Date posted: February 26, 2015

Latest-generation of Tightrope Carousel, BrightSign media players enable stunning videowall displays, and affordable yet dynamic large-scale networks

Tightrope Media Systems and BrightSign are evolving their partnership throughout 2015, with new innovations to more effectively power videowalls and large out-of-home networks on a tightly integrated, scalable and robust signage architecture. The two companies are leveraging each company’s next-generation platforms within an integrated digital signage solution to enable these and additional benefits for their customers.

Last year at Digital Signage Expo, Tightrope and BrightSign announced a partnership to offer a very cost-effective enterprise solution with a full suite of tools. The combination of Tightrope’s strengths in advanced content creation and management, and BrightSign’s market-leading technology and signature reliability, results in a winning solution for any business or network operator to manage an affordable and sophisticated digital signage network.

Tightrope’s accelerated content rendering, combined with BrightSign’s enhanced connectivity for media playout via PoE support, enhances the value overall integrated solution for large out-of-home network deployments.

This year at Digital Signage Expo, Tightrope and BrightSign will demonstrate seamless integration between Tightrope’s Carousel digital signage system and BrightSign’s next-generation XD2 players. The companies will exhibit two spaces apart (Tightrope at 2631; BrightSign at 2131), demonstrating how the integrated platform produces stunning videowall displays; as well as highly scalable and manageable networks for enterprise-level businesses and organizations.

New features of the integrated platform including portrait mode display and H.264 video streaming support to enhance visual capabilities for any signage network or application. Additionally, newly available media player synchronization for videowalls ensures that Carousel can drive content to multiple BrightSign players, which collectively deliver video and graphics across many panels for cohesive output and display of stunning visual content.

BrightSign XD2 networked media players, to be shown in the North America for the first time at Digital Signage Expo, all feature faster HTML5 and graphics processing; as well as Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability to simplify the powering of BrightSign players in remote locations. The complete XD2 portfolio includes:

  • BrightSign XD232, a networked interactive player capable of full HD 1080p60 video decoding and simultaneous content playback from local, networked and streaming sources
  • BrightSign XD1032, a networked multi-control interactive player that adds support for pure digital and surround sound audio
  • BrightSign XD1132, a networked multi-control interactive player that adds support for live TV playback via an HDMI input and live TV player

Users of the integrated platform will also benefit from Carousel 6.5’s faster processing power, which accelerates content rendering at the creation levels. The faster upfront rendering ensures quicker delivery to BrightSign media players across networks of any scale.

BrightSign CEO, Jeff Hastings, agrees that the partnership is beneficial for customers across all vertical markets. “Our respective companies are committed to technology innovation and continued integration work to provide our integrators, VAR’s and end-users a leading solution for sophisticated and robust digital signage roll-outs in all shapes and sizes.”

Eric Henry, signage solutions lead, Tightrope Media Systems, adds that the evolving relationship between the two companies includes cooperative research and development efforts to ensure continued innovation across the integrated Tightrope/BrightSign platform.

“We continue to bring more depth to our partnership, with dedicated project managers from both companies working together to develop new features and functionality for our combined customer base of resellers, integrators and end users,” said Henry. “Digital Signage Expo is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the most recent innovations from our combined efforts.”

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Date posted: January 14, 2015

Audio over IP pioneer will demonstrate comprehensive, cloud-based management and audio playout capabilities of SoundScape at ISE 2015

Barix last year introduced SoundScape, a solution to centrally manage and distribute branded audio over IP networks of any size.  At ISE 2015, Barix will demonstrate the complete cost-reducing, revenue-generating capabilities of SoundScape as the company brings the fully integrated solution to market – including cloud-based content management and live status monitoring via the SoundScape Portal; and new compact, multi-format Exstreamer SoundScape IP audio players for location-based media playout.

Content providers and network operators can manage the new SoundScape IP audio players remotely from a central location, from firmware updates to volume adjustments.

SoundScape is the only “in-store radio” solution capable of integrated audio distribution, remote device management, dynamic contact scheduling, system-wide reporting and monitoring, and high-quality, multi-format audio playout.  Essentially, SoundScape brings together several traditional Barix strengths previously available as separate applications—including dynamic, targeted ad insertion—to simplify, accelerate and monetize deployments for content providers and systems integrators.  SoundScape’s cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) design also establishes a centrally hosted model to increase network accessibility and availability, reducing overall operating costs and maintenance.  As a result, SoundScape is more than a basic in-store radio solution:  It is a fully functioning, revenue-generating music and entertainment system with hierarchical user management for single locations (clubs, supermarkets), large campuses (universities, corporate complexes) and multi-location networks (retail and hotel chains).

