Date posted: May 13, 2015

Integrated solution removes the headaches of procuring content and licensing, while simplifying deployments and operation through a fully networked system

StoreStreams is debuting this week at the 2015 NRA Show with a compelling case for restaurants, foodservice and hospitality businesses seeking an all-in-one, branded in-store radio service.

StoreStreams simplifies the traditional patchwork of systems and components to deliver branded music and advertising. Instead, the StoreStreams model brings together the network infrastructure, audio systems and licensed content—the latter of which saves content providers and businesses months of legal headaches and costly fees. Delivered together with a simple front end user interface for content management, the complete StoreStreams platform simplifies the launch and operation of a multi-site in-store radio system, and delivers a quick return on investment for businesses.

“We are intent on delivering a single platform with all the tools needed to launch a profitable in-store radio service,” said Will Schmidt, vice president of sales for LineQ, a Minneapolis-area distributor that brings together the audio playout systems. “With no disparate elements and the freedom of comfortable month-to-month contracts, businesses can focus on customer service while enjoying the benefits of a branded, monetized streaming audio service.

StoreStreams brings together the music catalog and network intelligence of XYZ Stream Hosting, a specialist in live, multiplatform content delivery with a robust and reliable streaming architecture.

In addition to a wide selection of music channels with pre-licensed content, StoreStreams includes a management application to structure and time ad placements, station IDs and promotional material. LineQ will supply the end point hardware for each deployment, featuring Ecler Sound amplifiers, Cornered Audio loudspeakers and media players from Barix, an IP audio pioneer with hundreds of thousands of hardware players in deployment worldwide.

“With the reliability of our cloud-based, redundant streaming architecture at the core, the StoreStreams model ensures a live, reliable streaming service with high availability for networks of any scale,” said Charles Odom, vice president of marketing, StoreStreams. “This ensures a dynamic, high-quality and uninterrupted in-store radio experience for the restaurants, foodservice and hospitality businesses we serve.”

LineQ and XYZ Stream Hosting will jointly demonstrate the StoreStreams service from May 16-19 in the Start Up Alley section of the 2015 NRA Show exhibit floor, Booth 9416D. Please visit http://show.restaurant.org/Exhibit/Start-Up-Alley for more information on the Start Up Alley.

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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: February 23, 2015

SelfiLogin™ solution is first to run 3D facial modelling through standard smartphones, accelerating authentication processes for consumers

OneVisage®, the Swiss start-up developing disruptive digital identity solutions for financial services, e-commerce and mobile operators, is leveraging the power and penetration of the consumer smartphone to significantly reduce identify theft in the global civilian population – and regain lost revenue streams for its customers.  At the upcoming Mobile World Congress, OneVisage® will unveil its SelfiLogin™ service, the world’s first 3D facial authentication solution to operate on standard smartphones.

SelfiLogin™ shatters the complex and time-consuming two-step authentication processes that cause transaction cancellations – and lost revenue – for many businesses globally.  Using SelfiLogin’s accelerated authentication platform, financial services and e-commerce businesses now have a simpler and safer way to authenticate their customers – and significantly, a mobile platform that proves particularly attractive to younger demographics.

The use of security tokens results in transaction abandonments exceeding 30 percent – a tremendous amount of lost revenue for any business,” said Christophe Remillet, Chief Technology Officer, OneVisage. “A sizeable amount of these abandonments represent security concerns emphasized by Generation Z, spanning the ages of 16 to 24.  Studies prove that 75 percent of Generation Z is willing to use biometric security solutions like SelfiLogin instead of passwords or pins for authentication, making this a perfect technology to reserve momentum, and lost revenue streams, back toward the right direction.

According to recent reports, identity theft costs for businesses have skyrocketed past the $200 million mark worldwide. SelfiLogin™ digital authentication solution combats these challenges by significantly helping financial services, e-commerce and mobile operators reduce identity theft issues, while improving consumer confidence and preserving operational costs.

We recognize the growing concern regarding identity theft issues and consumer data privacy. Today, there isn’t a single week in the news where a company hasn’t been victim of criminals grabbing thousands or millions of user credentials. Our patent pending and breakthrough technology on consumer smartphones or tablets is disruptive and unique, providing stronger security, better usability and data privacy.” said Remillet.

