Ken Sahlin, DOmedia

September 21, 2016
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This week, it’s all about advertising. I’m talking to Ken Sahlin, the CEO of DOmedia, a Columbus, Ohio company that’s in the business of putting together media buyers and sellers using software.

Ken talks about how the company has developed a set of cloud-based applications that make media planners aware of out of home media they can use, and then takes a lot of the pain out of the buying and execution process through slick tools.

We talk about DOmedia's roots, the reason it went into stealth mode for a few years, and how last year the company saw 450 per cent growth.

If your digital signage business touches on ad dollars, you’ll want to have a listen.

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Luke Birsa, Visionect

September 14, 2016
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This week, I’m speaking with Luka Birsa, the CTO and co-founder of Visionect, a Slovenian tech company focused on solutions that use Electronic Ink.

If you’ve got a Kindle or Kobo e-reader, think of that display but used instead for updated bus schedules at stops, or for telling people whether a meeting room is booked or free. Or on the back of an 18-wheeler.

In our chat, we talk about the origins of the company, and what e-paper is all about. We also answer a big question - Where’s Slovenia?

Luka will fill you in on why end-users would choose e-ink displays over LCDs or other tech, and where it’s a fit and where it’s not. He also talks about what’s coming for the technology - like larger, full color displays that could happily run just off solar power.

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Wayne Rasor, FASTSIGNS

September 7, 2016
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This week, I’m talking to a digital signage evangelist - Wayne Rasor, who runs the digital signage side of the business for FASTSIGNS, a traditional printing company that’s helping its 600-plus franchisees around the world stay competitive by going digital.

Based in Dallas, Wayne has a busy gig educating his own company and its franchisees on how to get into and operate what is a very different line of business for pretty much all of them. In our talk, he concedes its not always easy, but there are traditional sign shops who’ve made the jump and made digital signage a big part of their day to day businesses.

Wayne is Director of Digital for FASTSIGNS - a longtime print guy but also an unabashed nerd who loves trying to stay on top of this business and pass what he's learned along. He talks about how it all works for FASTSIGNS, and about his experience working with one of the company's main partners, Google.

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Jim Nista, Insteo

August 31, 2016
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Jim Nista and I have had lotsa long, interesting talks over trade show cocktails in Las Vegas or Orlando about the state of the industry and what needs to happen, particularly as it relates to content. Unfortunately ... or perhaps fortunately, when I really think about it (hic) ... they were not recorded.

But the other day we got together virtually, and the CEO of Long Beach, CA-based content production shop Insteo chatted with me for a little more than 30 minutes about what Insteo is up to, and how it got there.

Nista has had, like many small companies in this sector, a few twists and turns and bumps on the journey, but things have started to straighten and smooth out pretty nicely in the last year - as he's got the company focused on a variation of a business model that's worked for other companies. Insteo does subscription content - but not the news, weather, sports and entertainment feeds that have been well established by other companies, notably podcast sponsor Screenfeed.

Insteo's content store doesn't offer that stuff - instead focusing on dynamic HTML5-driven templates and update tools that allow small businesses to get screens in their business places that are running contextually relevant content. That may be project status notices for an engineering company, or it might be product menus for a marijuana dispensary.

Jim has been around web services since the days when he had to explain to customers why they'd want a website. He's one of the most knowledgeable guys in the business when it comes to the future of content, and well worth a listen.

There are now 20 episodes of Sixteen:Nine. This podcast is absolutely free. To subscribe and have this stuff just show up on your phone, like it was  magic or something: iTunes * Google Play * RSS

 
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Brian Fitzpatrick, Revel Media Group

August 24, 2016
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Every so often I bump into a company that's stayed well out of the spotlight, kept its collective heads down, and built up a thriving business - while competitors were unaware the company even exists.

Consider Revel Media Group, which is based in the greater Salt Lake City area. Revel is a digital signage solutions provider that leads with content, and since starting up about six years ago, has seen triple digit growth, year after year.

