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Cisco Ramps Up Offerings for Digital Signage

David Keene– As the Digital Signage Expo kicks off today with its conference track, before opening the show floor tomorrow, the news is starting to roll out. There is a lot going on in the industry. 2011 is already shaping up to be a seminal year, where hype gives way to new products and services. And increasingly, the big players, that heretofore have not put serious marketing and/or R&D into the relatively small (for them) digital signage market, are stepping up to the plate. Look for more news in the coming months, from Intel, Cisco, HP, Microsoft, as they start taking the digital signage market as more than just a curious offshoot of IT– as a market that deserves its own offerings.

With no particular agenda or priority, let’s start with Cisco. Cisco has been quietly building digital signage business in large stadiums and corporate campuses. And they put a lot of effort into developing a robust, low cost Media Player. Now it looks as if they will be trying to leverage some of their market penetration to add some sourced LCD panels into their packages.

Here is the press release from Cisco yesterday:

Cisco Reaches 3,000-Customer Milestone in Digital Signage

Cisco Digital Signs Enable Multiple Industries to Transform Communication and Collaboration; New Innovations and Product Line Extensions Underscore Cisco’s Market Momentum

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 21, 2011 – Cisco today announced that more than 3,000 customers have deployed Cisco® Digital Signs technology. Recently named the new worldwide market-share leader in digital signage software by Frost & Sullivan in the firm’s forthcoming report, “World Digital Signage Systems Market,” Cisco joined the digital signage market in 2007 and has rapidly introduced innovations around digital signage scalability and reliability, network integration, and content development. To date, Cisco digital signage solutions are broadly deployed in 85 countries, with customers benefiting from Cisco technology across a variety of industries including retail, financial services, hospitality, education, health care, and sports and entertainment, among others.

Organizations across the globe are recognizing the benefits of digital signage as a transformative technology across many uses, including business communication and collaboration, customer interaction, and direct marketing. Today, Cisco is also announcing several additional customers that are reaping these benefits, including the luxury hotel property JW Marriott; West Texas A&M University; France’s largest banking institution Crédit Agricole Nord de France; Melbourne International Airport; and the leading provider of integrated electronic communications services in CyprusCYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority). These customers are the latest among thousands who are harnessing the power of the Cisco network for live streaming and on-demand video, motion graphics and other dynamic digital content via high-resolution digital screens. Cisco’s network-based approach is also helping customers realize productivity savings while enhancing the consumer, student or fan experience.

Additional Highlights:
· Currently, Cisco Digital Signs technology is deployed across
- More than 50 percent of the top 20 global banks
- Four of the top five global retailers
- More than 300 higher education institutions
- More than 150 K-12 school districts
- More than 20 sporting stadiums worldwide

Further underscoring its technology innovation and leadership, at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE), Feb. 22-25 in Las Vegas (booth #1310), Cisco will showcase new technologies that demonstrate capabilities around network integration, endless scalability, unlimited flexibility and more. These developments include:
• Enhanced Video Streaming to Digital Signs – Expanding the Digital Media Suite solution, the Cisco MXE 3500 (Media Experience Engine) media transformation platform adds digital signage capabilities. The MXE 3500 now ingests live video streams from virtually any video device or endpoint and delivers direct to digital signs, transforming a static digital sign into a portal for live event coverage, employee training sessions, organizational communications, public safety alerts and more.
• Expanded Line of Cisco LCDs – Cisco is introducing three new professional-grade high-definition LCD models in 42-, 47- and 55-inch sizes, rounding out its current portfolio of digital sign screens and providing customers with more options for a variety of signage use cases and deployments. The Cisco LCD Professional Series displays combine high performance and reliability with network-based control and diagnostic capabilities.
• The First Network-Aware Digital Media Player - The Cisco Digital Media Player 4310 is the industry’s first smart media player. It integrates Cisco medianet architecture technology and is capable of automatically configuring to a digital signage network at setup. The DMP 4310 combines network-based scalable technology with Adobe Flash to create the ultimate canvas for compelling, interactive digital signage content.

Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com