In addition to the general financial, operational and security benefits of SelfiLogin™, the world’s first 3D facial authentication solution for standard smartphones opens new business opportunities and use cases never before explored. For example, digital private bank customers can now pass orders by phone and validate transactions in tens of seconds instead of tens of minutes, with a fully automatic process.

OneVisage® will exhibit SelfiLogin™ solution at Mobile World Congress 2015 – Hall 8.1 – Stand G58 (Swiss Pavilion) with the support of the Swiss Commission for Technology & Innovation and Alp-ICT. To set up an appointment, please send an email at info@onevisage.com or call us: +41 21 566 70 55

A special “FinTech – Pitch & Beer Session” will be held on Monday, March 2 @ 5:00 pm. Come and attend our pitch at the Swiss Pavilion, Hall 8.1 – stand G58.

For general information inquiries, please send an email at info@onevisage.com

 

 

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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 3, 2014

New in-store solutions cover the spectrum for live and scheduled playback of audio content, including dynamic ad insertions

ZURICH/ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, September 3, 2014 — The upcoming InfoComm India show in Mumbai marks the official launch of Barix’s next-generation of in-store radio solutions in the Asia-Pacific region.  Highlighting solutions that generate revenue for end users and reduce costs for systems integrators, Barix will demonstrate IP audio strategies for consumer engagement that meet a vast array of business requirements.

Barix’s next-generation IP audio “products” comprise wholesale applications that bring multiple software and hardware components together into complete solutions, driving both new operational efficiencies and revenue-generating opportunities.  Visitors to the Barix stand at InfoComm India (Hall 1, B17 at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, September 17-19) can see how the company’s latest in-store radio solutions align with this solutions-oriented strategy.

Store & Play gives end users and integrators an in-store radio solution for retail stores and other location-based businesses that wish to schedule playout of audio and advertising content; and preserve network resources

“Barix’s years of experience developing IP audio and control solutions for in-store radio has advanced to a point where we offer two very distinct networked solutions, each offering benefits based on system scale, network resources and even general customer preference,” said Domenico Gambino, VP Sales, Barix.  “We are providing end users and integrators with an affordable, high-quality foundation to incorporate single or multichannel audio streams—along with revenue-generating advertising opportunities—into any organization’s promotional and entertainment strategies.  Barix’s knowledge and expertise in moving audio over networks ensures that our customers experience simple deployments, reliable operation and infinite scalability.”

Store & Play

Store & Play specifically offers a solution to retailers and businesses that want dynamic in-store radio programming without using too many network resources, and/or want more control locally over their playout schedules.  Store & Play allows customers to download music and advertising content off the network, and reliably play out that programming on schedule with excellent audio quality.  Exceptional download speeds and system memory preserve playback quality through demanding processing actions, while a built-in precision clock ensures that schedules remain intact in the event of network outages.

SoundScape

SoundScape allows comprehensive management of audio distribution over IP networks, offering a centralized management portal and audio players at multiple locations.  Users can manage, configure and group SoundScape audio players, schedule content and monitor device status network-wide.  The network-wide management capabilities of SoundScape further reduces costs and complexity by enabling remote firmware updates, log creation and more.  SoundScape delivers broadcast-quality programming with targeted, location-based advertising insertions that seamlessly fade in and out of music programs, as well as the ability to seamlessly switch between live and scheduled streams.

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Date posted: June 10, 2014

Custom solution reliably streams branded content to more than 30 stores in central Europe

Leading corporate music provider DMD2 of Switzerland has long trusted Barix IP audio solutions to stream branded audio content to businesses around Europe.  The company has again selected Barix for multipoint in-store radio, streaming high-quality custom music programs to 33 Bucherer retail jewelry stores in four countries.

Bucherer was founded in Lucerne, Switzerland in 1888, and is today the European retail leader for luxury watches and fine jewelry.  The Barix installation marks the first time Bucherer has used a live in-store radio service, with DMD2 crafting a specially branded music stream from a huge music library to match specifically the vibrant and elegant atmosphere of their stores.  The service gives the retail chain a high-quality audio program, producing a pleasant and consistent audio experience for customers.  The service is now live in stores across Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria.

The Barix IP-based delivery architecture also keeps employees focused on customer service instead of fumbling with CDs and the FM radio dial, removing the role of “in-store DJ” from the sales team’s job description.

