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Optimizing the Features of a Digital Canvas

Optimizing the Features of a Digital Canvas

There are as many applications for the digital canvas as there are pixels in an 8K display. Whether wayfinding a campus or city, providing updates to a menu, or taking the participant on a digital journey—what happens behind the glass screen is limited only by your imagination and defined goals.

While some displays could just as easily be used for collaboration sessions such as meetings or classroom experiences, “digital signage” applications are primarily designed to impart information, evoke a reaction, or invite interaction from and/or to an audience you are looking to endear. The platform enables you to deliver and manage most of the experience.


Every aspect of this medium has made great advances in the past few years. The physical display has become thinner in every direction, with higher resolutions and lower cost. Companies that once only offered kiosk enclosures now offer full-featured all-in-one solutions. Interactive and touch technologies have become more responsive and some are built into the display. There are hundreds of content management systems to choose from with many offering cloud and managed services at a reasonable price.

Push content to one screen or via the cloud to thousands worldwide. “A lot of digital signage displays now have integrated media players that allow a customer to simply load an image or video files to a USB drive then plug-and-play it directly into the display,” said Ben Hardy, product manager for NEC. “The beauty of this is that there is not a need for a separate source or a networked solution. Content can be changed daily, by simply removing the USB, replacing the content on the drive then plugging it back into the display.”


More competition, more choices and lower costs are enabling those needing something more robust, but not at an enterprise-wide level. As digital experience and technology consultancies enter the market and others build on experience, large-scale deployments are becoming more sophisticated.

But no matter the size of your organization, maximizing financial and human resources just makes sense. “Digital signage software packages are many generations along now,” said Joseph Bocchiaro, principal consultant at technology consulting firm, The Sextant Group. “You can buy them off the shelf, you can customize them, or you can have one of the vendors customize it for you.”

As with any project or system, the more you can automate tasks the easier it becomes to manage. “There are common platforms and data exchanges for scheduling information, and it’s automated,” noted Bocchiaro. “It is one less thing that somebody has to do every day,”

The ability to demonstrate an ROI had been the death knell to many digital signage proposals, and capturing data often required a costly upfront investment and monthly fees. Big data has made its way into most every level of digital signage deployment if that is what helps to float the boat. Capturing data, and more importantly analyzing the results to make real-time changes to improve audience engagement is where is the new game in town. Get ready to show an ROI.


Toronto, Ontario-based integration firm Maxguard Alarms transformed the customer experience at the residential real estate sales offices of Ryan Design International. “Showrooms and sales offices for real estate firms attract a high number of customers who are quick to take brochures but slow to take any further action,” said Ayaz Kassam, Maxguard’s project manager. “We set out to create a fun, engaging, and intuitive browsing solution that would spike the curiosity of drop-in visitors and hopefully turn them into buying customers. For staff members, we were also looking to put together large-scale videowalls where they could broadcast sales collateral such as videos, and make wireless presentations about upcoming projects—delivering a “wow” factor.”

Aimed at increasing engagement Maxguard installed BenQ’s IL460 digital signage screens and multiple ultra-slim PL460 super narrow bezel panels for a seamless and immersive videowall. Using an intuitive interface, users simply touch the screen to browse different styles, or can customize plans to build a specific product suited to their requirements. Featuring six-point simultaneous touch capabilities, BenQ’s IL460 increases onscreen interaction. Ambient light sensors adjust screen brightness automatically according to environmental lighting conditions. Maxguard set up the BenQ’s IL panels in tandem with Adobe AIR software to drive the user experience. Interested buyers can print specific material based on their areas of interest.



The winner of AV Technology Magazine’s 2015 “Out of the Box Award,” integrated by McCann Systems, has had an interactive upgrade.

The dual 32-feet-wide by 9-feet-tall UHD video walls within the Times Square Viacom headquarters at 1515 Broadway have been transformed into an interactive art installation called Composition VI. The installation was commissioned by Viacom’s Catalyst Group, and is supported by, Art at Viacom. Slanted Studios joined forces with Hard Work Party to create a custom particle-based system that interprets the motion of people into unexpected shapes and colors.

Composition VI engages with visitors’ daily life as they paint the digital canvas with their movement and activate the surrounding space with light and color. The relationship between the visitor and the environment grows in complexity through continuous interaction with the piece.

Up to 12 participants can interact with the 32-feet-wide by 9-feet-tall canvas. The two massive video walls on the outside of elevator bank walls, made up of 16, 55-inch, LG Super Narrow Bezel Video Wall panels set up in a 4 x 4, landscape configuration, creating a combined 16:9 aspect ratio. Dual-channel generative video, UHD video walls, computers, Microsoft Kinect, and custom software help deliver a great experience.


Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology. Davis enjoys exploring the ethos of experiential spaces as well as diving deep into the complex topics that shape the AV/IT industry. In 2012, the TechDecisions brand of content sites she developed for EH Publishing was named one of “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 20 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. From 2000 to 2008, Davis was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Electronic House. From 2009 to present, as the principal of CustomMedia.Co, Davis developed content plans and delivered content for associations such as IEEE Standards Association and AVIXA, content marketing for Future Plc, and numerous AV/IT companies. Davis was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners, and sampling local IPAs.