New Samsung LED LCD commercial displays

At Electronic Art, we really like the Samsung product line for LCD displays in retail and corporate digital signage.  They really have their head in the game and are always improving and innovating the technology.  They’ve just released a new LED LCD product line update and the new PDF catalog is available here.  What I find interesting is the use of the term “LED LCD” which seems a bit confusing.  They seem to be blending the two different terms to create their own terminology.

It makes me wonder how long it will be until there are no more LCD displays and LED is the standard.  It’s probably not far away as the new LED screens are up to 50% more energy efficient which is so important with rising energy costs.  And being so thin and slender certainly makes for a cleaner looking installation because it doesn’t protrude so far from the wall.   And they are mercury free and easier to recycle.  All very important topics when deciding what the total cost of ownership of these screens are over time.

Don’t confuse these with the consumer grade screens you find at Best Buy.  Samsung LED LCD commercial displays are built for heavy-duty commercial use. They feature more advanced cooling technologies than consumer televisions, and are designed for long hours of continuous use.  Consumer grade screens are rated at about 20,000 to 30,000 hours of intermittent use whereas the commercial screens are rated at 60,000 + hours of continuous usage. They come with a three year commercial warranty instead of a consumer warranty.  Hang a consumer screen in a business environment and the consumer warranty is no longer valid.

In past years we have sold a lot of Samsung screens for libraries, trucking companies, ski resorts and general corporate communication.  We’ve even sold Proctor & Gamble a 9 screen video wall last year that was used in their lobby for an Earth Day event.  I think we’ll have a lot of success with the new LED screens as well.

A new change in the LED line-up is a built in simple media player.  It will play basic Jpegs, video and powerpoint (not sure why anyone would use Powerpoint for screen media… but that is another story).  in a simple rotation.  This new USB plugin method is using what they call MagicInfo Lite software which comes free with the screens.  Other commercial screens with a built-in PC have come with MagicInfo Pro as a free product to manage a small number of networked screens. And there is also the MagicInfo-I premium which is a more robust enterprise application available (not free).   So Samsung has brought added value to their commercial LED lineup to enable an easy to use simple media player right out of the box.  Of course you can still add PC player devices and run more processor intensive applications like Flash and use more sophisticated digital signage management software.  But a small office or low budget project can benefit from these new products from Samsung.

If you’re looking to do digital menu boards, corporate communications, retail signage or you just want to be able to welcome your guests in your lobby, call us.  We can recommend the best solution for both your short term and long term needs.  We offer full integration including installation services, software configuration, training, remote system monitoring and content creation.

Related Reading: Also read the white paper on “Why Buy Professional LCD’s” here.

Tim Burke is the president of Electronic Art LLC and also on the advisory board of the Digital Screenmedia Association which is the leading industry association for digital signage, kiosks and mobile interactive.  He also is chairman of their marketing and PR committee.  Electronic Art is a full service integrator and a Samsung partner.

Electronic Art Provides Interactive for Invisible Slavery Exhibition at the Freedom Center

CINCINNATI — Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is announcing its contribution to Invisible: Slavery Today, a new exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Electronic Art created and installed the digital interactive displays and many of the video components of the exhibit. The exhibit includes 17 hi-definition touch-screen displays and several digital kiosks, including a 55-inch touch screen display that allows visitors to access statistics on modern slavery from the United States State Department.

“Museum exhibits are starting to move towards more interactive, digital content,” said Tim Burke, President of Electronic Art. “Museum goers have come to expect leading-edge technology as well as some element of interaction to be a part of the overall experience. We’re honored that we could contribute to Invisible: Slavery Today and use technology to bring awareness to this issue and help it resonate with people. This exhibit was created in a very short time frame, yet we were able to deliver quality design and programming for the exhibit opening.”

“Electronic Art was a tremendous partner in putting this exhibit together,” said Paul Bernish, Director of Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiatives at the Freedom Center. “We’ve had a longstanding collaboration with them for our website design. Their work on this exhibit is a tribute to their versatility. I would recommend them without hesitation.”

