Sixteen:Nine

By Sixteen:Nine

About this podcast   English    United States

This podcast is the audio extension of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that's been documenting the growth and filtering the BS of the digital signage industry since 2006.
In this podcast

Sixteen:Nine

Sixteen

Technology

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April 18, 2018
Megan Dutta and Andrea Varrone have been longtime friends in AV circles, and spoken often about putting together an organization that represented the interests and aspirations of woman in this industry. They finally saw time open up last summer and started organizing what turned into Women of Digital Signage. The group had its first gathering - a breakfast at Digital Signage Expo - and it went over so well extra tables had to be added. Though only around since right after the new year, the breakfast attracted almost 100 women and the group already has some 200 members. Sometimes these kinds of things have a lot of energy at the start, but never really come together. But this isn't one of those times. They have a board, website, social media feeds, an active blog and on and on. This is a going concern. Dutta and I have been trying and failing to get a call together for weeks, but we finally pulled it off. In this podcast, we talk about the thinking behind the group, its aspirations and how to get involved. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
April 11, 2018
E-paper has been around for 20-plus years and it has gradually been improving to a point that it makes operating, commercial and visual sense for digital signage applications. There are companies like Slovenia's Visionect that do a really nice job of making small black and white displays look beautiful for applications that vary from meeting room signs and hotel reception greeters to solar-powered transit schedule signs. That company, and many others, use E Ink technology. E Ink spun out of MIT's famed Media Lab more than 20 years ago and is the best known and most successful company in the e-paper field. If you have a Kindle e-reader, you are using Link technology. The company is now based in Taiwan but a lot of R&D still comes out of the Boston area. They had a big stand recently at DSE - including new four-color large format displays. They looked really nice, though if you didn't know how the tech works you'd swear these screens were having 10-second seizures as they changed content. The refresh rate is still slow and something less than elegant. I spoke with Jenn Vail, Director of Business & Marketing Strategy, about the past, present and future of e-paper. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
April 4, 2018
Reece Kurtenbach now runs Daktronics, the company started by his father and a university colleague 50 years ago - and has grown up seeing it evolve from electronic voting systems from state politicians to the maker behind some of the biggest and most iconic LED display boards on the planet. That's Daktronics' tech, for example, creating a huge halo over the amazing new Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta. We've been trying to make a podcast chat work by Skype - and we had more issues with Skype and Skype for Business getting along - so the opportunity came up last week to have a chat right on the show floor at DSE in Las Vegas. Kurtenbach talks about the roots of the company, and how the abrupt onslaught of competition in his business is nothing new. We also get into the thinking behind the acquisition of Adflow, a digital signage software shop just up the road from me but way far away from South Dakota, where Daktronics is based. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
March 28, 2018
One of the big challenges on the technology side of digital signage is keeping up with all of the emerging hardware and software options on the market. It used to be a reasonably simple case of developing software in one OS or another and getting it running on a PC. But now there are Android players, Chrome devices, set-top boxes and a variety of so-called smart displays from different manufacturers, most of them different from one maker to the next. It's a bit of a mess - particularly if you have a content management system and clients asking constantly if the platform works with this or that. Stan Richter and his company SignageOS saw all of that, and have launched what's being called a unification platform that makes it easy to get a CMS and its player running on multiple kinds of devices. SignageOS sits in the middle and also handles the management and maintenance of the various devices. The service is white-labelled, and the idea is for software companies to subscribe to SignageOS and build that functionality and cost into their own licensing fees. The company, based in Prague, just launched a month ago, and have 30 NDAs going with software firms. They've got people at DSE today, way at the back of the hall, and eager to talk to potential North American partners. CEO Stan Richter, who I first met at ISE, filled me in recently. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
March 21, 2018
