes of urban soundscapes.
The pieces were shot with a motion control time lapse rig in New York, Paris and Barcelona, creating enormous sequences of photography that were then stitched and choreographed together at the Mill.
The client is Citibank and its airline credit card, and the agency is Publicis. Very cool work. Very big budget. I like the case study aspect to this, and wonder why more projects are not captured in ways that explain what was done and how it was viewed.
Hat tip to Jeremy Drummond from Studio 10 way over in Saskatchewan from flagging this.
rAVe Scoop: Almo ProAV Named Exclusive U.S. Distributor for NanoLumens
Almo Professional A/V has been named the exclusive national distributor for NanoLumens Inc., a manufacturer of of ultra-slim and lightweight flexible and rigid LED displays for use in DS, large format and signage applications.
“As the exclusive national distributor of NanoLumens, we’re uniquely positioned to bring an entirely new business opportunity for displays to our reseller partners,” said Sam Taylor, executive vice president and COO for Almo Professional A/V. “NanoLumens’ patented technology, which enables LED displays to be made in virtually any size, shape or curvature, is perfect for our digital signage and rental and staging integrators.” He continued, “We’ve already established ourselves as the number-one distributor in the U.S. for commercial displays 65 inches and larger. I see NanoLumens breaking into entirely new markets because of their highly customizable nature and at the same time, it will strengthen our core display business.”
“Our entire line of flexible and rigid LED displays are now fully commercialized and ready for delivery to customers in virtually every indoor and outdoor vertical market,” said Rick Cope, president and CEO of NanoLumens, Inc. “We look forward to working closely with Almo’s field sales and support teams to bring the full benefits of our breakthrough, patented display technology to the widest possible audience of customers.”
NanoLumens' product line includes LEDs that can be wrapped around columns, hung with wires and made into all sorts of shapes and sizes such as bends and circle. It can also be used in high-light environments, while still remaining a GreenAV product. The displays use 110-volt outlets and less than half the power of a traditional plasma display that's less than 20 percent the size.
NanoLumens on the E4 AV Tour
NanoLumens will participate in the first E4 A/V event of the year, which will take place in Irvine, Calif. on April 3. At this event, NanoLumens representatives will teach a workshop, “Broaden Your Creative Horizons Using Flexible Digital Signage,” which focuses on how to apply flexible LED technology to engage audiences in ways never before imaginable.
It’s really not that long ago when people in this sector were pretty giddy to even see a digital signage screen or two integrated into the back wall of a hotel reception desk. Now, with dropping prices and better technology, digital signage can BE the back wall.
David Levin, the president of Four Winds Interactive, sent over a couple of snapshots of the new video wall that just lit up at the lobby reception desk of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This is a 48-display wall, four high and 16 wide – set for three four by four segments.
The stopping power is pretty amazing, and it shows how very large flat panels can now sport very thin bezels that ALMOST disappear. Not quite, but seams are not really an issue. This would be FWI’s software driving this, as the Denver company is already a big MGM vendor. Its platform runs the big marquee signs for MGM at Aria, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Luxor and Excalibur
The screen showing UFC is live data from people standing in the lobby tweeting about the fight, and voting on who they think is going to win. The program was put together by Randy Dearborn and his team at MGM.
Very nice, and now on the list of “gotta-sees” when in Lost Wages in a few weeks. One minor quibble – and I can almost hear Stephen Randall at Locamoda – is the social visualization could be tweaked so the Tweets could be easily read from a distance. The text is pretty small unless you are closer in to the desk.
Dubbed the Media Cabinet, SMS's new digital signage enclosures allow LCDs from 40-55" to be integrated as free-standing displays or against walls or columns. The SMS Media Cabinet Indoor Wall can be mounted on walls, pillars and similar locations, and is equipped with what SMS claims is unbreakable Hammerglass that protect the displays from damage. The second is called the Media Cabinet Indoor Totem that's a floor-standing design that's attached to the floor with secure bolts, is pre-assembled and accommodates a plethora of components like media players, PCs and other routing and distribution options.
SpinetiX Launches Next Generation HMP130 Hyper at ISE
Swiss digital signage manufacturer SpinetiX launched the new HMP130 Hyper Media Player at ISE. Designed to run the new SpinetiX Fusion content management software, the HMP130 uses an open Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) platform and performs the function of mixing streaming video, encoded video or images and audio file formats with other dynamic information such as RSS or XML. The unit is also pocket-size, weighs just 190 grams (6.07oz.) and uses only 3 watts of power.
As a browser based application, Fusion displays instant information, including videos with tickers and animations, thanks to more powerful processing from technology partner Texas Instruments’ DaVinci video processors. SpinetiX has told rAVe that the HMP130 will replace the HMP100 Hyper Media Player.