Invisible: Slavery Today is a museum-quality, permanent exhibition on the subjects of modern-day slavery and human trafficking that occupies some 4,000 square feet in the Freedom Center’s east pavilion. Through a variety of techniques and media, including videos, sounds, and touch-screen presentations, Invisible offers a comprehensive examination of slavery in the modern world through the life experiences of five individuals who were caught up in one of the five most common forms of exploitation.

The concluding section of the exhibition is devoted to anti-slavery activities underway around the world, including efforts from the Freedom Center’s partners in the exhibition: Free the Slaves, Goodweave, International Justice Mission, and Polaris Project. Visitors are also asked to make a personal commitment to be 21st Century Abolitionists in the cause of freedom by adding their commitment to touch screen kiosks, which are digitally integrated into large format content.

The exhibition opened on Oct. 9 and will be a permanent addition to the museum.  The Freedom Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Access to Invisible is included in the regular price of admission.

For more information about Electronic Art LLC, contact Tim Burke at (513) 321-1771 or tburke@electronicart.com, or visit www.ElectronicArt.com.

About Electronic Art

Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com) is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in computer kiosks and digital signage, as well as many related online interactive services. Originally founded in 1998, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio offering high-end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Today, Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries via kiosks, digital signage, and website development.

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Digital Non-Conference recap

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Unique Pub Locations

The 2010 digital Non-Conference is now behind us.  And everyone I spoke to seemed to really enjoy the conference and the quality speakers at the event.  The “Non-Conference” is so named because of it’s non traditional format tailored after a similar non-conference in Ireland in the early 2000’s where each session was held in various pubs.  The Cincinnati event held it’s main sessions and keynotes at the Millennium hotel and then each topical session was in a nearby bar, art gallery or lounge which kept it fun and interesting. As a sponsor of the event we were very pleased with the overall conference.

2010 Digital Non-Conference Keynote Panel

Ugly Betty's America Ferrera

The keynote speakers included a panel with Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera who is producing the first bi-lingual telenovela with MTV that will allow viewers to interact with the outcome of the show called “Pedro and Maria. Another compelling keynote was Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora online radio. While building the music website, Westergren said he maxed out three credit cards and accumulated a quarter million dollars in debt in 2003. But by listening to its consumers and being persistent, the company now represents 60 percent of online music, showing that the proper mix of passion, persistence and  technology can make all of the difference in the digital world.

As a presenter I enjoyed talking about digital signage to this audience of mostly ad agency staff, designers, media, bloggers, marketers and brand managers who are likely to know little about digital signage.  I hosted a panel on the topic of “Trends and Insights: Digital Signage Opportunities for Marketers” which tried to convey the benefits to this audience as well as some basics of our industry. On the panel was Christopher Hall of DigitalSignageToday.com, Chuck Gose of The MediaTile Company, Bill Collins of DecisionPoint Media and myself.  We were hosting our discussion in a place called “Passage Lounge” which is an upscale lounge bar with a secret passage to the VIP lounge which provided a relaxed environment.  We kicked off the discussion with some basics on digital signage along with photos to ensure the audience was up to speed on what we were discussing. Then our panel fielded very relevant  questions from the audience on important topics such as:

  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage, when social media and smart mobile phones are so hot?”
  • “Many brands see the value of Digital Signage at retail, but they have been frustrated by the lack of good opportunities that they have to tell their story at retail.   What do you expect the brands to do in order to break through at retail?”
  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage at all?”

The discussion was lively and the panel did a professional job with no “selling” to the audience. Although I saw several audience members get business cards afterward to be able to continue the discussion. One audience member drove all of the way from Toronto Canada after reading about the conference and our panel online.  He was wanting to start a new digital signage network in Toronto and had many questions for the panelists after our event.