The introduction of Exstreamer SoundScape players is significant because it provides a highly reliable platform for remote device management and local playout.  The Linux-based players feature the traditional benefits of Barix Exstreamer device­s—including a compact form factor, low power consumption, multi-format decoding and broadcast-quality audio—and adds integrated control via a simple built-in, five-button keypad.  Users can navigate the menu, skip songs, and change audio settings and network configurations without connecting to the central web-based SoundScape interface.  A blue-toned backlit LED display details audio program and player information relevant to the location.

Exstreamer SoundScape players also bring greater efficiency to the playout operation through exceptional internal memory, minimizing network resources required for live streaming.  A built-in real-time clock ensures that players continue to stream content locally via internal content storage in the event of network downtime—and pick up exactly where the playlist left off upon return of the network.

Visitors to the Barix stand (Hall 8, M-245 in the Amsterdam RAI, February 10-12) can simulate remote device management using the SoundScape Portal, the solution’s central management interface.  In a typical SoundScape deployment, a content provider or network manager can visualize every player on the network using an intuitive, interactive map.  Color-coded pins help users quickly determine the operating status of every player in the network, with green indicating normal operation and red indicating that attention is required.  SoundScape’s in-depth troubleshooting capabilities enable users to remotely drill down into each player to determine and fix operating issues, while finely-tuned alerting capabilities inform users of problems via automatic e-mails or SMS texts.

The SoundScape demonstration at ISE will also allow visitors to establish connections between the Portal and players—the first step in adding new locations to the SoundScape network—build dynamic playlists featuring music and advertisements, and download audio content to local players.  The SoundScape Portal’s rich content management capabilities also allow users to centrally assign and schedule content to unlimited player groups; and group devices by location and language.  These flexible parameters further empower SoundScape’s revenue generating benefits by establishing a foundation for highly targeted, localized ad insertion.

“SoundScape is exciting as it truly offers a wide range of users an audio content distribution system for background music and messages across commercial and public spaces,” said Frank Frederiksen, managing director, Barix.  “No other IP audio solution on the market offers as rich of an SaaS-enabled content and player management solution that also incorporates targeted advertising, stream tracking and reporting, and live status monitoring.  Adding in tried-and-true reliable Barix audio players, SoundScape brings together a complete hardware and software solution to build new revenue streams and reduce total cost of ownership for branded, location-based music and entertainment.”

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Date posted: October 28, 2014

Transition to IP audio simplifies scheduling, playout of music for Ohio retail campuses

The Dutchman Hospitality Group specializes in helping its guests slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life.  Keeping with this philosophy, the company has turned to Barix to centralize its in-store radio programming on its core IT network, transitioning to the Barix Store&Play IP audio solution to simplify the scheduling and playout of content on three of its largest retail and hospitality campuses.

Based in Amish country in rural Walnut Creek, Ohio, Dutchman Hospitality Group sought a unified solution to deliver audio programming across multiple buildings to maintain a consistent and pleasant customer experience — a feat that proved impossible with separate CD players and the “everyone’s a DJ” approach.  The company put its IT contractor, Mark Greenawalt of Makarios Networks, in charge of finding a cost-efficient solution that would offer better control of the overhead music in each building.

The Barix Store&Play solution simplifies scheduling and playout of music for Dutchman Hospitality Group, while using minimal network resources to distribute high-quality audio

“When we made the business decision to have a single source of overhead music on each campus, the challenge of distributing the audio seemed to require pulling new wires between each building,” said Greenawalt.  “I discovered Barix Store&Play while conducting research, and discovered that their solution converts audio to data packets for network distribution, before converting back to audio at the playout point.  Once I realized we could use our existing infrastructure, it became clear that transitioning to Barix would save a lot of time, labor and money.  The devices are inexpensive, and the ease of setup made the overall transition very affordable.”