If ISE 2012 is any indication, get ready to experience one of the largest InfoComm shows ever to hit Las Vegas this year. Keep your business competitive by coming to InfoComm 2012, where you can experience a dynamic show floor, top-notch education and unlimited networking opportunities.
Enter VIP Code LVE2 when you register to get complimentary access to exhibits, special events and a chance to win a Las Vegas VIP Package!
The Verge tech blog is reporting the $35 Raspberry Pi – which among many things could in theory be a very low-cost digital signage player – should see the first units coming off the manufacturing line within a couple of weeks.
Production started on the $35 Raspberry Pi last month, and now the team has announced that after a slight delay related to sourcing a component, the first manufacturing run will be finished on February 20th.
What does this mean for you? Since the batch of tiny Linux machines will be airfreighted to the UK as soon as they leave the factory, you should be able to put down your $35 for one by the end of the month.
The initial production run of 10,000 units has been focused on the higher-end configuration, with a $25 model that halves the memory and omits the Ethernet controller due for sale at a later date.
It’s important to keep in mind that this open source project started as a means of making PCs so cheap they could be put in the hands of millions of school children. There is nothing altruistic about finding ways to cut costs of digital screen rollouts or home theater systems. Nonetheless, the effort has a lot of people paying attention because of the overall implications and possibilities of very low-cost devices.
There is now a Linux distribution for the device – called Raspbmc – that supports 1080P video, mySQL database hosting and browsers.
It’s very doubtful the industry will see any serious companies releasing digital sign products based on this – it’s still a lab thing and will be for some time – but anyone who sells digital signage technology will tell you the pressure to drive prices down on hardware rarely stops. Even if a final commercial variant of the Raspberry Pi was $100, combining with a low-cost SaaS platform would be pretty compelling for large scale networks with simple media demands.
Q4 Projector and Professional Flat Panel Display Roundup: Professional Flat Panel YoY Growth Exceeds 20 Percent
According to UK-based Futuresource Consulting, the international professional flat panel market in 2011 saw gains over 2010, as the market continued to find opportunities within difficult trading conditions. The 2011 combined display market grew 18.9 percent in 2010. The final quarter of 2011 saw Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ) growth of 5.6 percent and Year-on-Year (YoY) growth of 22.3 percent, with the quarter posting volumes of one million units. The pure professional display market experienced an expected slow quarter with a growth of 1.0 percent QoQ, however, YoY growth was 9.7 percent with volume sales of 461k units.
It was a very difficult year for the Japanese market, with the professional display market falling 47.6 percent on 2010. The country has shown strong recovery in the 2H 2011, with Q4 posting sales of 31k units, a QoQ growth of 19.5 percent. This result was in contrast to the overall Asia/Pacific region, which saw growth of -3.8 percent in the professional display market. India continues to show strong and steady growth in Q4, with QoQ growth of 16.8 percent and YoY growth of 82.4 percent.
Q4 has seen a resurgence in the super narrow bezel products with growth of 27.8 percent QoQ and 89.7 percent YoY.
The transition from CCFL backlighting to LED continues at pace, as the number of professional displays sold with LED backlighting doubled to 35.9k QoQ. The lower energy consumption and thinner form factor are key drivers for this technology as end users look for savings where they can.
The market for professional larger screen sizes (≥46”) continues to grow, with 10.6 percent QoQ growth and 39.9 percent YoY. As the prices for these larger displays continue to fall -- on average 22.5 percent YoY - the demand will continue to increase.
EMEA Projector Market
The full year EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) performance posted a slight YoY decline of 1.24 percent, dropping from 2.38m units in 2010 to 2.35m units in 2011. On a quarterly basis, Q4 2011 posted a 5.41 percent YoY volume growth to reach 721k units. As anticipated, Russia posted a very strong result reaching unit sales of 76,322 which represents over 115 percent YoY growth. Much of this strong performance can be attributed to heavy investment in the education space with both national and regional funding driving classroom adoption. Despite the national election, which is due in 2012, signficant further investment is expected and market volumes are likely to accelerate.
The education sector remains a critical driver for the projector category and is perfectly highlighted by the Spanish market which posted 11 percent YoY growth in Q4 despite a change of government and troubled economic situation (although the funding models behind some of the tender activity in Spain are very unusual). While the outlook for Western Europe looks relatively weak in 2012, the Eastern European and Middle Eastern markets are expected to provide strong growth opportunities.
Global Projector Market
The global projector market reached 7.67 million units in 2011, representing a 3.48 percent year on year growth. With uncertain global economic conditions continuing to affect market demand, market growth is increasingly down to two major factors; emerging markets and increased penetration in the education sector.