Tim Westergren - Pandora

Tim Westergren - Pandora

It was good to see traditional agencies and marketers taking an interest in digital signage. Several people asked me how they could learn more and I directed them to the digital screenmedia association web site and handed them a brochure.  They expressed interest in using digital out of home media to target their audiences but felt that the biggest problem they have is the lack of network ubiquity (just as Tim Westergren had noted was a key to Pandora’s success). Until there are large ubiquitous networks available for them to spend their ad money, digital signage will not be perceived as a primary vehicle for out of home advertising.   We discussed the integration of social media and used the Foursquare / Local Moda example to show how brands are leveraging social media with digital signage in their bricks and mortar locations, which was of particular interest to many in the audience.  This lead to some interesting tweets from the audience which can be seen here: http://digitalcincinnati.org/2010/top-tweets-from-145pm-breakouts/

So, did they get it?  Yes.  The audience got it and they seemed jazzed about many of the technologies that can help them measure digital signage.  This is something most marketers don’t realize is available to them.  I wouldn’t doubt that our discussion helps to grow the digital signage industry in our region as well as perhaps getting some of the global brand managers to become more open to the use of digital signage spend in the upcoming years.  We have already begun working with a lead that we met at the conference, so our firm is happy with the exposure it has given us.

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Hands-On Session on Innovation

The digital non-conference was put off by the Cincinnati Ad-Club and the American Marketing Association. This is the third year for the event and has grown quite a bit.  This year there was a real emphasis on growing the reach to other cities in the midwest including Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington and Dayton making this a Midwest digital conference not just a greater Cincinnati event.  Our panel had someone from Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati so it was a diverse group.  I believe that the next couple of years will see dramatic growth of the conference.  And the event is always timed to coincide with the Midpoint Music Festival which adds a bit of cool factor to the experience.

I hope you can plan to attend next year’s event.  If not, consider how you or your company can help to expand the knowledge and education around digital signage in your part of the world.  Get involved, sponsor, speak and provide a consultative approach to helping others realize the potential of digital out of home marketing.  When you give unselfishly, you will always get back more than you anticipated.  It may be as simple as volunteering to staff the DSA booth at an upcoming event or giving a show and tell event for your local chamber of commerce.  Lean on the DSA to provide you with content, networking with other industry professionals and membership materials. Its your association, use it!

CEO Renamed as Chairperson for DSA Committee

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with the Digital Signage Association since it’s inception a few years ago, as well as membership in the SSKA (Self Service & Kiosk Association).  In the past few months both of those organizations combined into one non profit association which makes my life a lot easier.  The new association is the Digital ScreenMedia Association ( notice how the kept the DSA moniker). And with a membership of over 650 end users, deployers, manufacturers and agencies it is a pretty powerful organization.

I’ve been the chairperson for the DSA Marketing & PR committee for about 1.5 years now and with the merger of the two associations and two committees it was a bit up in the air if I would be the new combined committee chairperson or if the esteemed Bill Lynch of the SSKA committee would lead going forwards.   Well it’s official that I am indeed the new chairperson of the combined committee and we had our first conference call a few weeks ago to engage the now larger committee.  It was a great call as we reviewed old news and new items including some very exciting programs we will be recommending to the board.   I can’t speak of them yet but I’m hopeful they will make an impact in the marketing of the DSA, giving us several PR opportunities and help fulfill the mission of the DSA.   More word on this when it’s public knowledge.

To learn more about the DSA and get involved as a user/integrator/agency of digital signage, mobile or kiosk technologies visit their web site at: http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org/

Kentucky Libraries Get Digital Signage

We recently integrated a digital signage management system for the Kenton County Public Library system in northern Kentucky.  The project included a content management system to allow the library staff to create or upload media and schedule that content for individual screens across all of their branch locations.  The browser based tools allow for setting content via a scheduling tool to push out media to each screen at a chosen time.

The energy efficient commercial grade LCD screens can be set to automatically turn on and off when the library opens and closes and they have smart cooling systems to help preserve their lifespan.  Each screen has a networked player appliance that receives the content from the digital media server and outputs it to the screen as scheduled.

