As the restaurant industry accelerates the adoption of interior digital menu boards to showcase their offerings, more operators are also installing exterior digital signage to pull in new and existing customers.
John Kunze, director of Sign Division Sales at Watchfire, said the typical return on investment for one of his company's signs is anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on what features an operator requests.
Still, costs remain the main reason more operators haven't updated or added exterior signage.
"This is an investment of $20,000 to $50,000, so that's a new shake machine or fryer for some operators," Kunze said. "But the costs are coming down and more restaurants are starting to realize there is a pretty quick ROI."
Installed home technology is solidified in U.S. home builders' offerings as evidenced by a 1-year doubling of home automation installations in new homes, according to the 10th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
The report said entertainment and automation solutions are helping builders differentiate their businesses, while more common home technologies like structured wiring are necessary to compete effectively in the market.
The study found an increase in installations across all technology sectors, with the biggest gains in structured wiring - 63% of new homes in 2011, up from 45% of new homes in 2010.
Energy management solutions, such as automated lighting controls (12%, up from 7%) and home automation (10%, up from 5%) were at all-time highs.
Entertainment features also performed well in 2011 with multi-room audio (23%) and home theater (29%) installations rebounding strongly after recession-period lows.
Vizio Inc., Irvine maker of high definition TVs and other electronic devices, is being sued on claims of infringement on four patents held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Boston university lists about 150 Vizio models as violating its patents in the lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court. The suit said the patents, issued in 1993, 1995 and 1996, cover digital televisions, Blu-ray disc players, home theater and audio systems.
MIT has filed a separate patent infringement lawsuit against Funai, which makes Phillips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Emerson, Funai and Symphonic products.
Vizio officials have not yet responded to a Register request for comment.
MIT said in the lawsuit that it offered Vizio a license for the technology, but Vizio refused. MIT also said that other unnamed companies are licensing the technology, which university researchers have worked on since the 1980s.
HDBaseT Alliance to Showcase All-in-One Connectivity for Projection and Digital Signage Markets at InfoComm 2012
HDBaseT Alliance, the cross-industry alliance formed to standardize HDBaseT(R) technology for uncompressed high definition (HD) multimedia content distribution, today announced that it will demonstrate live commercial and home networking installation use cases at InfoComm 2012, June 13-15 in Las Vegas, Nev. The demonstrations will feature projectors, a 40" digital signage display, a surveillance camera, an HDBaseT switch and a single-wire TV, all integrated with HDBaseT technology.
Booth visitors will experience for the first time a complete, end-to-end HDBaseT commercial installation scenario, comprised of a large digital signage display and an HDBaseT-integrated projector connected to an HDBaseT-enabled switch. A home theater demonstration will also showcase the technology's application to the consumer projector market.
New subscription-based home automation offerings are rapidly transforming the way consumers will monitor, secure, and control their homes. Long the preserve of more expensive, custom-installed technology, home automation is moving into the mainstream, with companies such as ADT, Comcast, Verizon, Lowe's, and many others all adding home automation to their customer services.
A number of factors are driving the new entrants into the market. Connectivity is one key factor. Not only are there currently high home broadband penetration rates, as well as the potential for embedded cellular connections to connect systems, but also smartphone applications allow consumers to control and check their homes from wherever they are. As connectivity options make the home automation systems more useful, market changes are also making home automation more affordable. A traditional large up-front installation and equipment purchase is increasingly being replaced by monthly subscription offerings - often bundled alongside already existing services.
Tech giant Harris Corp. recently announced its decision to divest itself of its Broadcast Communications division, which includes is digital signage business, but a company spokesman insists the division is continuing "business as usual."
Harris is perhaps best known within the digital signage space for its InfoCaster suite of digital signage products and its 10-year digital out-of-home network deal with 7-Eleven, but the company is perhaps better known outside of the sector as a multibillion dollar communications company specializing in government, defense and commercial contracts.
According to a May 1 Harris announcement, after the close of this quarter, the company has approved the plan to drop Broadcast Communications. "As a result, current and prior period financial results for Broadcast Communications will be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012," the announcement said.
Even as deployments of smart grid infrastructure have accelerated in recent years, the home energy management (HEM) market has struggled to gain traction. Numerous trials have led to only a few cases of industry deployments and to anemic rates of consumer adoption. According to Pike Research, that is starting to change, and over the remainder of the decade momentum will build in this nascent market. In its new report, Pike Research predicts that the global annual shipments of standalone HEM systems will grow from a quarter million in 2011 to nearly 4.7 million in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.3%.
Combined revenue for all HEM segments will grow from a base of $93 million in 2011 to more than $2 billion in 2020, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.
The ThruVuâ„˘ Cooler Display System is comprised of (3) major components: 1) the transparent LCD; 2) the LED lighting system and 3) the BoldVu® Video Server.
Manufacturing Resources International (MRI) has introduced the first full-size transparent (seethru) Digital LCD Door for the Convenience and Grocery stores. This "high-performance" Digital LCD Display replaces the entire conventional door glass with a transparent display assembly that allows for normal customer viewing of the product through the glass, but with the ability to run full-motion videos / advertisements / promotions in a "see-through" manner.
