Vigix Vending Kiosk Debuts at Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

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 making big investment in home monitoring

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 Television Announces Nationwide 3D Digital Signage Program

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.  

Parks Associates reports over 50% of U.S. Households want to connect pay-TV services to YouTube

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: Microsoft Works on Bringing Smart Homes to the Masses

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. Read more:

STRATACACHE debuts translucent digital signage vending machine at vendors show

STRATACACHE, a provider of scalable, high-performance digital signage, content distribution and enterprise video acceleration technologies, today debuted its new translucent digital signage product — PrimaSee Vending. Making its first debut into the vending manufacturer marketplace at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's OneShow 2012, PrimaSee is a translucent digital display that showcases high-definition, dynamic video advertisements embedded within the glass panel of a vending machine. These see-through promotional videos correspond with products visible in the backdrop.

CEDIA Unveils Highlights and Changes for CEDIA EXPO 2012

The new offerings will provide electronic systems contractors (ESCs) with access to the information they need to remain relevant in the rapidly diversifying industry, with a strong focus on both business and technical education. CEDIA has added more opportunities for peer-to-peer business discussion with the introduction of two roundtable series. One roundtable series will be broken out into small and mid-size business owner discussions. These moderated sessions will give ESCs an opportunity to discuss common concerns in a non-competitive environment. The second roundtable series will offer six different topics that ESCs identified as "hot topics" such as HDMI, hiring sales staff, and retrofit technologies. Additional information about the roundtables can be found here. CEDIA has also expanded technical education offerings centered around IP and networking. Three new advanced IP and Networking courses have been added to the roster: EST353 Advanced Wireless Networking, EST423 Remote System Access; Methods, Security, and Best Practices, and EST443 Tailoring Network Performance with VLANS and QoS. Lab space has been expanded and a total of eight half-day courses will be available, each of which will be offered twice in addition to a full-day workshop.  

New Digital Product Gives Consumers the Opportunity to Build Their Own Billboard

Building your own billboard has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to an innovative new digital product from Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR). Postr™ is a billboard with a digital component that allows consumers and businesses to post their message in minutes for $25 per day. Customers can post their message on a Postr™ billboard in Little Rock in three steps: first, visit lamar.com/postr; next, upload an image; finally, enter a message up to 60 characters. Each spot will be in a rotation and will play over 1,000 times per day. Users have the option to change their message up to two times per day, and they can reserve one of six Postr™ billboard locations up to two weeks in advance.  

CEDIA has unveiled the winners of its highly coveted CEDIA Awards

In a record-breaking year for entries, which saw over 100 projects from more than ten countries battling out for the top prizes, this year's Award winners included a series of remarkable installations across all Media Room, Home Cinema, Integrated Home, Marine and Property Developer categories. These stunning projects represent the crème de la crème of smart home installations from across CEDIA Region 1 which covers the UK and Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan. In Media Rooms the winners were London-based Olive AV for delivering an impressively modern twist on an 18th century period property renovation and Spanish installer, Smart Business for a stunning and multi-functional media room paradise, appropriately entitled All-in-One. Full Press Release:

Digital signage booming with social media opportunities looming

If you live in a major urban area, you’ve probably already seen digital signage start to trickle in and replace their dated paper counterparts at bus stops and other points of interest. It looks like the digital display and advertising markets are only going to get bigger and better over the next four years, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli . Specifically, IHS analysts expect digital and professional signage display shipments to reach 17.3 million units by the end of 2012 — up from 15.4 million units in 2011 and 13.5 million units in 2010. By 2016, analysts expect that figure to topple approximately 25.8 million units. Considering that digital signage is so much more expensive than traditional billboard and display advertising methods, it might come as a surprise that digital signage is going to be adopted so quickly.

Who Says There's No Money in TV Sales?