This is another example of how to digitally communicate with a broad audience and cut down on the time to deliver content versus the traditional printed methods.  Digital signage is often used for museums, retail and corporate communications.  Libraries are an excellent place to communicate to the local community and keep them informed of local and regional events as well as news, weather and library related topics such as the NY Times Best sellers list.

Photos from this installation:

William Durr Branch Interior Signage William Durr Branch Interior Signage 2

Erlanger Branch Interior Erlanger Branch Interior 3William Durr Branch exterior Covington Branche Interior

For more information about how your organization can utilize digital signage to communicate to your audience, contact us via our web site.  If you are interested in some of the hardware available you can visit our new hardware catalog at www.TouchScreenHardware.com

Do you have a comment?  We’d love to hear from you by commenting in the blog below.

New Kiosk Hardware Catalog Coming Soon

For years we have offered hundreds of hardware options to our clients but have found it difficult to show everything we offer on our site. So we’ve been working in the background to build an online catalog that will enable us to fully showcase the different kiosk hardware and digital signage hardware components in our line card.
This includes everything from full kiosk enclosures, panel pc’s, LCD panels, mounts, stands and more. Everything from IBM & Samsung to Ergotron and Premier mounts.
So keep an eye out for our updates coming in the next few weeks. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask… we probably sell it.

KioskCom & the Digital Signage Show

Well, its that time again when we pack up touch screen kiosks and LCD screens and rush to get our software apps ready to display at the upcoming www.KioskCom.com trade show in Las Vegas on April 14 & 15th 2010 at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino.  We’ve exhibited at this show for many years and  are happy to be a part of it all again.  This time we have a larger 10 x 20 booth and have one of our many hardware partners who have offered to share the booth with us.  The good folks at www.Zivelo.com are providing their kiosk hardware for the booth including the C10, C2, C6 and the NEW C5 model being built just for the show!  We resell all of their models and are always impressed with the quality of the craftsmanship.  We often partner with Zivelo and provide the software applications for many of their clients.  Come meet Ziver and Ross from Zivelo at our booth.

Also, you’ll see our www.Lobstr.net product that has been rebuilt with new CSS3 based programming and a new pricing model for local operation (no subscriptions!).  And a new kiosk application that offers SMS coupon and lead generation services to drive traffic to your store, along with many of our past projects for various fortune 1000 clients.

Some news, next year the show will have a new name and location.  Goodbye Las Vegas, hello San Francisco! And the new name focuses more on the customer and less on us vendors:  Customer Engagement Technology World which will be at www.CETWorld.com . I like the new direction and the guys at JD Events who put on the show are some really nice folks that do a great job!  We are looking forward to the new format next year. See the press release here.

Are you planning to come to the show or perhaps still on the fence?  Well, let me offer you a free pass into the Expo show floor so you can come visit us  and our peers in the industry.  We will be in booth #205 right across from our business partners at Samsung.  Use the discount code at checkout of:   2LV49F and you’ll get the $50 expo fee on us.   Stop by and see us!  Register at http://www.kioskcom.com/register.asp

I hope to have some good photos and interesting products to discuss after the show, and you can follow my tweets on Twitter during the show at:  http://www.twitter.com/KioskGuy

Do you have a comment?  Add your comment below and I’ll give you a special shout out at the show!

Review of DOOH panel at 2009 Cincinnati Digital Hub Non-Conference

@bcollinssignman: digital signage can be adapted to context a... on Twitpic

Bill Collins

Last week I organized a panel discussion on digital signage or “digital Out of Home” (DOOH) at the Cincinnati based Digital Hub Non-Conference.  This conference was a regional showcase of all things digital with some national keynote speakers.  At last year’s event, I was shocked that a digital conference could have no digital signage discussions so I got involved and got on the programming schedule for digital signage.  The problem is that I was too chicken to do the whole topic on my own. Its the whole fear of public speaking. So I thought… hmmmm  who else can I draft into this?  A panel discussion would be much easier for me to stomach.