Since discovering Barix, Greenawalt has since transitioned Dutchman Hospitality Group’s Walnut Creek and Sugar Creek campuses, which include multiple buildings spread across large areas, featuring a mix of retail stores, restaurants and inns.  In the Ohio town of Berlin, the company is streaming music from the Berlin Farmstead Restaurant to the Carlisle Country Inn a quarter-mile down the road, taking advantage of Barix’s flexibility in networking audio across separate, distant properties.

The distribution of audio over the network via Barix technology delivers a more consistent hospitality experience across the mix of retail stores, restaurants and inns on three Dutchman Hospitality Group campuses.

The Barix Store&Play solution is configured to minimize use of network resources, downloading programs for playback on a scheduled basis.  The network architecture includes a central Instreamer device on each campus to encode audio into files for streaming over the network; and Exstreamer devices at each remote building to receive and decode the files back to high-quality audio.  With fiber-optic connections and a Gigabit Ethernet backbone already in place, Greenawalt had the Barix system online and streaming audio across all assigned locations within days.  The IP-addressable Barix solution has operated flawlessly, producing outstanding audio quality with exceptional reliability.

“Being a musician, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the sound quality,” said Greenawalt.  “But the ease of configuration and reliability is what really makes this special.  The Barix receiving devices plug directly into our sound systems, instead of requiring investment in new amplifiers and loudspeakers.  As one representative in a two-person IT department, having a low-maintenance solution is huge.  It really is a set-and-forget system, with no wires to pull and no extra materials or components required.”

Looking ahead, Greenawalt expects that the Barix system will be used solely for the purpose of reliable background music distribution, but envisions opportunities to scale the network to additional locations on each campus as new services develop.

“The Barix IP audio solution strikes me as having an internet radio station for our own private campuses,” he said.  “The sky is the limit in terms of where we can take it in the future.  Considering its flexibility and ease of configuration, I’m not sure there is anything you can’t do with this system in terms of audio distribution if you are thinking creatively.”

Date posted: September 22, 2014

Systems integration specialist Human Circuit, Inc. networks Tightrope Carousel system across two locations, and multiple conference rooms and common areas

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, September 22, 2014 Choice Hotels, the corporate parent of several well-known hotel chains in the United States, recently relocated its Maryland headquarters to the northern Washington, DC suburb of Rockville.  The company occupies six floors of a newly built 10-story building, with a second corporate location in Phoenix, Arizona.  With various conference spaces and thoroughfares to communicate across, Choice Hotels turned to systems integrator Human Circuit, Inc. to design a complete professional AV system with a dynamic and interactive digital signage network from Tightrope Media Systems.

Tightrope’s Carousel solution was selected for its interactive capabilities and ease of use, allowing Choice Hotels to customize outputs depending on the nature of the message for each location.  The network serves three main corporate communication purposes:  interactive wayfinding, historical education, and general information for visitors and personnel.  The open nature of Carousel has also made it easy to incorporate business operations, such as Outlook integration for real-time schedule of meetings and events.

“We work with a number of signage companies and representatives for many different manufacturers,” said Kevin Filano, systems design engineer, Human Circuit, Inc.  “Tightrope was an ideal choice for this project because Carousel is highly customizable, which was important given the targeted content across different locations.  Their layouts are non-cluttered and elegantly designed, which works great for a corporate environment.  Tightrope makes sure the end user can display the right amount of information without making it look too busy, while retaining a smooth and professional look.”

The main business operation is centered on the fourth floor, and is naturally the most visible part of the network.  The main conference center and several reconfigurable meeting rooms rotate a variety of engaging content, but the interactive elements of the network are spread throughout the building.  The wayfinding displays are found at elevator lobbies and stairwells along a staircase spanning all six floors.  Visitors can view a floor map, daily schedule and page through an alphabetical staff directory to pinpoint floor, room and other pertinent information.  The historical education displays also incorporate interactive elements, engaging both visitors and staff.

“Choice Hotels added an interactive museum area to play out video clips that educate on the history of the company,” said Filano.  “A lot of thought went into the layout, color scheme and playout of these interactive elements for both the historical and wayfinding displays.  We worked very closely with Tightrope to achieve that.  Their programming services were instrumental in bringing everything together on time.”

According to Filano, the installation process was unusual as his team was working in tandem with general contractors and architects as the building was raised.  This had the benefit of cleanly integrating the entire technology infrastructure, including the digital signage, into the overall architecture.  However, there was no downtime to create punch lists and program systems, which made Tightrope’s professional services that much more critical to the signage network’s success.