The company was started by Brian Fitzpatrick and a business partner, with Brian having cashed out of a business he built installing and managing very high-end home theatre and home automation systems for stinking rich people.

What Revel does is, effectively, creative and content management as a service. Customers pay a set fee, and get as much creative as they need, turned around as fast as 24-hours. It's not for major brands. But for retailers who have a lot to say and sell, it's a cost and timing model that resonates for them.

We spoke at Seneca's partner conference outside Syracuse, NY earlier in August.

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Jeff Hastings, BrightSign

August 17, 2016
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If you're looking for concrete evidence that the digital signage business is now doing some serious volume, consider the word on this latest Sixteen:Nine podcast from Jeff Hastings, the CEO of BrightSign. His shipping department is packing and moving roughly 1,000 units a day.

Let me repeat that ... a day.

BrightSign designs, builds and markets little purple boxes used by a LOT of network operators as media players. In our chat, Hastings talks about BrightSign’s direct ties to another purple box company in Silicon Valley, Roku, and how that relationship has evolved.

One of the really sharp guys in this industry, Hastings talks about why the company is moving so much product this year, and how it will soon have more than 1 million units deployed. He also talks about where the company and industry are headed.

This was a Skype chat, so you'll hear the odd network hiccup and scratchiness. But it is 99% solid sound.

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Andrew Farah, Density

August 10, 2016
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This week, Sixteen:Nine speaks with Andrew Farah, the CEO and one of the founders of Density, a San Francisco-area start-up that's going at crowd tracking in a different way.

Density puts a small sensor at the doorway or doorways leading into a venue or a targeted area,uses infrared beams to measure anonymous movements as people come and go, and generates real-time and historical data that can be integrated into different devices and systems, like digital signage networks.

The attraction to digital signage network operators is that it can do accurate crowd counting without using camera-based video analytics, which can get expensive and tends to freak out some consumers and privacy advocates.

In simple terms, what it means is an airport could have digital displays that show security screening wait times, based on crowd density, at different screening areas (and load-balance crowds who will likely go to the lines that are faster). It could also be used for things like telling consumers if tables are free at popular restaurants.

Interesting chat. Well worth a listen.

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Florian Rotberg, Invidis

August 3, 2016
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This week I’m speaking with Florian Rotberg, the managing director at the Munich-based digital signage consulting and events firm Invidis. Florian talks about the background of his company, and his impressions of the global digital signage market.

Rotberg goes into detail about the differences between the North American and European/EMEA market, and the challenges American and Canadian companies run into trying to expand across the Atlantic.

We had our chat in a noisier than expected press room in June at InfoComm, just ahead of the Digital Signage Summit he put on there.

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John Wang, IAdea

July 27, 2016
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In this episode, John Wang, the CEO of Taipei-based IAdea, talks about the roots of his company, which primarily makes commercial-grade media players and all-in-one devices for the digital signage market.

He recalls starting up the business right out of school in Taiwan, and unfortunately timing that startup right when the first Internet bubble burst. Wang talks about the idea of Information Appliances - the IA in IAdea - and the journey taken by the company to today.

Now a trusted supplier for many signage software firms and network operators, Wang talks about staying on top of emerging technologies and where his company, and the business as a whole, are going. He also goers into the perils of cheap devices and the importance of commercial, rugged product for the signage business.

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Randy Pagnan, RP Visual Solutions

July 20, 2016
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This week I am speaking with Randy Pagnan, the RP in RP Visual Solutions, an Anaheim, California company that's in the business of designing and manufacturing the special structures that hold signature digital signage projects in place.

In this conversation, done at last month's InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas, Randy talks about the origins of his company and some of the most notable projects he's done, include the giant, curved LED wall in the Westgate SuperBook in Vegas, and the digital-heavy Microsoft stores.

Randy also talks about the future for display tech, and how fine pixel-pitch LED will have a big impact, with LED display as easy to buy as carpeting. His goal: be the best LED carpet-layer out there.


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