I know many people in our industry from our many years of experience, and first turned to some of the partners we have in the business such as Samsung.  Samsung suggested we use Dayton based Stratacache since this event was a regional showcase, and I have been aware of Stratacache for years, even though we had not yet worked with their tools.  Turns out the director of marketing there, Louie Hollmeyer was a classmate of mine in elementary and high school.  I hadn’t seen him since.  (He looks the same as when he was eighteen years old!)  Done!  Then I turned to respected national speaker and research analyst for the kiosk and digital signage industry, Mr. Bill Collins.  He turned me on to Mike Collette of Healthy Advice Networks.  Their firm operates about 7000 screens in their network of patient education content that is placed in waiting rooms around the continent.  He would bring a great perspective on how to manage or operate a large network.   Done!   My connections connected me to new and relevant prospects for the panel.   This was working out quite well.

Now, the reason they call this a Non-Conference is that while the keynotes are held in the main ballroom of the local Hyatt Regency hotel, the breakout sessions are held in local pubs and artsy venues.  The attendees walk the 3-4 blocks to the venue that is hosting the session you are interested in attending.  Our session was held in the Lodge Bar on 7th street in Cincinnati.  The decor is very log cabin ‘ish with deer heads mounted to the wall along side of fishing paraphernalia and similar sporting trinkets.  Certainly interesting when your session attendees are drinking a Gin and Tonic during your talk!  The problem with the Non Conference idea is that the day of the event, there was a large rain storm that started right at the time our session started.   So our attendance was low at first, and the room filled up more as the wet and dripping new media types “poured in”.

Samsung had provided two LCD panels for our use at the event (Thanks Guys!) and our firm, Electronic Art provided the stands and media players.  Stratacache brought a sample reel of Digital signage content and so did Healthy Advice Networks.  Bill Collins brought a great PowerPoint deck with some good visual examples of signage installations and his take on definitions and metrics.   Some folks noted that the content from Stratacache had localized data in it that was set to Nebraska (and we are in Cincinnati),  but they need to understand the lack of internet connectivity and amount of setup needed for this short 45 minute session.   I think everyone understood the scenario being shown.  (The Twitterati can be so picky!)  There were discussions about the reasons to use commercial grade hardware and the reasons why, the slow adoption of signage by retailers in the past and how this has been changing.  We also discussed how traditional agencies have been slow to understand the medium and how interactive agencies (like Electronic Art) have been providing a lot of the content and consulting.  And we talked about the benefits such as localization, day parts, and how the content can be specific to the viewer.

In all, the event was a success.  We could have gone on for another hour but sadly these were short sessions.  We knew that going in which is why we titled the session “Digital Signage 101: – Networks, Components, Media and its impact on traditional media.”.    I heard a lot of people ask for more of this content next year.  We hope to be able to provide a longer session and incorporate more signage into the event overall for way finding and sponsor promotion.

The keynote speeches of the event are available online as PodCasts at http://cms.screamingbob.com/content/null-dhi09/podcasts. To see some of the Twitter posts on the overall conference, look up the tag #dhi09 on Twitter.  And here are some photos from our session at the Lodge Bar.

Louie Hollmeyer of Stratacache #dhi09 on TwitpicJohn Cyzrka of Samsung talking about uVending solution # dhi09 on TwitpicSetting up for #dhi09. That's @kioskguy behind the samsung sc... on Twitpic

Digital Signage: Why buy commercial grade screens?

This is an educational topic that I have to teach quite often to prospects and newbies to the digital signage market. People see cheap LCD screens at Best Buy and think that they should integrate that quality into their retail location. A commercial grade screen costs more and people often think too shortsightedly at the initial cost, not thinking about the total cost of ownership. Like replacing that screen in a matter of months because you ran it 24 hours a day, burning in the image and frying your motherboards. And your limited consumer warranty will not cover you.

A commercial screen will often come with a 3 year warranty, is made for 20+ hours of commercial use with fans, lower overall power consumption, and in some cases, technology to prevent burn in (image retention). Many other reasons exist too, and so it was good to see our partner Samsung sponsor a white paper on the topic. It does a decent job of explaining why the initial up front cost will save you much heartache and money in the near future.