“Normally, the contractor completes 90 percent of the job before we even come on site, but we were pulling cables and hanging displays while they were raising walls,” said Filano.  “We had enough to manage on the AV installation side, so we took advantage of their services to enable the custom functionality of the various outputs, and assist with signage network configuration.”

The overall Carousel architecture for Choice Hotels is clean and network-friendly, using a virtual server cluster with intelligent software to drive content instead of a central computer.  The robust network now extends to the Phoenix corporate location, with similar content created, managed and driven from the Rockville headquarters, where Carousel’s remote capabilities also enable network-wide troubleshooting from a central location.  The scalable Carousel backbone ensures that Choice Hotels can expand to additional displays at the Phoenix location without significantly driving up costs, labor or operational complexity.

“One of the biggest benefits of Carousel is ease of use and learning curve, which is important as the network scales,” said Filano.  “Choice Hotels has already had a handful of people move around in the company that were previously operating Carousel.  With a number of different operators taking over the system, they have had no issues with those transitions.”

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Date posted: February 26, 2014

Outreach ministry informs guests and staff with clarity and consistency across multiple zones

The Washington Family Ranch in rural central Oregon had a problem last summer:  With 400 youth guests per week, the Young Life-owned ministry camp’s expensive, network-based paging system was failing.  Receivers were transmitting live pages in a staggered manner, creating unintelligible messages — along with guest confusion and complaints.

Based on the suggestion of audio engineer/integrator Alan Stricklin, Washington Family Ranch installed a multipoint Barix IP Paging system this off-season.  The system is fully tested and ready for the upcoming 13-week season, and delivering punch and clarity at all playout points thanks to low latency and exceptional audio quality.

Compact and easy to use, the Barix Annuncicom PS1 master paging station will help Washington Family Ranch staff communicate campus-wide over IP with punch and clarity.

“Our previous system was billed as Hi-Fi, but it was very hard to understand the messages with the various amps and receivers responding at different times,” said Andrew Pratt, guest services manager at Washington Family Ranch.  “This past year we just turned the amps off, which left us exposed on the liability side.  We were limited in how to alert our guests if something were to happen.”

Enter Barix courtesy of Stricklin, who also uses Barix solutions at Minnesota Public Radio.  The complete solution gives Pratt and his staff a compact, easy-to-use master paging station in the main office that connects over the network to playout points in high-traffic locations.  Pages are streamed live to Barix IP audio decoders at these locations, which prepare and deliver the messages over loudspeakers.

The result is clear messages for guests and staff in four dormitories, the main activity center, campus store, snack bar, dining hall, kitchen and main reception building.  Pratt notes this is especially important in the event of a dangerous weather or a security situation, given the camp’s rural location.

“The intelligibility is exceptional and all our speakers are firing at the same time,” said Pratt.  “We’re confident that wherever guests are standing that they will clearly hear the announcements, instead of trying to translate the messages.”

In addition to quality, Pratt cites low cost and simplicity as major benefits of the Barix IP Paging solution.

“This operates like a set it and forget it system, and I’m excited that it requires minimal management,” said Pratt.  “We believe it will be the kind of system where we train people to use it at the beginning of the summer, and that’s it.  The low cost of the system makes it seem as though we will absolutely get our money’s worth.”

The complete Barix IP Paging solution installed at Washington Family Ranch includes an Annuncicom PS1 master paging station, and Barix Exstreamer 205 IP audio decoders at playout points — the latter of which include built-in amplifiers to reduce costs and infrastructure.  Looking forward, Pratt expects to take advantage of Barix scalability by adding more playout points via additional Exstreamers, and exploring multicast delivery — a Barix specialty — to minimize network bandwidth.

Date posted: January 29, 2014

SoundScape delivers comprehensive management and audio playout solution to help retailers, businesses efficiently engage consumers 

Barix has long been a global provider of in-store radio solutions, bringing value to retail shops and other businesses through brand awareness, consumer engagement and revenue generation.  The introduction of SoundScape, its next-generation in-store radio solution, positions Barix as a technology leader in the retail market, helping businesses enhance flexibility and fuel new business opportunities from an advanced yet easy-to-use platform.