According to Peter Kaszycki, VP of Business Development for MRI, "By introducing this new, eye-catching product, advertisers within C-Store now have a creative way to advertise and promote their products at the all important "point of purchase" stage, just as the customer is making their final beverage or product selection from the cooler. In addition, it is real estate that already exists in the crowded C-Store space but is not being effective utilized."
Dolby Announces World's First Implementation of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 in Online Music Distribution Service
Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced today that e-onkyo music, the high-quality music distribution service managed by Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of Onkyo Corporation, will be the first online music distribution service to feature Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. Expected to launch on May 30, 2012, in Japan and in fall 2012 elsewhere in the world, this service will enable users to download music from 100 album titles (about 1,000 tracks) in Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. The new Onkyo® A/V receivers (AVR) TX-NR818 and TX-NR717 will support the service.
The e-onkyo music service began in August 2005, with DRM-free music (music without digital copyright protection technology) and DSD format music distribution added in 2010, and featured a high-quality distribution of music by the rock group Queen in 2011. Now, with lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound, the music service will provide consumers with high-quality audio at reduced download times and file sizes.
Nest Labs, Inc. (nest.com) announced today that the Nest® Learning Thermostat™ is now available in more than 500 Lowe's Companies, Inc., (NYSE: LOW) stores across the country, as well as on lowes.com. Lowe's - the second-largest home-improvement retailer in the world - will feature Nest in its new Innovation merchandising displays in-store, which bring the best new products in home improvement to life with interactive end caps. To purchase or check local availability, visit lowes.com.
"There's a natural affinity between Lowe's and Nest," said Erik Charlton, Nest vice president of sales and marketing. "Both companies are committed to supporting DIY-minded customers seeking quality products. Most Nest owners choose to install the Nest Learning Thermostat themselves - and complete installation within 30 minutes - so it makes sense for them to buy from Lowe's, a great retailer that supports its customers' ingenuity and pride in their homes."
Many attendees of this weekend's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting saw something they'd never seen before: a complete retail store in just 2 sq. ft. of floor space. In contrast to the usual large booths selling products made by Berkshire-owned brands. Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway-owned jewelry manufacturer, employed the Vigix vending kiosk to sell commemorative, gold and silver coins, pendants, and money clips. Sales were strong throughout the meeting, achieving an annualized sales per square foot of more than $1,125,000.
The Vigix kiosk, with a footprint of just 2 sq. ft., delivered a convenient retail experience for shoppers, including the ability to browse product information on the kiosk's large touch screen, accept payment for items purchased, and dispense the purchases on the spot. In the words of one happy customer, "It was more convenient than shopping on the web because I got my product immediately. It's the best of both worlds!"
AT&T Inc (T.N) is making a big investment in a nationwide wireless home monitoring service that could potentially add $1 billion to its annual revenue as part of the No. 2 U.S. mobile operator's ongoing effort to expand beyond cell phones.
It is planning a service called "Digital Life" to monitor homes for everything from water damage to burglaries and to let customers remotely do things like adjust temperature or unlock doors, using an Internet connection.
The service, of which AT&T will start trials this year, involves sensors and cameras linked to a central home system that connects wirelessly to AT&T monitoring centers, said Glenn Lurie, the AT&T executive spearheading the project.
Travel Plaza TV, LLC has launched the first nationwide 3D digital signage network accessible to more than 23 million travel plaza customers every month, according to company officials.
"This 3D experience, without glasses, is revolutionary. Customers will be amazed at what they are seeing and advertisers will reap the benefits. 3D is the future, and of course our system will display 2D content as well," said Bill Botte, senior executive vice-president of Travel Plaza TV. Deployment of the specialized 3D screens at over 400 travel plazas across the U.S. will be completed by the end of June.
According to international research firm Parks Associates, 59% of U.S. broadband households want access to on-demand YouTube content through their pay-TV service, with the growing number of smart TVs and connected devices driving interest in online video options. Parks Associates will present new smart TV and connected consumer electronics research, with new content strategies to capture consumer interest and new revenues, at CONNECTIONS™ at TIA 2012, June 5-7 in Dallas, Texas.
Parks Associates reports over 80% of viewers interested in YouTube opt for a free, advertising-based offering, leaving few willing to pay to view YouTube content. However, the research firm notes, YouTube is investing in more original and professional content, with a growing lineup of channels and new functions such as Channel Search. By creating a more TV-like experience, YouTube enhances its value proposition to viewers, advertisers, and pay-TV providers.
HomeOS aims to be a “PC-like abstraction,” where connecting a new light or ceiling fan to the system is as simple as plugging a new mouse into your computer. Users would have an app store for device controls and for finding new devices compatible with their set-ups.
Microsoft Research isn’t the first group to focus on a centralized system for home controls. Standards groups such as Z-Wave and Zigbee Alliance already offer common systems for controlling lights, thermostats, security alarms and other devices. But as Microsoft argues, these systems still don’t allow enough communication between devices, so for instance, you might have a conflict where an energy management system wants to open your windows, while a security system wants to close them. The alternative is to buy a line of products from one company that are designed to work together, but then you’re locked into that company’s devices.
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