While Japanese and Korean TV manufacturers either struggle to make a profit, or in some cases, report the biggest losses in their history, 25% of US consumers and 30% of UK consumers surveyed say they would buy an Apple HDTV, according to a survey by KAE. Some analysts believe an Apple branded device will sell for almost double the price of competitors’ models. Lowest estimatest are a 25% price premium. Clearly price is not the only reason for lack of, or profit from, TV sales Top anticipated features were internet connectivity, ability to run apps, and to sync with other iOS devices.

Sony's About-Face on OLED

It seems Sony has had a change of heart about OLED. After stating it was dropping OLED several months ago when it’s $2,500, 11” OLED TV (XEL-1) failed to sell (no surprise there), Sony is now reportedly in talks with Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp to jointly produce next-generation OLED televisions, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The move allows Sony to position itself for the post-liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market. At CES Sony showed a competing technology to OLED: CrystalLED. Sony were very tight-lipped about the technology behind LED, but many believe it be OLED.

Delphi Display Systems Introduces the Digital Sidewalk SignBoard

Delphi's Digital Sidewalk SignBoard combines the digital flexibility of a 22-inch sunlight readable LCD with a traditional chalkboard. Developed for indoor or sheltered outdoor use, the Digital Sidewalk SignBoard is perfect for sidewalk cafes, sandwich shops, coffeehouses, boutiques, clubs, and other businesses that desire to entice customers with crisp, impactful digital images or videos along with messages that can be written and changed at any time -- with a personal touch. Digital images or videos are easily customized and updated through a standard USB thumb drive. The digital screen rotates images and/or videos to spotlight key menu items or promotions. The SignBoard also supports high-resolution video. The chalkboard can be used to present daily specials, prices, promotions or daily activities and start times. The Digital Sidewalk SignBoard's LCD is protected with an all-glass front window with black glass bezel. The LCD and 24" black chalkboard are integrated into a foldable A-frame easel on wheels for mobility within and outside a restaurant or business.

New Samsung super luxury TV in the works, details to be revealed at IFA 2012

Samsung today confirmed that it will be launching a new luxury TV in August, at the IFA press conference to be held in Berlin, 31 August to 5 September. Michael Zoeller, European marketing director of Samsung Televisions, said that the new super-luxury set would sit above current models in Samsung's line-up, but joked "don't ask me anything about it", keeping tight lipped on any real details. Zoeller teased the details at the IFA Global Press Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. With Samsung's current flagship set, the ES8000, packing in a huge range of feature - such as gesture and voice control, face recognition, AllShare wireless content sharing and the Smart Hub offering a huge range of services and content - we're not quite sure exactly what else their new set will include.

Enlivening Pre-Movie Programming

If you’re anything like me, when you go to the movies, you get there early to be assured of a good seat: there’s nothing worse that arriving 10 minutes before the start of the feature and finding out there are only free seats in rows one and two. Then the pre-movie programming starts and I wish I’d stayed home and waited for the Blu-ray. So it’s a double-edged sword: the risk of a terrible seat for 2 hours or 20-minutes of dreadful movie trivia on a five-minute loop (at best). Two companies have grand ambitions to change all that. Screenvision, is launching The Limelight – the first 2-screen configuration targeted to the big screen and mobile devices. According to Screenvision “The Limelight will make movie-going more fun and involving for the audience, giving them a reason to arrive at the theater early and switch on their mobile devices to play trivia and share movie activity with Facebook friends, earn points and prizes, and much more”. Of course it’s really so you can be targeted with more appropriate advertising, but I’ll take it over what’s on offer today. Another company that thinks they’ve got the solution is Phenomblue with their new Movie Lotto . The general idea is that you arrive early, text a number with your Smartphone, and then scratch a virtual ticket. The grand prize for this is a barcode to redeem at the concession stand. All this for some more popcorn? I can’t say either of these would make me arrive one second earlier. They may just alleviate some of the boredom. The real upside is that once the technology is in place, good content will follow (I hope).    

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