SoundScape is a comprehensive solution to manage audio distribution over IP networks, offering a centralized management portal and audio players at multiple locations.  Music service providers can efficiently power in-store radio networks with SoundScape, using the portal to manage, configure, group and monitor SoundScape audio players and device status network-wide.  SoundScape also enables content scheduling through built-in software, or allows service providers to use custom scheduling solutions.

Barix previously offered live streaming and Store and Play programs as separate applications, each available via software downloads for its IP audio encoders and decoders.  SoundScape supports both applications on the same device, allowing retailers to switch between live feeds and stored playlists that play back at scheduled times.  Both applications support targeted, location-based advertising insertions that seamlessly fade in and out of music programs.

The network-wide management capabilities of SoundScape further reduces costs and complexity by enabling customers to remotely deliver firmware updates, create and monitor logs, and track play reports for sponsors.  This takes the onus off content providers who previously used in-house or third-party monitoring solutions to perform such services.  Retailers can also integrate SoundScape with music suppliers to minimize licensing costs.

“Businesses of all kinds, including many retail chains, have long used Barix in-store radio solutions to deliver live streams and file-based playlists to stores and locations,” said Guggenheim.  “SoundScape retains the core Barix competency of efficiently and reliably moving audio across IP networks, while introducing new features that will ultimately help businesses create better brand awareness, improve the shopping experience and increase basket size as part of their omni-channel strategies.”

SoundScape additionally provides value through an ability to target content across the network.  The end-to-end architecture ensures that businesses can group devices to receive specific ads, other languages or completely different programs – whether by location, by department or otherwise.

The ability to switch between live streams and stored playlists brings additional flexibility.  Retailers can take advantage of true, dynamic ad insertions within live, branded radio programs for part of the day, and switch to stored content at busier shopping times to preserve network bandwidth.  The Store and Play application otherwise allows retailers to switch to special, customized playlists for holidays, events and local store promotions.  To the latter point, retailers can easily take advantage of system flexibility to insert special ads for real-time promotion of price drops and other in-store specials.

Barix will demonstrate the complete solution in simulated retail environments at ISE 2014, taking place February 4-6 at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam (Stand 8-E275); and one week later at Digital Signage Expo (Booth 1716), taking place February 12-13 at the Sands Convention Center.

Date posted: December 17, 2013

New Carousel software release adds Twitter, Facebook authentication alongside new visual enhancements tools to address evolving customer needs

Tightrope Media Systems announces a new software release for its tried-and-true Carousel digital signage platform, giving its customers new tools and enhancements that keep content fresh and enrich visual appeal.

Available today, the Carousel 6.4 software release supports direct Twitter and Facebook integration, simplifying how operators access and subsequently incorporate social media feeds into signage layouts.  This native connection, achieved via a simple login process, also better organizes social media integration so that content remains timely.

The new Carousel digital signage software release is focused on keeping content fresh and looking good

“Social media is so natural to people today that it’s easy for most to focus in and consume that information on signage platforms,” said Eric Henry, Signage Solutions Lead for Tightrope Media Systems.  “Our customers are increasingly seeking ways to ensure that their social media content is current, dynamic and well-aligned with their screen content.  It creates a natural connection between consumers and the businesses or organizations that rely on digital signage as a communications platform.”

The new Carousel software release also includes visual and operational enhancements to keep screens lively and appealing.  A new text character limit on Carousel bulletins eliminate screen crowding and wordy passages to retain viewers and strengthen messages.  Similarly, a new web preview feature offers a quick glance at clock bulletins to ensure content is synchronized and easy to digest.  Operationally, a new copy option allows for quick transfer of new bulletins to fresh templates, allowing users to create and customize layouts rich with up-to-date information.

“The new software release benefits our customers across all digital signage verticals we serve, including hospitality, transportation, sports and houses of worship,” said Henry.  “These enhancements also reflect what our customers are requesting today.”

Date posted: October 15, 2013

Cloud-based streaming architecture supports custom music services with dynamic ad insertions for businesses   

Internet music service Custom Channels is helping retail businesses like Whole Foods Markets transform in-store environments with broadcast-quality audio programs, mixing music and dynamic advertising that deliver a branded, radio-like experience.  The company is relying on robust, cloud-based streaming services from StreamGuys to support its customers.