“Bucherer have gained exceptional control over this part of their in-store branding with the Barix and DMD2 solution,” said Alexander Dal Farra, owner and president of DMD2.  “They are very happy with their choice.  The Barix solution also ensures that their existing audio equipment could be used for an overall cost-effective installation.  Additionally, the audio service is virtually maintenance free once it is up and running.”

The technical concept of the Barix and DMD2 solution was equally appealing to Bucherer.  The solution provides a low-latency, bandwidth-efficient live stream over the retail chain’s existing network, requiring no major updates at the store level.  The streams originate from the DMD2 offices in Bern, Switzerland, with direct connection to Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders inside the stores.  The Exstreamers reliably play out AAC+ streams at a bitrate ideal for background music.

The Exstreamer models selected for this installation feature a front-panel display with artist/title and stream information, as well as MicroSD slot with backup music in the event of network failure.  That MicroSD slot additionally provides built-in content protection, eliminating the temptation for customers or employees to remove attached USB sticks with DMD2 in-store content.  Set up is simple and efficient,  and virtually no physical space is required due to the Exstreamer’s compact footprint.

Dal Farra adds that his success with Barix across similar in-store radio installations, including Victorinox retail stores in four countries, gave Bucherer the confidence they needed to modernize their in-store music approach.  DMD2 handles all Barix device configuration, service monitoring and music licensing for its in-store radio customers, further simplifying matters for retail customers like Bucherer.

“DMD2 has installed well over 1000 Barix Exstreamers across many businesses, each of which have varying network conditions,” said Dal Farra.  “That track record of success made it easy to convince Bucherer that it was smart to build their service on this technology.”

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: January 22, 2014

Multichannel audio streaming solution engages consumers on mobile devices in retail environments

Barix comes to ISE 2014 and the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) with a unique retail solution that enhances the shopping experience for consumers and adds value for retailers through mobile connectivity and synchronized promotional content.

The unique solution aims to give the screen a voice, engaging consumers at shopping windows and inside stores through visual content and associated audio streams.  A free Barix smartphone app called Barix Audio Point, to be available  in traditional App Stores, prompts consumers to scan a QR Code for stream access, which provides relevant and captivating audio content in synchronization with on-screen video.  The combination brings higher awareness to promotions, store branding and other messaging through deeper engagement with shoppers – and addresses the retailer’s goal of increasing basket size.

At ISE 2014 (February 4-6, RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam, Stand 8-E275) and DSE (February 12-13, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth 1716) Barix will demonstrate a complete audio signage solution with screenFOOD, a dynamic in-store merchandising company whose content management system automates video delivery.  The Barix solution can work with any Digital Signage player to achieve this multi-sensorial approach, with Barix encoding and streaming high-quality audio through access points near each screen.  Those access points enable the Wi-Fi connection that delivers audio to mobile devices in perfect harmony with video playing out on screens.

The complete solution gives systems integrators and end users an all-in-one package that is quick to deploy, with ongoing reliability.  Multichannel audio capacity additionally supports multiple streams, allowing retailers to provide audio signage content in several languages.

Barix CEO Ronni Guggenheim believes the bring-your-own-device trend in retail makes audio signage a natural step in advancing the customer journey, from redeeming special coupons delivered alongside mobile streams to receiving information about online shopping after stores have closed.

“The act of seeing and listening together raises the grade of perception, and through this solution retailers can give their customers a more complete experience that raises the potential to drive purchases,” said Guggenheim.  “Barix excels at moving audio over IP networks with very minimal delay, and our audio signage solutions feature content management systems from screenFOOD and other suppliers to help retailers deliver an enjoyable in-store audio visual experience to consumers.”

screenFOOD CEO Pierre Farine believes that this concept advances communication at retail touchpoints to a new level, moving past solitary audio or visual to bring greater context to the shopping environment.

“Good sounding audio helps to focus customer attention and extend their journeys into the mobile universe while on premises,” said Farine.  “Overall, this solution breathes new life into visual screen content.  Barix also shares our philosophy of high-quality, reasonably priced technology and customer-centric solutions, and we see this as a unique opportunity to bring an innovative and exciting retail solution to market.”

Systems integrators can add more value by using the same network architecture to separately deliver Barix in-store radio solutions with dynamic ad insertion; and live paging and intercom.  Retailers can deploy the latter at help points alongside display screens to expand customer service channels.

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.

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