Opportunities await those willing to commit.
“I wish there was a cookie-cutter approach we could take, but every quote has to be for a custom job,” says Boisfontaine. “When we meet with a customer, we ask a lot of questions.” These can include: the type of business or organization; goal for the-digital signage; target audience and dwell time; installation setting; type, size, and number of screens; content needs and plans; and whether or not they want to display paid advertising. “Once we determine all that, we can craft the appropriate solution,” she says.
Content is available as an add-on service, at a cost per spot, based on volume. For those willing to run advertising from other sponsors as a way to recoup costs, Crystal Vision provides that service, too. The company’s staff includes specialists in media sales to area businesses.
“What we try to do is take out all the mystique of digital signage, to make this technology as simple as possible for our customers to embrace,” sums up Boisfontaine.
Films versus monitors
Express Image (expressimage.com) in Little Canada, Minnesota, might have an inside track on the future of P-O-P: “Bring retail branding to the next level by combining remarkable printed graphics with the power of digital video,” the company invites on its website.
What’s intriguing about its approach: The company developed its own video-projection film as the centerpiece of its digital signage solution, Active Graphics (expressimage.com/active-graphics). It’s used for interactive sign windows within larger wraps, and in a new generation of shelf and floor talkers – what it refers to as “virtual mannequins” and smaller “miniquins.” With these, the person or character addressing the audience is projected on a 3D form that’s wrapped with the film.
“By developing our own film, we’ve dramatically lowered the costs,” says Mike Sloan, executive vice president. “That makes this practical for more businesses and more applications, and the projection window can be as large they want.”
Sloan’s background and experience as a chemist guided the efforts to develop the company’s Opti line of projection films. Yet, digital signage wasn’t even a consideration when the company first entered the P-O-P market in 2006. That print venture marked a strategic move to diversify the company, which had been a successful OEM printer too heavily reliant on business from a single account.