Custom Channels brings a rare broadcast perspective to the growing business of in-store audio streaming.  Its principal partners, including President/Co-Founder Dave Rahn, launched Custom Channels following years of experience working at and consulting for radio stations.  Today, Rahn and his team leverage their professional production skills and broadcast programming knowledge to build custom in-store programs for retailers like Whole Foods Market, for which they support two-thirds of their stores.

The company recently switched to StreamGuys for content delivery support, recognizing its broadcast expertise as well as its shared spirit of customization to meet client needs.

“We have always used an outside CDN because the specialized technical knowledge required to maintain servers, bandwidth and overall infrastructure is frankly beyond our area of expertise,” said Rahn.  “The difference with StreamGuys is that they are not forcing us into one business model for streaming services.  They instead provide us with the streaming services that are right for our model, and deliver the ongoing recommendations, support and troubleshooting we need.  That helps us keep costs low and leaves us to focus on program content and customer relationships — which is what we do best.”

Custom Channels takes program content beyond music by incorporating dynamic ad insertions in the form of “mid-rolls,” which Rahn cites as a particularly strong tool to trigger ads and promos for in-store streaming models.  StreamGuys incorporates third-party ad insertion software into its streaming architecture, targeting broadcasters and IP-based music services that wish to incorporate promotional content in the form of pre-rolls, mid-rolls and post-rolls — and potentially generate new revenue streams.

“The ad insertion software in the StreamGuys architecture allows us to manage content at the server side as opposed to just pushing messages to individual players and boxes,” said Rahn.  “For example, we work with a large chain of dental offices, Comfort Dental, with offices all over the country.  The mid-roll insertions allow us to take a single Comfort Dental radio channel and insert specialized ads for each region, or even down to the local office level.  The messages don’t have to live in the origin stream; instead, we create a place in the stream and insert them on a very targeted basis.  It’s a very efficient model, and makes for good use of IP delivery.”

Rahn’s broadcast experience also means a focus on audio quality.  Custom Channels currently delivers most audio content using the aacPlus codec at bitrates ranging from 64 to 96 kb/s, and uses other high-quality codecs like Ogg Vorbis for specialty services such as ReMix, which allows customers to create their own custom mixes.   Rahn will explore Ogg Opus moving forward, the new versatile, open-source audio codec for low-latency, high-quality audio streaming.  StreamGuys is the first CDN to announce support for Ogg Opus audio streaming.

“We’re dealing with businesses, and we try to keep as light of a footprint as possible since there are other demands on their bandwidth and technical infrastructures,” said Rahn.  “StreamGuys allows us to use various high-quality, bandwidth-friendly formats so we are comparable to FM quality and usually higher than satellite quality — a sweet spot that our clients can easily handle on their networks.”

Rahn also points to several restaurant brands as Custom Channels clients, including the 200-plus Which Wich sandwich shop chain; and the fast casual Mod Pizza chain based in the Seattle region.  Another interesting client is Floyd’s Barbershop, which operates more than 70 barbershops around the country.  Custom Channels produces a true “retail radio” station in this case, with full-blown professional production, deejays and live requests.

“We focus on music-conscious brands that essentially want custom radio stations, and many of these clients also stream their channels on their websites,” said Rahn.  “Ultimately, StreamGuys offers an ideal service for in-store delivery, whether it’s conventional streaming of a radio station or a business that wants something a little more unique.”

More information on Custom Channels can be found at http://www.customchannels.net.

Date posted: September 26, 2013

Seasoned executive makes worldwide company growth a priority

IP audio and control specialist Barix ushers in a new era with the appointment of Ronni Guggenheim as CEO.  Based in Zurich, Mr. Guggenheim takes the reins on October 1 — and he has big plans for the company.

“Barix has a stellar reputation as an IP technology pioneer and a very solid technology core, the majority of which is hardware-driven,” said Guggenheim.  “We have an opportunity to increase market share by building a broader ecosystem with a stronger software focus.”

Guggenheim certainly understands technology, with recent leadership roles at Minicom Digital Signage and ComQi, a leading global digital signage technology supplier.  The latter company formed through a merger between Minicom Digital Signage and EnQii, an effort which Guggenheim drove and executed.  He brings additional leadership experience to Barix as former managing partner and CEO of neXius AG, where he drove strategy development and execution for hardware and software technology companies.

Guggenheim will leverage his proven leadership skills and business sense, along with a history of sales and marketing expertise, to take Barix to the next level — an exciting proposition for Barix founder Johannes G. Rietschel.