Strong sales territories in Q4 included:
Indonesia at 126K
Russia at 76K, where numerous education tenders were issued and delivered (despite the pressures of a 60-day delivery and installation requirement)
Brazil at 55K continues to accelerate with major tenders expected in the first half of 2012
Visix Partners with Visual Electronics for Real-Time DS Messaging
Visix just announced a strategic partnership with Visual Electronics, Ltd. (VEL), a real-time data integration and messaging provider. The companies have agreed to develop cooperative sales, marketing and technology initiatives for the digital signage market.
VEL will provide middleware and data integration capabilities that enable Visix to incorporate high-end real-time data display for its digital signage clients. Visix will provide VEL customers with digital signage systems that combine VEL’s real-time data with everyday organizational communications, leveraging a very scalable enterprise solution for visual communications.
The companies will host a webinar on March 1st called "Selecting the Right Digital Signage Technology" – for invited guests of Fortune 1000 companies. This is the first in a series of cooperative ventures planned for 2012. You can learn more about VEL here: http://www.vel-co.com/
5-in-1 DLP Projector with Built-in Document Camera
At InfoComm, Avio introduced their new model iP-01U with a built-in high-resolution document camera. This 5-in-1 Avio iP projector with short-throw lens enables you to project images from virtually any media source including documents, 3D objects, transparencies, computer images, and video sources.
Black Box's new ICOMPEL WDS (for Wearable Digital Signage) is the size of a name tag but shows full-motion, customized video loops. They are designed to attract attention and enhance one-on-one sales interaction.
In addition to the rechargeable 2.4" LCD player tag, the iCOMPEL WDS system includes access to a Web-based portal for assembling and customizing video content with special effects, scrolling text, logos and branding. Content can range from simple text and JPG images in a slideshow to a video. And, when used with Black Box’s iCOMPEL EDS platform, content for thousands of WDS players worn by associates around the world can be updated remotely from a central location.
The Digital Signage Federation (DSF) has announced the election of its new 2012 board of directors. Per the DSF by-laws, Alan Brawn of Brawn Consulting assumes the chairmanship, while the current chairman, Bob Stowe of Wendy’s International, becomes immediate past-chairman. Philip M. Cohen of Care Media Holding Corp. has been elected vice-chairman and Kim Sarubbi, president of Saddle Ranch Digital was elected treasurer/secretary.
The three new at-large directors who will serve two-year terms include: Angela Tang of AOpen, Ian Stone of Respario LP and George Yunis of ARAMARK.
Re-elected at-large directors include: Jeff Dowell of 3M and Golf Tournament Committee co-chair, Brian Dusho of BroadSign and Golf Tournament Committee co-chair, Ken Goldberg of Real Digital Media and Standards Committee chair, Jack Sullivan of StarCom World Wide and Advocacy and Outreach Committee co-chair, Jennifer Bolt of rVue and Membership Committee co-chair, and Carre Dawson of Harris Corp. Broadcast Communications and Membership Committee co-chair.
Brawn said, “My focus as DSF Chairman for 2012 will be to expand our membership, add to the number of DSF College Chapters and to lead the drive to establish National Educational Standards for the digital signage industry. It will come as no surprise to those that know me that industry education and educating those coming into our industry, will be a focus during my tenure in office.” He added, “Each member of our newly elected 2012 Board brings their own expertise to help fulfill the objectives of the DSF as we look toward an exciting year of growth for each of us at the DSF and for the industry as a whole. Your board looks forward to serving you in 2012.”
MultiTouch has expanded its MultiTraction line of interactive displays with two new 42” displays. The Cell 42” MT420W7 has Windows 7 embedded while another version, the MT420S, offers a stackable product that can be designed for large wall, table or asymmetric display configurations.
Dubbed the Clarity Matrix 3D and said by the company to be the industry’s thinnest 3D LCD video wall system, Clarity's latest videowall system allows for passive 3D display of content in an install depth to a just 3.6 inches (93 mm). Using 46" native 1080p LED-lit LCDs, the Matrix 3D features the EasyAxis mounting system and off-board electronics and is designed for 24/7/365 operation. It can display content in both 2D and 3D, uses a Quad Controller Module and Power Supply Module to drive the video wall and facilitate uninterrupted operation. It's aimed for digital signage applications, as well as medical imaging and control room applications.
Next month, the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) is offering a webinar, “Digital Signage in the Workplace: What Works and Why,” which features Jude Carter of the Marlin Company on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. EST.
Enterprise-wide applications of digital signage continue to proliferate in the workplace. Carter will explore the variety of ways that companies are now using digital signage to educate, inform, engage and communicate with internal stakeholders. This webinar will address the challenges unique to using digital signage in corporate communications and offer practical strategies for integrating digital signage in work place applications.
