Digital Signage, Converged

Convergence continues to be a hot topic across the board, and the digital signage market is no exception. While many digital signage manufacturers are working on ways to create products that can fit into this new world, none may be more concerned with the idea than VBrick Systems. As VBrick CTO Rich Mavrogeanes explains, his company has been thinking in this scope for the past nine years. "There's no such thing as videoconferencing, there's no such thing as streaming, there's no such thing as training video, there's no such thing as digital signage-all there is is video put to the appropriate use," he said. "It's all the same thing from a technology or delivery point of view, it's just how you use it defines what you call it."

For its part, VBrick has created systems that can be used in a number of applications, including a wide range of uses in digital signage. For digital signage, users can be successful with just one brick, but it also integrates into a larger proposition called the Media Control Server, which is a server-based system that delivers interfaces and conditional access. It delivers live video or images over the network so it can be displayed. What users buy for digital signage is at least one brick as a source of video, and one or more IP receivers for displaying the video with text and graphics. "A big differentiator for the VBrick solution is that it incorporates live video-any number of live video channels with true DVD quality," he said. "If you walk into a room, and there's a TV on, and there is live video being displayed, you can't help but turn your head."

From a cost perspective, if a user wants to put up just one digital signage location, they could use an alternative solutions to VBrick and do better. If on the other hand, you have a growing project with multiple signs, then the VBrick proposition becomes competitive. Out at the endpoints, users only need a decoder, the IP receiver, but not the actual video content. The video content and the digital signage content is all centralized.

When that content is traveling over an IP network, the VBrick solution can do more than just digital signage. "The customer says, 'well this is great, I've got a display here, I can show some text and graphics on it perhaps,'" he said. "If you deployed a VBrick solution to digital signage, you could repurpose the monitors for anything that you want. That's our value.

"It's a converged world, and digital signage is no different than any other application that delivers rich media. VBrick is building fully integrated environments that include digital signage in a larger proposition," he concluded.


  • "There are a bunch of systems contractors who are dominantly AV integrators," said VBrick CTO Rich Mavrogeanes. "They don't necessarily know much about IP. Encouraging these integrators to take a broader view is how they're going to make money."
Mary Bakija is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of storytelling experience. Bakija is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Library and Information Science to help others find and tell important stories that might otherwise be lost, and to ensure those stories are preserved for future generations to see.