PureLink partner Syncomation, a premiere commercial A/V distributor located in the Southeast, was hired by thier client Imerys, a leading international supplier of high performance minerals, to install and support an audiovisual control system for the company’s U.S corporate office. The project’s configuration included a video wall and displays with both public facing and employee-facing content being broadcast depending on the location of each wall. A two by two (2×2) video wall, positioned in the main entry way, displayed general information about the company and the scope of its services and product offerings to clients and visitors. An additional display located in the company’s break room played internally distributed content such as company news, employee statistics, and information on projects and partnerships.
The client company, Imerys, is a large international minerals-based specialties supplier with headquarters in France, but with North American sales and administrative offices in Roswell, GA. With more than 17,500 employees and a revenue of €4.165 billion in 2016, the company has a unique knowledge of mineral technology and unrivalled depth of application expertise in natural minerals. Imerys transforms a unique range of minerals into high value specialty products for many industries, using a variety of sophisticated technical processes. This diverse set of mineral-based specialty solutions is then used in a wide range of applications, utilized in anything from coatings, paints, inks and abrasives, to caulks and adhesives, to plastics, rubber, and health and beauty aids. Their solutions add essential features to their customers’ products or manufacturing processes in industries like consumer goods, industrial equipment, auto care, water treatment, and construction, among others.
Before Syncomation took on this project, there was an existing digital signage solution in place at Imerys that was cloud-based, and the monthly fees required to access the service were beginning to balloon out of control. For instance, each time the company added another media player to the system there were more fees to pay for the hardware as well as additional set up costs. In addition, the company was already paying monthly license fees for the control software that was being used with the players.
The client began to ask their integrators for a system that would be easier to manage and would allow simple and cost-effective hardware setup and installation. In addition, in-house control and security were also major priorities. There were unique technical requirements in this case as far as control and management of the content. Imerys was looking for the ability to create different corporate IDs within the server. They wanted to be able to manage everything from one central location and restrict each user’s access to certain responsibilities. As a global organization, Imerys valued security and complete control of their information and needed to have a high level of confidence that their intellectual property could not be misappropriated or stolen.
From Syncomation’s perspective, the licensing and other monthly fees were a problem as well. With such a system in place, any time a component was malfunctioning the first question the company was confronted with usually was, “are you behind in the payments of your monthly dues?” Also, from the integrators point of view, the hardware’s reliability needed improvement, especially since the company planned to expand the use of the system in a phased deployment to different regions and major cities around the country. Syncomation, based in Atlanta, would have to incur significant costs to get to these new sites should an issue arise. Increased costs for travel, lodging and technician work hours had to be factored in every time a piece of equipment failed, so they began to investigate which system would be as trouble free as possible to install.
When PureLink first introduced its MPX-100 II Total Signage Solution in 2016, Syncomation immediately began integrating the system into many of their designs. The MPX-100 II is an improved and upgraded version of the MPX-100, a Wi-Fi equipped digital media player. Together with the accompanying MPX Management Software Suite, the UHD compatible MPX-100 II provides a complete digital signage solution for a multitude of applications such as retail, restaurants, hotel lobbies, airport information, and public transportation. The MPX Management Software is a free tool that is included with the MPX-100 II media player, which right away lowers costs for end users as there are no monthly access or license fees to consider. Additionally, adding locations in a phased deployment becomes quick and easy. Corporate IDs and user assignments are managed centrally, and, once the initial server is in place, any new locations can be up and running almost immediately. “It is literally a 30 second process to add players with PureLink’s soulution, and the system is great as far as the security aspect and offering complete in-house control,” stated Collin Smerk, CFO at Syncomation.
The MPX-100 II can be accessed remotely, which allows users to conveniently upload media, manage schedules, and monitor performance. It also allows for the export of playlist content via built-in Wi-Fi, LAN, or USB options for a self sufficient, Android-based solution.
The MPX-100 II also offers 1GB of built-in flash memory, as well as a securable (key-lock) SD card slot allowing expansion of up to 128GB for local content storage. This solution proved to be a robust answer to the client’s cost requirements and satisfied Syncomation’s expectations for security and reliability. “We had been using more and more of PureLink’s extenders, splitters and chassis based switchers for video distribution,” stated Smerk. “And we knew from experience that when we install a PureLink product for our customer, there is a very small percentage of failure,” he added. “We have used a lot of PureLink products and they are always extremely reliable in a lot of different situations,” added Dwayne Murphree, CEO at Syncomation.
An important part of implementing these complex, technical solutions is having the right partner. In order to better serve their clients, integrators need partners that are responsive to any input on product improvements or enhancements that they get. In this case PureLink has a reputation for going far beyond the scope of competitive manufacturers offering similar solutions. “They just seem to listen more and do a great job of incorporating the features or new product functions that we talk to them about,” stated Mr. Smerk. “We’re amazed that they can implement these changes so swiftly, sometimes in the next product cycle, or for something like a firmware update, in a day or two, while the ticket is still open,” he added. Syncomation also values partners who are committed to saving both them and their client money and headaches. “Clients hate down time, and once PureLink products are installed they are rock solid,” said Smerk. “We don’t ever have to worry about it.”
In digital signage the hardware component essentially does the same job no matter what supplier you use, sending both standard display content to the viewer, as well as interactive displays that change according to viewer responses. Although the MPX-100 II is offered with an unprecedented 3-year warranty, the key difference in this system is the software.
In the end, once the MPX-100 II player/software solution was deployed within Imerys, it was received very positively by both employees and visitors. In fact, these systems proved so popular that when employees from other Imerys locations and divisions saw how easy it was to use this system and how clearly their messaging could be delivered, they began to request the same setup at their own offices. As a result, the client recently ordered 11 more MPX solutions to go in another office location – a project that Syncomation will also take on, encompassing system setup and installation, as well as comprehensive training on the MPX Management Software.
“Most customers are happy to pay for product training at that level,” stated Mr. Murphree. “PureLink has been offering it on a monthly basis for free, and the level of knowledge of the instructor is far better than those offered by any of their competition,” he added. PureLink offers several training sessions per month on both their Digital Signage and IP Video hardware/software solutions. These are offered in the form of complementary webinars that are also certified for AVIXA CTS RU credit.
The MPX provided Imerys end users with not only a significant cost savings component but a crisp and clear picture at a display resolution of up to 1080p in Full HD. “PureStream [MPX] has plenty of space on board and we don’t have to worry about ultra-high compression and super small image files.” stated Mr. Murphree. “With its master processor, we see no stutter during transition and the aspect ratio is perfect,” he added.
Imerys found PureLink’s MPX solution to be a vast improvement over what they were using before. The system offers control of large numbers of players based in any location and allows users to centralize content creation and schedule management and deployment from anywhere. “So by not having to troubleshoot their equipment all the time, PureLink saves us money, and we can then pass that on to our customers,” stated Mr. Smerk. “That’s one less thing we have to worry about during design and installation.” he concluded.