Why_Buy_Pro_WhitePaper

KioskCom Las Vegas 2009 Review

The Kioskcom.com show last week was really good.  We were nervous going into it because of the economy.  We wondered if customers would come out to the show.  We were happy to see a great turn out by VP’s and decision makers with real projects in hand.  In years past you would see multiple team members from a brand attend, perhaps marketing folks, IT staff and VP’s.  Kind of a “design by committee” mentality. But this year, they seemed to not need to bring the whole committee out, just the decision makers, which all of the vendors appreciated.  We met with folks from Motorolla, Ikea, Target, Ceasars Palace, Delta, American Airlines and many more.

Our booth showcased the new Lobstr application on a 37″ touch screen, the new Zebra Kiosk Print Station with our “Hike & Bike” kiosk concept,  as well as our demo kiosk of various past customer implementations.  Our partners at 5Point also showcased Lobstr on their newest enclosure for Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) Platform, the Concierge.  Our app looked so cool on their 40″ screens that we are partnering with them to have this as our default hardware option for Lobstr. More to come on that soon.

Our booth chotsky was a full pack of Orbitz gum.  I figured it was better than most of the squeeze balls and pens given out by many vendors.  And also the obvious reason which is that I was tired of talking to people with bad breath.   Hmmm, I think Orbitz just found their next commercial idea!  Now if only I could brand the packaging with my company information it would have been perfect.

The educational break out sessions and tech talks were a big hit with attendees.  DT Research gave a session on “Interactive Digital Merchandising: Expanding brand and product impact and creating customer engagement.” which is a topic we can get behind.  Andrew Fischer did a great job in this session.   Another session was titled “Return on Message – Optimizing your digital signage network for success. ” which was giving by Keith Kelson who is the Chairman of the Content Best Practices committee of the Digital Signage Association along with Roger Sanford of the MediaTile company.  Return on Message (ROM) is the new buzzword in our industry and a methodology that  provides standards based processes to guide companies through complex variables that must be considered for a successful digital signage deployment.   This also showcased many of the best practices laid out by the association in the past years.

Speaking of the DSA (Digital Signage Association) of which I sit on the advisory board: we had our board meeting the night before the show at the M resort just south of the strip.  This new Casino / Hotel was only 62 days old and our board members were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the facility and the technology used by their VP of IT services.  I doubt I will ever get to see the NOC and security areas of another Casino in my lifetime, it was very interesting to see and learn about how they operate and how they use Digital Signage for both customer facing areas of the facility and also employee facing messages.  I appreciate the hospitality of the M Resort in Las Vegas.   During this meeting we did a review of several committees, discussed goals, events and recapped the past year’s success.  I am now the chairman of the PR & Marketing committee for the Digital Signage Association.   We have some good people on the committee already, so I’m excited about working with them to help promote the association, drive awareness and education, and help increase membership of the DSA.

As for new technology, there was a lot of the same hardware at the show that has been seen before.  I got a sneak peak at a new product from MicroVision which is a Pico Projector (ultra small projector) about the size of an Iphone.  Useful in our industry for some small digital signage applications for rear projection, etc.  However the brightness and resolution are the only current drawbacks I could see.  This may be addressed in the second and third generations of this unique laser projector called ShowWX.  See their site for a preview and watch for it to be launched later this year.  The projector is unique becuase of an ultra tiny red, blue & green laser that allows the image to be in focus at any distance.  It was really nice, but the first generation will likely be a consumer model.  They are interested in finding new products they could embed the engine into, such as a cell phone, or other device.

We enjoyed the opportunities to talk with many customers about their projects, hardware or software needs and to explain to them once again, that no… we are not THAT Electronic Arts company in California.   The “S” at the end of their name is short for dollar signs and no, our firm does not make games for the Playstation or Nintendo.   You have to love our name, but the similarities do make it confusing.  I’m pretty sure the lady at the Paris Casino was treating me really good because she thought that was our company when she saw my shirt.  For a free drink… I didn’t correct her.