Beyond “Web on a Stick”

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Look to the InfoComm show to give us some nice glimpses of digital signage that's beyond “web site on a stick”. After all, this show is the home of high lumen projection, and high end AV of all stripes. One company exhibiting at the show in Vegas this week is Dataton– interesting because they cross over the “AV”, Staging, and digital signage markets. Flat panels on a stick? No, they don’t do that. They can create digital signage on steroids, like turning an entire Hollywood street set into a projection screen with intricate pixel mapping.

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(From left to right) Michael Engstrom of Dataton, designer Bart Kresa, and James Testa– North America’s Watchout distributor, at the InfoComm show on Wednesday.Last year at InfoComm, Dataton introduced it’s Watchout 5. With its ability to co-ordinate and control multiple display devices and computers hosting layers of video, graphics and other content files, it provides a content platform that for the highest levels of “digital signage” and goes way beyond creating and scheduling routine messages or Ad-like graphics. Think of it more like a content management platform that adds elements of PhotoShop and AfterEffects. This week, they demo’d Watchout 5.2 at InfoComm. The new version lets you control more displays, and adds the function of using live video from a Network (not just from capture cards). At the Dataton booth this week at InfoComm, I got a demo not from the company itself, but also from designer Bart Kresa (Bart Kresa Design). He’s a projection designer. Watchout is main tool now– according to Kresa not just for the content in the final presentation/production, but even in planning event, to create a story board, so it’s a tool throughout a whole project. For Warner Bros Studios in L.A., Kresa used Watchout to create all the visuals for an “upfront” event, turning an entire street into a Japanese neon ginza block. Essentially, he created a look of a Tokyo LED and neon-laden street, but with projection.

“Advances in technology have turned simple 2D art projected onto a wall into dynamically mapped, digital artwork that can virtually transform any space into a different one, or bring 3D life to an architectural site,” Kresa, born in Poland and currently based in Los Angeles, believes.

Incidentally, Dataton Watchout version 5.2 is in the running, for the NEC Best of InfoComm Award. Results of that will be announced tomorrow at InfoComm.

www.dataton.com

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