Rietschel has served as CEO of Barix since its inception in 2001, and will remain with the company as executive chairman and CTO.  This will allow him to focus on his visionary and technology development skills as he relinquishes the daily operations and business strategy to Mr. Guggenheim.

“Barix has achieved excellent growth for 12 years, but we have reached a size where we need different entrepreneurial skillsets,” said Rietschel.  “I will remain involved in the overall company vision but am getting back to focusing on technology, and ensuring we have the best to offer for our customers.  Ronni brings the experience we need to build stronger sales channels and strategic focus worldwide.  And I will work with him to guarantee greater acceleration of Barix’s success.”

Guggenheim’s digital signage experience is an ideal complement to Barix’s strategy in the retail and business space, where the company has a strong reputation and global customer base for in-store audio solutions.  Guggenheim will bring an overall stronger vertical focus to the company, which also supplies technology solutions to the broadcast, security, entertainment and professional AV/installation markets.  He will also further invest in relationships with existing OEM and channel partnerships, while paving the way for new alliances.

“At Barix, we have a well-developed, well-defined and established company that will break through to a new phase of revenue growth by building on the successes of our existing team — a team we will continue to rely on heavily,” he said.  “We’ll quickly bring better clarity to our vertical and geographical focus, and we expect exponential development of the company as a result.”

Date posted: July 16, 2013

Barix helps Muzika InStore, retailers and other businesses enhance in-store atmosphere and expedite return on investment

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, July 16, 2013 — IP audio specialist Barix is supporting audio streaming and delivery for Muzika InStore, the new Croatia-based in-store audio service that allows customers to manage their own content.  Muzika InStore exclusively uses the Barix Exstreamer 100 IP audio device to receive and decode programming at retail stores and businesses, citing exceptional audio quality, reliability, ease of use and low energy consumption.

The Muzika InStore service is a classic “store and forward” operation that includes two in-house developed web applications to support program development and management.  The first application, MIT AddSite, gives customers complete freedom to create in-store audio programs that enhance the retail experience or business atmosphere.  The second, MIT FTPstats, focuses on network-wide monitoring and troubleshooting.   Current clients include KTC d.o.o, a Croatian chain of retail store and restaurants for which Muzika InStore produces 210 weekly promotions and advertisements; as well as Bluesun resorts and hotels; and retail businesses Metro, Emmerzeta, Trgocentar and Trgostil.

Robert Malekovic, CEO of Muzika InStore, says that the Barix devices help to ensure continuous playout of all in-store audio programs, while delivering a quick return on investment for both his company and his in-store clients.

“No operator in the world can guarantee 100 percent availability of the live internet stream, so we developed our ‘forward and play’ operation with Barix so that we do not have to depend on constant connections,” said Malekovic.  “Barix devices are extremely reliable for playout and since each device consumes less than 4W of electricity, customers with multiple devices experience a return on investment in less than one year.”

Barix IP audio systems decode and deliver live streams to loudspeakers at Bluesun Resorts and Hotels on the Adriatic coast in Croatia.

Muzika InStore’s MIT AddSite application assists the creative process, allowing customers to freely and easily add, schedule and delete music, announcements and local advertisements through a central admin section.  It also retains all customer information for simple ongoing management, including hours of operation as well as databases, playlists and musical preferences down to specific genres.  Users can also generate reports to show proof of play for advertisers.

Once live at a business, the overall system refreshes itself at the same time each day, creates a playlist for the next week and then disconnects from the Internet to save network resources, ensuring that credit card authorization, point of sale systems and other primary retail systems are unaffected.

Malekovic adds that the ease of setup and installation further reduces his cost of investment.  Muzika InStore configures the Barix devices for each client, preloading Exstreamers with Barix FTPMP3 firmware and shipping the plug-and-play devices direct to clients.  Muzika InStore also preloads USB sticks, which are attached direct to the Exstreamer 100 to provide secondary, local audio source.  This is especially helpful upfront to reduce the initial download needs and minimize network congestion.  Meanwhile, newly installed devices automatically connect to Muzika InStore’s network.

“We find the new Barix devices on our servers so that the client can immediately start with creation of music programs and management of ads and promos,” said Malekovic.  “The devices start and stop playing based on information the client has input within the AddSite application, so there are no manual interactions required by employees of the shop.”

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