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IP-based Signage Delivers Cost-effective Scalability and Versatility

Providers and users of digital-signage technologies are turning to Internet protocol (IP) for network management and distribution of content--including uncompressed HD video. IP-based digital signage 7/08/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

IP-based Signage Delivers Cost-effective Scalability and Versatility

Jul 8, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt




Airport digital signage application operated by X2O Media's Xpresenter platform. X2O's partnership with NetStreams integrates IP-based distribution of uncompressed HD signage content.

Airport digital signage application operated by X2O Media's Xpresenter platform. X2O's partnership with NetStreams integrates IP-based distribution of uncompressed HD signage content.

Providers and users of digital-signage technologies are turning to Internet protocol (IP) for network management and distribution of content—including uncompressed HD video. IP-based digital signage networks offer several advantages, including the ability to easily repurpose content for online applications as well as signage, and leveraging existing Internet infrastructure for rapidly scaling networks at lower cost. Recently, X20 Media and Harris announced new partnerships with NetStreams and VBrick Systems, respectively, to bring IP-based digital-signage solutions to market. Meanwhile, PlasMedia Productions is using the Helius IP-based signage platform in conjunction with cellular broadband to operate a shopping-mall network in 100 locations.

X20 Media integrated NetStreams' DigiLinX IP-based audio and video distribution solution with the Xpresenter 2.1 digital-signage platform to enable centralized distribution of HD digital-signage content to large numbers displays within a corporate, retail, or public-entertainment setting.

"By adding top-of-the-line IP distribution to our system, we're allowing customers to scale their digital-signage networks to virtually any size they desire," says David Wilkins, X2O Media's president and CEO. "Plus, they get the added benefits of leveraging their existing infrastructure investments and being able to control their solution from any point on the network."

Xpresenter allows users to create signage content and incorporate realtime data sources within the Microsoft PowerPoint interface. Once content is created, NetStreams' DigiLinX products—including the commercial MediaLinX AV multimedia encoder and ViewLinX multimedia decoder introduced last month at InfoComm—distribute uncompressed HD content via IP to any number of displays on the network. NetStreams' platforms enable switching between video sources, display control, and management of transcode sources that arrive in various video formats. In addition to distributing digital signage content, end users can harness their content distribution infrastructure for other applications. For example, DigiLinX can route other sources—e.g., live news broadcasts or camera feeds from remote offices—for playout on networked displays.


IP-based Signage Delivers Cost-effective Scalability and Versatility

Jul 8, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt




Targeting retail, commercial, government, and educational applications, Harris and VBrick Systems are now offering a combined IP-based solution that delivers digital-signage content and live streaming video over various communications networks to both signage and computer screens. A key advantage is simplified content control over different distribution channels.

"Successful multichannel distribution requires a streamlined, automated media distribution workflow," according to Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications. The combined Harris and VBrick package provides "a single point of control for delivering rich media [along with] the critical tools to effectively and efficiently support both online and digital-signage delivery models."

The VBrick video appliance and Harris' InfoCaster solution can be configured interchangeably into a network. The VBrick appliance provides features such as multicast, reflecting, and HTTP encapsulation using standards-based video encoding schemes. Combining the VBrick appliance with the InfoCaster platform creates a single centralized digital signage system that can be used to drive up to thousands of client displays. The solution also is interoperable—live video streams can be combined with other signage inputs, adding live video streams to existing deployments.

"As the demand for both digital signage and online video communication increases, organizations will want to streamline the process with reliable solutions to help them not only capture video at the source, but also stream it live via the Internet and over digital-signage networks to reach a broader audience," says Vince Graziani, VBrick's chief executive officer.

The IP-based Helius digital signage platform is being used by PlasMedia Productions to power its advertising-funded in-mall digital signage network, which services over 3,600 advertisers in 100 locations. Previously, PlasMedia's digital signage system required manual updates to media players every time an ad was modified or created. By late 2006, with its mall signage expanding across the United States, the manual update and management solution was proving unwieldy.

"We had reached a tipping point in the growth of the company and technology was becoming a major obstacle," says Dean Talley, PlasMedia's founder and CEO. PlasMedia then piloted the Helius Media Signage product and found it allowed for central control and deployment of content to any number of Helius media players. "Helius has been instrumental in overcoming specific technological and logistical challenges, helping us achieve our growth objectives."

Today, PlasMedia's network is deployed in regional shopping malls owned by Simon Properties, General Growth Properties, CBL Properties, and independent developers. The Helius network management software provides an interface to upload and target content as well as the reporting needed to manage the system and serve its advertisers. Helius also integrated cellular broadband access to each of the media players, further simplifying deployment by enabling connectivity at each remote play-out device.

For more information, visit www.x2omedia.com, www.netstreams.com, www.harris.com, www.vbrick.com, www.plasmediaproductions.com, and www.helius.com.


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