Scala Ups Ante with Release 6

I got a sneak peak at Scala’s new Release 6, of Scala 5, in Philadelphia yesterday, at Scala’s “Connected Signage” conference, from both Jeff Porter, and Scala CEO Gerard Bucas.

It may sound confusing, but Scala 5 is the company’s flagship enterprise CMS for digital signage. And this latest release, Release 6, seems like a “next generation”, not a routine upgrade. It’s a big step up in terms of streaming video capabilities in particular, and it could position Scala to compete at a higher level with the likes of Cisco– in the realm that goes beyond standard "digital signage" and into enterprise wide systems (such as sports stadiums) that integrate live video with stored content. The Scala CMS had streaming capabilities before– but they were all Windows-based. This upgrade allows real time streaming of H.264 and MPEG2. Other interesting features are the capability to render visual effects in real time. Sounds kind of esoteric, but it’s important. So much digital signage is primitive in terms of simple visual effects that are easy in a broadcast platform or even PowerPoint. Scala is now bringing some of the simpler of visual effects (soft drop shadows for example) into real time rendering.

Another interesting twist in the Scala story, is that while Scala has been traditionally known for its more industrial strength installed-on-servers CMS for digital signage, the above mentioned upgrades to its premise-based software also carry over to its SaaS offering, QuickStart.

Below is the press release on the Scala new Release 6:


Stand Out Above the Digital Signage Crowd with Scala 5 Release 6
New software offers better visuals, improved IT infrastructure and is compatible with more devices.

Exton, PA (PRWEB) May 03, 2011
Today at Scala’s Connected Signage Conference – Americas & Oceania, Scala demonstrated their next generation software called Release 6, which will be shipping this summer. Release 6 is a significant update that builds on the current Scala platform of Designer, Content Manager and Player.

More Video and Streaming Options
Release 6 adds support for standard H.264 and MPEG2 streaming videos in addition to the support Scala has had for Windows® Media Streaming protocols. With this, it is possible to add, size and position most of the popular industry standard streaming video formats in Scala. This is especially useful for applications that require integration with IPTV streaming servers or live digital video cameras.

Razor-Sharp HD Quality
Capture cards such as the Datapath RGB E-1 video capture card and the BlackMagic Intensity Pro video capture card are now supported in Release 6 for capturing high-definition component video signals at 720p or 1080i, as well as unencrypted HDMI up to 1080p. This allows Scala to size and position a live, high-definition digital video signal from many popular set-top boxes from both cable and satellite providers with full overlay and multi-zone possibilities.
Making Life Easier for IT In recent releases, support for Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 and OS platforms such as Microsoft® Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2, including the ability to run Content Manager as a 64-bit Java application, were added.

In addition, a common requirement in larger networks is that Scala Content Manager must integrate with LDAP servers such as Microsoft’s Active Directory server. An IT manager can administer user lists and passwords for Content Manager through their existing enterprise tools. Release 6 will allow Content Manager to integrate with such established enterprise tools.

The latest release will also give network operators more control over the bandwidth used by the digital signage network. Release 6 will let users specify various bandwidth rates over multiple time intervals within a day per player.

“Raising the Bar” for Dynamic Visual Effects
Release 6 adds dramatic new visual enhancements for Scala content developed in Designer. Creative users can easily add soft shadows and soft outline effects to text and any media object. One can also apply a color gradient, pattern or image to the surface of text or to the shadow, outline, or backdrop of any object type. Users can also become true artists by creating text that looks like chrome, rough metal, rainbows, smoke, fire and more.
In addition, a transparency gradient can be applied to all graphic elements. The shadow and outline effects will be available for various types of animated elements, including Adobe® Flash®, animation, streaming video and TV input. Combining these effects will produce graphics that jump off the screen and make the digital signage element created with Scala Designer stand out above the rest and engage audiences.

Bridging the Communication Gap
With this new release, Scala is introducing a new bridge server to support new non-PC players such as the SpinetiX Hyper Media Player. The SpinetiX players feature an ultra-small form factor and solid state, fanless design with many advanced features not common in typical appliance players.
Many other updates have been included in Release 6:
• Improved editing of messages;
• Improved maintenance job scheduling;
• Content Manager security improvements;
• Easier “player first-time” connection;
• Improved support for integrating Adobe® Flash® content during playback.
Scala is showcasing Release 6 this week during the Scala Connected Signage Conference — Americas & Oceania in Philadelphia. Scala will also exhibit the new software release on May 18-19 at Screenmedia Expo in London.
About Scala

Driving more than 500,000 screens worldwide, Scala is a leading global provider of digital signage and advertising management solutions. Scala is the world’s first connected signage company, offering the leading platforms for content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks and the first unified platform for advertising management of both traditional and digital signage networks. The company's digital signage customers include Rabobank, IKEA, Burger King, T-Mobile, Virgin MegaStore, Warner Brothers, The Life Channel, Rikstoto, Repsol, NorgesGruppen, Audi, ECE Flatmedia, Kaufhof (Metro Group) and thousands more. Advertising management customers include CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor and Newad, among others. Scala is headquartered near Philadelphia, USA, and has subsidiaries in Canada, The Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, Japan and India, as well as more than 500 partners in more than 90 countries. More information is available at http://www.scala.com