Booze is a complicated thing to buy. All the product categories look pretty much the same, so people revert to price, top of mind awareness or labels and names that catch their eye. One of the ways to improve that situation is by putting digital right into the aisles of liquor stores, where people poke around trying to figure out what they'll like and should buy. A company up in the north Atlanta tech suburbs, called Sellr, is rolling out BevTV displays in stores, with the aim of helping consumers make more informed choices about buying wine, beer and liquor - and hopefully influence buying decisions. The company got its start in retail hardware, but has transitioned fully into software and content - building up a massive 165,000 item library of curated information about booze that's tied to universal price codes. They make that interactive content available on commercial-grade tablets they install, on their nickel, at eye-level in participating stores. I talk in this podcast with company president Bruce van Zyl about BevTV's experiences to date, and its plans to have 1,000 units running by this summer. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
March 11, 2018
Auto dealerships have always been an environment well suited to digital signage. There are a lot of things to talk about and sell, and a lot of interest and buying comes down to things like the visual and emotional appeal of the vehicles. Guy Tonti's company, Unified Brand, spends a lot of its time working with dealerships developing what amounts to custom television channels that are tuned to the dealer environment. Based in Phoenix, the company has carved out a nice, steadily growing niche in the sector, bolstered by work it also does with other locations and regional businesses. The channels, using digital signage tech, are revenue-producing, customer-centric content plays that are used as an alternative to the TVs you'll still find in many, many auto dealer service area lounges. That idea doesn't work all that well, as competitors' ads might run on a broadcast channel, and U.S. politics is getting so polarized just running CNN or Fox News on a waiting room TV may stir up arguments and complaints. Intensely local digital signage is an interesting departure for Tonti, who joined and then bought the company after years working with networking giant Cisco, where he was director of worldwide practices for emerging technologies. Tonti and I caught up in Phoenix, spending time talking about Unified Brand and touching a little bit on his brush with fame, when he was a four-day champ on Jeopardy. He can't be THAT bright, because hey, he's in digital signage. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
March 7, 2018
Paul Weatherhead was working for a systems integrator in Toronto, spending a lot of time trying to find and hire freelance pro AV contractors to do work for him on remote jobs. Like a lot of people in his position, he started thinking there had to be a better way. The difference is that he did something about it - starting a new multi-national marketplace that connects integrators and solutions providers with freelance AV people who work gig to gig. The set-up bears similarities to ride share services like Uber, and lodging ones like AirBnB. AV Junction sits in the middle - helping connect parties and facilitating things like payments. The company is still early stage, but already has hundreds of contracting companies and freelancers in the system, covering some 25 countries. I spoke with Weatherhead about how all this works, and how he gets past the challenges of vetting service providers and ensuring he's not setting up integrators with a bunch of knuckleheads. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
Feb. 28, 2018
The top prize at the Digital Signage Awards that were announced and handed out recently in Amsterdam was a project to modernize the display system at the cradle of cricket - Lord's Cricket Ground in London. The project was pulled together by a small London consultancy called Silver Curve, which is run by one of the brightest minds in digital signage, Bryan Crotaz. Bryan had been telling me about the project for more than a year, but he was only recently in a position to make some noise about it. In our conversation, we talk about the effort to modernize and greatly simplify the display control system on the ancient grounds, and how he used very technologies like HTML5 and Raspberry Pi to make it all happen. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
Feb. 21, 2018
I have traded emails with Joaquim Lopes for at least couple of years now, and he has been telling me about his company 4YouSee and its efforts providing software and services to the Latin American digital signage market. He was at Integrated Systems Europe in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, and when we finally met in person, I suggested we grab a quiet spot and do a podcast chat. The company is based in Brazil but also does work in other countries. We had a good chat about the marketplace, and his company's products and services, including an interesting creative tool. I picked up a whopper of a bug at or after ISE, so my voice on this intro probably sounds a bit rough. My edit guy is also on holiday, so I am hacking this episode together myself. Back to more polished work next time. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
Feb. 14, 2018
Trade show managers like to attend other trade shows to see what's going and how things are done, as well chat up exhibitors who might also want to hang a shingle at that trade show manager's own event. So it was no surprise last week to find Andre Varrone - who runs Digital Signage Expo - walking the maze that is Integrated Systems Europe. Her own show is coming up in just a few weeks, so we agreed to sit down and talk about why she was at ISE, but more to the point, what digital signage people will see at the end of March at DSE. We found a place up above the crowd, which worked pretty well until near the end, when someone starts singing. Stupid me thought interviewing above the audio area, around happy hours, was clever. Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes * Google Play * RSS
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