The webinar will cover:
Getting Started: The Why’s, Who’s, Where’s, and How’s
Measuring the True Cost and ROI
Understanding Content: Source, Quantity, Quality, Creation and Control
Jude Carter is the director of marketing for The Marlin Company, specializing in workplace communications and serving thousands of companies in the U.S. and Canada. With over 28 years of experience, she has developed marketing and communication strategies for Fortune 500 companies such as Fidelity, Aetna, Adidas, and Prudential. An expert in workplace digital signage and visual communication, Carter has spoken at industry associations throughout the U.S. and Canada, including DSE, VPPPA, Waste Expo and many long-term care association conferences.
As digital place-based advertising grows in importance on every brand’s media and marketing plan, are you prepared to offer leadership and guidance to strategically incorporate it? For the third year in a row, DSE has created a special pre-show day on Tuesday, March 6 -- this year sponsored by the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA) -- designed exclusively for marketers and agencies to help you understand the place-based media opportunity and exactly how to play to win.
This day-long program will be comprised of seven informative and thought-provoking sessions, from a state-of-the-industry keynote address to creative content that works. Plus, the Summit will for the first time feature a prominent keynote luncheon speaker.
Smart City Lights Up Smart Video Wall Network at LVCC
By Dave Haynes Editor, Sixteen:Nine
I think I have been to at least a dozen trade shows of some kind or another at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and over that time seen a few stabs at digital signage ad and information networks in the public areas.
It’s a big honking space, so much of what has been done to date has been too small to really grab the attention of the masses streaming through that cavernous space.
The latest effort looks a lot different, employing a dozen of the kinds of video walls that have some stopping and notice power.
The global meetings industry web site Conworld reports:
Smart City Networks has completed the installation of a permanent digital signage network at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) offering new opportunities for digital advertising at the center.
The digital signage network consists of 12 video walls throughout the North, Central and South Hall public areas.
The new digital signage network can present content to thousands of visitors in multiple locations, while also offering a show the flexibility to purchase advertising on the video walls that are most pertinent to their event space.
In the Grand Lobby, a feature video wall with 36 video screens, spanning a space 21 feet long by 12 feet high, is suspended from a ceiling beam. In total, the digital signage network at the LVCC consists of 87, 46-inch high-definition monitors.
“A digital signage network that spans numerous public areas in a convention center is really a unique offering,” said Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks which will maintain the network at the LVCC. “This network offers a great opportunity for exhibitors and show managers to publicize their products and services directly to the thousands of event attendees in a high impact manner.”
“We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and continue to be an innovator in the convention industry,” said Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of operations for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), owners of the convention center.
“This unique digital signage network provides another resource for our show producers and exhibitors, as well as our resort partners and other businesses, to place their products and services in front of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who attend our facility each year.”
Smart City Networks will sell digital advertising to conventions and events held in the facility as well as assist show managers who wish to sell ads to their exhibitors. Local attractions, hotels and national advertisers can also advertise on the new network.
The LVCVA board of directors previously approved the five-year contract to enable Smart City to design, purchase, install and maintain the digital signage network.
This is smart, and something I would have loved to do had I pile of investor money and a green card. I have spreadsheets from a few years that worked out the whole opportunity of selling screen time to vendors show by show, the idea being that $3,000 for a message on a big-ass video wall beat the hell out of $3,000 for a tent card saying you sponsored the morning coffee break at some show.
Houston-based Smart City Networks is specifically in the business of technology and telecommunication services to the trade show and event industry, so this is right in the company wheelhouse and should over time deliver a nice ROI. I like.
Some smart DS vendor will buy time on one of these outside the hall where DSE is being held in a month.
So, that's rAVe DS [Digital Signage] for this month! Remember, we are here to HELP the AV market penetrate the DS market. Only 12 percent of the DS market is integrated by AV companies. The other 88 percent is IT-based. Now, there are AV publications and even an association that would like to draw those IT people in to AV (it would increase readers, right? - and more readers means they can charge more for ads). That is NOT what we are doing. rAVe DS is specifically designed to pull AV into the DS market and teach AV companies how to take business away from the currently dominated by IT market.
For those of you NEW to rAVe, you just read a 100% opinionated ePublication that's designed to help AV integrators. We not only report the news and new product stories of the digital signage industry, but we stuff the articles full of our opinions. That may include (but is not limited to) whether or not the product is even worth looking at, challenging the manufacturers on their specifications, calling a marketing-spec bluff and suggesting ways integrators market their products better. But, one thing is for sure, we are NOT a trade publication that gets paid for running editorial or product stories. Traditional trade publications get paid to run product stories -- that's why you see what you see in most of the pubs out there. We are different: we run what we want to run and NO ONE is going to pay us to write anything good (or bad).
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